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Dogwood
07-25-2015, 11:42
No doubt, bad hiker behavior happens. It's not to be ignored. But it is not what we should be majoring on. It DOES NOT accurately represent the majority of GREAT behavior and positive characteristics we see from hikers! By spot lighting the dramatic sensational negative behavior we lend more credence to it and the perception it is rampant or universal- WHICH IS TOTAL BS! It's sad that members of the hiking community haven't realized this by now contributing themselves to a lesser opinion of the hiking community by their continued focusing on and spreading of negative hiker behavior stories. Yet, just like on TV, in Newspapers, etc, it's what some forums and people CHOOSE to focus on. Like flies drawn to shart the dramatic, sensational, and hugely negative is what many are attracted to.

If you must be a fly......I say what is MUCH MORE "news" worthy and productive to all, including the hiking community, is extoling the ABUNDANT - VERY ABUNDANT - DRAMATIC, SENSATIONAL, and POSITIVE attributes, characteristics, and behavior of the hiking community, including thru-hikers! Instead of spewing a never ending stream of garbage complaining, whining, and much finger pointing/blame game playing spot lighting the negative around here there needs to be an outpouring of recognizing the MUCH MORE ABUNDANT good in the hiking community, what it is achieving, it stands for, and CONTRIBUTES.

Slo-go'en
07-25-2015, 13:30
But good behavior, being the norm is not news.

Coffee
07-25-2015, 13:46
I absolutely agree, Dogwood. Some of the nicest people I have met have been on trails, and this goes double for trail angels. I have not *personally* encountered nearly as many issues with hikers as one would believe based on what is written online. I don't hike as much as many people here but I've done about 2300 miles over the past two years and I feel like if things were as rampant as portrayed online I would have seen more of it, especially on the PCT this spring.

nsherry61
07-25-2015, 13:52
Being in bed sick instead of backpacking with my wife on this vacation week, I find myself replying to yet one more WB string. And, I'm not even doing what the OP intended. Sorry

Blood, gore, thrill, amazement, inspiration, and yes, even feel-good stories draw attention. So, if we're going to draw readers with stories of good behavior, I have no doubt there are lots of good and inspirational behaviors happening in conjunction with dramatic stories worth telling and reading, so we can make yet another story of bad behavior be just another boring story of bad behavior.

Sadly, today, I have no story of my own to write.
Anyone have first hand stories of dramatic heroic saving of people by others along the trail?
Any amazing and well executed wildlife encounters?
Any stories of the most spectacular epiphany moment while hiking/backpacking?
Any sorid love stories?
Any awesome saves with brilliant creativity of what would have otherwise been a very bad day?
And, yes, of course, any feel-good, good Samaritan stories calling out members of our community for doing something exceptionally responsible.

Coffee
07-25-2015, 14:14
Examples of extraordinary positive human interactions just based on six weeks on the PCT this spring:

1. Provided with a ride from San Diego to Campo at 6am on a Sunday by a trail angel who flat out refused any form of compensation.
2. Given a ride to Stagecoach RV park near scissors by a driver heading in the opposite direction who went out of her way to save me from a four mile road walk - again, refused any compensation.
3. Ziggy & The Bear opening up their home, no pressure for donations (although accepted), handing out ice cream before lights out.
4. Trail magic at two locations near Big Bear, multiple trail angels posting their phone numbers for rides.
5. Driver heading in opposite direction from Wrightwood stopping and giving me a ride five miles into town - compensation refused.
6. Russian tourists provided a ride from near Mono Hot Springs all the way to Fresno only wanting to hear details of my hike, all compensation refused for a three hour drive.

Plenty of other examples. Go on a long distance hike and improve your outlook on humanity!

Dogwood
07-25-2015, 14:32
We create what is perceived as the norm! With constant telling and endless rehashing ad nauseam of negative hiker behavior it contributes to the perception that this is the new norm.

Let me be clear. There is nothing blasť in reporting of the excellent contributions of the hiking community and overall what it represents. My God people, you are the hiking community. There should be endless accounts of the excellence you notice in your own community!

Odd Man Out
07-25-2015, 14:48
I did a section on the AT in VA last summer. There was one bad egg (a guy who got thrown out of a Hostel and then threw an alcohol-fueled temper tantrum). Otherwise everyone was very nice. But what struck me the most was the interesting diversity of people I encountered.

There was the couple I met on-line who hosted me, shuttled me, even took me kayaking on the zero day I took to rest my gimpy knee.

There was a guy who was hiking the AT with basically no money, relying on handouts from his friends and gear he basically pulled out of a recycling dumpster. However he was quite a talented writer and spent all day on the trail writing short stories.

There was a couple with a very nice dog. He would turn every conversation toward religion, but not so much to proselytize - he just seemed to enjoy sharing his thoughts and exchanging ideas with others.

