[at-l] spring loaded....

camojack at comcast.net camojack at comcast.net
Sat Mar 13 08:40:31 CST 2010

Here's something I wrote on the subject, about 5 years ago: 

Daylight Saving Time? 

What a crock! There are only "x" hours of daylight on any given day; so nobody is saving anything. Where would they keep it, anyhow?! During the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes, there are 12 hours of daylight, and the other 363.25 days of the year are either longer or shorter depending on the season. 
(An oversimplification, really, it all depends on your Latitude) 

Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. is NOT observed in Hawaii or the state of Arizona (except for the Navajo Indian Reservation...which does observe it, due to its large size, and its location in three states). Also, its territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands do not observe it. 

The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during a trip as an American delegate to Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project." It was first advocated seriously by a London builder, William Willett, in the pamphlet "Waste of Daylight". Perhaps in their time of oil lamps it was a sensible solution; nowadays it's something of an anachronism. If having the daylight last later into the P.M. is the desired effect, why not leave it "Sprung Forward?" 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Felix J" <AThiker at smithville.net> 
To: "at-l" <AT-L at backcountry.net> 
Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 8:53:24 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: [at-l] spring loaded.... 

Since tonight is time-changin' time...I thought this one might be 
appropriate. (and, it's one of my favorites) 

Felix J. McGillicuddy 

Sundown got his name from his habit of showing up well 
past sundown. As he made his way into the shelter, it 
looked like he would earn the right to keep it one more 
day. Dusk was becoming a memory. The air was cool 
and moist above the churning waters of Laurel Falls. I 
moved my stuff closer to “my” corner. 

“Where have you been?” I asked. “I’ve been here over an 

“I missed the turn-off for the Trail down at that parking lot. 
There was a dog barking at me, and I was watching him and 
just kept walking. I’ll bet I went over a mile. Then, I had to find 
the Trail in the dark.” 

The flame of my candle flickered as Sundown pulled stuff 
from his pack. He nearly blew it out completely when he 
dropped his Therm-A-Rest into place. 

“What time is it, anyway?” he asked, 
shaking his sleeping bag from its stuff 

“Almost 8:30,” I said, which was a guess. “Hey, where did 
you take your ‘zero hour’?” 

“What zero hour?” he asked, as he pulled his feet from their 

“You know, the Daylight Saving zero hour. I took mine at 
Moreland Gap Shelter. It was actually kinda nice to kick 

“Daylight Saving zero hour? What are you talking about?” 

“Today is the fi rst day of Daylight Saving Time,” I explained. 
“Since the clocks ‘spring forward,’ hikers have to sit in the same 
spot for one hour because that hour doesn’t really exist. Today 
essentially only had 23 hours. Surely you’ve heard of it.” 

The concept was apparently foreign to him. He was rendered 
more or less motionless as he tried to figure it out. 

“Seriously,” I said. “Every spring, when the clocks change, 
hikers have to sit in one spot for exactly one hour. Otherwise, 
they’d be an hour ahead of where they should be. That’d mess 
everything up. That’s probably why you got here so late. You 
hiked through the hour that didn’t exist, even though you didn’t 
go anywhere.” 

A couple moments of silence and handfuls of M&Ms later, 
Sundown said, “What happens in the fall? What happens when 
you set your clocks back?” 

“In the fall, you have to hike for half an hour, turn around, 
and hike back. Or, I suppose you could hike for a whole hour 
and then turn around. I guess it depends on what time zone 
you’re in. Either way, you have to hike for an hour that you 
don’t go anywhere. Because that day is twenty-five hours long, 
and you’d end up an hour behind schedule if you didn’t hike 
for an hour to nowhere. See?” 

I don’t think he saw. I’ll give him credit for trying, though. 
As he started his stove, he’d start a question and then stop. He 
either couldn’t figure out what the question was or figured out 
it wasn’t a question at all. 

“So, if the hour….” Silence. “So, if the hour didn’t exist, 
then what happens to what you do during that hour?” 

“Well, in your case, you made up for it by getting lost for an 
hour. In my case, I rested and read graffitti on the wall of Moreland 
Gap Shelter. There were some doozies, too.” 

Sundown cooked in silence, either trying to understand what 
I was saying or figure out if I were telling the truth. It didn’t 
matter either way. 

“You know how sometimes you experience what they call 
‘déjà vu’? That’s the stuff that really happens in those hours 
that don’t happen. Then, when they do happen, they seem to 
be familiar.” The more I explained, the more I began to believe 
it myself. 

I went back to reading Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.” I 
figured I’d let Sundown digest his Lipton and zero-hour lesson 
for a while. 

Before I knew it, I was waking up, my eyes adjusting to the 
first light of day. Sundown was sliding his arms into the shoulder 
straps of his pack. 

“Where you going?” I asked. 

“I wanted to get an early start. Gonna see if I can make it to 
Iron Mountain Shelter before dark. Catch ya later, man,” he 
said as he crunched off into the frost. 

I took my time getting ready to leave. The cold April morning 
made staying in the sleeping bag as long as possible seem 
like the right thing to do. I checked the register as I waited for 
coffee water to boil and read Sundown’s entry: 

April 6 
I don’t know if I was here or not. If somebody figures it out, 
let me know. 

Felix J. McGillicuddy 
ME-->GA '98 
"Your Move" 
ALT '03 KT '03 

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