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HonorOFeagle
10-30-2003, 20:31
Hi everyone,

I am a 4th year product design student at Kendall College in Grand Rapids, MI. At the our cirriculm we are told to design a product for our thesis project. I want to center my thesis around hiking. Essentually what I am trying to design is an information center for hiking trails. It will be connected to digital satellite, and it will allow hikers to access information related to hiking near or on the trail while they are on their hiking trip. I want it to include information about trail conditions, maps, weather, emergency contacts, and trail journals. I know that everyone (myself included) is leary of any kind of man-made interuption on the trails, so my goal is to make this device as minimal as possible in size and impact to its surrounding environment. I will also be studying the Appalachian Trail in depth to determine what type of places that a device like this would belong in. I do NOT intend this to be something that would go at EVERY shelter or trailhead you come across. It would most likely be implimented in places nearby trails or at major trail heads. I want to stress that this is just a proposed design, not something that will go into production in case you are wondering. Anyway, I am posting the link for the survey below:

http://www.freesurveysonline.com/fso/AskSurvey.fso?Survey=3413&CheckID=3064

Just copy and paste the link and it will take you right to the survey. Please consider filling it out as it will only take a few minutes. Asking real consumers is something that we generally fail to do as designers. Most often we sit in the model shop and sit test our own physical mock ups and think "Well, it feels comfortable to me, so it must be okay for everyone else." Then we grab the shorter/taller/whatever person next to us and have them try it, and we say its good enough. I'd like to make sure that I go beyond that in my thesis. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jason Lantagne

Skyline
10-30-2003, 21:03
I filled out your survey, and cringed at the possibility that I might actually come face to face at one of the contraptions you are obviously putting a lot of thought into.

Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you must. The technology probably exists, or soon will, to make something like this happen but PLEASE spare us.

chknfngrs
10-30-2003, 21:17
I too filled one out and I feel the same way. Be schooled beforehand, not when you're trailside.

HonorOFeagle
10-31-2003, 00:24
I understand your reaction to the idea, but I'd like to explain to you why I feel it is useful and valid. I want to take a "shotgun blast" approach to covering information in the hope that almost everyone can find something useful to them. For example, under the Trail Maps function heading, I want to include the following features:

Topographical maps
Degree of trail difficulty
Location of nearest off trail water sources
Updates on trail conditions
Points of interest
Plant and Wildlife information

I want the quality of information presented to be great, and I want it to be updated as often as new information is available. It is true that you can find out an extensive amount of information about trails beforehand from books, but something published in Sep/October the previous year may not be as relevant in August of this year. I want to have trail condition updates posted as often as the information is available as well.

Picture a volunteer from a trail club reporting on Monday the conditions he saw on the trail on his hike over the weekend. He notices that the rain over the weekend has made a low lying area of the trail terribly muddy and hard to cross. He also sees that the wetland vegetation is clogging the trail. So, he emails a webmaster that works on the support website for the trail information center. The webmaster updates the site (and congruently the trail information posts) and right away you can find out this information.

I also want to stress that YOU may be completely prepared for your trip, but there are certainly people out there who will just simply drive up to a parking lot with a day pack on and grossly miscalculate what they are up against on the trail. You may not care about that and maybe even feel contempt for them being there, but they are still using the trails for the same reason you are. If I can set up something where one of these people can stand there for 5 minutes at the trail head and re-evalute what they are about to do, then the information has totally met its purpose. Think of the potential to save time and money for rescue crews if people put themselves at less risk by being informed.

I'd also like to list some functions that WOULD be useful to a hardcore hiker or a thru hiker:

-Month long weather projections and weather reports from the previous year at the same location.

-Digital Media Downloading: Stop buying 3 media cards for your digital camera, carry one and empty it periodically.

-Frequent updates to trail conditions.

-Degree of Trail Difficulty: By this I don't mean color the whole trail red to mean difficult, I'd like to make this an additional layer added to topography maps and make any drastic changes of trail section marked in different colors.

-Nearest water source. This sounds like it would be just a straight forward map symbol for a lake, but what I mean is charting distance from campsites to water sources, or hopefully, marking different "info points" on the map interface so people can click on a mid distance point and find out it will be a 500 yard hike down hill to water.

-Email connection: Admit it; as much as you hate the idea of answering email during a trip, you KNOW it is a useful tool to stay in touch with people.

