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Mags
07-17-2013, 10:24
Interesting article about technology on the trail (with related slides shows)
http://www.providencejournal.com/topics/special-reports/ewave/content/20130713-technology-on-the-trail-changes-hiking.ece

Sly
07-17-2013, 10:36
Resistance was/is futile.

Although they should never replace map and compass, and aren't as quick for reference like a paper guide, if you own one, smart phones are just too versatile to leave behind.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-17-2013, 14:56
"Matthew A. Bongiovanni, 46, of West Kingston, who began a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on March 21 this year in Georgia."

WB member Army Ant !!

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 15:01
army ant is not exactly thru hiking in "purist"mode. he has spent more nights off trail than on. yes, he is heavily reliant on his cell phone.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-17-2013, 15:04
Is purist mode required? I thought HYOH was the AT philosophy.....

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 15:08
Is purist mode required? I thought HYOH was the AT philosophy.....
not at all. I saw him last week in ny had lunch with him and the aussies.i hiked with him in ga. he can hike any way he wants, just pointing out that the phone was essential for him to stay on the trail. I don't believe he would have made it this far without it.theyve labeled it gray blazing

Mags
07-17-2013, 15:50
re: smart devices too versatile to leave behind

I suspect when I do my next long hike (at least two weeks with a resupply is my own personal definition), I suspect I may take a smart device but leave it off / disconnected except in town. I did take a pocketmail many moons ago writing article for the local paper...would not be functionally that different.

The key is how it is used IMO.

But, there is no real clear cut "correct" answer...nor should there be. On shorter trips, I simply leave it in the car.

Think the best thing to do with interactive electronics is to use them like going to the bathroom: Try to use them in a way that is respectful of your fellow trail users. At least IMO.

re: gray blazing

Explain a bit more?

Rasty
07-17-2013, 15:57
For the most part you would never know I have a cell phone on me even if I was hiking with you. I would drop back a few minutes at a promising ridgeline where I think I may have reception. If I do then I try to call my wife daily for a couple of minutes. It's part of being married and I'm grateful she is so cooperative when I go away. At night in my tent I may read for 10 to 20 minutes with the Kindle app on the phone. Do I need this? No. Does it harm anyone's experience? No. I do like to post from my tent sometimes just to make homebound Whiteblazers jealous that they are not hiking. That is priceless!

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 16:08
re: smart devices too versatile to leave behind

I suspect when I do my next long hike (at least two weeks with a resupply is my own personal definition), I suspect I may take a smart device but leave it off / disconnected except in town. I did take a pocketmail many moons ago writing article for the local paper...would not be functionally that different.

The key is how it is used IMO.

But, there is no real clear cut "correct" answer...nor should there be. On shorter trips, I simply leave it in the car.

Think the best thing to do with interactive electronics is to use them like going to the bathroom: Try to use them in a way that is respectful of your fellow trail users. At least IMO.

re: gray blazing

Explain a bit more?

kinda taking advantage of gray areas of thru hiking-they've aqua blazed, yellow blazed,blue blazed and stayed in motels, hostels and private residences more often than they've tented or sheltered.Hey its their hike and theyre having a blast, and they've even joked about it, poking fun at themselves and their lack of "purity". theyre having a great time, and although it may seem like it sometimes, im not being critical.but the phone has been their lifeline to slackpacks motel and hostels, shuttles,etc.without the phone I think they would have come off trail a while ago.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-17-2013, 16:24
I didn't know that's what grey blazing was....I honestly figured it was for the over 50 crowd, like me. I understand now what you mean about Matt....I mean Army Ant. Yes, the technology is not necessary, just a tool, but a part of the overall experience. I certainly brought my phone on our hikes (a fat lot of good it did in CT), but other than the requisite daily "check in" it went unused.

A father/daughter team we hiked with for a while in PA used a GPS (or something like it) on a phone, but it kept disagreeing with my guide pages and telling us we were miles from the trail. The paper map was the smartest approach there as it turned out.
.
Anyway, I found the newspaper article interesting as it came from my local paper....ironic since RI is the only NE state without the trail, but then I found it very cool to see someone with whom I am familiar referenced.

Sly
07-17-2013, 17:41
re: smart devices too versatile to leave behind

I suspect when I do my next long hike (at least two weeks with a resupply is my own personal definition), I suspect I may take a smart device but leave it off / disconnected except in town. I did take a pocketmail many moons ago writing article for the local paper...would not be functionally that different.

The key is how it is used IMO.



Of course that's your choice of when and how to use it.

Some of the more useful apps would be gps/maps, photos, uploading photos to Facebook/blogs etc., geotagging photos, stargazing, journaling (either written or voice), guidebook apps, animal track identification, flora identification, and of course staying in touch with loved ones. There's even an app to keep mosquitoes at bay.

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 19:04
technology can give us great tools to have both off and on the trail, but dependence on these technologies can lead to problems when those technologies are taken away.after 9/11 cell service as well as cable and satellite tv was knocked out in nyc and its suburbs and if you didn't have a landline phone or tv roof antenna, you really couldn't communicate very well. same after superstorm sandy. in fact people here on wb joked about people standing in line for coffee as they had no electricity to use their keurigs with.i remember after the hurricane when I was paying my landlady the rent although we really couldn't live there yet, still had no utilities, no running water, she said she felt guilty taking the money. I told her im a backpacker , shes entitled to the rent,that the storm wasn't her fault, and im only inconvenienced. she replied oh yeah, that's right you love this stuff. I said"besides ,look up.we can see the stars!!!" (as we are close to the city lights and theres always humidity in the air close to the ocean we don't see very many).she looked up, looked back at me and smiled. I said, not so bad, right?she said no, not at all.nothing wrong with carrying that technology onto the trail, just to be prepared should it fail.

Kookork
07-17-2013, 19:08
I didn't know that's what grey blazing was....I honestly figured it was for the over 50 crowd, like me. I understand now what you mean about Matt....I mean Army Ant. Yes, the technology is not necessary just a took, but a part of the overall experience. I certainly brought my phone on our hikes (a fat lot of good it did in CT), but other than the requisite daily "check in" it went unused.

A father/daughter team we hiked with for a while in PA used a GPS (or something like it) on a phone, but it kept disagreeing with my guide pages and telling us we were miles from the trail. The paper map was the smartest approach there as it turned out.
.
Anyway, I found the newspaper article interesting as it came from my local paper....ironic since RI is the only NE state without the trail, but then I found it very cool to see someone with whom I am familiar referenced.

That Grey dear teacher applies to hikers that drink Earl Grey tea while hiking .:D.

rickb
07-17-2013, 19:34
Very well written.


The key is how it is used IMO.


Being totally out of touch is a luxury that is pretty damn hard to come by these days, and will get tougher still.


I say enjoy the chance if you can.

Pedaling Fool
07-17-2013, 19:44
Resistance if futile.

We're talking about a subject in constant change. I remember back in 2005 there being big debates on if cell phones even belong on the trail, now it's not an issue. In another 10 years cell phone use on the trail will not be an "issue". And one day technology will make it easier to use electronic maps/direction finders vs. a paper map and a compass. And it'll all be in one device.

These devices will be seen as necessary as a car.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-17-2013, 19:49
That Grey dear teacher applies to hikers that drink Earl Grey tea while hiking .:D.

Then I truly AM a grey blazer! Earl Grey....hot.

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 20:07
Resistance if futile.

We're talking about a subject in constant change. I remember back in 2005 there being big debates on if cell phones even belong on the trail, now it's not an issue. In another 10 years cell phone use on the trail will not be an "issue". And one day technology will make it easier to use electronic maps/direction finders vs. a paper map and a compass. And it'll all be in one device.

These devices will be seen as necessary as a car.

who needs a car on the trail?

Rasty
07-17-2013, 20:19
Resistance if futile.

We're talking about a subject in constant change. I remember back in 2005 there being big debates on if cell phones even belong on the trail, now it's not an issue. In another 10 years cell phone use on the trail will not be an "issue". And one day technology will make it easier to use electronic maps/direction finders vs. a paper map and a compass. And it'll all be in one device.

