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[CDT-L] Cuba

<< But since I've got some time, I'll ramble a bit - and we 
 can run this stuff around for a while.   :-)

Thanks for the ramblings, Jim.  I appreciate the chance to discuss, and also 
understand better the shortage of "easy answers."
<< The official 
 trail specifically, deliberately, and by design by-passes some of the most 
 interesting wonders - like the Gila Cliff Dwellings, La Ventana and Mt. 
 Taylor....   We went to those places anyway.

As you know, the PCT does that, too.  So we hike the attractions that we 
don't want to miss.   
<< If you look at history, it really isn't surprising that the Indian 
 Reservations and Spanish Land Grants would not want even a right of way 
 across their land.  It isn't that far from a temporary easement to a 
 permanent easement to condemnation.  That's the progression that's been used 
 on the AT.

Sounds like the Tejon Ranch in the Tehachapi's.  I would prefer to walk the 
Crest rather than the LA aquaduct, but it's their land.  So be it.   
<< As for grazing, why "at worst"?  Thruhikers share nearly all of the CDT 
 cattle.  They were there first.  Thruhikers are the intruders.  After seeing 
 hundreds of cows run for their lives as we passed by, I can understand why 
 the ranchers would have problems with hikers crossing their lands.  And the 
 constant awareness of fire hazards that comes from living in a dry land year 
 after year is not something that those from more water rich areas 

Having sucked water out of hoofprints at thoroughly trashed springs in cattle 
country along the PCT, I have to disagree that cattle are somehow "entitled". 
 On private property, yes, I am the intruder and as a guest of the property 
owner, have no complaint.  However, government land (particularly National 
Forests) I consider to be my property.  Allowing cattle to tear it up is 
mismanagement as far as I am concerned.  They were not there first.

Fire hazard is certainly a legitimate concern.  Any business person minimizes 
risk, and that is a good argument for closing private land to 
trespassers/hikers who may be irresponsible.  It may also save them the 
trouble and expense of painting "cow" on the sides of their stock during 
hunting season.  

<<  Have you asked those Native Americans what they think of the idea?  The 
 "official" CDT route impinges on some of those Native American sites - and 
 they don't like it.  Often with good reason.  

I didn't express myself well on this.  My point was that the Native Americans 
might consider the trail as an opportunity to educate US further about THEIR 
history and culture.  If their choice is "no access", so be it.  Same with 
any private landowner.       
 << Three dozen 
 people (or less) spread over 2400 to 2800 miles (and many of them not even 
 in New Mexico at any time during their hike) don't exactly make a big impact 
 on the local economy.  

You're right about that!  Of course, some will return to explore the country 
further, get out of the California commute traffic, or retire.  And bring 
some money to spend.  But that won't please all the natives, either!  Reminds 
me of the boss who was visiting the branch office in Texas.  He was greeted," 
Welcome to Houston, sir!  When are you going to leave?"    

<< Fact is that the people of New Mexico do welcome hikers - far more than 
 be explained by the minor amounts of money that we spend.  

That is amazingly true on all the trails.  Hard to explain, but we are 
forever thankful.  Meeting and visiting with people along the way is 
certainly one of the best parts of our hiking experience.   

<< Benefit is a relative term.  I think you'd find that many of those people 
 define it differently than you do.

Yes, indeed.  Can't please everybody.  Maybe the CDT should just end on top 
of Mt. Taylor, like the AT does on Katahdin.  No need to drag on clear to 

Again, thanks for the insights.