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[at-l] Elitism, Wilderness & Through*Hikers
RoksnRoots, thanks for the articulated response to OB's post.
I have to agree with most you said in regard to MacKaye's and Avery's visions
and liked the analogy of major league ball players vs. thru-hikers, although
I don't think you worded that one quite correctly. I can also agree with
some of OB's thoughts.
Perhaps (most likely) I've been a troll in "traditionalist" thread concerning
the AT. Even though I made light of AT traditions (stones, ice cream and
moons), I don't think the trail and it's traditions lightly. How could I?
I've walked it once and went back for another 600 miles, without ever leaving
a butt on the trail!
I think the main problem here is that you' appear to be preaching to the
choir. It's not likely anyone here on the at-l is going to shame the AT or
desecrate it. People here are well versed in trail behaviour and I would
think courteous to others, to a fault. Even if some here do carry cellphones
or pocketmail devices, they're not likely to intrude on another's hike.
Again, thanks for the post. I'm with you on most of it. (not that you need
my blessing : )
PS. Please do me a personal favor don't bring up Leki usage until next year,
you either Weary!
> OB wrote:
> << << By no definition can one suggest that through*hiking (registered
> > trademark?) is even a substantial minority of the trail's use.
> > Please
> > go back and read some history on McKaye's work and Avery's work. The
> > trail is still serving the main groups that were targeted - casual
> > hikers out for a break from civilization. It isn't wilderness. It
> > isn't
> > an alpine or Arctic expedition. It is a challenging groomed trail
> > within
> > a few hours drive of 75% of the country than even little old ladies
> > and
> > some disabled folks can use.
> *** I replied:
> Not true. If viewed only by percentage this would appear
> > accurate,
> > but it is a deliberately skewed statistic. It is like saying major
> > league
> > players are a vast minority of all ball players. True, but they don't
> > put the
> > others on the air or have a World Series for them. Please don't reply
> > with
> > that elitism response, that isn't the way I meant it.
> > Your reference to MacKaye & Avery is very important to my
> > attempt at
> > explaining traditionalism or AT theme etc. OB, I really wish I could
> > make a
> > shot on AT*L at simply explaining my opinion on a very fragile
> > concept of AT
> > existence as I interpret it without being a large target being
> > dragged over a
> > field of flame shooters.
> > What you say is true, but through*hiking (or long distance
> > hiking) has
> > come to replace the long term enclave residencies intended by
> > MacKaye. These
> > people are exposed the longest to AT wilderness and have become the
> > replacements for those persons who would have occupied the
> > self*sufficent
> > communities. That MacKaye's original concept was compromised from the
> > start
> > all the way to now is not unknown. I feel that those who force the
> > scenario
> > back down to majority of non*ideological corridor users are ones who
> > are
> > doing their best to avoid living up to a higher Trail purpose.
> > Even worse, it is my reading in between the lines that leads me
> > to
> > believe that wise MacKaye really wanted to preserve large tracts of
> > land for
> > the sake of greenways. He needed to have a reason to put people in
> > there
> > because back then just preserving land for wilderness sake in the
> > East would
> > be laughed down or quickly dismissed. He knew that modern man,
> > according to
> > his own understanding and what he would buy or reject in philosophy
> > or
> > politics, would never consent to leaving large mountain tracts
> > unresourced
> > for one purpose or the other. So, the mountain retreat needed to fill
> > a need
> > or serve a social purpose. From reading MacKaye, it is clear the vast
> > undisturbed tracts were the real prize, and seeing how rare they are
> > today,
> > and the problems we face with world environment, it is clear he was a
> > visionary. That this key imperative is just another post for deletion
> > amongst
> > the Trail interested is a tragedy. It even was for MacKaye back then
> > too.
> > That is my purpose in these posts is to try and impress the critical
> > higher
> > purpose the Trail represents today in relation to this history or
> > tradition.
