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Re: AT extentions: my .02c

Jerry -

>A month or so back someone wrote asking the official length of the AT.
>Many people responded, some of which denoting the gradual lengthening of
>the trail over the years.  Was there an incredible tumolt when the trail
>was lengthened by X miles in year Y, or B miles in year Z?  Was the lack
>of complaint (if indeed, this was true) due to the fact that the relative
>additions were so minor, adding very few additional days to the overall hike?

You may be more right than you know - some of the increase in trail length
in recent years has been nothing more than the ATC finally catching up to the
real trail length.   The Trail was measured with a wheel in 1990 to be 2159.7
miles.  The ATC just this year finally admitted to 2159.2 miles - certainly
within the limits of error on a wheel.  In the intervening years there have
been a number of relocations, but not, I believe,  of a magnitude to lengthen
the Trail by 30 miles.  The difference is, I believe, that some clubs had never
actually measured the mileage of their sections.  Some of them had estimated
distance by walking the route, some by map measurement (which can be off
by as much as 15 - 20%), and some simply hadn't remeasured after adding
or deleting distance with relocations.  If you don't have a wheel, you do the
best you can. This is all hearsay or opinion - and not to be taken
too seriously.

One thing to remember is that the Trail is constantly changing because there
are constant relocations - for a lot of reasons.  This is also the ultimate
argument in the battle of the purists vs blueblazers.  Personal opinion is that
that's a ridiculous argument anyway - Hike your own hike and let me hike mine.

> However, I still
>hold to a trail running the full extended length of the physiographic
>unit...whatever/wherever that is.

You need to be careful here - according to some geographers the Appalachians
end near Kent, CT.   There are others who put the north end in the
And the south end is somewhere between north GA and Florida.

>I still hold and have heard/read no
>arguement to dissuade me that "you set your OWN goal" (Ga ---> Maine, the
>1966 version of the AT, the newly extended AT from Canada -----> Ala, the
>AT + connecting trails to Timbucktu, or simply the AT through GSMNP).

I'll agree that everyone sets their own goal - this is the basis for
section hiking
the Trail.   Personal opinion is that  by definition a "thruhiker's" goal
is end-to-end.

>Given the many considerations that Mr. Owen has presented perhaps it is
>impractical and unworkable to lengthen the trail.  Perhaps, then the
>goal of a thru-hike becomes relatively unobtainable.  I just don't think
>this is a good enough reason not to extend it.  Now, if we consider the
>expense, the politics, the inability to upkeep as the REALISTIC/PRACTICAL
>obstacles not to extend............that works for me.

OK - now we're down to where the boots meet the rocks.  First, please don't
call me Mr Owen.  If you keep that up, my body might figure out that it's
really as old as my drivers license says it is.  That would be a disaster!!

Now I know I didn't make myself as clear as I'd like.  Outside of my "problem"
with moving the northern end of the AT off of Katahdin - I have no problem
whatever with building other trails either into or from Canada - or with
anchoring some of those trails at Katahdin.  We all need to recognize, though,
that it's not a Pollyanna  "Oh, let's just do it over the weekend" type thing.
The problems are real - and therefore probably resolvable given the time,
energy and money.  But it does take those things - and then sometimes
it doesn't work anyway.  Sometimes the problems are unworkable, or the
project is impractical, but that's rare.    That's why people like me ask
questions - to try to determine which "projects" are unworkable or
impractical before the big bucks start flowing.

I also get real tight about people saying "Let's go do (whatever)" when they're
not the ones who have to do the work.   I keep in mind the old saying that
"Nothing's impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it" .

>Northern Canadian migratory raptors and occipitors, travel the length
>of the Appalachain chain during their migrations.  It's a natural airborne
>superhighway.......they illustrate/demonstrate the TRUE AT.  It is us humans
>that have drawn an arbitrary line in the sand and determined the ends to be
>Kathadin and Springer.
>The best point I have read...was the more trails the better
>(provided we can keep them up, pay for them, manage them, etc...).
>Call them connecting trails rather than an AT extention.  I could live
>with that......

Me, too.

>Sorry to have caused such a hubbub...although I suspect that it was a
>healthy calamity for all of us to engage within.

Please - don't apologize for controversy - it's good for all of us.  I had fun
and I learned a few more things - hope you did too.

Walk lightly,