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[at-l] Burying rocks

Now we're down to what kick-started me this morning.  I've spent a lot of 
time hoping that R&R could be a valuable member of this list.  It may happen 
yet, but I seriously doubt it.  So far he's done little but bitch, complain, 
whine, insult the list in general, promote "standards" that he can't or 
won't define, misinterpret HYOH, introduce a level of incivility that has 
been rare on at-l even during previous flame wars, and tell us that we're 
lazy, incompetent, ignorant, uncaring and contributory influences to the 
destruction of the Trail.  I've been puzzled about some of it - until today. 
  Until this morning -

Some time ago I wrote :
>Reread the Rodale Books -
>you'll find 40 ways to hike the trail, and each of those "traditional" 
>hikers had their own views of why they were out there and how they would 
>accomplish it.

To which R&R replied :
>    *** Look at it, then, as taking a stand where the honoring of all views 
>has lead to a down*turn in quality of use.

So, in his eyes, even those "traditional" hikers are wrong.  Only he - and 
HIS views are right.  I wonder where he thinks "tradition" comes from.  He 
seems to believe that he has the right to dictate what "tradition" is - or 
should be.  But he can't sell that to me.

But the capstone was when he wrote this -

>  The Trail's main currency is LAND!

Which is an extension of what he wrote several days ago -

>  *** The social aspect is the expendable element in the AT's sphere. It is 
>nice and a positive thing, but it is very definitely a pleasant side effect 
>compared to the need to maintain wilderness. Make no mistake that the Trail 
>is a wilderness corridor first before a social meeting place. I find 
>Wingfoot's view more true to AT ideals in this case. Solo seeker archetype, 
>not Trail party.

Which actually fits neatly with his thoughts here -

>Nervousness over infringing on rights is insubstantial compared to keeping 
>the AT wild or uncrowded. Undoubtedly he has cut off this kind of 
>unproductive speculation and just gotten to what he feels to be best for 
>the Trail.

Which all comes down to - "people don't count - they have less value than 
the LAND, the physical AT".  And that's MY interpretation of what he said - 
not an R&R quote.

To which I would reply - I've never seen a dumber idea from ANYONE on this 
list at any time.

The Trail's main currency is NOT LAND - it's PEOPLE.  Without the people it 
wouldn't be there. In his own words -

>The Trail wouldn't even be here if MacKaye hadn't.

True - but the Trail wouldn't be there if other people hadn't been there 
either - how about the maintainers?  or the hikers (dayhikers?  section 
hikers?  thruhikers? ) or the ATC (they're people too)?

The Trail was conceived and built for PEOPLE. MacKaye's concept was aimed at 
PEOPLE - not LAND. He was a "land planner" - and he understood that the LAND 
was secondary to the needs of PEOPLE.

The Trail doesn't dream - PEOPLE do. Those who thruhike or section hike 
operate on dreams - the LAND is only a way to make those dreams happen.  If 
it weren't there, theyd find another way.

The Trail doesn't hike - PEOPLE do.

The Trail doesn't maintain itself - PEOPLE do.

The Trail was the product of PEOPLE - who dreamed it, worked for it, fought 
for it, walked it, loved it, cared about it - and keep it alive.

The LAND is "nothing" without the PEOPLE - it would be just another ridge.  
Only the PEOPLE make the Trail what it is.

The social aspect of the Trail that he dismisses so easily is what the Trail 
IS - what it was in the beginning and what it will be in the future. It's 
what makes the AT different from other trails.  It's what MacKaye 
envisioned, it's what keeps the Trail alive and draws PEOPLE to it, it's 
what provides the only hope for the future of the Trail.  Without the PEOPLE 
that are drawn to it, it would have no support, no new generations of 
dreamers to walk it (no matter how they choose to do so), no future workers 
and maintainers and hikers.  It would have no past - and no future.

The physical Trail is almost immaterial - it's good to have "protection" as 
a goal - but if the price of that "protection" is the destruction of peoples 
lives (as in the Shenandoah and in North Carolina and Tennessee) or the cost 
is the loss of freedom for all who live in this country (eminent domain - to 
suit the whims of the few, the "elite") - then the price is too high.

If the Trail - the physical Trail - were to be logged and mined and buldozed 
and utterly destroyed tomorrow, the "Trail" would still live. It would still 
be a dream, an idea -  and PEOPLE would still walk from Georgia to Maine.  
Earl Shaffer walked a lot of "unprotected" Trail, we walked a lot of 
"unprotected" Trail.  It didn't damage or invalidate either of our hikes.  
The Trail is an idea - and only PEOPLE can have ideas - and act on them.  
The LAND is at least secondary - and possibly tertiary.

That "protected" route that some think is so "necessary" is nice - but it's 
neither "necessary" nor in some cases, desirable.   The Mid-State Trail in 
Pennsylvania is on "protected" land - and subject to the whims of those who 
control that land.  And some of it is in the process of being handed over to 
those who neither care about nor maintain the trail - in spite of government 
regulations which designate it a "hiking-only trail".

We walked a lot of "unprotected" route on the CDT - and frankly some of that 
was infinitely better than some of the parts that were "protected".  The CDT 
is a "route" not a trail - and when it becomes a "trail", it'll lose much of 
what makes it worthwhile.

But the subject at hand is R&R and his contention that the "Trail" is the 
LAND, that people are secondary and unimportant and that their rights, their 
land, their lives should be subject to his ideas, his beliefs, his whims, 
his vision of the Trail.  Personally, if it's commonly considered 
"unproductive" to even discuss those things that affect, and very often 
destroy peoples lives, then this country has become a place that is no 
longer worth living in.  If it becomes permissible to destroy peoples lives 
so that others (even, or maybe expecially,  thruhikers) can enjoy the 
"illusion of wilderness", then this country, this people are deserving of 
what they get.  What happens to any one of us can, and will, happen to all 
of us.  What happened to the quarry owner in NC is a harbinger of what will 
happen to ALL of us in the future.

What I see in R&R's posts, his attitude, his ideas - is a total ignorance of 
and misunderstanding of what the Trail is, what it's about, what it means.  
What struck me this morning was that he came into at-l with the intent to 
"educate, reform, and instruct" us about our sins. He blithely accuses us of 
damaging the Trail, of promoting unacceptable behavior, of being lazy, 
uncaring, unproductive and rebellious, of promoting a form of HYOH which is 
a contradiction to reality, of not meeting HIS standards.  And then this 
morning he graphically illustrated his lack of understanding with regard to 
the Trail, his lack of understanding about people and the political process, 
about HYOH and about this list in particular.  Anyone who believes that the 
Trail is more important than the people is not worth my time.  That level of 
ignorance is simply unbelievable to me.

Personally, I've spent a lot of time, both publicly and privately, trying to 
give him a clue, hoping he could become a reasonable, productive member of 
this list.  And that's part of my problem - I'm angry at myself for giving 
him that time and energy.

But he's apparently still ignorant, egotistical, arrogant and without 
apparent ability or desire to learn or to change.  And I don't need any more 
of it.  He can say what he wants, anyone else can read his garbage, answer 
if they want, whatever - but at least for the forseeable future, I'm outta 
here. I don't need the aggravation, I won't listen to his bullshit, I won't 
answer his ignorance and arrogance, I won't damage the list any more by 
trying to "welcome" him or "include" him or "reform" him.  It's been a long 
time since I've done this to anyone, but as far as I'm concerned R&R is 
"buried" and can be ignored and/or forgotten.

Walk softly on that fresh dirt,

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