[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: AT extentions: my .02c

> Sorry guys, I was gonna let this die a natural death, but it doesn't want
> to die.   Where's my wooden stake and silver bullets?

Funny Jim, I was happy to see this one slowly peter out as well.
Normally I agree whole-heartedly and get a lot of inspiration from
your posts, but I there are a number of points here that I disagree on
quite a bit, enough for me to post.

By the way, tomorrow's my last day at work (I start my thru-hike on
the 16th).  Maybe by the time I return from my thru-hike my opinions
will reflect yours a lot more.

Let me start with the fact that I have been living in Quebec for the
last 2 years (Quebec City), knew very little french when I arrive.  I
was also one of the people who translated (along with Allan) the
French AT extension proposal.

> So let's start with the northern extension which runs 400 miles thru Maine,
> New Brunswick and Quebec (see the article in the latest AT News) - and
> connects to the AT SOUTH of Katahdin at Abol Bridge.  Extending the AT
> this way would eliminate Katahdin entirely except as a side trail.  Sorry
> guys, but elimination of Katahdin is just not acceptable.

I agree here even though I've never seen Katahdin.  I've done enough
mountaineering to see the beauty and awe of solitary mountains, I do
not doubt that Katahdin will be as impressive as all say.
> The northern terminus would also move to Canada - not a happy prospect.
> Why?  Because there isn't anything in that part of Canada that compares to
> Katahdin.  The Big K is a marvelous place to end a long hike - Mt Jacques
> Cartier, IMHO, is not an equivalent mountain.

Have you ever been to the Chic-Chocs??  Just because they're not as
impressive as "The Big K" doens't make them any less good a place to
end a long hike.  They are beautiful mountains, beautiful ans
spectacular enough to finish a long hike.

> As an international trail, it would be administered by an
> international agency.  I won't chase this one, but I don't think
> many hikers would be happy with the results.  It involves a lot
> higher degree of government control and regulation.  (Would they put
> a border station on the AT? )

I don't know if I follow this.  Not too sure why it would have to be
administered by a federal agency.  I'm not certain how the AT is
managed in the US, but I assumed that it was mostly the ATC that
"administers" and the federal gov't just gives $$$.  Not too sure why
a similar arrangement can't be established here in Canada.  The Quebec
gov't tents to have a lot more money for this sort of thing than the
Canadian Federal Govt.

> For thruhikers, that also leaves you in Quebec at the end of your hike.
> Have you ever been to Quebec?  If you speak French, it's not bad - but if
> you don't....   I've been there.

Don't know where you've been, but I've been around all over the place
and had very few problems.  There are enough American tourists who
come here that have no problems at all - the Gaspee region daoes a
fair bit of commerce in tourism, they are no exception.  I really am
sad that you are spreading such a myth around...people are very
ignorant when it comes to Quebec.
> As best I can tell, the northern extension runs through 100 miles of empty
> space.  That's good in a way, cause it would be an extension of the 100 mile
> wilderness.  But resupply is, to say the least, a problem.  Abol Bridge is
> NOT a good resupply point - and there's no post office.
> Then there's the question of maintenance - who does it?  The MATC is
> already overworked.  This would add another 100+ miles of trail with
> difficult access for them to maintain.   How many of the people who want
> to extend the AT are gonna show up to contribute their sweat and blisters?
> How about the Canadian side - who does the maintenance there?
> And then there are questions about the shelters, resupply points, post
> offices, maps, guide books, etc.

Granted none of these will be solved overnight, but then the AT didn't
get to where it is overnight either.  Maintanance issues will be
solved clearly before any trail is actually constructed.  The resupply
problem in the Maine wilderness is a problem, but not insurmountable.
It's not as though we don't have guide-bookks, maps, etc here in
> There's also the addition of an extra 4-5 weeks of hiking time for a
> thruhiker.  This means an earlier start time in Georgia, which means
> more cold weather hiking, shorter days in both north and south and
> spring will come later during the hike.  And/or you end up hiking
> during hunting season.

So, I don't see your point.  People do the PCT and the CDT and I
assure you the weather they see can be quite a bit worse than what the
typical AT hiker sees.
> I haven't even touched on the physical and emotional toll of adding another
> 400+ miles to the AT.  And it's not insignificant.   Most thruhikers are
> worn pretty thin by the time they get past the Whites.  A surprising
> number quit in Gorham and even at Monson.  How many more would
> quit if another 400 miles were added?

Again, I say so??  I'm not too sure that I see why the trail should
not be extended just to appease the egos of people who see another 400
miles ahead of them.  Keep in mind that their mind-set will be
different at this point.  It's not as though that when they start they
have Katahdin in mind and then suddenly someone tells them that they
have another 400 miles to do.

> One more point - the Canadians expect this to be a boost to their
> economy.  I think they'd be more than disappointed because this is
> an unrealistic expectation.  Day hikers and section hikers may spend
> money - thruhikers are cheap.  Not thrifty - cheap.  If you don't
> believe me, ask the waitresses in any restaurant along the AT.

Be very careful how you read and interpret the French document on the
ATC WWW pages.  It's not known who they were written by, and I can
assure you that it does not reflect the opinion of most people around
here.  My room-mates (natives of the region Chaudiere-Appalache (south
and east Quebec through which the proposed trail would run) thought
the whole document was ridiculous very poorly written and couldn't see
why I was wasting my time with it.  It should be posted with a disclamer.