These devices will be seen as necessary as a car.

who needs a car on the trail?

Now we gotta dodge cars on the trail. How am I going to sleep in the middle of the trail?

rocketsocks
07-17-2013, 20:29
Now we gotta dodge cars on the trail. How am I going to sleep in the middle of the trail?Have to start carrying these now

22811

Rasty
07-17-2013, 20:35
Now we gotta dodge cars on the trail. How am I going to sleep in the middle of the trail?Have to start carrying these now

22811

Do they make a UL version?

hikerboy57
07-17-2013, 20:37
Do they make a UL version?

you can get em on your smart phone

JustaTouron
07-17-2013, 20:38
Resistance if futile.

We're talking about a subject in constant change. I remember back in 2005 there being big debates on if cell phones even belong on the trail, now it's not an issue. In another 10 years cell phone use on the trail will not be an "issue". And one day technology will make it easier to use electronic maps/direction finders vs. a paper map and a compass.

True.

But the issue of how they are used will remain.

Once transistor radios were small and light enough to be brought on the trail the issue of the proper etiquette began.

My view now, is the same as it was then. I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature. If you want to listen to music on your transistor radio/walkman/discman/iphone that is fine by me, but please use headphones/earbuds. Thank you.

Mags
07-17-2013, 23:45
It is more than cell phones, though. It is an expected connectivity that is deep in our societal culture. This same expectation of connectivity is now on the backcountry. Connectivity is not bad in of itself, but the increasing expectation that I will be connected is not a good thing IMO. With SPOT connected to certain GPS devices, connectivity in the backcountry is not just a theoretical concept but a fairly practical reality. Good, bad or indifferent technology does change how the backcountry is perceived, experienced and even the definition of "backcountry" itself.

re: Coffee

I have a percolator. Let the blizzards happen. :)

jeffmeh
07-18-2013, 00:14
At least as interesting as the article is Mag's implicit confession that he stalks his old haunts with the hometown rag. :)

Mags
07-18-2013, 01:47
At least as interesting as the article is Mag's implicit confession that he stalks his old haunts with the hometown rag. :)

confession? Almost all my cousins (16 of us!), my aunts and uncles, friends, brothers and of course Mom still lives there too. Once a RI boy, always a RI boy. :D

Pedaling Fool
07-18-2013, 07:41
who needs a car on the trail?Everyone on the trail uses a car. And I mean EVERYONE:)

HikerMom58
07-18-2013, 08:48
"Matthew A. Bongiovanni, 46, of West Kingston, who began a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on March 21 this year in Georgia."

WB member Army Ant !!


How cool it that? Goooooo ARMY ANT!! So PROUD!!!!! :banana

ChuckT
07-18-2013, 10:46
I am plugged in only when I want to be or need to be (that would be during a zero-day). For the rest of it, I really do not understand having to be umbilical-ed. If I called my wife as often as I see others using smart phones she'd wonder what was wrong.

On the other hand if I can find just the "right" device I may spring for a new one.

cvt

markdek
07-18-2013, 10:48
I've been on a backpacking trip where none of us were to bring electronics/gps, only using compasses and maps. I took some minor crap for bringing my gps, to ONLY run tracks.

Guess what, the gps saved the day many many times, and most everyone changed their tune. :-)

Mags
07-18-2013, 12:22
I've been on a backpacking trip where none of us were to bring electronics/gps, only using compasses and maps. I took some minor crap for bringing my gps, to ONLY run tracks.

Guess what, the gps saved the day many many times, and most everyone changed their tune. :-)

Where were you hiking that you "needed" a GPS?

I find they can be a useful too, I can honestly say that I've never felt the need for one.

Rasty
07-18-2013, 12:49
I've been on a backpacking trip where none of us were to bring electronics/gps, only using compasses and maps. I took some minor crap for bringing my gps, to ONLY run tracks.

Guess what, the gps saved the day many many times, and most everyone changed their tune. :-)

Where were you hiking that you "needed" a GPS?

I find they can be a useful too, I can honestly say that I've never felt the need for one.

The only place I've felt the need was in Croatan national forest which has a maximum elevation of 30' above sea level. 90% pine trees without any discernible features so the compass only gives direction.

Dogwood
07-18-2013, 13:05
Try to use them(interactive electronics) in a way that is respectful of your fellow trail users. At least IMO. - Mags

My opinion too but that's not going to make everyone respectful no more no less than expecting people to not drive and text and use their cell phones. People will have their addictions although some label them as having to stay connected. Isn't that the idea FOR SOME when they hike? To get connected or reconnected to something else(nature, Universe, wildlife, themselves, God, whatever, etc) by disconnecting from other distractions. As much as electronics are helpful we are a society that loves being distracted through the use of electronics. Can a true nature/wildlife experience and trail electronics both survive if we attempt to be simulataneiusly enthralled by both?

Dogwood
07-18-2013, 13:13
I brewed my morning joe the cowboy way this morning without the use of a electric coffee maker, at home. I feel so rebellious and independent right now. Excuse me now as I pick the grinds from my teeth.

Rasty
07-18-2013, 13:14
I brewed my morning joe the cowboy way this morning without the use of a electric coffee maker, at home. I feel so rebellious and independent right now. Excuse me now as I pick the grinds from my teeth.

Savage ......:)

markdek
07-19-2013, 13:38
Where were you hiking that you "needed" a GPS?

I find they can be a useful too, I can honestly say that I've never felt the need for one.

McCormick Wilderness in the UP of Michigan....no major trails exist.

Mags
07-19-2013, 15:11
McCormick Wilderness in the UP of Michigan....no major trails exist.

While a GPS would be useful there, I don't think a GPS is needed simply because you are off-trail.



JMO.

Dogwood
07-19-2013, 19:44
While a GPS would be useful there, I don't think a GPS is needed simply because you are off-trail.
JMO.

ABSOLUTELY! I'll second that. I've been in some very remote areas in the U.S. where no trail, road, human habitation, evidence of another living human exists, etc. MUCH of the adventure and independence that can occur on a hike is experienced by letting yourself become disconnected with civilization. It's more of what I think about when I hear people talking about freedom. Most people want freedom and think it entails doing what they want and how they want but when actually faced with TRUE freedom they wouldn't be able to handle what it entails because they are so reliant on civilization, which includes electronics. Perhaps, this is hard to grasp if all one ever knows are the super hiking highway follow the abundant blazes turn your mind off uber analyzed abundant beta hikes like the AT.

With all the wonderful things that electronics assist and enable us to accomplish I see a very real possible danger when we don't know how to operate without them. A good example is GPS. A sole reliance on a GPS without also having map and compass skills available on treks can lead to serious possibly fatal consequences.

I saw how an over reliance on electronics can paralyze and immobile us recently with my nephew. He was looking up his vocabulary definitions for school with a computer. Not only was he wasting time having to sort through all the overwhelming info his computer searches provided but became paralyzed when the computer failed. Electronics do fail you know! He said he couldn't complete his homework. I said "ridiculous!" I found the dictionary and had to show him how to use it and explain to him why it's still useful and could actually save him time because ALL the vocabulary word info he as looking for was in the first 10 words or so in the dictionary. I'm wondering what the hell they are teaching these kids in school? Again, I'm not anti electronics but I do see our lifestyle choices, including the significant use of and reliance on electronics, being shaped by those who have financial and power agenda interests. What I'm saying, is that we OVERWHELMINGLY hear about the benefits of electronics and hear little about the potential pit falls - a society disconnected from nature/ wilderness and which leads to a loss of personal social skills.

markdek
07-27-2013, 13:26
While a GPS would be useful there, I don't think a GPS is needed simply because you are off-trail.
JMO.

All I can say it, Hike your own Hike. :-)

markdek
07-27-2013, 13:27
And by the way, I had a GPS, to run tracks, and a map and a compass...

Another Kevin
07-27-2013, 21:29
I suspect when I do my next long hike (at least two weeks with a resupply is my own personal definition), I suspect I may take a smart device but leave it off / disconnected except in town. I did take a pocketmail many moons ago writing article for the local paper...would not be functionally that different.

