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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    When i'm hiking, i'm as low tech as possible; a flip flop phone and a charger. But i like to watch u-tube hiking videos/vlogs or whatever they call them these days. for example, i like to watch 'Second Chance' the current undisputed WB star, among a few others. so i guess there's some hypocrisy here.
    I nearly always get motion sickness watching trail videos.

  2. #62
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Several years ago there was a guy who made a series of Youtube videos on how to thru hike the AT. In one he said you didn't need a first aid kit if you carried a phone because if something major happened you could call for help. Or just wait for some clueless hiker to come by and use their first aid kit.
    More walking, less talking.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    Do you imagine it's only one choice or another, or that I'm incapable of deciding for myself what enhances my own hike on any given day? I find it bizarre that anyone would presume to suggest I'm not enjoying nature properly, or that their nature experience is somehow more pure than mine for any reason at all.

    I never said you are not enjoying nature "properly," I'm suggesting your enjoyment MIGHT BE compromised by your fiddling with technology. That's a speculation, but I think a legitimate one. If you don't think your experience is compromised, not much else I can say.


    I just climbed the local hill, it was windy, and I could hear wind, windy wind, creaking trees, some wind, my micro spikes crunching along, and more wind. I put in the ear phones, and listened to some Shannon and the Clams/Natalie Merchant/Big Thief, it perked me right up and I climbed forth with renewed enthusiasm, taking in the gorgeous views. On the way back down, I chatted with a couple of nice ladies as we slowly navigated the ice. That was what I needed today. Last fall, I hiked out to a beaver dam, and had a nice lunch, just listening to the river, that was what I needed that day.

    I would say that earbuds are fairly tame "devices," and they weren't what I was thinking with my original post. I stand by my claim that technology on the trail is getting out of hand.

    I think far too many people get obsessed about cell phones because they're lonely, and people out on the trails... aren't paying attention to them, like they would prefer. It's their neediness for attention that's being disturbed. Those kids are talking to each other, and not to me, I blame cell phones! Back in the day, I could barge into anyone's conversation like a boss! They're spending time looking at a map on a screen, instead of a map on paper! Oh, noes! They're probably going to die!

    This is your own "presuming to suggest" moment. It doesn't apply to me, since I enjoy solitude, but it's an interesting psychological theory nonetheless. There's also the theory that people haul their electronics on trail as a safety blanket, a connection to the "civilized world."

    I can only suggest, if you can't beat them, join them. Use the Guthook app, it's glorious. Look, the little dot that represents me, is moving towards the next water source! I'm halfway up the hill to the shelter, I think I'll take an hour for lunch here! After the first day the novelty wears off, and you'll rarely glance at it. It's entirely your decision how often you want to peek. You can still talk to people to find the next water source, or ask the goofy question "am I near the top yet!?"... again, entirely your choice. You don't have to be tethered to the phone constantly.

    I'm not a fan of the "if you can't beat them, join them" logic. I'm a vomiter, not a swallower. If something's shoved down my throat (like the Ohio State Buckeyes, where I live), I vomit, I don't swallow. Hey, everyone's different!

    Sure electronics have the potential to cause disturbances, much like many many other things on the trail. You can't paint all electronics users with the same broad brush. You can't paint all shelter users/alcohol users/smokers/pet owners/old men/young people/etc. with the same broad brush. The technology doesn't mess up your experience unless you let it, same as all the other human behavior you will encounter.

    I'm not painting anyone with a brush. I'm just suggesting that technology on the trail is getting out of hand. You may not be "guilty" of overdoing the techie stuff, yourself, as an individual. But add up all the earbudders, and throw in the smartphoners, GPSers, laptoppers, droners, and whatever else, and that's a lot of electronics out there in the mountains.

    In 600 miles on the AT, I heard someone's music exactly once. A group of young folk were at a hostel, gathered around a phone, and going through the Hip Hop top 100, and testing their (poor) voices and memories of lyrics and just generally having a blast. I chimed in with the Humpty Dance, the only hip hop song I know, and was pleased it was on their list. It's now a fond memory and part of my AT experience.