> > I feel too many don't even realize or care what the Trail stands for
> > in this
> > regard. If not the Trail, then what? When you reduce the Trail's
> > definition
> > to majority usership you discard all this precious background and
> > reduce the
> > Trail to a national campground. From its birth it's more than that and
> deserves to be respected for it.
> > OB: The millions who use our trail each year may admire
> > but
> > most share Avery's disbelief and his certainty that such folks are
> > pretty much "out there." This is raw elitism to claim that
> > through*hiking is the central use of our trail, that standards are
> > to
> > be maintained, and that some website out of Hot Springs possesses
> > credibility over these issues. This isn't promoting true or false
> > propaganda (propaganda only became a dirty word in the past 60
> > years).
> > Your elitism is only patently absurd.
> > *** Once again, through*hiking is happening out there believe it or
> > not.
> > Strictly denying its importance for the sake of other
> > users only
> > detracts from a greater involvement and higher experience in AT
> > existence.
> > Shelters are spaced at through*hiking intervals, services have
> > cropped up
> > catering to long distance use, etc etc. To reduce this phenomenon to
> > a
> > definition of elitism is to ignore a wonderful sub*culture of AT
> > wilderness
> > inhabitants immersed in the furthest definition of AT existence. This
> > need
> > not exclude other types of users, but don't use this as an excuse to
> > not try
> > and establish some sort of desirable wilderness ethic amongst those
> > furthest
> > involved. It is obvious that through*hiking has evolved from Avery's
> > day and
> > it is not as weird now to hike for 5 months as it was then. With this
> > in mind
> > I assert that there are certain immutable standards determinable by
> > almost
> > anyone who can pick up the torch of wilderness attempted by MacKaye.
> > This is
> > not in relation to Hot Springs, but to what the Trail was intended to
> > be
> > mostly by its formulator MacKaye. You can refer to Avery's cynicism,
> > but
> > remember he would not have been out there if not for MacKaye.
> > "Most" also believe in the slow attrition of wild lands and
> > development
> > into the hills. To quote the general public in regard to the AT is to
> > take
> > the side of those who the Trail was designed to counter. The Trail is
> > there
> > only to keep the common understanding of the status quo from building
> > up over
> > EVERYTHING according to their understanding. You can see the views of
> > those
> > who think through*hikers are "out there" in the anti*Trail comments
> > from
> > ignorant citizens in the Saddleback commentary. This is why I post.
> > Elitism?
> > OB: I do not understand your motives in attempting to paint HYOH as a
> > licensuous barbarian rabble pillaging and plundering countryside and
> > village. There are far many more correct ways than the One True Way,
> > whether dictated from Hot Springs, Harper's Ferry, Washington,
> > Atlanta
> > or some other little place. Western Civilization will not end based
> > on
> > the latest tantrum of an AT drama queen. You might enjoy the trail
> > more
> > if you consider the smashmellow in your hand, and chew on it for a
> > while.
> > *** Simply because HYOH, when used to go no further into AT
> > involvement,
> > is a replacement of higher wilderness responsibility and a false
> > ideal. The
> > "one true way" comes not from Hot Springs, but from the AT itself
> > where
> > nature determines what is fit for her. Trail behavior should always
> > conform
> > to a pre*existing respect for that in regard to the larger project.
> > Just as
> > well, a campfire should not be used as the one true AT ideal and
> > equally
> > should not be used to stifle persons trying to impress a higher AT
> > ideal. A
> > campfire is pretty harmless, but when it is used as the ultimate
> > Trail symbol
> > it can serve to prevent greater Trail achievements from happening by
> > making
> > everyone stay put. The original project had some very
> > valid
> > goals that are even more applicable today. It should be sustained and
> > carried
> > on with equal ambition.
> > I hate to see these posts ridiculed because I feel they are
> > critical to
> > the Trail and should be in the minds of those on her. This is even
> > more
> > important as the numbers attracted to the Trail start to change its
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