View Full Version : Registers in reverse

09-16-2003, 17:49
Here is what I think is a really good idea. A couple of people implemented this in southern California on the PCT and I think it would really work on the AT.

Trail registers are really helpful for finding out where people in front of you are. Bits of news about your friends in front can be a real uplift, and you can plan to speed up to catch them, or slow down to let that mooch get far ahead. The problem is, it doesn't work in reverse. That is, you have no idea, save for a speedy hiker, who is behind you and where they are. That is, you came out of Hot Springs a few hours before Jack Tarlin and, now in Erwin, you are wondering when he is going to show up. Unless a fast hiker blows by Jack on his way to Miss Janet's place and can tell you, "Jack is a day back," you can't find this out.

The idea is for two people at various points on the trail to work together. For example, someone in the Hot Springs area goes out and copies down shelter and PO entries (name and date only) from various points between, say, Mountain Momas and Hot Springs and ships the copy ahead to another person in Erwin, say. Miss Janet or another hostel operator would be ideal. They post it, and people have some idea of where others are. Of course, it would probably be best to do this over longer courses, as it only takes a few days to go from Mountain Momas to Erwin. But, that is the general idea. Of course, those copying down info in Georgia during March and April would have a huge job on their hands, but further north it should be manageable.

On the PCT, I kept wondering, "Is Glory right behind me?" Are Muff Diver and 'F 'n Shizz still hiking? What ever happened to Coach? There were a few of these registers sent ahead in the south, but that was it.

09-17-2003, 09:49
An interesting idea, but impractical. For it to be useful, the register person would need to be going out and hitting the register a minimum of every day or so.

Want to find out where a hiker friend is behind you? leave them a message in a shelter register or at their next maildrop instructing them to send a note ahead to your next maildrop, or more reliably, the maildrop after that (so you don't evershoot the message). It ain't perfect, but it's probably the best way to go.

09-17-2003, 10:35
How about a fax machine at a few hostels? Not practical for shelters, but someone like Miss Janet could fax the pages every few days to another hostel down the trail.

09-17-2003, 13:31
What about a wireless, gas-powered fax machine at shelters (not sure I would depend on solar power on the AT)? Screw on your canister stove (sorry alky lovers) and fax the world! Of course, other companies will eventually find out about the fax and start bombarding it with "buy this!" messages.

I'm working on a variation of this (in my dreams) to dry socks.

Let's not try to over-engineer the social connections of the hiking community.

09-17-2003, 14:04
I would suspect that only propane stoves would work with such a contraption. Of course, you can build an engine that runs on pure alcohol, but some good Tennessee kid might steal it and put it in his '87 Civic for drag racing.

I don't think writing a few names and dates on a piece of paper and mailing it ahead is over engineered, but we may have different notions of simplicity.

09-18-2003, 16:44
That would be real easy to set up on the net, but then psychos, former significant others, bill collectors, groupies and the law would be able to track you down.

Best to always look ahead anyway.

max patch
09-18-2003, 17:06
Rick has a good point. Several years ago a female hiker had a stalker who attempted to hook up with her by determining her location from her online journal. One online site starting delaying updates to the journals by a week or so to make this difficult to do.

On a personal level I didn't worry about who was behind me. I wouldn't be interested in such a system.

09-18-2003, 23:34
Sometimes its better not to know everything, surprises make life interesting..