-Trail Journals: Set aside your skepticism for a moment about the idea of typing something into the information center and think about this; Word of mouth is a great source of information. Through a digital trail journal you could read people's impressions of trails, experiences, and joy for being out in the woods. A trail information book won't tell you that it saw 3 moose drinking from the lake at your campsite, and it won't tell you that the bugs only come out after dark either. I remember spending HOURS reading what people had written on the shelters at Isle Royale National Park, and I'd like to take that experience and put it in a format that you could download onto a palm pilot and take with you to read throughout your whole trip.

Lastly I want to say that YOU CAN NOT IGNORE TECHNOLOGY. Instead of fighting it as much as possible, recognize that at times it can aide you and not interfere with your life or the activity you are doing. If you do agree with me that the features I pointed out above could be useful to you on a thru hike, then you may also be willing to admit that if you found one of these at a trailhead (in the parking lot, not smack in the middle of trail) then you may be able to completely ignore going into a town to find any of this information if you really needed to find it out. In the end I realize that some people will always just stick to their ways and the belief that all you could ever need is a weather radio, but what I want to do is help EVERYONE. I've already received a few suggestions to make this just a portable device, but the fact is if I did that then it would cost 500 plus dollars and hardly anyone should have access to it. The beauty about hiking is it's an activity that is FREE and can be used by anyone, and I want to enhance the experience everyone.



-Jason

Lilred
10-31-2003, 00:42
Maybe it's just me, but I think too much information can lessen the hiking experience. Do I really want to know about every trail condition and blow down I might encounter? Do I really want to know about every scenic overlook before I get there? I don't think so. The unexpectedness of the hike seems to me to be a big part of why I'm out there. I want to test myself and see how well I can handle what nature has to hand me.

I don't think I'd care for this kind of technology on the trail. Heck, I'm not even crazy about the frequency of shelters.

And the idea that hiking is 'free' is far from accurate and quite naive.

MadAussieInLondon
10-31-2003, 04:32
if someone isnt prepared, should they be out there? do you go on a week long hike with NO perparation? pamphlets at trailheads == litter at trailheads.

asmtroop3
10-31-2003, 07:19
Originally posted by HonorOFeagle
I want to say that YOU CAN NOT IGNORE TECHNOLOGY. Instead of fighting it as much as possible, recognize that at times it can aide you and not interfere with your life or the activity you are doing.

Why do you think most of us go to the woods?
We are all here because our ancestors survived out there and we will as well.

I cannot even really stand the current technology in the woods
(privy & shelters)

I go to escape this machine I am bound to all day.
Ignore Technology? yep thanks, I will.:-? :-? :-?

smokymtnsteve
10-31-2003, 08:22
Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New world")said...

Life is SHORT and Information ENDLESS...

Edward Abbey (author of "the monkey wrench gang")
said

"when you come upon evidence left by the rat men, engineering and survey markers, remove these things..protect the wilderness"

seems like this idea would be something Mr Abbey would remove, with or without "permission" and Ed Abbey is right!

MOWGLI
10-31-2003, 08:38
Originally posted by HonorOFeagle

Picture a volunteer from a trail club reporting on Monday the conditions he saw on the trail on his hike over the weekend.

Picture a day where there are no trail volunteers. That day is coming if new & younger folks are not attracted to the idea of building & maintaining trail. Look at the demographics of the trail building & maintaining community. Most folks (not all) are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The AT is only one trail, albeit, an interesting and important trail. Many other trail clubs are struggling to attract volunteers. Especially in the Southeast. They can't compete with video games and the like. In the meantime, obesity has fast become America's #1 health problem.

IMO, trails would be much better served by working to build the volunteer base to support them.

If you spend a lot of time hiking trails, I hope that you are a member of a trail club, and give back by building or maintaining trail from time to time. If you're interested in doing that, and would like to know what trail clubs really need help, drop me an email at jhunter@AmericanHiking.org.

Ankle Bone
10-31-2003, 11:42
I took the survey and can only say "ditto" to Skyline and other's comments. This sounds like what the AT would become if it was purchased by Disney. Thanks, but no thanks.

Dharma
10-31-2003, 12:48
I've already received a few suggestions to make this just a portable device, but the fact is if I did that then it would cost 500 plus dollars and hardly anyone should have access to it.
Ah, nature's revenge.

