[Cdt-l] Long Carries, Benchmark Wilderness Ranch and Big Sandy Lodge

Bruce "Buck" Nelson buck at bucktrack.com
Thu Apr 30 16:57:55 CDT 2009

I agree with much that has been said.

Thru-hikes are great. They are truly special. But that doesn't mean that others owe us their support. That's what makes trail angels like Keith and Mary and many others so appreciated by so many hikers.

It's a lot of work dealing with thru-hikers. It takes time, and to a business time is money. It's always good to look at situations from the other side's perspective.

Some of you may have heard this story but it's a good example. Last year when I hit Benchmark I was struck by all the rules and controls put on the act of simply picking up a package, (not to mention the fee.) Things locked up, signing for the package and so on. I thought "Why all the security in the 'middle of nowhere?' " After going through all my stuff I was headed out and about a half mile down the road when I ran across a hiker with a big handgun AND bear spray. He said he was section hiking the CDT. When I got to East Glacier I called my best friend and she said Beverly (of Benchmark Ranch) had called her and was all excited. That fellow had arrived and told her that he was Bruce Nelson and he wanted his package and asked if she wanted to see his ID. She was naturally frightened and drove into town to try to get it all straightened out. 

Dealing with the public there will always be knuckleheads and even crooks to deal with. I think Big Sandy Lodge wasn't all that interested in dealing with thru-hikers (little money with lots of hassles) and the break-in was the last straw.

I hiked through the Winds without stopping at Big Sandy or Pinedale and would do it again. It worked out great with the Cirque of Towers route.

Needless to say (but needless to say I'll say it) all of us are ambassadors for the hiking world. Make a good impression, be nice and we'll help smooth the way for those that follow.


CDT 2008
Alaska Traverse
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