[pct-l] Intentions and Dreams

Jeffrey Olson philos56 at live.com
Tue Jan 27 21:49:41 CST 2015

Most of us on the listserv are section hikers - a week at a time, a 
month, or a couple months if we're lucky, or good planners.

I participate in other social media that has the PCT as its focus, but 
find myself checking the feeds less and less often as personality moves 
to the foreground and sharing about the trail is backgrounded.

I want to hear about what causes blisters (heat, friction and moisture) 
and how to prevent them (thin, tight socks, duct tape on the inside of 
the back of the shoe before it's worn, and loose shoes that seem way too 

I skip over discussions of relative merits of gear by manufacturer, and 
really listen when someone presents a system that works for them.  To be 
honest, in the last couple years, the whole "systems of gear" thread has 
pretty much disappeared.

There's an entitlement ethos that enough hikers reproduce that demeans 
the rest of us.  In my section hikes I've seen examples of how it works 
- a fire every night, toilet paper visible from the trail, motel rooms 
trashed, the generosity of trail angels expected rather than treated as 
a random act of kindness.

I've always enjoyed the questions of newcomers to the listserv, 
especially women.  Their enthusiasm and self-confidence balanced by fear 
of the unknown is really fun to watch.  This is the time of year when 
the surges of negativity recede and there is naive and joyful 
questioning and sharing for a while.  And then someone makes a cynical 
comment and you can just feel everyone pulling back.

I've write these little messages every year or so for the last decade.  
The sexist, paternalistic crap from a few seem to damp the spirit of the 
many for a while.  But every year there is a resurgence of the curious 
and excited, the visionaries seeing themselves accomplishing something 
few do - a thru-hike, a section hike, a week along the trail.

The pct-l is a wonderful resource.  We're at the time of year when those 
planning to hike are getting serious.  This is when we should reach out 
and welcome questions and comments and fears and wonderings.  And it 
really shouldn't matter if the trip is five months or a week.  WE are 
the resource and make up a virtual family, with all that can entail.

Welcome to those who are new and bright eyed.  You are why the rest of 
us continue to be here.  Ask your questions and we will do our best to 
share what we've learned.

Jeffrey Olson
Arcata, CA

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