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Thanks, Owen, for opening this door.
I'm Craig Smith, 47, been a backpacker since 18. If any of you are
subscribers to the backpack-l list, I recently posted a short bio there to
explain my motivations for backpacking there. Check the archives there if
you're interested in reading it. I'm not posting it here because it was two
_long_ posts, but I'll recap a little to let ya'll know who and what I am.
I grew up in the midwest, and for various reasons (personal) developed a
cynicism about life early on, but particularly about God, politics, and
people. I joined the USAF at age 18, to avoid going to Vietnam, when my
draft lottery indicated I was a likely choice. I also got seriously
addicted to alcohol and much heavier drugs while in the USAF, and battled
that particular piece of stupidity until around age 30. One of the things
that kept me from offing myself was my love of the outdoors and the
realization that while I was out backpacking, I didn't seem to need to
deaden my senses as much.
To make it short, I took the summer of 1979 to hitchhike and backpack my way
along the spine of the Rockies (and also to try and de-tox). About midway
through, in the Sangre de Cristos, I had a religious experience. I
continued to hitchhike and backpack that summer, and came back to Missouri
to finish my undergraduate degree that fall. In the next few years, I
discontinued my use of a variety of drugs, got "papered" (undergraduate and
two master's degrees), employed, married, and raised and kicked out of the
nest two stepsons. But I did little backpacking.
I backpacked again in 1988, then not again until 1991, but since then (my
40th year), I haven't stopped. A few other facts: I used to hunt but don't
any more, but don't hold it against anyone if they choose to. I do fish
occasionally when I go to the mountains. My backpacking experiences so far,
except one, have been many but short, usually two days to two weeks in
length. (I spent two cold months, mid-October to mid-December 1973, walking
around in the mountain ranges around Tucson AZ, avoiding people and trying
to be a hermit, eating a lot of rice and small creatures not usually
considered to be "food"). My wife and I adopted an 18-month old boy, mixed
race, a few years back and he is an avid camper and outdoorsperson now. I'm
a librarian by trade, and have been since 1980.
I'm no longer cynical about God, but I don't trust politicians of any party.
I consider most authority figures to be incompetent, even abusive, in the
use of their power, but believe that most people are good-hearted, and I
tend to "live and let live" unless someone threatens me or mine.
I have a dream to through-hike the PCT in sections sometime between now and
my last day on earth. If that's not "purist," then I guess I'm one of the
unclean. I mostly lurk on this list, as my long-distance experience is
quite small. I considered unsubscribing for a while because of all the
personal attacks that I read here, but I guess I'll stick with it for a
Peaceful hiking days to all,
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