[at-l] The News

Cody Girl codycodygirl at gmail.com
Sun Jan 16 22:13:42 CST 2011

I don't know anything about how thru hiking used to be so I can't comment on
that, but, how it was in 2010, I can tell you my experience.

I got a smart phone right before leaving for Georgia specifically so that I
could keep my online journal up to date.  A former thru hiker had passed
down a pocketmail device to me, I would have been the 4th thru hiker to use
it, but that company wasn't able to keep their site up and running last Feb,
so I decided at the last minute to go with a smart phone instead.  That
particular pocketmail gizmo "thru'd" in '09, '07 & '06.
I was managing my finances online while I hiked, so I used the smart phone
for that too.

I used it to keep in touch with a few close friends at home via email while
on the trail.

I used it to check weather reports for the areas I was hiking towards.

I used the camera feature and was able to upload those pics to my TJ.

Early on I was trying to stay in touch with my son, but no amount of
voicemails or emails were connecting us.  One day it occurred to me to try
texting him, (he texts all the time!) and sure enough, that did the trick.
I also learned that thru hikers were staying in touch with each other via
text, all up and down the trail.  I was so dumb!  Once I learned this I had
one hefty phone bill until I changed my plan, LOL.  I had probably sent 10
texts in my life before the hike.

My take on this, exception texting, all the other stuff I would have done
anyway, with or without a smart phone.  I just would have been spending more
time at a computer while in town or at a hostel.  I tried to take care of
business as much as possible while in town specifically because I didn't
want my hike interrupted with my back home realities.  There was one time
another hiker used my phone for an hour long appointment with docs regarding
one of his children from a shelter.  I was glad to be able to help, his
phone wasn't working.

My take on the texting specifically is that texting is just one type of
communication that people use now, like my son for example.  I think it's as
natural for hikers to text each other as to leave messages in the shelter
logs.  I understand texting uses the smallest "bite" of data resources to
transmit too, so sometimes a text will go through when a phone call will

All that said, I chose to leave my phone off most of the time.  Last thing,
after I was in my bag, then I would turn the thing on and journal and check
anything that needed my attention.  It was nice to have messages from home
and friends, and sometimes I had email conversations.  I don't think any of
this took away from my hike in any way.   If I was too tired I didn't bother
to turn it on.  No big deal.

And yes, sometimes I used it to reserve space at a hostel I was hiking
toward, or make a motel reservation.  that made a lot more sense to me than
spending energy getting somewhere that wouldn't let me stay.

I think there must have been some people there who didn't have a phone with
them, but that would have been a tiny minority.  Some people texted
nonstop.  Neither one of those choices would have worked for me.  Hike your
own hike, right?

Oh, I forgot!  At an early shelter in Georgia a man was using his cell
phone, discreetly off in the woods, to check something at home.  Another
person in the shelter was highly offended and made a big issue of how his
cell phone use was infringing on her enjoyment of the shelter.  He was
seriously discreet about it, I didn't even know he was on the phone until
she began to complain.  She was obnoxious, he was not.  Everyone's blood
pressure got up a little bit, but then it got ok.

On the question of information, I think we have a lot more information, but
a lot of it is fake or useless, it's a mirage, it can be overwhelming.  If
it overwhelms you it's easy to take in all this information and not know one
single thing more.  That's what I think anyway.


On Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Felix J <AThiker at smithville.net> wrote:

>  On 1/15/2011 7:54 PM, Carla & Dave Hicks wrote:
> Not trying to reopen the cell phone debates of a few years back – but this
> really spoke to me.
> <<snip>>
> Have you changed?  Do you thing it is a good change?  Has the very nature
> of Thru-Hiking changed?
> I'm not sure if/that I've changed. If I have, it's towards be crotchety. I
> know without doubt that the nature of thru-hiking has changed...and, not
> towards what I consider better.  I hiked for a couple of weeks (I forget how
> long and I am disappointed in myself for not writing a trip report) this
> summer and was amazed at how things are done on the Trail these days.
> Calling for shuttles and rides, making reservations, ordering food, knowing
> where all the hikers around you are all day....  makes me scratch my
> head...and, my head wasn't itching.  And, it seems to me that there are
> places where you are never more than a Mark McGwire long-ball from a
> hostel.  (I chose "Mark McGwire long-ball" because he was hitting them back
> in the relic days of my thru-hike)
> --
> Felix J. McGillicuddy
> ME-->GA '98
> "Your Move"
> ALT '03 KT '03http://Felixhikes.tripod.com/ <http://felixhikes.tripod.com/>
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