View Full Version : Traditional Values

Former Admin
09-23-2002, 17:10
Comments, questions, concerns, issues, experiences, dealing with the traditions of the trail.

Former Admin
09-23-2002, 17:33
Yes this may be controversial but I think there is a place for it here since it in fact happened and is part of the history of the trail.

A man in 1987 hiked the trail as a publicity stunt on the 50th anniversary of the AT. He had many a sponsor for this hike and stopped in the towns along the AT to publicize his hike and generate a lot of publicity about himself and the AT. This same man today is is an advocate of following traditional values while hiking the trail.

The question is did the founding fathers of the trail intend on the the trail being used for this purpose? I don't think creating a circus out of a hike, and using the trail for notoriety or publicity is using the trail in a traditional sense, IMO. Any comments on this?

09-23-2002, 21:50
I think there is a limit to how much commercialization/publicity the trail and its hikers should recieve. the trail itself is a refuge for those of us who want to get away. commercialization and publicity may destroy that. were all aware of how some hikers are not carful as to how they clean up after themselves or treat the trail. the more people who go to the trail the harder it will be to maintain its beautiful solitude. not that people shouldnt be allowed to day hike or anything like that. its just that some people feel that to fit in with the "crowd" they have to do things like go visit this great trail but they dont come with knowledge of how to keep the trail clean. at the same time id really hate to see the at commercialized. i for one am tired of everything being turned into a moneymaking scheme. ofcourse some publicity will inevitably happen. the trail wouldnt be so popular were it not for some publicity. if nobody had ever heard of Earl Shaffer or even that a trail existed that ran from georgia to maine think of how many peoples lives would be so unfullfiled (including all those on this forum). theres a fine line between needed and over publicity. i dont want to see the trail loved to death nor do i want to see it neglected by future generations by lack of enthusiasm for Americas outdoors.

09-24-2002, 09:22
There will always be the "Hey Look At Me" types hiking the Trail. Tuba Player, Ballet dancer etc. We should follow the model that Earl Shaeffer set. Quiet, not seeking out publicity. The Trail is a quiet place, unlike our everyday lives. Lets keep it like that. I wanna be like Earl!

09-25-2002, 11:34
How 'bout instead of "following the model of Earl Shaffer"...everyone just hikes their own hike and does it their way, without criticism and comment from everyone else? I think that has more to do with what the AT is all about....

09-25-2002, 13:09
I did.

Former Admin
09-25-2002, 14:58
Originally posted by Jumpstart
How 'bout instead of "following the model of Earl Shaffer"...everyone just hikes their own hike and does it their way, without criticism and comment from everyone else? I think that has more to do with what the AT is all about....

Thats the best idea i've heard all day. I never said I believed in all the traditional stuff. I was just pointing out that an advocate of hiking the trail in a traditional sense did just the opposite.

Things and times change, I'd hate to be following the traditional values my ansestors did. I think anyway people decide to hike the trail is is fine as long as their hike doesn't damage the trail or harm others. Hiking the AT is supposed to be fun, and for some the fun they create comes in all different forms.

I myself liked to pack in a six of talls after leaving town, theres nothing like sharing a few brews with friends you meet on the trail.
Just be sure to pack the cans out.

SGT Rock
09-25-2002, 17:38
I tend to agree. If somebody wants to be the "brick man" and hike the trail with a cinder block ballanced on his head, I'm happy for him. If you don't like the Tuba Guy or whatever, then ignore them. I hate cell phones, dogs on the trail, and a lot of other things, but I don't let them ruin my day. And as long as their isn't a rule against it, then let the guy go for broke. It is his hike. I would be very pissed if some traditionalist told me my pack had to have a frame, or I have to wear boots to hike.

Honestly I would rather go incognito and take it as it comes, but that is me. But if somebody wanted to pay me to hike the trail and wear a "GO ARMY" t-shirt and sing cadence as I went, I'd do it just to get the chance to hike.

