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re: Electronics

re Daniel's questions
Actually, I think that both cameras and
walkmen also distract from the trail
experience, though I carry and use a
camera.  In carrying a camera, you look
at the world differently, asking, "is
this worth a picture?" and either
rejecting or not what you are seeing -
seeing it only in terms of artistic
quality.  There's a lot more to being
there than that. The essence of a place
can be missed by that kind of judgment.
 Often I have seen beautiful vistas
that don't photograph at all well. 
They have value. I'll take the picture,
knowing that it will have meaning only
to me, as a reminder.  One other
problem with cameras is that often you
only remember what you took pictures
of.  It is a crutch. It seems to me
that I neither see nor remember as
clearly as I could without a camera. 
Unfortunately, I do need it.  
As to the walkman - I have tried them a
few times.  I love the music, but the
talk and the advertising is a
discordant intrusion on my walk.  In
the city it is bad enough, but in that
reality, they don't fit.  I don't care
about sports, and the News is usually
not something I want to hear - I go to
the mountains to get away from that
reality.  (Of course, both my
thru-hikes were on election years - and
that was deliberate - I wanted to
escape that absurdity, so I did).  Even
weather reports are generally for
valley areas and have little validity
in the mountains.  Serious news
(Hurricanes for example) gets passed
along the grapevine in an amazingly
short time.  The radio is not needed,
and it is a distraction from the
reality of the trail world.  So, I
think that the walkman at least, by
splitting you between the two
realities, is as unnecesary and
distracting as the computer and
telephone are.  I love the trail
reality - the simplicity, the serenity,
the fact that it is life at its most
basic - why screw up a good thing?
Ginny "Spirit Walker" Owen