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at extensions

About the AT being extended southward into Alabama:  I've also heard talk of
extending the AT northward into Canada.  While I'm all in favor of having
more trails in this world, and certainly in favor of having more trails that
link up with the AT, I'm not sure if I like the idea of the AT itself being
longer.  If we add 250 miles down south and several hundred up north, then
thru hikes become more problematic--guaranteeing bad weather at some point
of the hike, making the whole enterprise more grueling and more likely to
appeal to those who hike for the conquest or accomplishment or bragging
rights.  It would become more of a marathon, with hikers even more concerned
about putting in the miles to get to the end before winter hits.  Too many
thru-hikers already take a mad dash approach to the miles.  I remember a
friend saying that some thru-hikers wouldn't go a quarter mile off the Trail
to see their grandmother get buried.  And certainly going beyond Katahdin up
north means ending with anticlimax--I'm not sure about down south.  What
would the highlights of the Trail in Alabama be? 

So my opinion--let's consider those extensions side trails, lengthy approach
trails.  Blue blaze 'em.  I think of the AT as a sacred place  with a
meaningful tradition, and I hesitate to mess with it.  Would you want to add
a wing to the cathedral at Chartres, or redecorate the Taj Mahal?