[at-l] But!

Jim and_or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 18 19:57:40 CST 2010

Frank wrote:>Here is another discussion I'd love to see: Does a single hike of >2,200 miles improve one's outdoor skills more than a number of hikes >equalling the same miles? Does the series of shelters on the AT give >some a false sense of security? Do days out count more for >experiential improvement than miles walked? In order – NO, YES and MAYBE Discussion – A thruhike is a wonderful adventure, but once the basic techniques that work for YOU are learned, they are simply used over and over and over ad nauseum.  There is little NEW learning, just the continuing application of previous learning.  IOW – the perception that one is a “superhiker” because one has completed a thruhike is erroneous.   This “should” become obvious to the person involved sometime around the first three days of their NEXT thruhike – or during the first time they hike some other trail that doesn’t provide the amenities provided by the AT (such as shelters, well blazed trails, good guidebooks, etc).  But the delusion of “superhiker” status too often persists much too long.  Shelters on the AT – provide too many idiots with excuses for not carrying their own shelter.  Is that “security”?  Or a “false sense of security”?  So what are they gonna do when they get caught in one of the few places on the AT where shelters are “inconveniently placed” and they can’t make it to next shelter?  Keep in mind that what happened re: the recent hiker death on the Florida Trail is entirely possible on the AT.   Secondarily, what are they gonna do on the PCT with its two (count’em – 2) shelters in 2600+ miles?  Or on the CDT with its one lonely shelter. Or on their local 100 or 200 mile trail that has no/nada/zero shelters?  Experience – comes from differing conditions requiring differing solutions. Hiking the AT 7 times does not give one 7 times more knowledge than hiking it once.  The learning curve becomes very flat after the second hike. That does NOT mean that there’s no value in hiking the AT 7 times.  If that gives you pleasure, if it satisfies you, if it meets an internal need, then go for it. Even hiking the Triple Crown has its limits.  Once that’s accomplished – what’s next? Doing it again does not impart twice as much knowledge.  But even that’s worth doing if it’s what one WANTS to do.    Finally, for Jim Lynch, who wrote: >What would be neat would be to hike from Springer to Katahdin on blue >blazed trails as much as they exist.  Now that would be an interesting>challenge.   That was done in 1992 when the Three Stools did exactly that.  They hiked the AT with the express intention of hiking every possible blue blaze.  They did complete the Trail, even though some of their blue blazes turned out to be more than difficult – and sometimes not possible the way they tried to do them.   We did much the same thing on the CDT in 2006 – and our next CDT hike will take even more “alternate” routes.  BTW – we did it – and will 
continue to do so without the GPS. J 



Discussion from anyone else?  


Walk softly,



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