> Enuff - let's talk about the southern extension.  For this, we don't
> even have to consider the effects of rampant blatant nationalism.

As I just said, take the french document with a grain of salt (make
that lots of grains)...

> Here, we're talking about adding 250 miles into Alabama.  I kind of
> like the idea, but there are a more than a few negatives, and I have
> a LARGE objection to the idea that it won't "add that much pain and
> suffering " for a thruhiker.  Come back and tell me that AFTER
> you've walked the AT.

Can't comment - I'll make up my own mind after I'm done hiking.

> Next, I know better than to believe that the temperature in the
> mountains will be in the 70's and 80's for thruhiker season.
> Thatmay be a reasonable temperature range for Birmingham, but I've
> been in the southern mountains in early spring.  A lot of thruhikers
> get a large economy size shock at the fact that Spring doesn't show
> up at the higher altitudes until they're several hundred miles north
> of Springer.  I don't believe Alabama temperatures are all that
> different.

So?? The rules change a bit.  The weather is cooled for longer...you
bring along warmer clothes, better sleeping bag, etc for an extra
month or so.

> What about transportation to the trailhead?  I'm not sure Birmingham or
> the surrounding area are set up to handle the influx of thruhikers.
> Same kind of question about the shelters - are there any?  And who
> will do the maintenance on the Trail in Alabama?

See above comment on things not happening overnight.

> As long as I'm headed in this direction - the extra distance might
> also discourage some people from starting.  That's not all bad - the
> AT has developed an overuse problem.  Less thruhikers might be
> better for the trail.  It would also contribute to a higher dropout
> rate of those who do start because Walasi-Yi (Neels Gap) and Jeff
> Hansen would be 300+ miles into the trip - and a lot of people
> wouldn't make it that far on the Trail without his (or someone's)
> help.

Again, so?? I don't want the AT to be an eletist event, but I don't
want to see "less people will do it because it becomes too hard" as an
excuse either.  

> The biggest reservation, though, is the Trailhead itself.  Springer
> isn't exactly Katahdin, but it seems like a lot more appropriate way
> to start - or end - the AT than a trailhead at a highway crossing.

Why??  Because you started at Springer??  Historical reasons??
Emotional/sentimental reasons??
> One more thing -  as far as I know, the southern extension hasn't even been
> brought to the attention of the ATC.  Seems like if you're gonna hook into
> someone's trail you should have the courtesy to let them know about it.

Don't know enough of the politics going on to comment.
> OK - let's take a look at the overall picture.  First - the AT is established
> by law - not by custom or the trail clubs or the ATC or even geography as
> some seem to think.  If you want to change it, you'll have to go see your
> Congressman.   Given the present situation in Washington (and the
> fact that you're talking more money for land acquisition), this kind of
> change is not a high probability.  As I understand it, the present ATC
> plan is to treat the "International AT" as a side trail to the AT.

This is a detail.  Assuming it passes by Congress (by whatever miracle
you may imagine), does that warrant the extensions??  Congressional
law does not make the trail, it's peoples desires, experiences,
dreams, etc that make the trail.
> Second - adding 650 miles to the AT would add about 2 months to a thruhike.
> There are some people who start now in January and February, but most of
> us don't have a whole lot of interest in a 2000 mile winter hike.  And the
> starting time would have to move back to Jan or Feb in order to be able to
> finsh in Canada before the heavy snows start.   It would also put thruhikers
> (both north and south bound) on the Trail during hunting season.  What was
> that comment about not adding much pain and suffering for a thruhiker?
> I'm gonna repeat this - That's a whole lot more strain - physically,
> emotionally, financially and timewise.  For what purpose?

What's the purpose of hiking the AT in the first place.  I have
printed out your wonderful words about the pain suffering, strain,
etc. to take with me and read when things are not bright and sunny.

> Now I have to deal with this one -
> >Since the AT follows a physiographic feature, I believe the trail should
> > run the entire length from Gaspee' to Northern Alabama.
> The geographers I know can't even agree on where the Appalachians begin
> and end.  There are at least 3 different definitions and the Gaspe is not one
> of the most favored.  I'm not sure about Alabama - I haven't asked.

Funny, both the respective federal and provincial ministries here both
consider the region as the Appalacians.

> OK, one more comment -
> >The goal is not to hike the entire trail but to hike what you set out as
> >your goal. If that's Ga----->Maine (Great!), if it's Canada to Alabama
> >(Great!). I once tried to ride a bicycle across the US. Made it from NC
> >to Colorado....called it quits. You know, that was good enough for me....I
> >could live with it.
> I totally disagree - that may be your attitude, but it's not mine.  A lot of
> people will accept nothing less than the entire trail - even if it means
> hiking through snow, cold - and hunting season.

So, does this mean that, let's say I think Katahdin is too far, but I
want to hike the entire trail...should it be shortened??

The post you sent Jim, sounds a lot like how I was taught at
University, we did things the way the Professors did it when they were
in University.  It was the way they did it, and therefore it was the
best way.

>From your previous posts Jim, I know this is not your intent, but it
certainly reminded me a lot of my undergrad days.

One final note, I am not in favour of extending the trail, not am I
against it - in a sense I have no opinion onthe matter. I was just
very saddened to see such strong views and opinions of the idea and of
Quebec slung around.  A little more mis-information does not help the