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RE: Just an observation...but

More thoughts from the Coyote ...

This list continues to amaze me.  For the past 2-3 weeks, most of what I read on this list was flame 
wars and the eulogies for the late BJ.  I could hear the single violin playing in my head and I got 
tired and was ready to unsu*bscribe from this list.  But instead, I put
out a message, which was 
meant to be humorous, and yes, a bit sarcastic, because I was reacting to a message about someone's 
observation about the lack of minorities in the backcountry.  I did not know what reaction it would 
generate, but in summary, the reactions were:

1) Someone was offended by what they thought I implied about a culture.
2) Another suggested that some minorities did not want to return to what they were working to get 
away from.
3) Another suggested I was reacting to "being put down or pitied" and went on to theorize that 
urbanites could enjoy the outdoors more since it offerred a change; whereas people from an agrarian 
society would not enjoy it as much since they already spent most of their life outdoors.
4) "So is the border safe or what" ...

I had planned to just keep quiet and disappear like the Coyote.  But this topic struck a nerve by 
the way it was presented and so I have to speak.  I dont know where this discussion will lead to, or  
if serves any useful purpose at all -- we'll see.

It seems to me that most, and certainly there are exceptions, but most of the hikers, which include 
section and thru hikers, whom I have met have something in common.  They are educated, have time to 
hike, and somehow can afford the cost.  Here are some examples:

Ray Jardine - an engineer, an independent consultant.
Dan Smith - thru hiker '97 -a Professor at some University on the East Coast (has hiked 30,000+ 
Karen Burger - thru hiker '97 - writes for Backpacker Magazine and other publications
Steve ? - the exmarine, who's great grandpa invested in oil wells.  Met him North of Tuolumne M.
Jason ? - a computer programmer, whom we met a Dick's Pass
Kevin ? - a design engineer from Tehachapi.

How about the members of this list?  

The new college grads go hike and then come back to begin their careers.  Then there are the young 
hikers who dont have the college education, but do have the guts to save enough money to quit their 
job and wing it.  They usually dont have a mortgage and often are single.    We meet them too.  But 
the minorities -- those without the college degree, some of them have labor type jobs, which never 
seem to pay enough.  Taking off for two weeks, a month or 6 months will never be a reality.  They 
cant even open their minds to that possibility because you cant just leave the job, the family, the 
house etc. and expect to come back to pick up where they left off.

My point is that it has been my experience to have met mostly hikers who can afford to hike, because 
they have the education, and therefore the means to hike.  There are always exceptions.  I met 
a young couple who had quit their jobs and intended to look for a job when the arrived at their 
destination in Oregon.  Also met a young hiker in Tahoe who had no money to buy enough food for the 
next section.

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