The key is how it is used IMO.

But, there is no real clear cut "correct" answer...nor should there be. On shorter trips, I simply leave it in the car.

Think the best thing to do with interactive electronics is to use them like going to the bathroom: Try to use them in a way that is respectful of your fellow trail users. At least IMO.

At least smartphones don't leave poo on the trail!

I'm unabashed. I bring my smartphone. And I virtually never talk on it. When I can get a signal, I'll usually text my wife, because it makes her feel better, and because a text can often get through when a voice call can't. Otherwise, it's in airplane mode to save battery. I warn colleagues when I go hiking that I'm going to be "off the grid." My boss knows me well enough that he answers, "knowing you, you mean that literally!" and chuckles.

About half my hikes are bushwhacks, because trails are suggestions and (thanks D-Low and Mags!) routes are the future of hiking. I use the GPS app but don't depend on it; in fact, the last time I led a bushwhack, my battery unexpectedly gave up the ghost a short way in despite having got a full charge that morning. My partner (nervous when he's out of sight of a white blaze) said that I still made it look like a walk in the park. I'm a computer geek: I use tools like Quantum GIS, Mapnik and MOBAC to make my own smartphone maps of where I'm planning to go, and download them into Backcountry Navigator.

I usually carry a few books on the phone, and sometimes I'll read in the evening or when sitting somewhere waiting for the hail to stop. I usually have some music on it, too, but I seldom find myself listening. I keep thinking I'll want to have it along, but then just never bother to put in the earbuds. (Exception: Something cheerful when I'm 2500 feet up a 3000 foot steady elevation gain can help keep me moving.) I have a movie or two on it, but that's for plane and train rides; it's hell on the battery when I'm off grid.

I have fun with PeakFinder, and find that few other hikers object when I use it to find out, "what mountain is that, over there?"

I use an app to do text memos, although I also carry some paper for notes and journalling.

I'm ridiculously colour-blind, and have an assistive app on the phone to help me distinguish colours. There's one local trail with dark red blazes that I have a deucedly hard time following without having the app to help me spot them. Before I had the app, I always fell back on bushwhacking technique when hiking that one: "I know it comes down to a stream in another mile. If I follow a contour line east, I'll hit it again."

I take the occasional photo with the camera. because sometimes I get magical light when I don't have my other camera along:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8092852963_2ee2dcb862_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/)
Plotterkill in the mist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/) by ke9tv (http://www.flickr.com/people/ke9tv/), on Flickr
In any case, I may synchronize the clock on the phone with the clock on the camera and tap 'Add waypoint' on the GPS app when I take a picture, so that I can geotag photos after the fact.

I've even been known - quite against my nature - to use my phone as an alarm clock if I have a long day ahead or need to make a pickup time.

And I can recall at least once changing my headlamp batteries by the light of the flashlight app on my smartphone.

I never talk on the phone in front of other hikers unless I'm doing something like calling for a shuttle for the whole group. I try hard not to let other hikers see the screen light at night. And I mostly have my eyes and ears on the trail and on my companions.

And still I know people who say that my phone ruins their wilderness experience - even when it's in my pack. To me, that's somewhere between 'HMHDI' and '***?' The funny thing was that the last hiker that lectured me on that was thirty years younger than I am. So I don't think it's a generational thing.

OzJacko
07-27-2013, 22:36
As one of the "gray blazers" I would like to point out a few things.
We have hiked well over 95% of the trail to date barring the aqua blaze.
Many whose purity is not questioned have hiked less.
The smart phone gives us accurate weather details as it's most valuable use.
This alone is sufficient reason to take one.
Secondly for me at least it gives me email access to my wife in Australia.
Occasionally GPS is useful and as a phone it of course it can be used to text others on the trail and friends (such as many on WB).
It can even be used as a phone to book shuttles or hotels/hostels.
You don't have to have one but my tent never froze to the ground because I saw a weather forecast.
If the fact that I have stayed in more hotels than most is a problem for anything but my budget I can't see why.

OzJacko
07-27-2013, 22:38
I've even been known to use it to post on Whiteblaze...:)

HikerMom58
07-28-2013, 10:26
At least smartphones don't leave poo on the trail!

I'm unabashed. I bring my smartphone. And I virtually never talk on it. When I can get a signal, I'll usually text my wife, because it makes her feel better, and because a text can often get through when a voice call can't. Otherwise, it's in airplane mode to save battery. I warn colleagues when I go hiking that I'm going to be "off the grid." My boss knows me well enough that he answers, "knowing you, you mean that literally!" and chuckles.

About half my hikes are bushwhacks, because trails are suggestions and (thanks D-Low and Mags!) routes are the future of hiking. I use the GPS app but don't depend on it; in fact, the last time I led a bushwhack, my battery unexpectedly gave up the ghost a short way in despite having got a full charge that morning. My partner (nervous when he's out of sight of a white blaze) said that I still made it look like a walk in the park. I'm a computer geek: I use tools like Quantum GIS, Mapnik and MOBAC to make my own smartphone maps of where I'm planning to go, and download them into Backcountry Navigator.

I usually carry a few books on the phone, and sometimes I'll read in the evening or when sitting somewhere waiting for the hail to stop. I usually have some music on it, too, but I seldom find myself listening. I keep thinking I'll want to have it along, but then just never bother to put in the earbuds. (Exception: Something cheerful when I'm 2500 feet up a 3000 foot steady elevation gain can help keep me moving.) I have a movie or two on it, but that's for plane and train rides; it's hell on the battery when I'm off grid.

I have fun with PeakFinder, and find that few other hikers object when I use it to find out, "what mountain is that, over there?"

I use an app to do text memos, although I also carry some paper for notes and journalling.

I'm ridiculously colour-blind, and have an assistive app on the phone to help me distinguish colours. There's one local trail with dark red blazes that I have a deucedly hard time following without having the app to help me spot them. Before I had the app, I always fell back on bushwhacking technique when hiking that one: "I know it comes down to a stream in another mile. If I follow a contour line east, I'll hit it again."

I take the occasional photo with the camera. because sometimes I get magical light when I don't have my other camera along:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8092852963_2ee2dcb862_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/)
Plotterkill in the mist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/) by ke9tv (http://www.flickr.com/people/ke9tv/), on Flickr
In any case, I may synchronize the clock on the phone with the clock on the camera and tap 'Add waypoint' on the GPS app when I take a picture, so that I can geotag photos after the fact.

I've even been known - quite against my nature - to use my phone as an alarm clock if I have a long day ahead or need to make a pickup time.

And I can recall at least once changing my headlamp batteries by the light of the flashlight app on my smartphone.

I never talk on the phone in front of other hikers unless I'm doing something like calling for a shuttle for the whole group. I try hard not to let other hikers see the screen light at night. And I mostly have my eyes and ears on the trail and on my companions.

And still I know people who say that my phone ruins their wilderness experience - even when it's in my pack. To me, that's somewhere between 'HMHDI' and '***?' The funny thing was that the last hiker that lectured me on that was thirty years younger than I am. So I don't think it's a generational thing.

AK, that pic is gorgeous!!
Anyone that tells/lectures you that you are ruining their wilderness experience is just being selfish themselves. First of all, we have pretty much determined that the AT isn't really much of a wilderness at all. It's quite crowded & a lot of the trail is really close to civilization. These same people will also tell you anything they don't agree with/like is ruining their "wilderness" experience. *shaking head*. It's all about them.

I'll never forget the time, in PA, when we were at the James Fry Shelter. We don't ever sleep in the shelters so we found a nice campsite away from the shelter. Another couple set up their tent kinda close to ours. They hadn't been out very long at all. I think they were headed for Maine. The girl was really pumped about being out on the trail. She got on her cell phone after dark and talked really loud to all her family members.( yep, even grampa) This went on, what seemed to us, for a good hour. You know what, we were annoyed but it's the AT. The girl was so excited about her adventure, it was nice to hear her excitement for what she was doing-hiking the AT. We should have told her, in a polite way, that it's not good trail etiquette to talk that loud on her cell phone, the next morning. We didn't. I'm sure she didn't realize that she was talking so loud. Whatever... we chose not to let that experience, ruin our "wilderness" experience on the trail. The AT is not the trail to hike if you are going to get your panties in a wad about technology on the trail, TM or whatever.