Ditto what Skyline said. I know I don't have to use such a device, but the object of the trail (for newbies) would be to make them stop depending on knowing what's going to happen all the time. That's the mysticism of long distance hiking... the unknown lies at your feet everyday. It's magical.

chknfngrs
10-31-2003, 14:12
bad joo joo

Saluki Dave
10-31-2003, 14:13
After 19 years as an enigneer and four patents, I would imagine I'm just about as comfortable with technology as most folks you're likely to meet. I also suspect my politics diverge from the vast majority of those here on whiteblaze.

That said, I have to agree with the posts above. Technology has its place. I'm sure we all appreciate what it has done to advance the human condition in fields such as medicine, but some places technology just doesn't belong. The wilderness is just that; wild. I don't have a hangup over cell phones or radios (so long as you don't slow down and drive in my lane :>), but it seems to me that a trail head "info board" would transform an outdoor experience into a ride on "It's a Small World." Also, people who neglect to prepare before walking into the woods aren't likely to be able to properly process or act upon the information they receive when they're on the verge.

It's a great idea, from a technology point of view, and might make for a helluva thesis, but I really don't think there is a market. There just ain't no cure fer stupid.

chknfngrs
10-31-2003, 14:24
no place like the wild
get away from the clutter
please tech somewhere else

Youngblood
10-31-2003, 14:56
It is not unusual for us to resist technology, I know that I have. But it is also not unusual for us to change how we feel about it after we have been exposed to it and become more comfortable with it. Think about PC's, cell phones, GPS, weather radios, remote control door locks, power windows, remote control TV's, etc. I think I diss'ed some of those as not needed when I first heard of them, but now it is hard to remember what it was like before we had them.

Maybe you ought to give the guy a break, I mean he is student trying to come up with something neat for his thesis -- nothing more, nothing less. (However, I seem to recall that the idea for FedExpress was thought of by a student for his thesis whose professor thought it was totally unrealistic and gave him a fairly low grade for his concept.) Give him a chance, someday you may be bragging how you helped him shape his ideas.

Youngblood

smokymtnsteve
10-31-2003, 15:03
it not a problem with technology, technology can be great..we need it..it;s how we use technology..or how we allow technolgy to use us...

max patch
10-31-2003, 15:28
But I will give credit to the student for developing a creative solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

No need to bash the guy; his ideas are more creative than some baaad dissertations I've read.

TedB
10-31-2003, 16:00
There is this device called the internet which more than capable of providing all the information you want, and is convently accessable in trail towns along the way. There are even portable devices which connect to it, if god forbid, you can't last a day without checking the latest weather forecast.

Part of what makes the AT such a special place is that it allows you to get away from all of that for a time. A more useful device would be something that can jam cellphone signals, ideally destroying the offending phone in the process. (See even I agree there is a place for technology along the trail.)

Dharma
10-31-2003, 16:05
Youngblood, MaxPatch: I hear what you're saying. I think he should go on with his project too.

HonorOFeagle you might want to add something to your project that reflects on what changes this device will make on the human aspect of the trail. It will prolly be speculative, but you may get ideas from these responses.

Every time we put a new piece of technology in our lives it has an impact on us. From my own geeky observations it seems our minds just get busier and busier as we add technology. Cell phones seem to have taken up a bunch of dead space where people had to deal with nothing going on in the brain or just plain boredom.

If this technology that you propose is handheld... it will probably lead to more busy-bodies littering the trail with an insane amount of thinking -- never really touching the natural world that the user is in.

If it is something like a kiosk at a trailhead, the effects will be different for the hiking community.

One thing you didn't mention is how is this paid for? Advertising? Is some box going to be selling me stuff as I walk by? (sorta like Shell gas pumps these days?)

SGT Rock
11-01-2003, 04:37
Here is my idea:

Reduction of pack weight by combining technologies:

1. PDA - replace journal and pen

2. Digital camera - replace normal camera an film

3. Topo software and info - replace trail guide and maps

All that stuff together weighs about a pound. Make a PDA that can do that and weighs less than 6 ouncs, is waterproof, and can play MP3s, and maybe I'll buy that. Oh - and it needs a solar recharger or the ability to use AA Lithium or rechargable batteries.

It would also be nice if you could transmit the data over any telephone line so that you could send it from anywhere.