    Respectfully, I don't think this cute anecdote of yours disproves my assertion that there's too much technology on the trail.

    No electronics on the trail has ever annoyed me. Yeah, I've been briefly flustered by someone talking on a phone, who I thought was talking to me, but didn't dwell on it, or suggest that her day was ruined by her lack of communion with nature, feeling bad for her, or mocking her for doing her hike wrong. Wait, I take that back, I've been annoyed by a bright white flashlight/headlamp shined on my tent a few times, so let's start a thread about light users aren't appreciating the beauty of the night sky properly?

    Electronics on the trail may not annoy you. To that "justification," I would say many people are not annoyed by the smell of 2,4-D lawn chemical in the spring, as well.

    Also, you don't have to focus phone cameras. I literally can give my phone a quick twist, which turns on the camera function without need to go through menus, or even turn it on first. Then touch the screen. Even I can do it, it's brainless.
    Do you have to remove your camera from your pocket? Do you have to twist it? Do you have to turn it on? Touch the screen? Check the result? Repeat above? You may be capturing the artifact, but are you losing the MOMENT?? (see Dogwood's post above)

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Do you have to remove your camera from your pocket? Do you have to twist it? Do you have to turn it on? Touch the screen? Check the result? Repeat above? You may be capturing the artifact, but are you losing the MOMENT?? (see Dogwood's post above)
    A fair enough posit. But it isn't always necessarily the case. As someone above alluded, a camera could in fact, submerge you into the moment that much more. Great photographers have great focus. They see things because they are looking for them.

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Do you have to remove your camera from your pocket? Do you have to twist it? Do you have to turn it on? Touch the screen? Check the result? Repeat above? You may be capturing the artifact, but are you losing the MOMENT?? (see Dogwood's post above)
    Yes, it was outstandingly difficult to remove the phone from my hip belt. The twisting motion (think revving a motorcycle throttle) turns it on, and opens the camera app. Touching the screen, also brutal, but I just managed it. I didn't bother to see how it came out at the moment. When I was in my tent, I forwarded the picture as a text to family.

    No, I'm not losing the moment. I lost all of five seconds, and was able to share the moment with others, and with my future self. I have a terrible memory. I couldn't tell you even in what state, or in what month I saw the bunny. I had an additional 9 minutes and 55 seconds to watch the cute little bunny nibble at clover. Would it have been acceptable to you if I had taken out a piece of bark, and a bit of charcoal and sketched the bunny? Would that have been acceptable to you?

    Seriously, a crappy Sean Penn movie as your inspirational source? Why would you imagine that I'd be moved by a scripted and directed line in a movie? You can't get more technological than that. Sean Penn doesn't move me. I don't even like movies, I find them super fake. I have poor memory, I hike for different reasons than you, I'm not you. I will never be you, it's weirdly authoritarian for you to suggest to me that it's better for me, to forego technology to better get in the moment. Let people manage their moments they way they see fit... or don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    I think far too many people get obsessed about cell phones because they're lonely, and people out on the trails... aren't paying attention to them, like they would prefer. It's their neediness for attention that's being disturbed.
    The comedian Sebastian Maniscalco calls taking a Selfie "taking a LONELY." sebastian maniscalco taking a lonely

  7. #67

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    I use my iPhone to identify plants and birds while hiking, so it enhances my experience.

  8. #68

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    I guess at 37 I'm in the generation that appreciates both methods.
    Airplane mode almost all the time, I just use it for things that add to my experience.