As one of the "gray blazers" I would like to point out a few things.
We have hiked well over 95% of the trail to date barring the aqua blaze.
Many whose purity is not questioned have hiked less.
The smart phone gives us accurate weather details as it's most valuable use.
This alone is sufficient reason to take one.
Secondly for me at least it gives me email access to my wife in Australia.
Occasionally GPS is useful and as a phone it of course it can be used to text others on the trail and friends (such as many on WB).
It can even be used as a phone to book shuttles or hotels/hostels.
You don't have to have one but my tent never froze to the ground because I saw a weather forecast.
If the fact that I have stayed in more hotels than most is a problem for anything but my budget I can't see why.

OZ... not one of your true friends have a problem with the way you are thru-hiking. I feel like I'm speaking for a lot of us that have meet you & know you. We are actually HAPPY that you are using your phone, computer and staying in hotels/hostels. These are the things that are allowing you to continue hiking. I'm sure it would be the same way for me. You are in another country far away from your wife and family. This technology helps you hike your hike. We love hearing from you on WB too. We don't want you to have to defend yourself constantly about this matter. We love you OZ!! You are AWESOME!!

hikerboy57
07-28-2013, 10:32
At least smartphones don't leave poo on the trail!

I'm unabashed. I bring my smartphone. And I virtually never talk on it. When I can get a signal, I'll usually text my wife, because it makes her feel better, and because a text can often get through when a voice call can't. Otherwise, it's in airplane mode to save battery. I warn colleagues when I go hiking that I'm going to be "off the grid." My boss knows me well enough that he answers, "knowing you, you mean that literally!" and chuckles.

About half my hikes are bushwhacks, because trails are suggestions and (thanks D-Low and Mags!) routes are the future of hiking. I use the GPS app but don't depend on it; in fact, the last time I led a bushwhack, my battery unexpectedly gave up the ghost a short way in despite having got a full charge that morning. My partner (nervous when he's out of sight of a white blaze) said that I still made it look like a walk in the park. I'm a computer geek: I use tools like Quantum GIS, Mapnik and MOBAC to make my own smartphone maps of where I'm planning to go, and download them into Backcountry Navigator.

I usually carry a few books on the phone, and sometimes I'll read in the evening or when sitting somewhere waiting for the hail to stop. I usually have some music on it, too, but I seldom find myself listening. I keep thinking I'll want to have it along, but then just never bother to put in the earbuds. (Exception: Something cheerful when I'm 2500 feet up a 3000 foot steady elevation gain can help keep me moving.) I have a movie or two on it, but that's for plane and train rides; it's hell on the battery when I'm off grid.

I have fun with PeakFinder, and find that few other hikers object when I use it to find out, "what mountain is that, over there?"

I use an app to do text memos, although I also carry some paper for notes and journalling.

I'm ridiculously colour-blind, and have an assistive app on the phone to help me distinguish colours. There's one local trail with dark red blazes that I have a deucedly hard time following without having the app to help me spot them. Before I had the app, I always fell back on bushwhacking technique when hiking that one: "I know it comes down to a stream in another mile. If I follow a contour line east, I'll hit it again."

I take the occasional photo with the camera. because sometimes I get magical light when I don't have my other camera along:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8092852963_2ee2dcb862_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/)
Plotterkill in the mist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/) by ke9tv (http://www.flickr.com/people/ke9tv/), on Flickr
In any case, I may synchronize the clock on the phone with the clock on the camera and tap 'Add waypoint' on the GPS app when I take a picture, so that I can geotag photos after the fact.

I've even been known - quite against my nature - to use my phone as an alarm clock if I have a long day ahead or need to make a pickup time.

And I can recall at least once changing my headlamp batteries by the light of the flashlight app on my smartphone.

I never talk on the phone in front of other hikers unless I'm doing something like calling for a shuttle for the whole group. I try hard not to let other hikers see the screen light at night. And I mostly have my eyes and ears on the trail and on my companions.

And still I know people who say that my phone ruins their wilderness experience - even when it's in my pack. To me, that's somewhere between 'HMHDI' and '***?' The funny thing was that the last hiker that lectured me on that was thirty years younger than I am. So I don't think it's a generational thing.

AK, that pic is gorgeous!!
Anyone that tells/lectures you that you are ruining their wilderness experience is just being selfish themselves. First of all, we have pretty much determined that the AT isn't really much of a wilderness at all. It's quite crowded & a lot of the trail is really close to civilization. These same people will also tell you anything they don't agree with/like is ruining their "wilderness" experience. *shaking head*. It's all about them.

I'll never forget the time, in PA, when we were at the James Fry Shelter. We don't ever sleep in the shelters so we found a nice campsite away from the shelter. Another couple set up their tent kinda close to ours. They hadn't been out very long at all. I think they were headed for Maine. The girl was really pumped about being out on the trail. She got on her cell phone after dark and talked really loud to all her family members.( yep, even grampa) This went on, what seemed to us, for a good hour. You know what, we were annoyed but it's the AT. The girl was so excited about her adventure, it was nice to hear her excitement for what she was doing-hiking the AT. We should have told her, in a polite way, that it's not good trail etiquette to talk that loud on her cell phone, the next morning. We didn't. I'm sure she didn't realize that she was talking so loud. Whatever... we chose not to let that experience, ruin our "wilderness" experience on the trail. The AT is not the trail to hike if you are going to get your panties in a wad about technology on the trail, TM or whatever.



As one of the "gray blazers" I would like to point out a few things.
We have hiked well over 95% of the trail to date barring the aqua blaze.
Many whose purity is not questioned have hiked less.
The smart phone gives us accurate weather details as it's most valuable use.
This alone is sufficient reason to take one.
Secondly for me at least it gives me email access to my wife in Australia.
Occasionally GPS is useful and as a phone it of course it can be used to text others on the trail and friends (such as many on WB).
It can even be used as a phone to book shuttles or hotels/hostels.
You don't have to have one but my tent never froze to the ground because I saw a weather forecast.
If the fact that I have stayed in more hotels than most is a problem for anything but my budget I can't see why.

OZ... not one of your true friends have a problem with the way you are thru-hiking. I feel like I'm speaking for a lot of us that have meet you & know you. We are actually HAPPY that you are using your phone, computer and staying in hotels/hostels. These are the things that are allowing you to continue hiking. I'm sure it would be the same way for me. You are in another country far away from your wife and family. This technology helps you hike your hike. We love hearing from you on WB too. We don't want you to have to defend yourself constantly about this matter. We love you OZ!! You are AWESOME!!

We don't feel like you are less of a hiker b/c you are doing things your way You are hiking your own hike!! It's cool. We love following you. YOU ARE NOT ANY LESS of a hiker in our minds. who is this we you're talking about

HikerMom58
07-28-2013, 10:38
who is this we you're talking about

Not anyone in particular... somehow OZ is feeling the need to defend himself constantly. IM as well.

hikerboy57
07-28-2013, 10:47
who is this we you're talking about

Not anyone in particular... somehow OZ is feeling the need to defend himself constantly. IM as well. well you can count me in.


Sent from my toilet using pottytalk

MuddyWaters
07-28-2013, 10:52
I bring nothing but a small verizon phone, that stay turned off except maybe once every day or two where I may sent a text out to my wife or kids telling them where I am. If I want to know what the weather will be, I sent out a text asking. The weather forecast is pretty good out a couple of days.

Yes, you have access to weather details, up to the minute. But the thing is, you dont need it. You dont need to know if its going to be 20 or 15 tonight. You dont need to know if the chance of rain is 70% or 100%, or even if it will clear up in 2 days. Its all excess information that you can waste large amounts of time pursuing.

Smart phones are toys for people that need toys to play with, and are addicted to keeping up with nonsense other post on social media sites. People are dieing everyday because persons so addicted to their toys cannot put them down, even while driving.

