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I'm with Saunterer on this one. Ever since R&R appeared espousing his
opinion, I've resisted the temptation to ask if he's advancing his ideas and
expressing them the way he is for sport. I think there's a formal word for
what I'm watching -- sophistry.
As for this notion of what's "traditional" and what's not, I think we're
using the wrong word. I'm not sure that the AT exactly has a 'tradition.'
We have historical examples, to be sure, like Grandma Gatewood, who hiked in
tennis shoes, but I don't think most hikers have a tradition of hiking in
tennis shoes. I think we have some historical examples of people hiking
end-to-end, both before and after Wingfoot's hikes, but none of those hikes
constitutes a 'tradition.' (My friend Neill, who thru-hiked in 1973, went
up the Trail with a backpack from K-mart and by the end was activity looking
for small animals to catch and eat. His motto the last couple hundred miles
was 'If you can catch it, eat it.' " Is this the tradition we want to put
As for what's "wilderness" and what isn't, I'd hardly say that the most of
AT was ever really wilderness, at least not since it's been called the
'AT.'. Not like, say, the North Cascades. The AT is too close to people,
lots of them; plus the Trail has been relocated lots. Didn't it swerve down
close to Danville, Va once? My white-haired father thinks he recalls the AT
being close to the Pinnacles of Dan.
As for R&R selling us on his opinion, I'd have to say what my Mom used to
tell me: "Sweetie, you can catch more flies with honey than you can
vinegar." He actually wants to come in here, throw a few punches and then
have us agree with him? C'mon. Get real. R&R wouldn't stand for the
treatment he seems bent on dishing out.
As for Wingfoot lamenting that no one gives him enough credit for all he's
'invested,' I'd have to say that's probably true. But then, no one put a
gun to his head and made him stake out his turf. He did that on his own
accord. He's the one who put himself at risk of "Wingfoot, party of one,
your much-sought adulation is ready."
As for quotas in the wild...well this one's real touchy. From what I can
see we're all -- all of us -- part of the problem. From SUV manufacturers
that show Jeeps climbing in places where they 'shouldn't' be, to companies
like Sierra Designs and Vasque improving gear so that we can go out in 'any
weather,' to travel writers (yep, me) who publish stories about how great it
is to go outside, to those of us who exclaim to our friends how much fun
we've had outside -- we're all contributing to the pressures on the
'wilderness.' So, who's gonna quit first?
I thought so.
So does that bring us back to quotas? Gee, I'm not sure. Imagine the
tax-paying family who shows up at, say, Yosemite, and isn't allowed in for
the day, the only day they had 'scheduled' to be there on their grand
dream-trip they've planned for years. Have that happen enough times
and --voila! -- you've just insulted your tax-paying base. Do that enough
times and -- voila -- there goes the support you once enjoyed. Samuel
Johnson, an 18th century writer, once said that the problem with 'leveling,'
is that every man wants the leveling to stop just below his level. Do we
really want to see the AT reserved *only* for thruhikers of a certain bent?
As for the ATC caving in or selling out, well, I don't know about that. I
do know that I don't envy them the fine line they have to walk, both
politically and socially. To be a hiker of any consequence, you have to be
an independent thinker, and this independence naturally causes us to be a
hard group to please. To navigate the water they navigate with regard to
politics can't be any easier. Would any of us want to ride herd over the
give-and-take the ATC does on the Trail's behalf? It's an imperfect world
inhabited by imperfect humans and compromise is the only real choice we
Whew! That diatribe has been building for a while....now, at least, I won't
explode. Now, back to the sidelines it is for me.
----- Original Message -----
From: "James Bullard" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 11:05 PM
Subject: [at-l] Surrender
> I surrender. No, I'm not convinced by R&R , just tired of a conversation
> that is going only one way. I've been in the human services field for 26+
> years and one of the things you are taught in this work is listening
> or in the case of written correspondence reading skills. In both cases it
> means that you make a concerted effort to hear and understand what the
> other person is really trying to say. It involves asking relevant
> questions to clarify your understanding. You can't carry on a meaningful
> discussion if you don't understand what the other guy is really saying.
> I've read thoroughly *all* of R&R's posts on traditionalism. I've also
> tried to be clear so he would understand me as well. I am forced to
> conclude that although I'm listening he isn't. He responds to segments of
> posts out of context and in a manner that clearly indicate that he did not
> have a clue what I was saying (or care?), he was merely looking for the
> next opportunity to drive home another point from his preformed
> ideology. In other words, he doesn't want discussion, he wants a pulpit
> from which to sermonize to the masses who dutifully listen and repent
> sins. I refuse to play his game further. It's a waste of my time. Time
> for the <DELETE> key.
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