There was a woman who was thru hiking as a weight loss strategy. From her before/after pictures I could tell she was very successful.

There was a group of professionals from Philly section hiking the whole trail a week at a time each summer.

Even the bad egg was an interesting personality (I had a nice conversation with him before things went downhill).

Few if any of these would be people I would hang out with on a regular basis, which leads me to believe I lead a rather sheltered life. While I don't hike for the social aspect of it, I have come to appreciate the way it gets me out of my social comfort zone.

Dogwood
07-25-2015, 19:27
If reporting the excellence in the hiking community and the positives of hiking is not engaging than perhaps the one doing the reporting lacks creativity and imagination as a communicator?

C'mon folks!

tiptoe
07-25-2015, 20:03
Okay, Dogwood, I'll take the bait. Here's my best story from this year's section hike (Damascus to Amicalola). I had just gotten water at Browns Fork shelter and was heading south on a steep ascent when I looked up and saw a small dog silhouetted against the sky at the top of the hill, a little white and tan hound with droopy ears and big eyes. I called to it, but it ran off. I hiked on, and saw it again several minutes later. This time I really saw it: no collar or ID of any kind, and it was emaciated; probably it hadn't eaten for days. It was terrified. So I talked to it reassuringly and eventually got it to follow me at a distance of maybe four steps. Each time I turned around to check on it, it backed off, but it did follow when I marched on. My idea was to get it to Stecoah Gap, phone someone (maybe the hostel near there) if I had service (usually I didn't), and get it to a shelter in a nearby town. Fate intervened. After a while, I encountered a northbound section hiker, who told me I would soon meet his brother and sister-in-law, who were hiking with a dog and had extra dog food. That's what happened, and when the woman saw the little dog, she threw her pack to the ground, took out a dog dish and filled it with kibble. The little pup ate four cups, and his tail was wagging happily. Then she put a collar and leash on the dog and announced that she and her husband would adopt him. They were two days away from their car and had enough food for both dogs. All in all, a much better solution that what I was going to attempt. "See," I told the little dog, "I told you your luck would change if you stuck with me."

Another Kevin
07-25-2015, 22:18
I've told my best stories of excellence on the trail (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/93412-Helpful-vs-Non-helpful-Trail-Magic?p=1440166&viewfull=1#post1440166) before, and I'm not going to try to tell them again right now when people can just use the link and reread them. The ordinary hiker is an extraordinary person.

Seatbelt
07-30-2015, 13:16
This year, Memorial Day weekend, hiked in from Davenport Gap to Tri-Corner shelter, tired worn-out. As I approached the shelter on the short side trail, I saw a guy standing in the trail outside the shelter blowing up his air mattress. I hollered a hello and he put his finger to his lips and said (politely) "quiet, everyone is asleep". I looked at my watch and it was 7:20pm, still daylight and said (quietly) "Really, this early?" He said, "yes but it's better this way than the opposite" meaning a party atmosphere. I agreed and he and I got ready as quiet as possible and retired by 8pm ourselves. Next morning we were also the first two out on the trail, I guess this would be classified as "good hiker behavior"??

Just Bill
07-30-2015, 15:50
When I wasn't busy talking about what a great person I am and who did what to who when encountering swingers or yoga instructors...
I'd have to say durn near wrote a whole book full the kind of stories you're looking for. ;)

But to your original post...
Slo's correct- "But good behavior, being the norm is not news."
"Man enjoy's nature politely" is quickly and correctly deemed a poor seller these days.

It's too bad sometimes we're forced to lie about the good stuff just to have the chance to share it. That's life.

All you can do is what you can do...
even if you gotta cheat, trick, and lie to do it. :D

Dogwood
07-30-2015, 19:36
That's shows how dismally jaded some of us are when we think news is only worthy if it's negative. That's sad. Being only interested in bad news is a symptom of being habituated to a system that magnifies the negative until we can choose to ignore and become numb to all the good around us. What's worse is that this sickness of negativity festers within our hearts and minds and we too become a spreader of this sickness. It doesn't have to be that way though! Good news can be extolled, sensationalized, spotlighted, and dramatized too. Some creative, inspiring, encouraging, and imaginative communication can be applied to spreading good news just as well! We can CHOOSE to open up our awareness to all the good around us too!

Truth speaks for itself. Good news should speak for itself. We don't have to cheat, trick, or lie to arrive at good news and exiting stories of excellent hiking community behavior, hiking community demonstrations of character, integrity, generosity, kindness, a connection to something larger than ourselves, consideration, and giving. These hiking community traits are in abundant evidence all around us ...IF WE WILL OPEN UP OUR AWARENESS TO THEM...if we release the death grip of extolling the negatives, and if we allow ourselves to recall the goodness that the hiking community does and can represent.