Lame excuses, its a poor camera compared to a real camera, and you dont need a gps on the AT. the startup time to use it as a camera means you need to keep it on, and then the battery goes dead, so you need solar panels or battery packs, etc.


I dont care what someone else brings, if they keep it to themselves, and use it away from me. I.e good etiquette.

coach lou
07-28-2013, 10:57
I have a dumb phone. I have a waterproof camera. I hate having to take the phone, but my family wants me to. But then sometimes I do use it, to send pics to my hiking friends not out hiking and to touuch base with Overload...for her piece of mind. 10 years ago, I couldn't get service in Jellystone, now I can get into the deepest darkest parts and just Phone home! Good or bad........it's 2013..........what is wilderness today?

kayak karl
07-28-2013, 11:17
http://constantlyrevolving.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/life-in-the-woods.png

HikerMom58
07-28-2013, 11:20
I have a dumb phone. I have a waterproof camera. I hate having to take the phone, but my family wants me to. But then sometimes I do use it, to send pics to my hiking friends not out hiking and to touuch base with Overload...for her piece of mind. 10 years ago, I couldn't get service in Jellystone, now I can get into the deepest darkest parts and just Phone home! Good or bad........it's 2013..........what is wilderness today?

I don't know Coach, but when I was out in PA, knocking out another 81 miles, this spring. I was sure that I wasn't in the wilderness.:D

atmilkman
07-28-2013, 11:27
I had a good laugh one time my brother and I took my nephew camping in a spot that had no cell phone coverage. He stared at that thing for 3 days straight and walked around in circles holding it up in the air trying to "connect" until it went dead. Even after it was totally dead he had to keep looking at it to make sure. I mean like every 5 minutes. Kinda like when you get popped in the nose so hard you think it's bleeding but it's not. You keep touching your fingers to it and checking just to make sure. Not to sound cruel but I thought it was funny and would laugh like hell at him.

hikerboy57
07-28-2013, 11:29
[/B]
I don't know Coach, but when I was out in PA, knocking out another 81 miles, this spring. I was sure that I wasn't in the wilderness.:D

wild?maybe.wilderness?no.

coach lou
07-28-2013, 11:41
To all my WB friends..................my phone went dead! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!:datz

Just Bill
07-28-2013, 11:53
My son reminded me yesterday that wilderness is where you find it. We recently redid the front yard, out of pure cheapness I bought some wildflower seed mix, tossed it in and hoped for the best. We now have an overgrown wild bed that hasn't quite generated the curb appeal I'd planned. So my son and I went to weed it out. For him, each plant, each bug, each weed was an adventure. In that 8'x10' foot garden we encountered wild creatures and wonders of nature at every turn. Dangerous plants that could sting, delicate flowers blooming, and mysterious things happening below the soil where spiders and worms made their home. Even simply sitting to observe was an adventure, "Dada, come here. Sit. It's shady!" If you find nature, wherever that may be, you have found wilderness.

OzJacko
07-28-2013, 12:14
Not anyone in particular... somehow OZ is feeling the need to defend himself constantly. IM as well.

It's ok HM.
I didn't post in here to defend myself so much as to defend the smartphone.
Usually all phones on the trail are off or in flight mode. Otherwise they have flat batteries. Smartphones allow "unobtrusive" interaction without the loud voices of standard phones. Some may choose to suffer whatever the weather gods throw at them but many like me prefer to be aware of coming inclement weather and adjust our mileages to best "weather" conditions. I have hiked in rain, thunderstorms and heatwaves. I prefer not to. The smartphone is here to stay. I would rather forego my torch - sorry flashlight.
But to quote the most misused acronym in outdoor endeavour - HYOH.

Mags
07-28-2013, 12:28
All I can say it, Hike your own Hike. :-)

Not a HYOH thing..just question this word of "need" for navigation. Know what I mean?

Of course, I've been known to say "I really need a beer right now!" so who am I talk (type??) :D



I never talk on the phone in front of other hikers unless I'm doing something like calling for a shuttle for the whole group. I try hard not to let other hikers see the screen light at night. And I mostly have my eyes and ears on the trail and on my companions.



Who could complain about that? Discreet, respectful and and if some one complains, they need to concentrate on THEIR hike more. :)

Nice photo BTW.

ps. Route vs trails

It is the future of thru-hiking! :D

hikerboy57
07-28-2013, 12:45
My son reminded me yesterday that wilderness is where you find it. We recently redid the front yard, out of pure cheapness I bought some wildflower seed mix, tossed it in and hoped for the best. We now have an overgrown wild bed that hasn't quite generated the curb appeal I'd planned. So my son and I went to weed it out. For him, each plant, each bug, each weed was an adventure. In that 8'x10' foot garden we encountered wild creatures and wonders of nature at every turn. Dangerous plants that could sting, delicate flowers blooming, and mysterious things happening below the soil where spiders and worms made their home. Even simply sitting to observe was an adventure, "Dada, come here. Sit. It's shady!" If you find nature, wherever that may be, you have found wilderness.
its great when you have those same experiences on the trail

HikerMom58
07-28-2013, 12:54
It's ok HM.
I didn't post in here to defend myself so much as to defend the smartphone.
Usually all phones on the trail are off or in flight mode. Otherwise they have flat batteries. Smartphones allow "unobtrusive" interaction without the loud voices of standard phones. Some may choose to suffer whatever the weather gods throw at them but many like me prefer to be aware of coming inclement weather and adjust our mileages to best "weather" conditions. I have hiked in rain, thunderstorms and heatwaves. I prefer not to. The smartphone is here to stay. I would rather forego my torch - sorry flashlight.
But to quote the most misused acronym in outdoor endeavour - HYOH.

Cool OZ... you came to our country as a good friend and fellow backpacker. I just want to keep reminding you that you are loved and am so proud of you for what you are doing-hiking the AT... so proud!! :)


its great when you have those same experiences on the trail

That's right... it's really great. I had many of those experiences in PA this past spring... I'm hooked on it. :D

Fredt4
07-28-2013, 17:23
Several times during my 2011 AT thru-hike I helped hikers staring at their paper map & compass determine their location with my GPS enabled smartphone. Perhaps I could have used my many years of experience with paper maps & compass to determine the location but using the smartphone seemed easier. For me it's just another tool with it's own limitations (Battery capabilities and often no service). Couldn't leave it in the car/home since it wouldn't be there when I came to a town (really find Google Maps useful). Didn't have to carry paper maps, (thanks Back Country Navigator - Android). Didn't want to carry a camera so the camera built into the smartphone was very nice. Since I already had the phone for the above reasons I found the many other features useful.

Been looking at the new Sony Experia phone, Supposedly waterproof (30 minutes), better battery management and more.

So the question is: Cuben fiber tent vs. Sony Experia (already have a nice compass, thank you very much)

I'm not saying you have to have a smartphone, I'm just saying.

Dogwood
07-28-2013, 18:02
I bring nothing but a small verizon phone, that stay turned off except maybe once every day or two where I may sent a text out to my wife or kids telling them where I am. If I want to know what the weather will be, I sent out a text asking. The weather forecast is pretty good out a couple of days.

Yes, you have access to weather details, up to the minute. But the thing is, you dont need it. You dont need to know if its going to be 20 or 15 tonight. You dont need to know if the chance of rain is 70% or 100%, or even if it will clear up in 2 days. Its all excess information that you can waste large amounts of time pursuing.

Smart phones are toys for people that need toys to play with, and are addicted to keeping up with nonsense other post on social media sites. People are dieing everyday because persons so addicted to their toys cannot put them down, even while driving.

Lame excuses, its a poor camera compared to a real camera, and you dont need a gps on the AT. the startup time to use it as a camera means you need to keep it on, and then the battery goes dead, so you need solar panels or battery packs, etc.


I dont care what someone else brings, if they keep it to themselves, and use it away from me. I.e good etiquette.

It can be hard to reach addicted people to get them to sober up when they are so deeply conditioned and habituated to believe they need something, The need for all these electronics is confused with, and often mistaken for, the desire for them. Often, not until the proverbial shart hits the fan and people are backed into a corner with no alternative do the realities of reckoning with negative potential consequences of their addictions occur.

