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[at-l] Trail Angels, Inc. announcement

I am announcing an idea for 1998's AT hikers that might
lend itself to a great tradition if enough effort and
interest is projected upon it. Beginning in 1998, I will
be offering a system to thru-hikers and section hikers
where they can act in a co-operative manner to assist each
other with their hikes. I love hiking myself and wish I
could do it year round so I realized maybe others have the
desire to hike the AT (and other trails) as much as I.

The idea I am seeding here will need logistical advisement
and refininig, but basically I think the need and interest
will prevail and many hikers will like the ideas I plan to
implement. Here it goes:

For the 1998 thru-hikers and section hikers, I am planning
to create a network where each hiker who so desires to participate
can act as a big-brother type hiker to other hikers. Committment
and obligations will be on a flexible scale and I plan to get the
ball rolling by offering trail angel style assistance. In return, the
expectations I have of the hikers is fairness and a wish to improve
the experience of the AT for other hikers while getting a grand 
hike in  too. 

I will be making shuttle rides available on a word-of-mouth
and non-pretentitious fashion. Also, I plan to offer bicycles
for loan to hikers so they  can assist themselves in getting to 
town to resupply or just sight-see. I will hike on the trail and want 
other hikers to act as partners that will take a day off here and there 
to drive my vehicle maybe or just relax and unwind somewhere for the day 
while keeping an eye on my vehicle. Since the  vehicle runs
on fuel, I will ask time to time for a donation to pay for fuel.

What you might think is that I am putting you on or have an
agenda underneath. Neither is true. I want to hike the AT
and do the whole trail in 1998 and decided that if I just
reach out to the hiking community, some good-hearted souls
will take notice and realize the AT is a socially constituted
experience and very much thrives on sharing and mutual love of the

My experience with hiking on the AT spans 20 years. Only in the
past decade have I been able to thru-hike the whole trail and as such I 
discovered the wonderful feeling it invokes to hike it and
see the land it embraces. I would love to hike year after year
but do realize that that would not be possible right now.

I am open to suggestions, but if you want to participate in this
non-profit adventure, please reply back. I am looking at getting
together a network of hikers who will start from Springer at varying 
dates. I will be acting as a logistician and organizer initially
but hope that others will pick up responsibilities over time and
maybe turn this into a perpetuating thing.

What I am asking from those interested is information about when they
plan to leave Springer Mountain (for the southbounders, there is much
overlap with the northbounders in the summer but maybe this group
will need a different approach). Also, I need to know if you are 
interested in what pace you will plan to follow. All information
will be kept confidential. Everybody is invited to participate. A 
further note here also is that given the high attrition rate of
the thru-hiker crowd, this might be the thing that will get alot
of folks  past the edge of the bell-curve.  Hope to hear your
comments,  John.

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