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Re: Phones and other gadgets

LIke calculators, people rely on technology to the extent that they cannot 
function without it.  People with money think that they can buy a gadget
such as GPS and replace the knowledge they do not have.  GPS would be great 
for someone who is well versed in navigaitonal skills.  Without a map, it is 
useless to know that you are at 44 deg 15' 23" north by 70 deg 44' 55" west 
if there is no map to compare it to.  

Even with a map, some basic skills are necessary.  A few months ago, my 
daughter and I ran into a couple coming north on the AT in NJ while we were
headed south.  One could tell from the brand new gear that this was a first 
for them.  (Judging from the extraneous stuff tied to their packs their
outfitter had fun with their mastercard).  He was complaining that the map
he had ( NYNJTC Hikers Regional Map) was wrong because the side trail to 
the shelter did not exist and the lake, seen from a particular overlook was
too far to the left to be the one depicted on the map.  When I got to the 
overlook, I took out my map (the same one) and using my compass, oriented it.
The lake was right where is should have been but the trail had gone through 
a change of direction too small to be shown on the map.  3/10 of a mile later
the side trail to the shelter was plainly marked right where is should have 
been.  Fortunately, this couple was on a well used section of the AT and had
2"x6" white blazes to follow.  Woe would they be if they were one a poorly
marked side trail.

I carry my cellular phone on the trail when weight is not a critical matter.
It remains turned off.  the problem is again when people think that technology
can replace common sense and knowledge.  

Go ahead and carry a GPS and a Cellular Phone but also carry map and compass
and the knowledge as to how (and when) to use this stuff

Happy trails