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  1. #1
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Default Too Much Technology on the Trail?

    This topic has probably been raised before on this Forum. Nonetheless, I think it’s good to continue the discussion. People love gadgets, especially men. I’m probably in the minority, but I feel there’s too much gadgetry on the trail these days. Unless one hikes as an athletic pursuit (for a challenge, for fitness, etc.), the whole idea of a mountain hike is about getting out and enjoying nature, and separating oneself from the artificiality and cushy conveniences of urban/suburban society. Isn’t it? If so, why are so many people dragging the digital revolution onto the trail? Don’t devices like handheld computers (iPhones) and various “apps” compromise the back-to-nature experience? Some things are essential, I realize. Manmade tents, sleeping bags, stoves, matches, etc. And cameras and non-computerized phones are convenient. But have we gone too far? Have we “over-safety’ed” and “over-convenienced” ourselves?

    Would love to see how many people, if any, agree with me.

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    in just to say----HYOH....

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    This topic has probably been raised before on this Forum. Nonetheless, I think it’s good to continue the discussion. People love gadgets, especially men. I’m probably in the minority, but I feel there’s too much gadgetry on the trail these days. Unless one hikes as an athletic pursuit (for a challenge, for fitness, etc.), the whole idea of a mountain hike is about getting out and enjoying nature, and separating oneself from the artificiality and cushy conveniences of urban/suburban society. Isn’t it? If so, why are so many people dragging the digital revolution onto the trail? Don’t devices like handheld computers (iPhones) and various “apps” compromise the back-to-nature experience? Some things are essential, I realize. Manmade tents, sleeping bags, stoves, matches, etc. And cameras and non-computerized phones are convenient. But have we gone too far? Have we “over-safety’ed” and “over-convenienced” ourselves?

    Would love to see how many people, if any, agree with me.
    As TNHiker said, HYOH. I don't go anywhere (besides the water) without my iPhone. Doesn't interfere with my communing with nature at all. Cameras and non-computerized phones aren't as convenient or useful as smartphones. If they were, we wouldn't use smartphones.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  4. #4

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    If you don't want to use it, leave it at home. Otherwise, what other people choose to/not to use is their choice to make.

  5. #5
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perdidochas View Post
    As TNHiker said, HYOH. I don't go anywhere (besides the water) without my iPhone. Doesn't interfere with my communing with nature at all. Cameras and non-computerized phones aren't as convenient or useful as smartphones. If they were, we wouldn't use smartphones.
    Thanks for responding, but I'm more curious how many people agree with me (see my comment). Also, your use of the word "convenience" leads back to my question "Are we over-conveniencing..."

    Also...pardon my ignorance...but I don't know what HYOH means. (I'm a vintage man, and acronyms trouble me.)

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    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    If you don't want to use it, leave it at home. Otherwise, what other people choose to/not to use is their choice to make.
    Hi CalebJ. I'm not denying it's "their choice to make." Just trying to see how many people agree with me about too much technology.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Thanks for responding, but I'm more curious how many people agree with me (see my comment). Also, your use of the word "convenience" leads back to my question "Are we over-conveniencing..."

    Also...pardon my ignorance...but I don't know what HYOH means. (I'm a vintage man, and acronyms trouble me.)
    It's not an acronym, it's an initialism (it doesn't make a word)

    HIKE YOUR OWN HIKE

    As far as technology:
    It's a generational thing, you're a Boomer. A millennial doesn't really know any different. Gen X-ers and especially the Oregon Trail generation, had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. They might be the demographic on the fence in this discussion.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Thanks for responding, but I'm more curious how many people agree with me (see my comment). Also, your use of the word "convenience" leads back to my question "Are we over-conveniencing..."

    Also...pardon my ignorance...but I don't know what HYOH means. (I'm a vintage man, and acronyms trouble me.)
    I'm an old timer and still a firm believer in topo maps and paper maps---something you can spread out and ponder and which uses no batteries.

    On a trip in January I wrote a long screed on smartphone use in the woods---scroll down to DROOLING ZOMBIES---if you feel up to a Rant.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/607170

    To me personally---and my opinion only---I think connecting to the Internet while out on a backpacking trip is one of the worst things a bipedal human-wannabe-neanderthal---can do. Can I not take a long break from the computer?????

