[Cdt-l] Fwd: See SPOT run...
jonathan at phlumf.com
Sat Dec 4 10:56:08 CST 2010
Just a couple more points of interest...
I agree people shouldn't be mandated to use/wear/carry anything out there. Hike naked for all I care (it can be liberating ;-). People should just understand their own limits and the limits of technology. All I'd ask is that people be educated about themselves and their tools. Whatever a spot costs, I think that $ would be better invested in a wilderness first aid course. Or buy both if you want to.
Just remember that unless you're hiking naked, you are relying on technology out there. Just because it's not electronic doesn't mean it's not technology. Silicon-impregnated nylon doesn't seem to offend anybody's sensibilities, so why does a gps or a spot? True, there's a big difference between some thing can transmit/receive to the outside world, and something which can't... But I think what matters most is how we perceive these things in our own minds. The spell of wilderness isn't broken when I look at or rely on my technologically-advanced backpack, so why should it be broken when I press a button on a gadget?
As for being wired... My biggest "old codger gripe" is about iPods and radios out there. They're amazingly ubiquitous on the trail, and I just don't get it. For me, the best part of a long hike is being immersed in it, with all my senses attuned to the world around... Letting my thoughts develop naturally as a result. When I have something plugged into my ear, I'm suddenly "somewhere else"; not only aurally, but mentally. At home, I listen to my iPod a lot (podcasts, music), but out there? I'd rather listen to a hundred miles of silence. To me, an ipod is a lot more intrusive than a spot, which sits in your backpack untouched 98% of the time. Anyway, I know people hike for all kinds of reasons, so I don't really want to criticize the iPod-wearing masses - its their hike to hike.
On Dec 3, 2010, at 10:08 PM, Jim and_or Ginny Owen <spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Jonathon -
> Those exact words were the battle cry in 1997 over cell phones. They started a flame war that
> went on for months, generated something over 6000 posts and made more enemies than George
> Bush has.
> The difference is simple ...and subtle. There are those, like Mags and me and Ginny, who understand
> that the freedom of a thruhike is liimited if one carries a lifeline to the outside world, if you're willing
> to split your mind, your life, and your hike between two worlds. You can deny that
> if you wish, you can carry a SPOT, or a GPS or a cell phone is you want. I don't care what anyone else
> does in that respect. But as has been said before, it starts with the argument, progresses to an attitude
> that it won't affect ones thruhke, then slides into an expectation that one MUST carry (whatever) in order
> to be "safe". And then hardens into anattitude that those who don't/won't "carry" are irresponsible,
> selfish, stupid, unsafe and a whole gaggle of other negative adjectives.
> And some of that may or may not be true. But what is also true is that if one is "checking in" every day - or
> every week - on a "schedule" with the specter of dealing with SAR if one fails to do so, then it WILL affect
> the hike. And it won't make it any safer, because that check-in won't stop the slide on the snow that breaks
> ones leg or the tree branch that falls and hits you or the bear attack that leaves you bleeding. Not that I
> know of ANY thruhiker ever enountering that last situation - it's just something many people imagine.
> The other side of the coin is that those who "carry" never know what it is that they've missed. Most of
> them think that their hike is just as good as everyone else's. Maybe for them, it is. But I seriously doubt
> it. And I know that their hike would be unsatisfactory for me.
> Personally, I once owned a GPS. After using it in Alaska for navigation (just once) and then using it to
> waypoint water sources in New Mexico for those who apparently can't find them on their own, I sent it
> home from Lordsburg. After finishing the CDT I gave it away. It was a time waster with respect to navigation
> and it wasn't worth carrying the weight.
> We also carried a cell phone on the AT and PCT this year. Didn't do a damn thing for us except increase
> the pack weight.
> On the PCT last year, I tore the meniscus in my right knee just north of Walker Pass. One of the other hikers
> had a SPOT and offered to call me a helicopter. I think I shocked her when I told her that I'd rather crawl the
> 9 or 10 miles to the highway than do that. My attitude is that if you get yourself into the situation, and then depend
> on technology to get you out, then you have no business being out there in the first place.
