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Poor Trail Behavior???


Gary M
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I'm not a thru-backpacker, still I was surprised today to read the following concerning hikers behaving badly.

Certainly these are just a small number of people who are just looking for a good time?  I would imagine perhaps these people are just into hiking as the "newest fad"?  Hiking and backpacking is a privilege, not some silly pop culture thing.  Maybe this is not really new, just now the press is catching up?

Sorry, just showing my age I guess!

 

Gary M   

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Go Pro cameras and social media have fostered a view of wilderness as an infinitely programmable amusement park. The crowds may eventually thin out as more people stay home and fly drones up the AT instead of actually walking it.

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The more popular long trails are becoming Camino-like. Meaning the social interaction is the experience itself. The trail, the mountains, etc are merely the backdrop.

 

It is not a bad thing per se..but it is different. I would not go to the AT, PCT or possibly the CDT at peak times  at this point expecting an experience in the wild....  So it goes.

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My first backpacking trip (as a 14 year old with family) was on a section of the AT in New Hampshire in 1968. The shelter we planned to stay at was filled with a group of extremely drunk young men so my Dad found a place further on to camp in peace. We never returned to the AT, even though my Dad had been interested in hiking the whole thing.

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  • 1 month later...

We should  have no delusions of anyone being   immune from  questionable behavior. However,  we can  instead  focus  on hikers behaving exemplary;  hopefully, it always begins with each individual...meaning with each one of us...meaning me.  I say, let your light shine. Be an example of  positive behavior, And, have the humbleness to admit when you blew it...learn...CHANGE...make  better decisions    

"... be the change you wish to see in the world."

Mahatama Gandhi 

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Mahatama Gandhi

We have the creative ability to define our own experiences...even  trail experiences...even on the TC trails...even during periods of peak trail usage.

Enjoy

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We should  have no delusions of anyone being   immune from  questionable behavior. However,  we can  instead  focus  on hikers behaving exemplary;  hopefully, it always begins with each individual...meaning with each one of us...meaning me.  I say, let your light shine. Be an example of  positive behavior, And, have the humbleness to admit when you blew it...learn...CHANGE...make  better decisions    

"... be the change you wish to see in the world."

Mahatama Gandhi 

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Mahatama Gandhi

We have the creative ability to define our own experiences...even  trail experiences...even on the TC trails...even during periods of peak trail usage.

Enjoy

Very well said!

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  • 2 months later...

Yes lately we got some movies and novels that gave hiking some glamour and I see that as a positive thing. Its good that other people get in touch with hiking and find in that story some motivation to try hiking.

For example in March 2015 I read a cool book about a girl who hiked the Pacific Crest without ever read about hiking and with a BIG backpack. It was a fun read and inspired me try it some day. I'm not from US, i'm from PT so we don't have any long distance trails, so i started by doing small trails (1 day long) and increases from there. So, yes, hiking its more popular now. Still,... the majority of the people who try hike end up just camping and not doing real hike. And then you have some ones that found out about hiking on the social media and end up falling in love to it, like me. Newbe, inexperienced, but learning with you all guys :)

 

TL;DR: Media brings more people to try hiking but only the real ones come back again and again...

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  • 2 months later...

I have been backpacking for 55 years. I will put them (backpackers)  as a group up against anyone.  What is new is that the sport is going somewhat mainstream for the first time attracting more urbanites, some of whom do not really know how to act out there. I am tired of the PCT and have started to try some more remote locations.

Edited by ppine
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On 3/10/2016 at 11:41 AM, ppine said:

I have been backpacking for 55 years. I will put them (backpackers)  as a group up against anyone.  What is new is that the sport is going somewhat mainstream for the first time attracting more urbanites, some of whom do not really know how to act out there. I am tired of the PCT and have started to try some more remote locations.

I have a smilar number of years hiking and backpacking and my priority has been seeking out the wild areas. Not only designated wildrness areas but those places that have had minimal human impact. Often this has meant going off trail where few people have traveled. There's a lot of forests out there so the choices are almost unlimited. No drones/crowds to worry about, just nature to enjoy. I think most long time backpackers grew up respecting or learned to respect nature and for them there will always be places to go.

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There are some really great areas on Forest Service that are not as well known as nearby wilderness areas.  In Montana, the Bob Marshall is so well known that many local people avoid it.  Instead they go to nearby areas that will remain nameless.  There is a wilderness area in Washington where no one hardly ever goes, but I will not mention it here.

One of the skills that all serious outdoor people need to development, is trip planning and development. I like to look up the popular places online and then avoid them.  It tells me where not to go.

A good example would be a recent trip to Death Valley  We hiked in a remote canyon on BLM land just outside the park. I could bring my dog, and the creek was flowing with cottonwoods, and willows. There was lots of historic and pre-historic evidence that people had been there before. We saw one other person.  Then we camped in remote washes around the park and saw no one.  Many people come back from their recent flower visits to describe "how crowded it was."  Just stay away from the masses.

Edited by ppine
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