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Another Kevin

What's a clueless weekender?

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Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
This brings to mind Another Kevin and his claim to be a "Clueless Weekender". I cry SHENANIGANS! A weekender he may be, but Clueless? NOT HARDLY!!!
I initially adopted the label to mock one of the people here who was repeatedly complaining about how the Trail's resources (shelters, nice lunch spots, viewpoints, whatever...) were taken over by the clueless weekenders. I think the guy was one of the 'entitled thru-hikers' that we hear about.

After some months, I realized that the shoe fits. I lack experience with long-distance hiking: in my entire life, I've done one hike long enough to need resupply, and that was decades ago. So I think I can claim 'clueless' with confidence when I'm on a forum whose main emphasis appears to be long-distance hiking.

What I really am is a tourist. I like going to places I haven't been. I like taking others to places I have visited and enjoyed. A lot of the places I like happen to be in the mountains. Some of them are more than a half-day's walk from the road at my slow pace, so my backpack comes along for the ride. Some are off-trail, so I've learnt map-and-compass work. Some of them are best enjoyed in winter, so I have snowshoes in my arsenal.

When I'm out on weekend expeditions, I meet people who really live for distance hiking, or backpacking, or off-trail exploration, or winter climbing. I'm not those people. So I don't label myself a 'section hiker', a 'backpacker', an 'orienteer', a 'mountaineer.' Because I don't have the devotion that those people have to their sports. ('Pursuits'? I remember controversy about calling hiking a sport.) I'm sort of willing to accept 'hiker,' since most of what I do involves putting on boots and backpack and going somewhere afoot, but even then I'll joke about not being a Real Hiker.

I'm not terribly likely to be a thru-hiker, ever. It just doesn't appeal to me. I like going out, but I like coming home, too! The idea of spending half a year on the march sounds as if it would get old quickly. And I'm not obsessed with covering every step of the Trail with my bootprints. It has a lot of cool places, and I want to see them, but I'm not that much of a stamp collector.

Exception [as of 2014]: I'm half-seriously working on collecting the 35 Catsill high peaks. I kind of started checking them off when I realized I had thoroughly enjoyed all the ones I'd been to. That's made me want to try the rest. And so far, the half or so that I've done have not disappointed. If I do them all, I might put in for a certificate, partly because the club uses the number that they've given out as ammunition for things like grant applications, so it helps them as well as me.

With all the differences between me and a 'thru' or 'section' hiker (a Real Hiker), I keep coming back here, and presuming to give advice. Why? Because I've done a lot of 'clueless' weekend trips, and the Real Hikers and I share a lot of concerns: we're all out in the woods, trying to stay safe, warm, dry, hydrated, fed, un-lost, healthy, and unmolested by the local wildlife. Because I'm familiar with some places on the Trail, like Harriman, from having been there many times when a thru-hiker might pass by only once, and exploring routes and destinations that the Trail doesn't visit.

Any advice I give is always at least implicitly tempered with the fact that I have a different hiking style from most of the people asking for advice here.

So I defend my 'clueless' label! It's a joke, but there's a point to it.