I don't want another big dang information booth at the trailhead and I don't want people IMing me in the woods.

Skyline
11-01-2003, 10:22
Honor of Eagle, you have obviously invested a lot of yourself in this project, which is after all your thesis, so of course you should see it through.

I just hope the majority reaction you have witnessed so far here gives you something more to think about than simply how "useful" the features of this contraption might be. I hope it prompts you to find room within your thesis, if not your heart, to include some text about why this gadget and all this technology might be a BAD thing. And I bet you would win points with your professor for doing so.

I'm not sure if you mentioned it but I have a question: Have you ever hiked for more than a week at a time on the A.T.? If not, may I suggest you thoroughly immerse yourself in the Trail and its culture first-hand before you turn in your thesis. A longish section hike may or may not give you a different perspective, but it would certainly add credibility to your thesis. I'm guessing it WOULD give you insights to help you better appreciate what so many here are trying to say, but there's only one way to really know--hit the Trail.

Also, Youngblood wrote: "Think about PC's, cell phones, GPS, weather radios, remote control door locks, power windows, remote control TV's, etc. I think I diss'ed some of those as not needed when I first heard of them, but now it is hard to remember what it was like before we had them."

Personally, I can definitely do without the cell phone and GPS. Especially in the woods! The other items, for better or worse, are unavoidable on most folks' radar screens today but if they suddenly disappeared it wouldn't bother me that much.

UberPest
11-02-2003, 10:54
one thesis thought up at a Michigan Recreation and Parks Association meeting (student commitee... we were at the bar) that would be great for: Recreation, Physical Education, Occupational Therapy, Health and Human Services, and others....

see what affect a long distance hike has on the human body in terms of endurance, body fat %, metabolism, O2 usage, heart rate, bone density, joint wear, range of motion, etc.

For vets, see what affect it has on dogs--one of my pet peeves is that many books insist long distance hiking will CAUSE hip dysplasia... which is mostly caused by genetics and (according to some more recent research) possibly diet. While a long distance hike may worsen an existing condition, I don't think for a minute that it will CAUSE a joint problem.


Anyway, there is some previous research on human long-distance hiking... but the one study I can think of offhand was flawed (ie, only had one woman in the study because women simply weren't on the trail much at the time) so a similar study needs to be conducted.


As for techies... I'm a big techie, despite my degree being in Recreation and Park Management (did tech support for 3 years to get through college). My oldest brother decided for me that I should bring my cell phone (which I didn't want in the first place, but it was cheaper than getting a new car that didn't break down all the time) with me on my hike. He also wants me to bring a PDA and possibly a GPS... but I'm going to concede on just the phone (I like my space pen and riteintherain notebook), and it will only be used when I'm actually in town or some such as I don't expect to get reception on the trail. This will be my first "cell phone" hike (it usually stays in the car while I'm hiking). Of course, you ask how I would charge a phone on the trail... that same brother is making me a solar charger. ARGH! At least it's easier than listening to him and my dad complain that I'll be all alone in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact anyone. LOL.

The Weasel
11-02-2003, 12:43
Uber --- Are you in Michigan, also? If so, near where?

Dee
11-02-2003, 13:59
"A FOOTPATH FOR THOSE WHO SEEK FELLOWSHIP WITH THE WILDERNESS".

I took your survey, and for some reason the phrase above ran through my mind.
I for one seek solitude, and so do many others. It's an escape from the corporate america and the 9 to 5.
I would rather leave the experience to the imagination and discover whats to be seen by my own footsteps.
I do however understand the need for such devices after a hike through SNP.
I ran into two park rangers at sundown in SNP on skyline drive, as I was giving them some trail condition information, a young couple appeared and asked for help, they were in distress. They got lost and ended up on "some appalachian trail".
I will bet they know what the appalachain trail is now, and they are lucky they did't end up in maine. Ha ha ha.
It's a good idea, yes, but only for people who day hike, take a weekend hiking, and of course those who lack knowledge.
As for me, if I drop everything for 5 to 6 months and set off for a journey seeking something, i'll find it myself.

UberPest
11-02-2003, 16:14
Originally posted by The Weasel
Uber --- Are you in Michigan, also? If so, near where?

