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Re: [CDT-L] List numbers

Ryan - 
Nice to hear from you.  I have a few comments --- (keep in mind that
there are places where people run for cover when I say that).   :-))

On Mon, 28 Feb 2000 14:04:30 -0700 "Jordan, Ryan"
<ryan_j@erc.montana.edu> writes:
> I must admit, I was considering leaving the list, and am still having
> thoughts and am undecided.

I won't even suggest what you should do - but if your opinions are
contrary to those you've heard on the list so far - then maybe the list
needs you - probably more than you need the list.  

> My frustrations with this list recently stem from the discussion of 
> two issues: politics and pack animals.
> Regarding politics, while I am an avid backpacker and enjoy the
outdoors, it
> is not my religion and I don't cast my political votes based solely on
> candidate's views towards environmental issues. 

Nor do I.  Nor will I expand on what criteria I do use for voting.  But I
will do what I can to advance the 'cause' of the 'trail' - because I'd
like it to be there when I'm ready to walk it again - and when my
grandchildren are ready for it.  And that includes talking 'trail
politics' if the subject is appropriate.  But I don't do that lightly -
or unnecessarily.  

> Regarding pack animals, they have been on the trails as long as
> and have every right to share in the heritage of the CDT. 

Reality is that they've been there longer, that backpackers are the
'interlopers'.  My words from the trail last year --- "there would be no
trails without the horses - they keep many of the trails open in places
that don't get enough hiker traffic to do so.  But they also do a
tremendous amount of damage."  Details on request.  

To quote a conversation that we overheard in Dubois, WY - "There are good
packers and bad packers - some of them just don't give a damn".  It was a
packer that said that.  
I'll add that there are "good backpackers - and bad backpackers" as well.

> My interest in the CDT is in the trail itself-the variety of routes
that can
> be followed, the places to see along the way, techniques and equipment
> enjoying the backcountry experience on the CDT, and hearing about 
> the trail experiences of others. 

And that's partly what this list should be doing.  It may yet do that. 
But don't expect it to happen without some 'growing pains' - including
some 'political' discussions and probably more than one flame war.  To
expect the list to be entirely "civilized" and "civil" is utter
foolishness and ignores the very nature of this medium and of human
nature.  But that's another discussion.  Call it "list dynamics".  Maybe
sometime we'll talk about that.  More likely we'll experience it.  

> The CDT is wild and has the opportunity 
> not found in the PCT or AT to explore hundreds, if not thousands, of 
> different route variations. If some of those variations go over logging
> skirt private property, travel through a hunting camp, or avoid those 
> ridiculous trail markers that say "I'm a highway", fine. I say let's
keep it 
> that way and start exploring, rather than trying to define and confine
> You want to do the CDT? Then start somewhere in Montana and end 
> somewhere in Mexico. Pick your own way down and call it good. 

I'll agree with everything you say there - that's pretty much what we did
last year.    Unfortunately, you preceded it with - 

> My interest for this list is NOT in the subject area
> of politics, trail "preservation", trail "designation", or who has 
> rights to use and not use "the trail". 

The problem is that if you don't talk about those things, then the
"wildness" and the "hundreds, if not thousands, of different route
variations" are gonna disappear in the ongoing effort to homogenize the
CDT.   One example - take a look at the "Official Trail Guide" for
Colorado.  How many "route variations" are there?  If you find any, I'd
like to know about it.  Do you think the"Official" guides for the other
states will be any better?  If those become the "standard" for the CDT,
then there will be NO alternate routes - only the "Official" route.  That
may keep some people happy, but it'll also destroy the very character of
the CDT.  

Yeah - I know - you can pick your own route regardless of what the
"guidebook' says.  But how many hikers actually do that -  and that's
another discussion all by its lonesome.  

> You want to through hike a National
> Scenic "Trail" and make sure you take the right route so you can get  a
> patch? Then go to the PCT or AT.

> PS: I mean no disrespect for either the PCT or AT or the thru-hikers
> travel it. I spent many hundreds of miles on the PCT in the fellowship
> great people and have enjoyed it too. I'm sure the AT would provide 
> an unforgettable experience for me as well.

Unforgettable, maybe - but certainly different.  And I'd like to keep it
But ignoring reality - and trail politics - is a good way to lose that

Walk soflty,
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Message from the Continental Divide Trail Mailing List

To:            "Jordan, Ryan" <ryan_j@erc.montana.edu>
Cc:            cdt-l@backcountry.net