    It's a lot to do with motivation and personality as well. A lot of people out there are a different hiker breed now. They are seeking MORE solitude than at home in many cases, but not necessarily intense solitude. Ie: they want to video and post/comment on a lot of stuff daily, maybe socialize a bit more, etc.
    Perfectly fine digital approach IMO, as long as they don't annoy me with excessive noise, etc, which is rare in this circumstance

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    There are two other lines I left out in that Secret Life of Walter Mitty Stiller Penn scene that provide better context. After Penn says his first line Stiller inquisitively asks "Stay in it?" Stiller's character(Walter Mitty) does not comprehend what Penn means by "stay in it." Then Penn says, "there, it's gone(the connection, the moment where he's IN IT); it's gone." That's the moment he's referring not just the Ghost Cat ghosting away. The Ghost Cat moving away as does a ghost, a vapor, is a metaphor for LIFE and ghosting through LIFE as Walter Mitty was. Life is but a moment on this planet and many coast - ghost - through it disconnected, separate, rigidly alone, here but not fully here, vacuous, not truly consciously aware of being "connected." The moment, being in it is, is a metaphor for engaging profoundly in life not coasting through it like a fart in the wind. That's what the movie is about - Walter Mitty being taught to live LIFE, to be in it with all his being rather than touching it, rather than simply passing through it squandering life, taking these precious moments, these precious lives, for granted.


    It's a good lesson.


    Muir was referring to the same principle.


    “We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.” ― John Muir

    Most people are on the world, not in it-- having no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them-- undiffused seporate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but seporate.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    If the real deal Les Stroud started playing that freakin harmonica and we could hear it would it technologically bother us?
    Only as long as it would take us to silence him with our Bear Grylls knife.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    ...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....
    This is what,-- in debate circles,-- is called "setting up a straw man." Not really for you to say what "the whole idea" of backpacking is, is it?

    BTW, I did not take time to read all the pages of posts, so apologies if I'm repeating someone.

    My dear wife lets me go backpacking just about any time I want, where I want, for as long as I want. I am happy to and want to check in with her from time to time. Apologies to all whom my use of electronic technology offends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Only as long as it would take us to silence him with our Bear Grylls knife.
    Which one. He has several Gerber Bear Gryllis branded knives, a multi tool knife(Leatherman like), take off SAS survival take off Bowie like, Swiss Army Grandfather multi tool type, Scout,...

    Bear doesn't need no stinkin' knife. He'd stab Les with a stick IF Les din't catch him first in a stake lined pit snare and gag him with the harmonica.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Several years ago there was a guy who made a series of Youtube videos on how to thru hike the AT. In one he said you didn't need a first aid kit if you carried a phone because if something major happened you could call for help. Or just wait for some clueless hiker to come by and use their first aid kit.
    He was right.
    First aid kits arent for anything major
    They are for boo-boos

    But you stand a good chance of dieing from anything major, you are likely many hrs from help.

    The whole premise of wilderness first aid for serious things ....is stabilize patient ( stop bleeding, make warm, comfortable, ) and get help . Much of it is recognizing symptoms of things to start with, so you can properly convey information to rescuers.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-04-2019 at 22:00.

  14. #74
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    I like smartphones, although I'm in the usually-in-airplane-mode camp. As a Boomer, I spent more than half of my life without a cell phone, so I'm perfectly aware of how to function without it. I find the demands of constant connectivity to be annoying, and don't agree to to be instantly available at all times to assorted robocallers, or to my friends and family.

    What I like: Camera from which it is completely simple to send pictures to wherever and whomever you want to send them to; text messaging to family, and to friends along the way whom I'm planning to visit; and to make the occasional phone call to reserve a room, or whatever. And this year I'm playing with the Guthook app, which I like. I've been hiking bits of the AZT this spring. When I get into an area with a lot of unmarked social trails, the app helps me pick out the correct fork to take. Saves a lot of backtracking.

    Since the phone is usually easy to get at (so I can use it as a camera), I also use it to make typed or voice memo notes to look at later.

    Can play music, and store reading material, both printed and audio, although personally I prefer to save the battery by not using it for those purposes when backpacking. Great flashlight, although again I prefer to save the battery, and find the flashlight so bright that it kills night vision for quite a while.

    It can be helpful in an emergency, although I am as prudent as I humanly can be, and don't take chances that I expect other people to rescue me from the consequences of.

