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Re: [pct-l] bad habits

I would think twice about categorizing hikers as a bunch of ignorant bums
crapping where we want.  You have the opportunity to educate in a positive
manner as well and have a better chance to illustrate your point and

"Since most hikers refuse to carry a 3 ounce trowell"

"I am pretty frustrated that long distance hikers, those who are supposed
to be the cream of the crop, can treat the trail with disrespect."

Happy hiking!

Bald Eagle
São Pedro, Brasil
GA -> ME '95
Triangle Tour '99

I am pretty
> frustrated that long distance hikers, those who are supposed to be the
> of the crop, can treat the trail with disrespect.  
> From: daniel rufner <drufner@ucsd.edu>
> To: pct-l@saffron.hack.net
> Subject: [pct-l] bad habits
> Date: Segunda-feira, 16 Fevereiro, 1998 2:23 PM
> The follwoing posts have made it to the list and again I am pretty
> frustrated that long distance hikers, those who are supposed to be the
> of the crop, can treat the trail with disrespect.  I have yet to see an
> article in the Communicator or as a seminar at any gatherings, so maybe
> people don't think its a big deal, but my wife and I, along with a number
> other hikers, were disgusted at the practices of disposal of human waste
> products we encountered on the trail in '96.  Please educate yourselves
> the number of people to continue to enjoy the PCT increases so will the
> amount of crap lying around.  My thoughts follow the paragraphs.
> ">Maybe we need to change the way we dispose of our tp?  Maybe a mention
> >in the guidebooks about fire danger?  Maybe I'm trying to save the trail
> >from people the guides don't reach?
> >
> It ishard to know what to recommend. For a  hike or overnight, sure, you
> can carry out your TP, but in most places that aren't hypercrowded, the
> notion still strikes me as ridiculous-- TP biodegrades very rapidly if
> get it wet, and although it is visual pollution, the turd is the real
> potential health hazard. On big walls, poop tubes make great sense. But
> a multi-week go-light... I don't think so...
> i think there are 2 kinds of wilderness users: the 98% who camp, shit and
> wash away from lakes, streams and trails, and the 2% who treat the
> wildeness like they treat their homes, towns and highways.
> The latter don't read, don't know, don't obey laws and don't care."
> A)  It is NOT hard to know what to recommend.  Nothing we take into the
> woods should be left there.  This leaves only two viable options and many
> that are bad.  
>         First, TP degrades rapidly in your lifetime, but will be there
> year for you. Even if it did degrade, the trail we encounter a number of
> animals there to dig it up.  And, more than once, we came to a nice camp
> only to find wadded  TP jammed under a rock.  Nice technique. Sure, some
> what you bury will never see light again, but some will and for the one
> person that finds it you spoiled a bit of their trail expereince.
>         Second, burning is irresponsible. I think the examples of the
> fires started attest to that.  Again, we don't need to add our pollutants
> the air; we escape to the wild to get away from that.
>         Third, packing it out.  I didn't know the weight of packing out a
> few sheets of TP would be ridiculous.  You carried it in, right?  A
> bag, or even two if you are paranoid, kept on the outside of your pack if
> you are paranoid still, is fine to pack it out.  Not putting in this
> effort shows how little you care.
>         Fourth, don't use it.  Funny how everyone is so stoked on
> book but seems to miss this chapter.  In '96 I'd say about 5% of hikers
> this.  Try it!  Most professional organizations (NOLS, Outward Bound)
> practice this on at least some of their trips.  Through 2 summers in
> Columbia and a thru hike in '96 neither my wife (yes, women can do it to)
> nor I ever used a sheet of TP on the trail.  Much of the natural stuff
> there is better.  This is the only way to truly keep the trail intact. 
> you think it is rough, let me know and we'll be happy to provide
> suggestions.  Also, if you have met us you know that we are not burly,
> rugged mountainpeople who go to extremes, we just know it works.
> B)I agree with the statement that most don't care and crap in streams,
> many long distance hikers think they are doing right but do not.  Again,
> found human waste everywhere.  One funny story was while we were stealth
> camped hikers getting up early to hike the desert in the dark actually
> crapped right next to our tent without even knowing!  Again, a couple of
> options.
>         First, pack it out. This is the best method and on all kayak
> and canoe trips I implore this, but have yet to backpacking.  I salute
> anyone who does!
>         Second, burying it.  Most know this, but most don't do it right.
> Sticking it under a rock does not take care of it.  For it to decompose
> have no animals dig it up, it should be 6-8 inches down.  Since most
> refuse to carry a 3 ounce trowell, the attempt to get this by using a
> toe.  Sorry, that doesn't work.  Some use ice axes, but I never plan on
> carrying an axe the whole way.  We got lots of funny looks for our orange
> trowell, but at least we feel confident our crap is now fertilizer and
> trail decorations.
>         Third, the smear technique.  When soil is too hard or only snow
> around this is a great method.  It needs practice and lots of thinking,
> the concept is to crap on a large, sunfacing, smoothe rock then, with
> anohter rock, smoothe it as flat as possible.  Very quickly sun will bake
> it, causing all living bad things to die, then wind and water erosion
> scatter the tiny flakes away.  Perfect.  Though you obviously need to do
> away from the trail, on sunny days, and use caution when "painting", but
> again, give it a shot.
> I hope others use this opportunity to get away from gear talk and post
> that will educate others about acting responsibly in caring for the
> environment of this pristine trail.
> Dan and Sara Rufner
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