Magic_Mack
07-28-2013, 19:51
Anybody use the chargers for the woods?

OzJacko
07-28-2013, 20:11
:-x...........

OzJacko
07-28-2013, 20:14
It can be hard to reach addicted people to get them to sober up when they are so deeply conditioned and habituated to believe they need something, The need for all these electronics is confused with, and often mistaken for, the desire for them. Often, not until the proverbial shart hits the fan and people are backed into a corner with no alternative do the realities of reckoning with negative potential consequences of their addictions occur.

???????
Who said anything about needing something?
If I WANT to take something.I will damn well take it.
I can read a map as well as anyone.
No one is making you take anything Dogwood.
I have looked extensively at your posts and your comments since recent anonymous entries were made in various journals.
Those entries bear uncanny resemblance to your "style" of posting.
You have not one picture in your gallery to reveal more about yourself or your hikes and you go off on rants at people who don't do things the way you feel they should be done.
I can't help but come to the conclusion you are the saddest most miserable person on Whiteblaze.

Mags
07-28-2013, 20:36
Several times during my 2011 AT thru-hike I helped hikers staring at their paper map & compass determine their location with my GPS enabled smartphone.

.

SRSLY?


If someone is truly that lost on the AT, I think they need more than a GPS to help tem out! :D

Rasty
07-28-2013, 20:44
Several times during my 2011 AT thru-hike I helped hikers staring at their paper map & compass determine their location with my GPS enabled smartphone.

.

SRSLY?


If someone is truly that lost on the AT, I think they need more than a GPS to help tem out! :D

I have used my compass once in the last twenty years.

OzJacko
07-28-2013, 21:13
GPS totally unnecessary to hike the trail.
Can be useful to jump on and off it.
Same is true of most trails.

Fredt4
07-28-2013, 21:33
Chargers in the woods?

I suppose you mean solar chargers.
I used and observed various people tried various chargers during the 2011 thru-hike. Didn't see one that really worked.

Fredt4
07-28-2013, 21:37
If someone is truly that lost on the AT, I think they need more than a GPS to help tem out!

One group was looking for a Gap to camp. They thought it was some distance ahead. I told them they ere standing on it. But hey, we all learn some time. At least they were on the trail.

Mags
07-28-2013, 23:38
I have used my compass once in the last twenty years.

Use mine fairly often, but I enjoy off-trail hiking pretty frequently.

Dogwood
07-29-2013, 00:37
Opinions vary. Someone heard something they didn't want to hear and took it personally so they want to point fingers. I've noticed it before with others. No one forces another to read their posts. Don't like what I have to say you can use the IGNORE feature. No doubt I can strongly express strong beliefs; but I make no apologies for doing so. Others regularly do it here on WB too. That's LARGELY what occurs on WB- people offering opinions. BTW, I've NEVER made NOT ONE single post ANYWHERE here on WB or elsewhere anonymously. If I want to say something I openly say it not hiding behind the anonymous label whether I know you or anyone approves of what I post or not. I welcome different, even strongly opposing opinions, without getting offended. It's one of the ways in which I know I can learn and grow. You might also think about this too - sometimes we don't like initially hearing things, even finding them offensive, and we ourselves can easily become defensive, but sometimes, later that very thing we were initially so offended by and became defensive about helps us to grow and widen our range of insight.

coach lou
07-29-2013, 08:42
Use mine fairly often, but I enjoy off-trail hiking pretty frequently.

It is in my pack or in my fishing vest. It doesn't get used that much, but I need it when I need it.

Marta
07-29-2013, 08:59
I have a dumb phone. I have a waterproof camera. I hate having to take the phone, but my family wants me to. But then sometimes I do use it, to send pics to my hiking friends not out hiking and to touuch base with Overload...for her piece of mind. 10 years ago, I couldn't get service in Jellystone, now I can get into the deepest darkest parts and just Phone home! Good or bad........it's 2013..........what is wilderness today?


You know where the Wilderness is, man... Still no cell phone service in Essex. :-) there's about a sixty-mile stretch between East and West Glacier without cell coverage. The horror!

I did have a funny experience a couple weeks ago. I climbed Shuckstack, which is thirty miles in any direction from cell service, leaving my iPhone on because I was using Runkeeper to measure the distance and elevation gain on the hike. (I find that a really fun feature, since I don't have a separate GPS. It sure does run the battery down quickly, though.) As I got to the firetower the phone pinged to let me know I had email, and even a Voicemail. The signal was too weak for me to actually listen to the voicemail, but I was able to see who sent it. Hearing that PING when I least expected it startled the heck out of me.

coach lou
07-29-2013, 09:37
You know where the Wilderness is, man... Still no cell phone service in Essex. :-) there's about a sixty-mile stretch between East and West Glacier without cell coverage. The horror!

I did have a funny experience a couple weeks ago. I climbed Shuckstack, which is thirty miles in any direction from cell service, leaving my iPhone on because I was using Runkeeper to measure the distance and elevation gain on the hike. (I find that a really fun feature, since I don't have a separate GPS. It sure does run the battery down quickly, though.) As I got to the firetower the phone pinged to let me know I had email, and even a Voicemail. The signal was too weak for me to actually listen to the voicemail, but I was able to see who sent it. Hearing that PING when I least expected it startled the heck out of me.
You know I do!!!! I had service in the Missions. Searching at The Mercantile, and crickets at Kintla. But, I had service in the sticks in Idaho, over the Pass from Superior, Mt. My buddy in Alberton, just started to get service, 2 years ago!

HikerMom58
07-29-2013, 09:55
Opinions vary. Someone heard something they didn't want to hear and took it personally so they want to point fingers. I've noticed it before with others. No one forces another to read their posts. Don't like what I have to say you can use the IGNORE feature. No doubt I can strongly express strong beliefs; but I make no apologies for doing so. Others regularly do it here on WB too. That's LARGELY what occurs on WB- people offering opinions. BTW, I've NEVER made NOT ONE single post ANYWHERE here on WB or elsewhere anonymously. If I want to say something I openly say it not hiding behind the anonymous label whether I know you or anyone approves of what I post or not. I welcome different, even strongly opposing opinions, without getting offended. It's one of the ways in which I know I can learn and grow. You might also think about this too - sometimes we don't like initially hearing things, even finding them offensive, and we ourselves can easily become defensive, but sometimes, later that very thing we were initially so offended by and became defensive about helps us to grow and widen our range of insight.

Dogwood... I agree with you on some things you are saying here. But there's this thing called- Tact 1. Acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending.

Tact is a cool thing. Most people enjoy the ones that have "this thing" down.

You can cock an attitude of "this is how I am- deal with it." OR I have my strong opinions and beliefs, I will "share" with you; but I make no apologies for doing so.

Seriously, I felt that same way. I came to a point where I didn't like myself down deep inside. I learned that others didn't enjoy my company very much either. People did not respect me at all. I may have been 100% correct in what I was saying but the delivery sucked. Or it was not an appropriate thing to say at the time or at all. Therefore, they didn't grow or widen their range of insight from any of my input. I lost relationships. Period. It wasn't working for me.

I try to express myself differently now. It's hard to change the way you've always been or learned to be... it's not for the faint of heart.

Just because you see others doing it too (I had that feeling as well) is just an excuse for not working on yourself. It's the hardest thing you will ever do. I like the results, tho. It's been worth all the growing pains for me. I'm still not finished .... still working.

Luv ya!! :)

88BlueGT
07-29-2013, 10:59
I have used my compass once in the last twenty years.

Agreed. I stopped bring my compass after my second hike. If I REALLY need it.... I have one on my phone :cool: don't kill me.

coach lou
07-29-2013, 11:10
I have used my compass once in the last twenty years.


Agreed. I stopped bring my compass after my second hike. If I REALLY need it.... I have one on my phone :cool: don't kill me.

Maybe then this is one of those things that go in the "other things you do while hiking" thread. I really enjoy the 'Orienteering' game while hiking, and besides... the magnet in my compass and the lodestone in my forehead does not wear down, or short circuit when I get wet.:D

Rasty
07-29-2013, 12:52
I have used my compass once in the last twenty years.


