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[pct-l] Introductions ---

Recently the pct-l list-admin was attacked from several different
directions  (although, in reality, from a single source) because he
"divulged private details about subscribers".  And it occurred to me
that one of the few problems with pct-l is that there are too few people
who know anything about each other.  Flame wars don't go very far on
lists where people know each other.  They may disagree, the discussion
may get fairly hot - but personal attacks are rare to non-existent if
the "opponents" are "humanized". My personal philosophy is that if
someone doesn't trust me to know anything about who they are, then I
have good reason to distrust their advice, opinions and motivation.  So
let's see if we can start something here that's been done in other
places, and in fact, on this list at one time.  Let's find out who's out
there - let's introduce ourselves.  And I'll go first ---

Ginny and I have been on pct-l since it's inception  and we've learned -
a lot about the PCT, some about hiking, some about the people on the
list.  It's been a good list for learning and until recently was the
only one that I considered a "thruhiking" list.  Because the 
"conversation" was specific to the PCT and we're not ready to do that
yet, I haven't had much to say except when someone's pissed me off.  So
there are some on this list who think I'm a nasty, arrogant, cynical,
paranoid SOB.  Maybe they're right. Or maybe it's just that I don't
tolerate nonsense or stupidity very well. And maybe it's time I tell you
a little bit about who I think I am - 

So - who am I? The answer to that question could get complicated - I
still tend to think of myself in terms of who I was 10 - 15 years ago
and I'm not that person anymore. The AT and associated events have
changed that forever. So I'll tell you what I know about myself - and we
can all discover the rest as we go along here.

History is that I was a Boy Scout, a Marine, married; raised 3 kids, a
couple dogs and a gaggle of cats; worked for a lot of years designing,
building and operating spacecraft and ground data systems; spent a fair
amount of time in various martial arts dojos, a lot of time in
fundamentalist churches, and even more time running a part-time
wholesale business. I had the house, cars, etc.  Now my ex has those and
we're both happier for it. As Zorba said it (for those who remember) - I
had "the whole disaster". 

I started hiking as a teenager in PA and stopped when I was in college
(the excuse was "lack of time"). I started hiking again after my wife
left, thruhiked the AT in 92, and started working with the Keystone
Trails Association (KTA) Trailcare crews in 94. Some of you have been on
at-l or other places and have seen my views on change and the personal
growth that I experienced on the AT so I won't belabor those here.

Today I'm Bald Eagle, 59 physical years and somewhere between 8 and 11
mental years old - an overage, somewhat overweight, not quite
over-the-hill, sometimes emotional, mostly friendly and playful, always
insane dinosaur with an addiction to long distance hiking and the
backcountry and a lot less of the biases and prejudices that I had
before I thruhiked the AT. For better or worse, I still have a
cold-blooded, utterly savage, absolutely Neanderthal protective instinct
toward those I care for.
Ginny (Spiritwalker, AT-88&92) and I were married on May 26, 1996 and
live in Silver Spring, MD. We met two days north of Pearisburg on the AT
in 92 and we've logged over 5000 miles together since then. We've hiked
a lot of eastern trails and put some miles down in Colorado, Arizona and
Montana. We average about 700 trail miles per year. That's not a lot,
but it's respectable considering that we only get 2 weeks vacation and
the rest of our hiking (and trail maintaining) is done on weekends. 

We've spent the last 3+ years on at-l teaching what we know about
thruhiking to those who are willing to learn and supporting AT
thruhikers any way we can.  Right now we're trying to clean up our lives
so we can thruhike the CDT in 99.  After that, we'll be back on pct-l
with some questions about the PCT.  

Oh, yeah - I still work as an engineer to finance the hiking - but
that's just what I do, not what I am. 

So --- would anyone else care to tell us who you are?  Or is the
"my-life-is-a-secret-and-don't-you-dare-tell-anything-about-me" crowd in
the majority here?  I haven't run into a lot of that on the lists
before, but maybe things have changed.  But I thought  better of the
pct-l membership than that.  

Walk softly,
Jim Owen
Bald Eagle, AT-92, CDT-99, PCT-??

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