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Electronics on the Trail- thoughts on Daniel's message



> The problem doesn't appear to be technology, but inviting the "other world" 
> onto the trail that is the root of the more extreme reaction phones and pagers 
> seem to elicit.
> 
> What do you think?
> 
> Daniel

Daniel, I think that you have, perhaps, hit at the crux of the matter for me.
'Inviting the "other world" onto the trail..' seems to be a major source of 
concern on my part.  I wonder why those who blatantly subject me to their
communications gear while on the trail feel that they must constantly be in
touch with the 'other world' at all times.  Or at least have the capability of
doing so at arm's length.  I go into the 'woods' to be alone and have a quiet
time to refelct on who I am, why I am and even IF I am.

Horace Kephart put it nicely for me in his book _CAMPING AND CAMPCRAFT_, where
he says, "I do not go to the woods to rough it.  I go to smooth it - I get it
rough enough in town.".

Daniel touched a couple of trigger spots with his thoughts on the possibility
of electronics intensifying the trail experience.  A couple of his thoughts
spoke of walkman-type devices and cameras.
                                          
Speaking of cameras... My guess is, that for many of us, taking a camera with us
on a trip of any sort is something of a hold over from the practice, stemming 
at least as far back as the Stone-Age, of bring home 'trophies' or reminders of
where we have been and proof that we were indeed at a particular place and
accomplished a particular feat while there.  I am not a hunter in the sense 
of stalking and killing animals. And I use this merely as a general example of 
the practice of bring home reminders.  Another example is the special rock or 
unusual piece of driftwood which I, my children, and grandchildren tend to 
pick up to take home to share with those who did not get to experience an 
excursion to the 'woods'.  I am, however, very much a hunter in the quest for 
special images.  Sometimes I bring my 'trophies' back in a mental image only.  
At other times, they are brought back on film in an attempt to share with 
others something of the special sense of place or beauty I have experienced
while afield.  Most of the time, the images in my mind are far superior to 
those on film.  There are rare exceptions. 
                                           
I have never been able to convey with words or photographs - still or video -
the intensity of the experience I had in being at a particular place at a
particular time, carrying with me all my cummulative life experiences which made
the experience what it was for me.  One of the most wonderful things about
having hiked the AT, part of the PCT, or having been anywhere, for that matter,
is the ability to revisit a place in an instant - with just a thought.  Isn't
that a marvelous gift we have?  I use it often.
                                               
Part of the 'trail experience' for me was the lesson of tolerance.  It is one
I still struggle with occasionally.. throughout the day?  I have observed and
noted part of your email message trailer wherein you include the words 

"    Linkwright  Data Poet  Systems Anarchist  Idiosyncrat
Interactivist    Herder of Cats    Zero Tolerance For Silence"
                                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
                                   |
                                   >  This is the part that intrigues me.  It
almost begs that I assume that you are one of those who walk jauntily down the
trail in your own special world of sounds piped directly into your auditory
response center via two thin wires plugged into your ears.  While I would never
think of wearing such a device for any extended period of time - in the woods
or out -, I cannot say that it is not a valid 'trail experience' for those who
do.  It is not for me to say whether that is good or bad.  I am, however, 
seeking some input to assist in my further understanding of why someone would 
forego the wonderful essence of nature, which sometimes includes a perceptible
silence, whether in your backyard, at the seashore, or in the'woods'.  Please,
someone enlighten me.  And I mean that in all sincerity.  And yes, I do enjoy
many, many varieties of music - man-made or otherwise.
                                                      
John Newman, aka Oliver Twist, GA->ME 83-89
                                           
  John O. Newman, Jr.          		|
  Senior Analyst Technical Specialist	|   Internet: newman@wcu.edu  
  Western Carolina University		|     
  B-10 Forsyth Building			|      Phone: (704) 227-7282       
  Cullowhee, NC  28723  (USA)		|  Facsimile: (704) 227-7700