I used to be near Ann Arbor, but I moved back to Indiana for a while since I graduated in August. Dad needs someone to help take care of the house, and I needed to save the rent $$$ for my hike. Two birds/one stone.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:13
Originally posted by TNJED
Picture a day where there are no trail volunteers. That day is coming if new & younger folks are not attracted to the idea of building & maintaining trail. Look at the demographics of the trail building & maintaining community. Most folks (not all) are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The AT is only one trail, albeit, an interesting and important trail. Many other trail clubs are struggling to attract volunteers. Especially in the Southeast. They can't compete with video games and the like. In the meantime, obesity has fast become America's #1 health problem.

IMO, trails would be much better served by working to build the volunteer base to support them.

If you spend a lot of time hiking trails, I hope that you are a member of a trail club, and give back by building or maintaining trail from time to time. If you're interested in doing that, and would like to know what trail clubs really need help, drop me an email at jhunter@AmericanHiking.org.

I just got back from an American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacation that I did on October 18th. I am an Eagle Scout with 3 palms and I can say I've been actively out in the woods for about 13 years. I definately have a strong desire to preserve the woods and ensure that future generations have them to enjoy too. I got to see what you said about the demographics of the trail volunteers firsthand. Out of 12 people I was the youngest (23), our host was 31, there was a woman in her late 30s, another woman in her early 40s, and the rest of the group was retired. There is certainly a huge age gap there, but the retired people were incredibly active. Most of them had been all over the united states doing trail volunteer work. Half of them had even been to Alaska 4 or 5 times. If this is the level of involvement that is out there, I would consider things to be in good hands. I do agree that more people need to be invovled, and it is hard to attract people my age to such a thing.

I think part of the problem lies in vacation time. I was able to go because I only work 10 hours a week at the college, and all of my professors didn't have a problem with me going because it was related to my project. Next year and in the future I won't be so lucky. Unless I get a job in Detroit, I am most likely to be halfway across the country from my hometown. I'll spend my vacation time on getting home for holidays. Once I pick up more I will probably be using it to do a yearly hike with some of my friends. There really isn't a good time to get out and volunteer unless it was short weekend sessions. Based on my experience in Kentucky, I will totally consider being a part of a trail club if one exists where I end up living. I am strongly considering going back to volunteer for the Pine Mountain Trail again in the summer if I am still looking for a job at the time.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:15
Originally posted by MadAussieInLondon
if someone isnt prepared, should they be out there? do you go on a week long hike with NO perparation? pamphlets at trailheads == litter at trailheads.


Originally posted by Lilredmg
Maybe it's just me, but I think too much information can lessen the hiking experience. Do I really want to know about every trail condition and blow down I might encounter? Do I really want to know about every scenic overlook before I get there? I don't think so. The unexpectedness of the hike seems to me to be a big part of why I'm out there. I want to test myself and see how well I can handle what nature has to hand me.

I don't think I'd care for this kind of technology on the trail. Heck, I'm not even crazy about the frequency of shelters.


I also intend this to bring piece of mind and reassurance. Any well experienced hiker will probably tell you that they are comfortable about being in the woods cut off from everything, but there are people out there who are too scared to get out of their car because there is a small chance that they will come across a bear in the woods. Knowledge can alleviate FEAR. Like it or not stupidity is often a default. You can give people all of the resources in the world to learn and be educated, but out of sheer laziness they won’t bother. I think it would be great if there was something out there that could be a “last chance” attempt to make people more aware of what they are up against once they lace up their boots and hit the trail. I’m guessing half the reason you are angry about this product is the fact that you feel sometimes feel contempt for inexperienced people. It’s a natural reaction to look down upon somebody that is taking away a piece of YOUR activity and doing it all WRONG. Hell I do too. I roll my eyes when I see some overweight accountant drag his kids that never stop eating out of the car and walk 3 miles and call it “hiking.” I am incensed when I come across the “perfect lake” to set up camp at for the evening only to see half a dozen ATVs or SUVs pull up in the course of a half hour. I don’t like to deal with STUPID either, but the fact remains that stupidity is present and we must deal with it. I want this product to combat that “just a little bit.” I want it to influence people to consider what they are doing more then they have. I want it to be a source of intervention before someone blisters themselves so bad they can’t walk, sprains and ankle, gets dehydrated, or has a bear rummaging through their campsite for food.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:17
Originally posted by TedB
There is this device called the internet which more than capable of providing all the information you want, and is convently accessable in trail towns along the way. There are even portable devices which connect to it, if god forbid, you can't last a day without checking the latest weather forecast.