    I have seen a lot of people state their intention to vblog their hikes this year. I wonder if they have any idea how demanding that will be? And how difficult it is to keep all that equipment dry and charged up? Seems like a headache to me. There's a reason Jester carries a heavy pack, and spends many months after a long hike editing the material into an entertaining movie.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    He was right.
    First aid kits arent for anything major
    They are for boo-boos
    I disagree. A smartphone won't stop a cut from bleeding or a blister from becoming infected. Things that are a real possibility if you are planning to hike 2100 miles. I ran into a kid in PA who was hiking in sandals. He gashed his toe on the rocks and was bleeding pretty good. He had no first aid, not even any hand sanitizer. It is irresponsible for you to rely on others for your well being.
    More walking, less talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    This might explain why I RARELY see as many backpackers as I used to see in the good old days before smartphone . . . captivation.
    Maybe there's an App for that (backpacking virtually on your phone app, rather than actually getting real trail time)
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

  17. #77

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    I am fully addicted to my smart phone and only in the last year have made strides to break up with it. Hiking is one of those areas I will not use my phone unless I need it. My challenge forthcoming is to try to leave it alone. Placed in a ziplock and at the bottom of my bag is where it should be.

    To the OP suggestion, I don’t think tech is a bad thing per se but like Kenny Rogers, you got to know when hold em

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    I’m pleasantly surprised at all the feedback for this forum topic. Just like politics and religion,people have passionate feelings (including me). Someone suggested taking a poll. That might be a good idea. I’m not a regular here, but I’ll try to whip something up.

    Till then, here’s a thought: My loquacious and intelligent friend, Puddlefish, posited the theory that hikers who are averse to rampant electronics on the trail might feel snubbed because they’re being ignored by those who carry “gadgets.” I find this theory pretty daft, myself (sorry, Puddle…by the way, I wasn’t the one whose inspiration source is a Sean Penn movie and, again, I don't think my raising this topic is being "authoritarian"...read my original post). But how about this theory:

    Hikers bring their gadgets on trail because they’re a safety blanket. They provide a connection to home and civilization, and not just a literal connection, but a figurative one. Their toys are like Linus’s blanket. They remind them of their being civilized creatures who have “conquered” the wilds, which can often be threatening. A smartphone is not just a rescue device in an emergency situation, but it’s also a piece of the modern world that says “Look at the amazing thing that man has accomplished. This is on a scale with what God (god, Allah, Yahweh, whatever) has accomplished with these mountains, trees, flowers, and bears.” I DON'T mean people think this consciously, but perhaps subconsciously.

    Also: those most offended by people (like me) who suggest there's too much technology on the trail, secretly feel guilty for having to rely on their "toys." I won't mention any names.


    More controversy, maybe, but I think it’s worth considering.
    Last edited by greenpete; 04-05-2019 at 08:19. Reason: Added some spaces, deleted word

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    Over a decade ago I traveled to the midwest to help my brother put a new roof on his daughter's house. Every time I turned around he would be up at the peak stroking and poking his phone. After half a day of this I finally said, "Put the %$#@ thing down or get off the roof." That was my first taste of how addictive they can be. I see it on the trail, too. Shelters are the worst; everyone stoking and poking; more in tune with their devices than fellow hikers.
    I don't own one. I have an addictive personality. They are not for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    I’m pleasantly surprised at all the feedback for this forum topic. ...
    Also: those most offended by people (like me) who suggest there's too much technology on the trail, secretly feel guilty for having to rely on their "toys." I won't mention any names.

    More controversy, maybe, but I think it’s worth considering.
    I agree with greenpete, so no need to quote the entire thing.

    My tech story is that I started section hiking the AT before cellphones were common, then I got one and carried it with me along with my camera, then later I ditched the camera, lastly I ditched the cellphone. Thankfully I'm not asked to or required to "check in" with anyone (I always think of Meriwether Lewis's letter to his mom before embarking on his journey, the last lines something to the effect of "I'll see you in a couple of years. Don't worry about me."). I'm much happier now without the gadgets -- I get enough of that stuff at home/work.

    That's my .02

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