    Then again, I carry a very complex digital camera and a small Sangean radio Oh and my pack uses high falutin' spectra and neato doodads.

    Oh and btw---here's my backpacking phone and the only cellphone I need or want---call and text boys---no camera, no Interwad---

    Trip 192 (82)-XL.jpg

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    Everyone has a different level of "intimacy" with their phone. I will often forget mine, forget to charge it, forget to un-silence it, etc. I sometimes forget that I can take a photo or look something up; I just see it as a phone. Then there are others that have it out almost all the time. Never enough battery life or data, it's become an umbilical cord to their existence. Those people generally don't bother me except for the occasional inappropriate interruption or distraction. I feel for them that they can't enjoy a moment without their screen as a viewfinder or window into something else. Try to view them with sympathy rather than contempt. (and HYOH)

  10. #10

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    This is one of those strangely authoritarian topics. Other authoritarians will also agree with you, as they're typing on their PCs/phones to do so, instead of being out in nature chatting with other humans and enjoying nature as they so fondly believe everyone must do, because they know what's best for you.

    These devices expand the outdoor experience, they allow people to share their experiences in an efficient way with those who don't have the time or ability to get out on the trail. Right now, I'm typing and interacting with other hikers/want to be hikers as I wait for the temperature to come up a few degrees before I go for my daily hike.

    Millions of people share the trail currently. It's not feasible for any of us to carry hatchets and make a fresh bed of fir branches each night as a mattress, it's not feasible for us to fish, and bow hunt our meals. That's the kind of stuff that happens in 1903s adventure fantasy books, and even then they're referring to their previous century.

    That kind of wilderness adventure should really be practiced on your own land, and not on public shared land. I personally find drunk/stoned people at campfires to be far more annoying, but that's just me, and I don't propose that people forego that activity just to make me happy.

    Edit: Grammar/vocab
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 04-04-2019 at 11:05.

  11. #11
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    It's not an acronym, it's an initialism (it doesn't make a word)

    HIKE YOUR OWN HIKE

    As far as technology:
    It's a generational thing, you're a Boomer. A millennial doesn't really know any different. Gen X-ers and especially the Oregon Trail generation, had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. They might be the demographic on the fence in this discussion.
    Hey, thanks for the acronym/initialism heads up! (I'm a writer but never knew that before.)

    Right, I'm well-familiar with the HYOH cliché. It's often used as a defensive measure. But I'm not being accusatory. Just trying to get a sort-of head count. I like your demographic idea, though. My son is a millennial, and he scratches his head with me as much as I scratch my head with him.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    This is one of those strangely authoritarian topics. Other authoritarians will also agree with you, as they're typing on their PCs/phones to do so, instead of being out in nature chatting with other humans and enjoying nature as they so fondly believe everyone must do, because they know what's best for you.

    These devices expand the outdoor experience, they allow people to share their experiences in an efficient way with those who don't have the time or ability to get out on the trail. Right now, I'm typing and interacting with other hikers/want to be hikers as I wait for the temperature to come up a few degrees before I go for my daily hike.

    Millions of people share the trail currently. It's not feasible for any of us to carry hatchets and make a fresh bed of fir branches each night as a mattress, it's not feasible for us to fish, and bow hunt our meals. That's the kind of stuff that happens in 1903s adventure fantasy books, and even then they're referring to the last century.

    That kind of wilderness adventure should really be practiced on your own land, and not on public shared land. I personally find drunk/stoned people at campfires to be far more annoying, but that's not me, and I don't propose that people forego that activity just to make me happy.
    Of course we are using a computer and the Internet to access this forum and type up our posts. There's a time and place for getting on the Net. In my opinion IT'S NOT when I'm out backpacking. Why? Because the temptation is too great to get online with such a device---and the whole reason I go out backpacking is to get away from online surfing and the online community. For me personally when I go backpacking I don't want to be exchanging folding money in a town or eating in a restaurant or skyping or live streaming or whatever else which becomes a distraction from my wilderness experience. That's just me. Everyone is an Authority unto him/her self.