Part of what makes the AT such a special place is that it allows you to get away from all of that for a time. A more useful device would be something that can jam cellphone signals, ideally destroying the offending phone in the process. (See even I agree there is a place for technology along the trail.)

Can you honestly tell me you would walk a few extra miles to get to a public library in a small town? Would you do that if you were section hiking for only a week? Would you even leave the woods if you were on a short trip? Half of the function of this device would be on point access to the information. You want to check the weather one last time, you want to see if you might get rain by mid week, you want to find out if you’ll be hiking for an entire afternoon without a source of water. You want to know RIGHT NOW, not a waste of an afternoon hike into town just to sit in front of a computer for 20 minutes.

I hardly consider the internet to be an effective means of research. You can’t even run a search for something without being inundated with a bunch of worthless information. You’re much better going out and finding a book that was written by someone knowledgeable instead of believing some nameless person spreading false information, or a some website that is a gigantic advertisement with a paragraph long blurb of something useful to you. Since the deliverable product that this device is offering is information, I intend it to provide thorough and USEFUL information.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:21
Originally posted by Dharma
One thing you didn't mention is how is this paid for? Advertising? Is some box going to be selling me stuff as I walk by? (sorta like Shell gas pumps these days?) [/B]

I am considering the idea of charging for only "semi-tangible items"; downloading pictures off memory cards, creating postcards, email, and possibly downloading the trail journal. Based on the full out attack I have recieved, I don't think it would be wise to charge for accessing the information and I want zero advertising on this.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:35
Originally posted by Skyline
Honor of Eagle, you have obviously invested a lot of yourself in this project, which is after all your thesis, so of course you should see it through.

I just hope the majority reaction you have witnessed so far here gives you something more to think about than simply how "useful" the features of this contraption might be. I hope it prompts you to find room within your thesis, if not your heart, to include some text about why this gadget and all this technology might be a BAD thing. And I bet you would win points with your professor for doing so.

I'm not sure if you mentioned it but I have a question: Have you ever hiked for more than a week at a time on the A.T.? If not, may I suggest you thoroughly immerse yourself in the Trail and its culture first-hand before you turn in your thesis. A longish section hike may or may not give you a different perspective, but it would certainly add credibility to your thesis. I'm guessing it WOULD give you insights to help you better appreciate what so many here are trying to say, but there's only one way to really know--hit the Trail.

Also, Youngblood wrote: "Think about PC's, cell phones, GPS, weather radios, remote control door locks, power windows, remote control TV's, etc. I think I diss'ed some of those as not needed when I first heard of them, but now it is hard to remember what it was like before we had them."

Personally, I can definitely do without the cell phone and GPS. Especially in the woods! The other items, for better or worse, are unavoidable on most folks' radar screens today but if they suddenly disappeared it wouldn't bother me that much.

Skyline,

I will definately include as part of my Thesis an analysis of what I have gathered from the surveys, and I will also discuss at length the implications of such a device and the reaction it my recieve. Honesty regardless of what someone else precieves as lessing my own integrity has always been my policy.

I knew starting into this that many of the people I am designing it for may be resistant to its existance. All in all I realize I am dealing with a group of overly fanatic people. Some of you I simply cannot and will not please. That’s fine with me. You can’t win them all. I started off this project with the intention of designing something for hiking, and I discovered that most hardcore enthusiasts are so ardent in their minimalism that they would be happiest if it was possible for them to bring nothing. I was trying to make another “thing” for people that don’t want anything at all. Instead I have chose to focus on the EXPERIENCE, and I feel this product would do that.

I am hoping that I can get down to North Carolina to hike the Appalachian trail during my spring break in early March, but that would mean bringing along a friend of mine who might not exactly be all that interested in hiking in weather that cold. I am honestly moving towards maybe not including information leading towards a specific trail system as part of my thesis. In reality I can't learn enough about the trail system without having used it a lot, and I have already been told by my professor that I should worry more about the product and not where it goes because even if it was built I could not dictate that.