Agreed. I stopped bring my compass after my second hike. If I REALLY need it.... I have one on my phone :cool: don't kill me.

Maybe then this is one of those things that go in the "other things you do while hiking" thread. I really enjoy the 'Orienteering' game while hiking, and besides... the magnet in my compass and the lodestone in my forehead does not wear down, or short circuit when I get wet.:D

So far I've used a watch and the sun for directions. It works if your paying attention to multiple landmarks. Done a fair amount of short cutting off trail.

Dogwood
07-29-2013, 16:33
HikerMom you are absolutely correct. Yes, I could be more tactful.

HikerMom58
07-29-2013, 17:48
HikerMom you are absolutely correct. Yes, I could be more tactful.

I had a feeling you would say something like that. :D Thanks for giving me a chance to practice my tactfulness too!! You are teachable and that equals hope for becoming a better person. That hope for me will never end until I take my last breath. Luv ya, Dogwood!!

Symba
07-29-2013, 18:30
I reside in the Milford, PA area, just over the border from NJ/rt 206 trail crossing. Power goes out frequently here. I'm in the Poconos, ALOT of city people vacation here. When we didn't have power for ten days people freaked. I loved it! Just popped out my pocket rocket after huffing a few gallons of water from the lake (two mile round trip) and cooked up a meal. No biggie. I was amazed at the ignorance of so many who could not cope without their technologies and automated services. I felt more in tune with life, engulfed in knowing nature and I are one. I'll be sectioning in a month from Maine to Mass. I will be bringing a phone and solar charger; it is all about safety. I don't want to risk the lives of others searching for me if I get hurt. That is, if I have a signal, haha. Hike your own hike, but I believe others should keep their technologies and opinions at the back burner while in nature. Don't impose your own habits and needs upon others. Great post peoples!!!!

Symba
07-29-2013, 18:32
when I thru hiked in 2000 I had a watch, then I threw the watch away and only utilized the sun. Loved knowing my way like the ancients. I still do it.

Dogwood
07-29-2013, 19:19
HikerMomKD you truly have a gift. Maybe it's that you see things others miss. Or, maybe it's that you are further down the path in some regards, perhaps because you aren't making the same mistakes you used to. Either way you have a way about you that I so appreciate. Luv right back at ya!

Mags
07-29-2013, 19:58
when I thru hiked in 2000 I had a watch, then I threw the watch away and only utilized the sun. Loved knowing my way like the ancients. I still do it.


...and 2000 miles or so worth of white blazes! :D

rickb
07-29-2013, 20:04
Use mine fairly often, but I enjoy off-trail hiking pretty frequently.

Good to have even if you walk 200 feet (real distance) into the wood to find a nice private place to pitch a tent. I suspect most AT hikers NEVER EVER camp out of site of the trail. Out of fear or for lack of compass?

coach lou
07-29-2013, 20:18
Good to have even if you walk 200 feet (real distance) into the wood to find a nice private place to pitch a tent. I suspect most AT hikers NEVER EVER camp out of site of the trail. Out of fear or for lack of compass?

Another old foggie tool that will be forgotten because no one will know how to use it.

Thankfully, I taught my son when he was too young to know any better.

OzJacko
07-30-2013, 14:18
Compass can be misleading on trail without a map.
Only time we have gone wrong way in 1700 miles was when we northwards in ny when northbound was actually south of east at that point.
Only 2 or 3 tenths but enough to feel stupid.

Thanks by the way HM. All a bit juvenile of us really.
Dogwoood I agree to differ with you and leave it be.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-30-2013, 14:38
Good to have even if you walk 200 feet (real distance) into the wood to find a nice private place to pitch a tent. I suspect most AT hikers NEVER EVER camp out of site of the trail. Out of fear or for lack of compass?

Any book, pamphlet or article about the AT and Leave No Trace policies will request you not camp off the trail at all to preserve the wilderness plants. This may be why many do not stray....you're not supposed to.

Another Kevin
07-30-2013, 14:49
Any book, pamphlet or article about the AT and Leave No Trace policies will request you not camp off the trail at all to preserve the wilderness plants. This may be why many do not stray....you're not supposed to.

Hmm, is that true for the entire corridor? (I don't know, I'm asking.) On a lot of the New York State lands where I hike, there's nearly an opposite rule: camp either at designated sites, or else at least 200 feet from any trail, road or water source. (On others, it's "designated sites only.") Is there anywhere that the A-T switches from "concentrate your impact" to "disperse your impact"?

Pedaling Fool
07-30-2013, 14:53
There are so many areas that are free of plants and simply leaf cover. Or you could always find some invasive plants to trample on :)

Bucho
07-30-2013, 15:04
Resistance was/is futile.

Although they should never replace map and compass, and aren't as quick for reference like a paper guide, if you own one, smart phones are just too versatile to leave behind.

Who brings a map and compass on the AT? I mean seriously....

coach lou
07-30-2013, 15:24
Who brings a map and compass on the AT? I mean seriously....

You will have a rough list if you start from post 1.

max patch
07-30-2013, 15:27
Who brings a map and compass on the AT? I mean seriously....

Smart hikers.

coach lou
07-30-2013, 15:37
Smart hikers.


Thanks Max;)

Mags
07-30-2013, 15:48
Hmm, is that true for the entire corridor? (I don't know, I'm asking.)


It used to be, with the exception of certain high use /regulated areas, camping off the trail was allowed.

Looks like that is still the case:
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/camping-shelters

CAN I FIND MY OWN CAMPSITE?

In some areas, particularly the national forests of the Virginias and the southern Appalachians, “dispersed camping” is allowed. Dispersed camping means you can choose your own place to camp, but it carries with it a special responsibility of leaving no trace: You must be more careful to minimize your impact in pristine areas. Choose a site with no sign of previous use. Avoid places that show the beginnings of frequent use—those still have a chance to recover if left alone. Set up tents on durable surfaces, such as dead leaves or grass, well apart from each other and at least seventy paces from water. Avoid trampling plants and seedlings.

OzJacko
07-30-2013, 15:54
As I stated, totally unnecessary to hike the trail in a purist sense. map and gps/compass VERY useful to get on and off AT at various points. This is extremely useful for section hikers, emergencies or "smarter" hikers.
:)

Pedaling Fool
07-30-2013, 16:02
A compass and map is very useful for those of us that like to bushwack off the AT once in a while. I've bushwacked in every state.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-30-2013, 16:11
It used to be, with the exception of certain high use /regulated areas, camping off the trail was allowed.

Looks like that is still the case:
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/camping-shelters

CAN I FIND MY OWN CAMPSITE?

In some areas, particularly the national forests of the Virginias and the southern Appalachians, “dispersed camping” is allowed. Dispersed camping means you can choose your own place to camp, but it carries with it a special responsibility of leaving no trace: You must be more careful to minimize your impact in pristine areas. Choose a site with no sign of previous use. Avoid places that show the beginnings of frequent use—those still have a chance to recover if left alone. Set up tents on durable surfaces, such as dead leaves or grass, well apart from each other and at least seventy paces from water. Avoid trampling plants and seedlings.

Thanks for the reminder Mags.....knew in CT we would have to stealth camp, and was feeling very guilty about it. I know it's technically not allowed in CT, along with fires, but somehow I now feel ATC sanctioned!

Dogwood
07-30-2013, 16:13
Dogwoood I agree to differ with you and leave it be.- OJ

Sometimes the best friends turn out to be the ones who are willing to disagree with us - agreeably.:)

Deer Hunter
07-30-2013, 16:13
AK, that pic is gorgeous!!
Anyone that tells/lectures you that you are ruining their wilderness experience is just being selfish themselves. First of all, we have pretty much determined that the AT isn't really much of a wilderness at all. It's quite crowded & a lot of the trail is really close to civilization. These same people will also tell you anything they don't agree with/like is ruining their "wilderness" experience. *shaking head*. It's all about them.

