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Re: [CDT-L] New Lister

Mike -
I'll make this short - but not necessarily sweet.

Now - specifics.
1. We don't need to "rationalize" what we've done - we don't have anything 
to prove to anyone - not even you.  Even if you've done what we've done you 
have no business assuming that that's what we're doing.  Nor would you, even 
then, have the right, responsibility, authority, experience or intellect to 
judge our "credibility".
2. Betsy asked for information about the CDT - Ginny gave her information.  
And expressed some opinions.  If you have reason to believe that the 
information is erroneous then say so - but be specific.  The intent of the 
information is for Betsy alone to judge - not you. We don't tell others how 
or where or when to hike.  But when (if) we answer their questions, we DO 
tell them what we know - straight up and on the rocks, no sugar coating, no 
glossing over anything.  If you can't handle that then that's your problem - 
not mine.  So deal with it.  As for the opinions - they're based on a 
thruhike as well as nearly 4 years of research. You're welcome to your 
opinion - you're NOT welcome to insult my wife or her credibility under any 
3. "Purists" come in 2 varieties.  Those who NEVER mention the word but live 
it and those who proselytize "purism" and  may or may not live it.  Many of 
the former are good friends of ours and have supported us through two 
thruhikes in the last two years.  Few of the latter can stand to be around 
me.  I recently ran across a quote in an entirely different context (not 
hiking) - "Purists seem to love nothing quite so much as their own concept 
of purity".  In my experience that applies very neatly to the latter 
4. If you want to talk about "purism" on the AT or PCT I'll be happy to 
discuss it with you, but I'd suggest that you take the discussion to at-l or 
pct-l.  Or maybe go back to atml. But you haven't done your homework with 
respect to the CDT.
5. Purism is nonsense when applied to a trail that isn't even designated, 
let alone built/on the ground yet.  In northern NM, for the first 350 miles, 
there were 25 (count'em -- 25) miles of marked trail.  Purism???  --- is BS.
6. Purism is irrelevant on a trail where being lost, misplaced or otherwise 
"off-trail" is a common, if not daily, occurrence.
7. Purism is absurd when misinformation, lack of information or outright 
ignorance are the normal modes of operation of those who are charged with 
building, maintaining or managing the trail.  As one small example, we tried 
for 3 years to get information about the trail through southern NM  to 
Antelope Wells. We were stonewalled by the Forest Service, BLM and the 
"volunteer trail builder".
8. Purism is DANGEROUS on a trail where exposure to rain, wind, lightning 
and snow storms at high altitude on exposed ridges is a more than common 
occurrence. Try coming across Poison Ridge when you're surrounded by thunder 
and lightning storms - or through the South San Juans with 40-50 mph 
crosswinds - or maybe through foot-deep snow in a blizzard at 12000 ft in 
northern Colorado. Purism can be utter stupidity in those situations.
9. Your point NEEDS to be "clouded with Malpais south of Grants" among many 
other things - because your point specifically ignores reality.
10. All that being said, I'll repeat myself for the ten thousandth time - on 
the AT, most (but NOT ALL) people will have a more satisfactory hike if they 
follow the white blazes (within reason).  But there are no white blazes on 
the CDT.  On the PCT, the guidebook specifies - and very often recommends - 
"alternate routes" and "most" people take one or more of those routes.  
Define purism.  On the CDT, the "official guidebook" for Colorado defines 
one and only one route. Some of that route has yet to be built, some of it 
is downright dangerous in bad weather, some of it is longer, with greater 
elevation gain, for greatly diminished rewards, some of it you'd get to 
share with mountain bikes, ATV's, jeeps and motorcycles - in other words 
some of it isn't worth doing.  Jim Wolf's guidebooks present alternate 
routes that are almost universally harder, much more scenic and eminently 

Enough - purity is at least theoretically acceptable on the AT, and possibly 
on the PCT.  But on the CDT it has no place except in the minds of those who 
haven't done it.  It's irrelevant.  Only 2 things  are relevant  - "What do 
YOU want to do?" and "Is that possible, given your capabilities and the 
circumstances at the time you're actually hiking?".  Betsy needs to answer 
the first question based on what ever information she can get before she 
starts hiking.  The second question will ONLY be answerable when she's 
actually on the trail.

Walk softly,

PS - It's NOT necessary to include the entire thread in your reply.

>From: "csrm" <csrm@pdrpip.com>
>To: "Ginny & Jim Owen" <spiritbear2k@hotmail.com>
>CC: <betsy.darlington@compaq.com>, <cdt-l@backcountry.net>
>Subject: Re: [CDT-L] New Lister
>Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 21:27:27 -0800
>It appears you have missed my point in your zeal to rationalize y'alls hike
>on the CDT.
>I (we) have not hiked the "official CDT" and I am as comfortable with that
>as you are, I assume.
>I am not comfortable with you or Ginny or anyone else doing anything to
>influence any other hikers outlook regarding purism.  This discomfort is
>especially acute when you admittedly have not experienced it on your CDT
>hike.  Therefore, your credibility regarding the merits of a pure CDT
>thruhike are limited.
>The issue for me is very simple.  My point need not be clouded with Malpais
>south of Grants or your opinion of New Mexico, etc.  My point is: I would
>hope you are not doing *anything* to negatively influence the possibility 
>Betsy considering a purist hike in regards to that which *is* officially
>marked on the CDT.
>If you agree that hikers should consider all sides of the purist issue
>before making a decision(s) regarding their hike, then we share the same
>view.  It is not for me to promote purism, or the notion that a hiker 
>not "worry about what is 'official' or not official."   It is also not for
>Ginny or you to discourage it.
>Conversely, I would encourage hikers to closely examine their potential
>satisfaction of doing a purist's hike from all sides of the issue and not 
>influenced narrowly by the thought that "Purism is a non-issue out there."
>After looking at all sides of the issue, hikers should treat themselves to
>whatever kind of hike they feel is their hike.
>If you are not a purist, that is your choice.  Other hikers should know
>simply that your type of hike is not the only type hike that is satisfying.
>It is not my intent to encourage purism as you seem to suggest.  On the
>other hand, it is my intent to discourage those who discourage it.
>I do not know Betsy and only hope the best for her time on the trail.
>Indeed, Walk Softly - Your Own Way.

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