HonorOFeagle
11-02-2003, 17:41
Originally posted by Lilredmg
Maybe it's just me, but I think too much information can lessen the hiking experience. Do I really want to know about every trail condition and blow down I might encounter? Do I really want to know about every scenic overlook before I get there? I don't think so. The unexpectedness of the hike seems to me to be a big part of why I'm out there. I want to test myself and see how well I can handle what nature has to hand me.



I look at this from a different point of view. Giving you an idea of what is out there to see isn't spoiling the suprise in my mind, it's a way to make you aware of it and give you the chance to see it. I can think of several occassions where I was hiking and I was able to do side trips to see some spectacular things, but if I was not told of them by someone else I would have never even known they existed. It's not like I'm showing pictures and video clips of these places, I'm just letting you know they are there.

smokymtnsteve
11-02-2003, 18:05
sounds like a trail map and guide book to me

The Weasel
11-02-2003, 18:05
Originally posted by UberPest
I used to be near Ann Arbor, but I moved back to Indiana for a while since I graduated in August. Dad needs someone to help take care of the house, and I needed to save the rent $$$ for my hike. Two birds/one stone.

What part of Indiana? If you're seriously training, look up the "Knobstone Trail" in southern Indiana (starts about 30 miles north of Louisville) which is also known as "the mini-AT" for good reason.

The Weasel

UberPest
11-03-2003, 06:52
Originally posted by The Weasel
What part of Indiana? If you're seriously training, look up the "Knobstone Trail" in southern Indiana (starts about 30 miles north of Louisville) which is also known as "the mini-AT" for good reason.

The Weasel


That's one I've thought about doing for training, it's about 6 hours of driving to get there for me (I'm closer to Canada than the KT). I'd have to take a LOT of days off of work to do that one. :(

Jaybird
11-03-2003, 08:53
H O E:

don't get me wrong...i love computers & techo-things as much as the next guy....i have 3 computers...thinking about purchasing a laptop, own 2 digital cameras, serve as web-master for 5 website.............

B-U-T............


leave the technology off the trail....gps & cell-phones are bad enuff...please no more tech gear on the trail.

i, frankly, enjoy the trail as a "get-away" from civilization....but, i fear, the technology is encroaching.


i hate to see hikers with a cell-phone "glued" to their ear while hiking.....if u must take a cell phone....



ONLY USE IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!;)


jaybird
www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird


p.s.: i took your survey!

MOWGLI
11-03-2003, 09:00
Originally posted by HonorOFeagle
I just got back from an American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacation that I did on October 18th.

I am strongly considering going back to volunteer for the Pine Mountain Trail again in the summer if I am still looking for a job at the time.

Jason, thanks for participating in a Volunteer Vacation! My employer is AHS.

I just learned last week that the average age of a hiker is 39. That concerns me. I'm glad you're out there doing trail work. There was a time when long distance hiking feats impressed me. No longer. What impresses me is people who build and maintain trail. It's much more difficult, and involves sacraficing the self for the larger good.

What did you think of the Pine Mountain Trail? Shad spoke at a conference I organized a few weeks ago.

Jeffrey Hunter

HonorOFeagle
11-03-2003, 12:40
Originally posted by TNJED
Jason, thanks for participating in a Volunteer Vacation! My employer is AHS.

I just learned last week that the average age of a hiker is 39. That concerns me. I'm glad you're out there doing trail work. There was a time when long distance hiking feats impressed me. No longer. What impresses me is people who build and maintain trail. It's much more difficult, and involves sacraficing the self for the larger good.

What did you think of the Pine Mountain Trail? Shad spoke at a conference I organized a few weeks ago.

Jeffrey Hunter

Jeffrey,

Overall I think it will be a great trail once it is finished. The overall terrain and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. There is nothing I enjoy more then hiking along ridges or moutain tops, and that trail certainly satisfies that. I think they have some areas they need to improve on so they are more "full backpack friendly" (skirting along rocks, etc.) and they need to find some clearly defined water sources along the section we worked on, but from what I have seen so far it looks like it will turn out to be a great trail.

UberPest
11-03-2003, 19:00
Originally posted by jaybird


i hate to see hikers with a cell-phone "glued" to their ear while hiking.....if u must take a cell phone....



ONLY USE IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!;)



I agree SO MUCH! Even though I've been told to carry a cell phone (again, easier than hearing my brother and dad complain and worry), I didn't say I'd have it on. I'm only using it for emergencies or when in a trail town (instead of a pay phone to call for my next drop/check in)