    In regards to your highlighted bold statement---on my last trip I saw exactly the idiocy you're talking about---some moron cut up a living fir tree to make his "bough bed"---now imagine if all backpackers decided to do the same---


  13. #13
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    This is one of those strangely authoritarian topics. Other authoritarians will also agree with you, as they're typing on their PCs/phones to do so, instead of being out in nature chatting with other humans and enjoying nature as they so fondly believe everyone must do, because they know what's best for you.

    These devices expand the outdoor experience, they allow people to share their experiences in an efficient way with those who don't have the time or ability to get out on the trail. Right now, I'm typing and interacting with other hikers/want to be hikers as I wait for the temperature to come up a few degrees before I go for my daily hike.

    Millions of people share the trail currently. It's not feasible for any of us to carry hatchets and make a fresh bed of fir branches each night as a mattress, it's not feasible for us to fish, and bow hunt our meals. That's the kind of stuff that happens in 1903s adventure fantasy books, and even then they're referring to the last century.

    That kind of wilderness adventure should really be practiced on your own land, and not on public shared land. I personally find drunk/stoned people at campfires to be far more annoying, but that's not me, and I don't propose that people forego that activity just to make me happy.
    Hi Puddlefish. (I think the "authoritarian" thing can work both ways, though, don't you?)

    Regarding "hatchets" and "fir branches," please re-read my original post. I say that some manmade items are essential, others convenient. I'm not arguing we return to the 19th century. I'm just saying that I think we're overdoing it. I don't agree that devices always "expand the outdoor experience." They can, yes (particularly with the "sharing" aspect) but more often they diminish it. When one is so busy checking messages, coordinates, snapping photos, etc. that one doesn't see the red-tail swooping over the valley to the left, the nature experience is, indeed, diminished.

  14. #14

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    If you feel the need to infiltrate the forest with your devices, keep it yourself.

    My issue is when other humans impose their devices upon me and nature. I remember passing a couple of bros hiking in North Ga that were blasting awful techno music on a massive speaker as they cruised down the trail. I was literally speechless.. I usually find re-newed confidence in the human race on trail, these guys were the anti-thesis.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I'm an old timer and still a firm believer in topo maps and paper maps---something you can spread out and ponder and which uses no batteries.

    On a trip in January I wrote a long screed on smartphone use in the woods---scroll down to DROOLING ZOMBIES---if you feel up to a Rant.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/607170

    To me personally---and my opinion only---I think connecting to the Internet while out on a backpacking trip is one of the worst things a bipedal human-wannabe-neanderthal---can do. Can I not take a long break from the computer?????

    Then again, I carry a very complex digital camera and a small Sangean radio Oh and my pack uses high falutin' spectra and neato doodads.

    Oh and btw---here's my backpacking phone and the only cellphone I need or want---call and text boys---no camera, no Interwad---

    Trip 192 (82)-XL.jpg
    Serious question... why are you on the internet off the trail and how is that different?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Hi Puddlefish. (I think the "authoritarian" thing can work both ways, though, don't you?)

    Regarding "hatchets" and "fir branches," please re-read my original post. I say that some manmade items are essential, others convenient. I'm not arguing we return to the 19th century. I'm just saying that I think we're overdoing it. I don't agree that devices always "expand the outdoor experience." They can, yes (particularly with the "sharing" aspect) but more often they diminish it. When one is so busy checking messages, coordinates, snapping photos, etc. that one doesn't see the red-tail swooping over the valley to the left, the nature experience is, indeed, diminished.
    Devices have nothing to do with "expanding the outdoor experience." Such an "expansion" belief seems to come from apologists who in fact support such devices in the backcountry. The best way to expand the outdoor experience is to live outdoors 24/7---in all conditions and in all kinds of weather.


    Quote Originally Posted by blue indian View Post
    If you feel the need to infiltrate the forest with your devices, keep it yourself.

    My issue is when other humans impose their devices upon me and nature. I remember passing a couple of bros hiking in North Ga that were blasting awful techno music on a massive speaker as they cruised down the trail. I was literally speechless.. I usually find re-newed confidence in the human race on trail, these guys were the anti-thesis.
    This happened to me once too. Some idiots came up to Naked Ground Gap in Slickrock wilderness---on a cold winter night---and while guzzling alcohol proceeded to crank up their BOOM BOX while setting up their tents.. I had to go over to their camp and tell them to shut it off. Which fortunately they did.

