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Re: Electronics on the AT
a suggested woods netiquette type of thing.
Wouldn't that be "woodsiquette"? or "trailiquette"?
I started a flame fest by accident last year on this very topic. I would also
start out by saying that I learned a great deal from your guide and planner
and have enjoyed all of my hiking more from the lessons learned from them.
While a thru hike still remains a dream for me, my section hikes have never
been more fun. Also my thanks to Jim Owen who has taught me a great deal, and
not just about hiking.
I will reiterate for those who weren't present or don't recall, I hike to
remove myself from the electronic and computer oriented world I live in, even
though I am cognizant of the level of technology that brings greater comfort
to my stays in the woods.
With that said, I find the arguments regarding technology have become
artificial. Electronic equipment is no more or less intrusive than any other,
even if it is early in the evolution of products that are reasonable to bring
into the woods. A six pound phone and twenty pound computer both of which
would last half an hour of use are fairly worthless and so were never brought
into the woods. Technology has made it possible for me to leave my 4.6 ounce
telephone running for 30 hours. Certainly long enough to use in the woods for
Is a phone ringing late at night and waking up a shelter full of people worse
than a noisy hiker banging together a late night meal? Some will argue that it
is, since technology is counter to the spirit which many of us seek in the
woods, and much of hiker technology masqurades as simple items. Others will
argue regarding the high level of technology that many of us already bring
into the woods and feel it is a natural extension, one that grants greater
freedom for people more encumbered with responsibility.
I see it as inevitable. These things (computers, phones, pagers, GPS) will
continue to miniturized and thus more easily brought into the woods. Possibly
if someone really wanted to get inside the woods mode they could set up more
natural sounding alerts. Phone ringing that sounds like bird calls, pages that
sound like the chittering of a squirrel... whatever is appropriate.
I think the issue is simply one of sensitivity to the needs of others. Someone
desiring a pure wilderness experience isn't going to find it, or much of it
hiking the AT and similar trails. They are a woodland interstate system and
enjoyed by too many to remain pristine.
The same sensitivity required on the part of those who desire a more removed,
wilderness experience is required of those who desire or are required to bring
technology with them lest they don't get out at all, or even "just because".
Numerous stories of parents, children, and other responsibilities have
surfaced providing many with the reason they need to bring technology along,
as the enabler that it can be at it's best. It is their responsibility to
limit the possible intrusion into someone else's experience.
Personally, I find smokers more intrusive since they feel put upon by society
these days and are more agressive and arrogant with regard to their "right" to
Dog owners suffer at the hands who bring untrained dogs without knowing
and so to technology carriers. A few insensitive people make it difficult for
people to tolerate intrusions of any sort.
Every hiking style can and should be welcome so long as an honest effort is
made to ensure that others can hike their hike. The problems occur when no
compromise is attempted, or as is too often the case, people lack the training
to begin to understand the issues.
PS In the I'll put my money where my mouth is category, if someone has a trail
ettiquette doc, I'll happily provide web space on my server. (and do whatever
conversion is necessary, blah, blah...)
Daniel Berlinger Circumstance Technology
http://www.circumtech.com/ Virtuality Designer
Linkwright Data Poet Systems Anarchist Idiosyncrat
Interactivist Herder of Cats Zero Tolerance For Silence