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Re: Trail pecking order?

On Fri, 5 Apr 1996, Peter H. Fornof wrote:

> >      It should be noted that although there should be no determined
> >requirements, I would hope that a weekender with a tent might give up there
> >spot in a shelter to a weary thru-hiker.  I certainly would never ask nor
> >expect it, and come to think of it, it probably wouldn't even occur to
> >someone to offer.  Oh well, just a thought.
> >
> >Horus, GA>ME96
> >
> Horus,
> I can see your point of view, but I'm going to run into this situation next 
> week in the Smokies. I made shelter reservations 30 days in advance for 3 
> shelters in the Smokies. Now I know there will be hordes of thru-hikers 
> there. I'm hiking with several people (3) from the Tag Team (BP/AOL). Should 
> we sleep on the trashy floors, or outside with the possibility of getting 
> fined by rangers and give up our spaces to the thru hikers? We will be out 
> for 4 days, so this is a little better than just for a weekend, but the only 
> difference between me and you is that you are lucky enough to have the time 
> to do a thru hike. 
> I have given my shelter space to thru hikers in the past, when I was out for 
> a weekend. However, my plan this time is to sleep in the shelter and let a 
> thru hiker use my tent. I really don't want to get fined. I don't think the 
> rangers will fine thru hikers. 
> By the way, a friend reports that they had 19 people in Silers Bald Shelter 
> in the Smokies last week (sleeps 12) and that the floors were covered with 
> trash from weekenders. Also, some 25 bags of trash were outside the shelter. 
> Sounds like I'm going to the Staten Island landfill instead of the 
> wilderness. Oh well, hope your thru hike goes well and that those 
> "weekenders" give up their spaces willingly.
> Pete
> Broknspoke@aol.com
> ATHIKER@plantnet.com 
Another thought on this topic:  As a past thru-hiker (1991) I think it is 
totally unreasonable to  think other hikers 'should' give up their 
shelter space for a thru-hiker.  Thru hikers ARE priviledged to have the  
time and money and  freedom in their lives to do THE trail!!  Not only 
that, but there are so many people a thru-hiker meets who are so willing 
to go out of their way to be helpful and kind (that old Trail magic!), 
and we don't need all the good stuff!!  

A personal example may illustate this.  Two summers after my thru-hike, I 
worked for the AMC in the White  Mountains, and saw how a few thru-hiker 
with a bad attitude who expected to be treated better than the other 
hikers in the Whites really gave ALL thru-hikers a bad name most of the 
folks working in the backcountry of the Whites!  I found this to be 
really regretable, as most of the backcountry folks and the thru-hikers 
are great people, with a lot in common.  Yet there is a great deal of 
tension and name-calling on both sides.
 . . .something to think about.

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