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[CDT-L] Purism vs. non-purism

I can't help but enter into the fray.  I would argue that there are more than
the purist and non-purist positions.  This is a logical straw-person that hides
the fact that everyone hikes their own hike, that regardless of my opinion, you
will have yours, and that no matter how much I try, I cannot form or influence
your opinion.  How you take what I, or anyone says, is solely up to you.  Hence,
everything said on this list can be viewed as an offering, a gift.  Each of us
receives these gifts in our own way.

I was up at 13,000' this summer on the CDT, walking south with my hiking buddy
from cairn to cairn, or post to post, and then on a dirt road.  We were about a
half mile from the drop down into Carson and the hike up an absolutely gorgeous
glacially carved valley the name of which escapes me.

We were hiking along, marvelling at being at 13,000' when out of the distance on
one of the innumerable dirt roads, came a spanking clean white Jeep Grand
Cherokee.  As it got closer we could see it had florida plates.  We stepped off
the road as it passed, and both the husband and wife were wearing white polo
shirts and beige shorts.  He ignored us and the wife waved sheepishly at us.

I'd started in the Cochetopa Hills on jeep roads, and had gotten used to "hiking
with cars."  I started the hike fairly out of shape, intending to work myself
into shape for a week before meeting my friend who was in training for the
Philadelphia marathon near thanksgiving.  I'd step off the road and watch the
jeep/SUV/pickup/pickup and camper drive by and smile.  I was usually hot, red
and breathing deeply.  I was glad to get halfway up Cochetopa Creek, with its
innumerable beaver dams, and increasing alpine beauty, beyond any roads.  No
more smirks or commiserating smiles.  Just what I'd come for.

My friend and I worked through the fact we were "hiking with cars" at 13,000'.
It was just too small an issue in the face of the incredible country we were
walking through.  While I blew out an ankle on the eighth day of what was to be
a 25 day trip, I continue to carry with me this feeling of walking through an
immense world, a feeling that reinforced what I took from many section hikes on
the PCT.  A part of me, an important part, lives in "the trip."  When I hit the
Great Basin section of the CDT this spring, I will be continuing a part of my
life that is always here, but not always active.

Jeffrey Olson
Laramie, Wyoming, where it's 22 degrees, the high for the month of November...

Message from the Continental Divide Trail Mailing List

To:            "Darlington, Betsy" <betsy.darlington@compaq.com>, <cdt-l@backcountry.net>