The hiking community...being YOUR community....we should expect an abundant recollection of stories, facts, etc that share the abundant goodness found in the hiking community and awarenesses experienced through the vehicle of hiking and the outdoors, etc. I ask you, the hiking community, what is so especially astoundingly positive, about your community? What have you positively gained, contributed to, and connected with by hiking? What attributes would you say describe those who have done long hikes perhaps being thru-hikers yourselves?

Please share!

sbhikes
07-31-2015, 12:07
I saw a female hiker in Sierra City walking down the street in a gold sequin mini-skirt. I was curious why on earth. I mean, it was hot out and the skirt looked hot to wear and also heavy. Wearing strange costumes seems to be an AT thing but I haven't found any trail journals that I can match up to this lady to figure out what the deal is. So there's your boring neutral yet somewhat news-worthy (file it under mildly interesting) hiking story: Lady with unusual clothing choice spotted hiking the PCT.

silent.surface
08-02-2015, 22:34
I have spot hiked see tons of the AT in NC, VA, and PA. I dream of thru hiking, but life and a family of 5.... Life gets in the way sometimes. What I can do is cruise by the local trail heads, and offer help to the hikers. After all, it's not hard to give someone a ride to the supermarket, take them to fill up on fresh water, give them a chance for a shower if they want, etc. Since some of the local trail sections are pretty rough, give them a heads up about conditions and alternates. It's amazing how much appreciation they have for the simple things. I don't consider myself a trail angel, but just hope that if I do get to try to thru hike the AT some day, that I meet people who will do the same. I have met some very interesting people this year, and feel privileged to have been able to help some of them out.

Sent from my bunker: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are... I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
~President Ronald Reagan~

DLP
08-03-2015, 13:33
I passed about 40 PCT thru and section hikers over 10 days time a couple of weeks ago. I only saw icky toilet paper one time. :) Woo hoo!

Only "bad" experience was with a large group of UC Davis Students on their very first backpacking trip at Showers Lake. I had a Dr. Bronner's mishap and asked to "borrow" some soap. Twelve of them stared at me in absolute silence and horror. Finally, one of them said, "We aren't on that kind of trip". Ummmmmm... so, you on a 3 night trip where you don't wash your hands? :)

Later, I realized that they have been drilled in "Stranger Danger" and it really isn't their fault that they are terrified to speak to strangers.

15 minutes later, a girl came over with 8 oz of Trader Joes brand Dr. Bronners and cheerfully said, "Take as much as you want! I want to go by myself some day and what you are doing is awesome". Ahhhhh... my soap angel!

August W.
08-03-2015, 20:29
That's shows how dismally jaded some of us are when we think news is only worthy if it's negative. That's sad. Being only interested in bad news is a symptom of being habituated to a system that magnifies the negative until we can choose to ignore and become numb to all the good around us. What's worse is that this sickness of negativity festers within our hearts and minds and we too become a spreader of this sickness. It doesn't have to be that way though! Good news can be extolled, sensationalized, spotlighted, and dramatized too. Some creative, inspiring, encouraging, and imaginative communication can be applied to spreading good news just as well! We can CHOOSE to open up our awareness to all the good around us too!

Truth speaks for itself. Good news should speak for itself. We don't have to cheat, trick, or lie to arrive at good news and exiting stories of excellent hiking community behavior, hiking community demonstrations of character, integrity, generosity, kindness, a connection to something larger than ourselves, consideration, and giving. These hiking community traits are in abundant evidence all around us ...IF WE WILL OPEN UP OUR AWARENESS TO THEM...if we release the death grip of extolling the negatives, and if we allow ourselves to recall the goodness that the hiking community does and can represent.

The hiking community...being YOUR community....we should expect an abundant recollection of stories, facts, etc that share the abundant goodness found in the hiking community and awarenesses experienced through the vehicle of hiking and the outdoors, etc. I ask you, the hiking community, what is so especially astoundingly positive, about your community? What have you positively gained, contributed to, and connected with by hiking? What attributes would you say describe those who have done long hikes perhaps being thru-hikers yourselves?

Please share!

I applaud you for starting this thread. One positive attribute of our community that I have always appreciated is the willingness to help others, be it with first-aid, food, or even just simple information. Among the friendliest of hikers I have ever met are the Colorado locals I encountered recently while backpacking in the Rockies. They were not only passionate about the gorgeous wilderness in their home state but were also quick to offer very useful information such as cross-country routes to less obvious gems, updated weather forecasts, and descriptions of trail conditions. As a whole they were the most welcoming and genuinely friendly people I have ever met while backpacking. Obviously there are good, friendly people hiking all over the place but there are also plenty of people who would sooner steer an out-of-towner away from the hidden sweet spots rather than giving out their locations. That friendly, helpful nature of many backpackers stood out to me 20+ years ago when I was just getting into backpacking and I still appreciate it and try to mirror it back.