> For better or worse, I'm a dinosaur. I live by a different set of values than many of todays hikers. And I understand
> Ed Abbey's words completely. I am willing to accept the consequences if necessary. That means that I'm better
> prepared than those who do "carry" in both training and attitude. I've done the First Aid and Navigation courses.
> We do the planning so we'll know what the alternatives are at any given point on the trail and we carry maps that
> will show us how/where to bail if it becomes necessary. How many other hikers do so?
> Y'all realize, I hope, I haven't actually hiked "solo in nearly 20 years - and not likely I will again. I would if necessary
> but Ginny would shoot me if I left her behind.
> But our attitude - that the freedom, the solitude is worth the risk - after all these years, that still remains. The obsessive
> safety culture that most of this country lives with is a form of self-delusion, but I won't beat that horse either right now.
> In any case, I'm not gonna tell anyone to "carry" or not. Nor will I give you all the arguments against. Those who
> understand (and there seem to be a few here - as I would expect) will have a different experience than those who
> don't. But I will tell you that if you expect me to "carry" you'll be disappointed.
> Walk softly,
> Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 08:48:20 -0800
> From: jonathan at phlumf.com
> To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
> Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Fwd: See SPOT run...
> I'm not sure I understand the animosity to technology... I mean, goretex, nylon, pop-tarts... they're all only possible because of very complex technology. So are all the maps and other trail navigation information anyone produces. As for being connected - people have online journals they update at each town stop - sometimes each day. They have cell phones... Isn't a SPOT just a better implementation of a cell/satellite phone? People don't complain too much about being connected via e-mail or cell phones (well, some do), so what magical threshold does a SPOT cross? Should we all be wearing animal skins, and eating game we shot with our bow & arrow? Writing journals in caves with finger paint?
> These are all tools. Sure, they can turn into a crutch or be abused like any other tool, but they can also be life-savers. I've seen similar arguments about avalanche beacons (and we'll likely hear those all again this winter). In all these cases, there seems to be one constant - your most important equipment is inside your skull. Any tool can be abused by a moron who doesn't know how to use it. If someone presses the SPOT button because they have a blister, or gets hypothermic because they wrongly thought their new jacket will protect them, or wanders across a dangerous avalanche path because they thought a beacon would save them... the fault isn't with the tool, it's with the person using it.
> Personally, I probably wouldn't use a SPOT on the CDT just because I'm cheap, and don't feel like carrying yet another thing. Instead, I'd make sure that someone (someone who isn't paranoid) had my itinerary, and I'd check in at each stop... I think that's what most people do. But, I could envision taking a trip to more remote locales where a SPOT would be welcome... and I'd be happy to hike on the CDT with someone who had a SPOT - heck, more insurance, and I don't have to pay or carry the thing.
> On 12/3/2010 7:51 AM, ks1007 at aol.com wrote:
> I don't think that I have seen it written anywhere that all MUST carry a SPOT but after seeing it in person actually saving a human (and 2 goats) lives it sure makes me wonder about the value of someones life not having it along just in case it's needed especially if you are hiking solo - there is also nothing that says you need to "ping" nightly or at all - rudy (cupcake) learned the hard way about giving his family his itinerary - if he didn't ping them they got worried and called the place where "he should be" next - we got a call from Paris, France and so did julie in san lorenzo - I told him to not give out his itinerary of where and when he should be next that he would just call when he got there but he still had the SPOT just in case
> fine - you don't want to carry one then don't - your choice - but don't try to sway others by saying they will lose their "freedom" by carrying one
> el coyote
> Keith and Mary
> Trail Angels
> Deming, NM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul Magnanti <pmags at yahoo.com>
> To: matthew lee <heymatthewlee at gmail.com>
> Cc: CDT MailingList <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
> Sent: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 10:09 pm
> Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] See SPOT run...
> ps. maybe the article resonates less now that your website has them as sponsor? :)
> Paul "Mags" Magnanti
> The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust
> caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
> Cdt-l mailing list
> Cdt-l at backcountry.net
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