  17. #17
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    Default Too Much Technology on the Trail?

    so, have you got your answer to how many people agree with you yet?
    ?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Hi Puddlefish. (I think the "authoritarian" thing can work both ways, though, don't you?)

    Regarding "hatchets" and "fir branches," please re-read my original post. I say that some manmade items are essential, others convenient. I'm not arguing we return to the 19th century. I'm just saying that I think we're overdoing it. I don't agree that devices always "expand the outdoor experience." They can, yes (particularly with the "sharing" aspect) but more often they diminish it. When one is so busy checking messages, coordinates, snapping photos, etc. that one doesn't see the red-tail swooping over the valley to the left, the nature experience is, indeed, diminished.
    No, I've not seen it go both ways. I've never been internet lectured that I'm enjoying nature the wrong way because I don't bring a smart phone. I've been mocked because I love music more than I love birdsong.

    I sat for an hour on a trail up the side of Hawk Mountain watching ... (some sort of non hawk raptors, I forget what kind) circling and diving to hunt. I was listening to lovely music the entire time. I stopped for ten minutes and watched a bunny eating clover on the side of the trail once, it was not ten feet from me. I took a pic and sent it to my bunny loving daughter. A few weeks later, I sent a pic from the trail of a westbound brightly shelled turtle, to my turtle loving daughter.

    One can just as easily miss things unfolding one's big paper map. One can sit an a canvas tent and read a paper novel, or writing in a paper trail diary and be anti social, just as easily as one can by sitting off to the side of a shelter with one's nose in a phone checking the box scores of your favorite sportsball team. You can sit quietly by the side of the trail and knit, if that's your thing.

    The electronic device is not the determining factor on if you do, or if you don't enjoy the outdoors, it's not the determining factor on if you socialize with others on the trail. Why would you (the general you, not the specific you) need to worry if I'm enjoying my trail experience properly? It's my trail experience, and I'm minding my own business.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 04-04-2019 at 11:41.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Southeast View Post
    Serious question... why are you on the internet off the trail and how is that different?
    I'm on the internet right now because I'm not out on a backpacking trip and because I'm sitting indoors at home. I'm also with my significant others. The whole purpose of a backpacking trip FOR ME is to avoid computer use and the internet and home life and achieve some amount of solitude in communion with nature without conflicting distractions. I view backpacking in what's left of wilderness and the forest as returning to our Neanderthal Roots and our home---you know, where we lived as humans for the last 200,000 years---what's left of pristine Nature.

    There's has to be a balance---home life vs outdoor life. Or if you're really lucky---full time outdoor life.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Devices have nothing to do with "expanding the outdoor experience." Such an "expansion" belief seems to come from apologists who in fact support such devices in the backcountry. The best way to expand the outdoor experience is to live outdoors 24/7---in all conditions and in all kinds of weather.
    This happened to me once too. Some idiots came up to Naked Ground Gap in Slickrock wilderness---on a cold winter night---and while guzzling alcohol proceeded to crank up their BOOM BOX while setting up their tents.. I had to go over to their camp and tell them to shut it off. Which fortunately they did.
    I was tired, and out of shape, had hiked as far as I could, set my tent up early in a field below a bald. Hiked to the top of the bald for the view. Trudged back down and was asleep by 8. There were four other tents of sleeping hikers by the time I got down. Around 9, I hear some noise, I figure it's just some folks setting up tents. Then more noise, then more noise. A group of 8 locals set up a huge 8 person tent, set a campfire in the middle of a field and were proceeding to party.

    I walked over, said Hello, and sleepily said, "we got here a few hours ago, for some needed sleep, it was a beautiful quiet spot... also, please keep that fire small and extinguish it completely when your done, because I don't want to burn to death in my tent." They looked up, apologized profusely, and actually didn't make a peep for the rest of the night. I was shocked.

    The next morning, the guy I was with, said "Thank God, you went over their, because I was about to start screaming at them.

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