09-25-2002, 19:22
I really do not know what a traditional thru hike is or comprises. But my understanding from belonging to numerous forums over the years, is that a traditional thru hike is one, that the hiker passes every white blaze on the trail, never blue or yellow blazing. Over the years individuals have added their own definitions. Who were these traditonal hikers that started this so called tradition? Certainly it was not Earl Shaeffer, he bushwhacked, and blue blazed during his Walking With Spring. The phrase "Hike Your Own Hike" has changed definitions over the years. It used to mean hike long and fast, or slow and short. However you hike, do not criticize. Now days, it can mean anything. For example, when I scolded another hiker in a drunken stupor, at a hostel for beating on a candy machine.He told me "Hike your on hike. Dude"

Former Admin
09-25-2002, 19:30
Is the candy machine alright? :D

09-25-2002, 20:24
Yeah certainly people have their right to hike any way they want, and aside from beating up poor defenseless candy machines, to do whatever they want while hiking. if its not infringing on anyone elses rights or any laws then hey great for them for bein themselves. you shouldnt have to hike "traditionaly" if there really even is a traditional way to do it anymore. i mean you could go one mile a day and go along every blue blaze you can find and take years and years to finish the trail and thats just fine cause if thats the way you wanna do it then thats the right way cause its your way. if your way is the same as others thats fine too, but you souldnt force others to do it your way if they have their own. tradition has its place but change and new things do too. there are all kinds of traditions we follow cause they are fun to do and thats great it adds the experiance. and new things bring about new traditions. and its not important whether other people aprove of your style, as long as you do then youve got one up on them.

The Weasel
09-25-2002, 23:56
Well, as R.E.M. might say, "Yeah, well, whatever".... Are there any absolutes in "HYOH".

I got in a pretty good argument on Trailplace with "Yogi" in '00, getting ready for my thru hike, in which for a lot of opinions that I (and others, I think) expressed, she would intone, in a sorta-Zen fashion, "Hiiiike yourrrrrr owwwwwwwwwn hiiiike!" It was a put down, as in, "Hey, guy! Anything that works for me is cool, go to hell!" She got very irked (probably understandably) when I said, "OK. But what if I want to hike YOUR hike? I don't wanna hike my own. I wanna steal someone else's!!!" Largely because my irony (or was it sarcasm) was wasted on her, I don't think she understood that my point is - sorry about this, folks! - there ARE some absolutes on the trail, whether the AT, or the Potowatomi (did I spell it right, Kerosene?).

Rock can wear boots, shoes or (like Tyvek, in '00) go barefoot. He can carry a pack frame (I did at first), an internal frame (I did later), a packbag (I do now), or a sack ("Granny Rock"!!!). HYOH fits all of that.

But punching out a candy machine isn't HYOH. It's criminal, its ugly, it's rude, and it's one of the reasons why the term "hiker trash" is meant literally in a lot of towns where thruhikers aren't welcome. The same thing for using drugs on the trail, writing on walls in shelters, having sex in the middle of the road (sorry, but the Beatles weren't on the Trail!), or anything else that is rude, criminal, or ugly behavior. All of those are simply irresponsibility, and the thru hiking community has to condemn them right out front.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Supreme Court once said, "Your rights end where my nose begins." That's the essence of "HYOH": We have the right to act freely, and responsibly, as long as our conduct affects only ourselves. When it affects others, then we can't get off with the excuse, "I'm doing my own thing" or "I'm hiking my own hike." We have to think, "How does my behavior (appearance/actions/smell) affect others?" And then we have to "hike other people's hike" as well.

Sgt Rock has some tough choices to make, and I admire him for making them, on the extent to which he's going to be a thru-hiker sponsored by the Army, or an Army thruhiker; they're different things. His "HYOH" will be very different depending on which way he goes, and how he relates to others and to himself will be different, as a result.

There ARE absolutes, as well as "grey areas". But just because there are grey areas doesn't mean we can ignore the absolutes, either.

The Weasel

09-26-2002, 08:06
The other part of the HYOH saying is: But don't force anyone to hike your hike. So, when a hiker "misbehaves" or is inconsiderate, then he is forcing someone to "hike his hike."

12-08-2006, 23:56
Stop making things up Weasel

12-09-2006, 01:00
I swear Weasel, sometimes you make me think to hard. :-?

Hike, sing, dance, laugh...etc., etc., etc. HYOH? Not only is it possible, but very likely if you try just a little. Absolutely!