I'll never forget the time, in PA, when we were at the James Fry Shelter. We don't ever sleep in the shelters so we found a nice campsite away from the shelter. Another couple set up their tent kinda close to ours. They hadn't been out very long at all. I think they were headed for Maine. The girl was really pumped about being out on the trail. She got on her cell phone after dark and talked really loud to all her family members.( yep, even grampa) This went on, what seemed to us, for a good hour. You know what, we were annoyed but it's the AT. The girl was so excited about her adventure, it was nice to hear her excitement for what she was doing-hiking the AT. We should have told her, in a polite way, that it's not good trail etiquette to talk that loud on her cell phone, the next morning. We didn't. I'm sure she didn't realize that she was talking so loud. Whatever... we chose not to let that experience, ruin our "wilderness" experience on the trail. The AT is not the trail to hike if you are going to get your panties in a wad about technology on the trail, TM or whatever.




OZ... not one of your true friends have a problem with the way you are thru-hiking. I feel like I'm speaking for a lot of us that have meet you & know you. We are actually HAPPY that you are using your phone, computer and staying in hotels/hostels. These are the things that are allowing you to continue hiking. I'm sure it would be the same way for me. You are in another country far away from your wife and family. This technology helps you hike your hike. We love hearing from you on WB too. We don't want you to have to defend yourself constantly about this matter. We love you OZ!! You are AWESOME!!

Yes he is. :)

Deer Hunter
07-30-2013, 16:15
At least smartphones don't leave poo on the trail!

I'm unabashed. I bring my smartphone. And I virtually never talk on it. When I can get a signal, I'll usually text my wife, because it makes her feel better, and because a text can often get through when a voice call can't. Otherwise, it's in airplane mode to save battery. I warn colleagues when I go hiking that I'm going to be "off the grid." My boss knows me well enough that he answers, "knowing you, you mean that literally!" and chuckles.

About half my hikes are bushwhacks, because trails are suggestions and (thanks D-Low and Mags!) routes are the future of hiking. I use the GPS app but don't depend on it; in fact, the last time I led a bushwhack, my battery unexpectedly gave up the ghost a short way in despite having got a full charge that morning. My partner (nervous when he's out of sight of a white blaze) said that I still made it look like a walk in the park. I'm a computer geek: I use tools like Quantum GIS, Mapnik and MOBAC to make my own smartphone maps of where I'm planning to go, and download them into Backcountry Navigator.

I usually carry a few books on the phone, and sometimes I'll read in the evening or when sitting somewhere waiting for the hail to stop. I usually have some music on it, too, but I seldom find myself listening. I keep thinking I'll want to have it along, but then just never bother to put in the earbuds. (Exception: Something cheerful when I'm 2500 feet up a 3000 foot steady elevation gain can help keep me moving.) I have a movie or two on it, but that's for plane and train rides; it's hell on the battery when I'm off grid.

I have fun with PeakFinder, and find that few other hikers object when I use it to find out, "what mountain is that, over there?"

I use an app to do text memos, although I also carry some paper for notes and journalling.

I'm ridiculously colour-blind, and have an assistive app on the phone to help me distinguish colours. There's one local trail with dark red blazes that I have a deucedly hard time following without having the app to help me spot them. Before I had the app, I always fell back on bushwhacking technique when hiking that one: "I know it comes down to a stream in another mile. If I follow a contour line east, I'll hit it again."

I take the occasional photo with the camera. because sometimes I get magical light when I don't have my other camera along:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8092852963_2ee2dcb862_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/)
Plotterkill in the mist (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/8092852963/) by ke9tv (http://www.flickr.com/people/ke9tv/), on Flickr
In any case, I may synchronize the clock on the phone with the clock on the camera and tap 'Add waypoint' on the GPS app when I take a picture, so that I can geotag photos after the fact.

I've even been known - quite against my nature - to use my phone as an alarm clock if I have a long day ahead or need to make a pickup time.

And I can recall at least once changing my headlamp batteries by the light of the flashlight app on my smartphone.

I never talk on the phone in front of other hikers unless I'm doing something like calling for a shuttle for the whole group. I try hard not to let other hikers see the screen light at night. And I mostly have my eyes and ears on the trail and on my companions.

And still I know people who say that my phone ruins their wilderness experience - even when it's in my pack. To me, that's somewhere between 'HMHDI' and '***?' The funny thing was that the last hiker that lectured me on that was thirty years younger than I am. So I don't think it's a generational thing.


Very nice pic, AK.

rickb
07-30-2013, 18:47
Thanks for the reminder Mags.....knew in CT we would have to stealth camp, and was feeling very guilty about it. I know it's technically not allowed in CT, along with fires, but somehow I now feel ATC sanctioned!

The ATC supports the rules and regulations of the local managing authorities.

Its not a matter of technicalities.

Better to stealth camp in the (many) areas where it is permitted.

Mags
07-31-2013, 00:49
The ATC supports the rules and regulations of the local managing authorities.

Its not a matter of technicalities.

Better to stealth camp in the (many) areas where it is permitted.

I should added that.. :) That is what I meant by "except for high use/restricted areas".

Should have been more clear.

The local regs are the rule..otherwise you can camp anywhere that is 200' from water or the trail (generally speaking)

rickb
07-31-2013, 04:14
The local regs are the rule..otherwise you can camp anywhere that is 200' from water or the trail (generally speaking)

In most non wilderness areas of the Whites the 200' distance is a good LNT recommendation rather than a regulation, but regardless walking that far off the Trail does give a different vibe.

But getting back to the compass, 200' feet is really a long ways relative to what most hikers are used to. And no reason why you can't walk in farther still. While you may not need a compass to find your way back, it can provide an extra level of confidence to take you a bit farther into the woods.

I am thinking 99% of hikers who stealth camp do so closer than 200 feet at least in part out of fear they will not find their way back. The motivation for thru hikers may be a bit more tilted towards convenience, but they retain the same fears, I think.

Another Kevin
07-31-2013, 11:34
I am thinking 99% of hikers who stealth camp do so closer than 200 feet at least in part out of fear they will not find their way back. The motivation for thru hikers may be a bit more tilted towards convenience, but they retain the same fears, I think.

Good heavens, does that make me a one-percent-er? I'm sorry!

I'm not only, or even chiefly, an A-T hiker, and I tend to favour hiking in places where "trails are suggestions." Moving 200 feet off trail (and pulling out my compass so that I have a rough idea of what direction I've moved 200 feet) is pretty routine for me, considering that I've used some fine campsites that are more like a mile or two off trail. I'd say that on most of my hikes, the lawful options are "stay at a lean-to (or designated backcountry site)" or "camp below 4000 feet elevation*, 200 feet from trail and water." There is no third choice that's legal.

And I've even wound up pulling out my compass after using a cathole. I was doing what I had to do at a respectful distance from the trail. Achieving a respectful distance that day involved pushing through spruce in dense fog. Think of a forest of scraggly Christmas trees, planted two feet apart with their branches interwoven. When I backfilled the hole, I realized that I had No Fracking Clue which way was back to the trail, except that I was NW of it. OK, strike a compass bearing roughly SE , no problem.

* Yes, I know, 4000 isn't much. I'm in the Northeast. We don't have altutide here.

coach lou
07-31-2013, 12:22
Good heavens, does that make me a one-percent-er? I'm sorry!

I'm not only, or even chiefly, an A-T hiker, and I tend to favour hiking in places where "trails are suggestions." Moving 200 feet off trail (and pulling out my compass so that I have a rough idea of what direction I've moved 200 feet) is pretty routine for me, considering that I've used some fine campsites that are more like a mile or two off trail. I'd say that on most of my hikes, the lawful options are "stay at a lean-to (or designated backcountry site)" or "camp below 4000 feet elevation*, 200 feet from trail and water." There is no third choice that's legal.
E , no problem.
.

Ah, I wasn't going to post this, but what the heck....it was late, ah... it was raining, ah, I had a long day, ah...I left no trace. Yes, on the right......you can't see the Blaze!:o23043.............:D

Pedaling Fool
07-31-2013, 12:25
Never apologize for being a 1%'er.

Dogwood
07-31-2013, 15:32
Some of us take things out of context or too personally. Or, umm some of us(me) get too serious about rather mundane things.:)