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  1. #301
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    It isn't only the AT. Local and regional trails in Colorado, Philly, Atlanta, and Phoenix to name a few have reported overcrowded trails. One report of a popular trail at as state park near Atlanta said hikers were "lined up cheek to jowl" to view a waterfall. Don't get me started how the federal government is handling this "situation."
    Can't speak for the other places, but I can about Colorado: the only crowded trails are the local ones, and they are nut-so crowded. I'm assuming this is because of the "stay within 10 miles of home" guidelines we have in place, so hiking folks who generally disperse around our huge state now all hike in one place. Basically, the guidelines are concentrating the hiking density.

    Since they are only guidelines, I've been all over the mountain trails more like 20-40 miles from home (the high foothills), and they are essentially empty, most day hikes we see zero to maybe 3-4 other people. A recent backpack trip to a VERY popular place we saw only a couple/few folks near the two trailheads, no one at all on the backpack route.

    So, ethically, I have no problems hiking on empty trails, silly me.

  2. #302

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_zavocki View Post
    I disagree that it would be pure chaos, because I think it already happened. There were cases in Paris and Sweden far earlier than first thought. I believe the same for NY. Didn't they do a sampling a month ago and 20% people had antibodies. I think it already spread all over, and only a small percentage had symptoms. For a large area like NYC, the numbers add up and make it look worse.
    The initial wait was to allow the medical system to catch up. They already did that. It was not to STOP the spread, only to slow it. At this point, the cure is worse than the disease. We know much more about treatment now so the wait was a success but continuing with it is insanity. As was said by swjohnsy already, we don't want to prolong the agony. People are being hurt big time by this.
    Our medical system here in Canada is still very far behind with non-emergency surgeries (many incredibly important to survival or qualify of life) because of all the covid focus. We're nowhere near "caught up".
    With respect to thru hiking and other long-distance hiking, I just think some common sense and making yourself self-sufficient is definitely still warranted. Putting a potential burden on the system for a vacation is not something I plan to do.
    I don't know who could possibly care about someone going on a few days backpacking trip and not using facilities... but we're a ways from crowded hiking with trail towns being flooded with people from all over the place.

    A friend of mine said they were hiking a closed local trail because it was "so much less crowded than the other trails and therefore safer"; well, yes, that's because everyone followed the rules but him! A pleasant life as the one exception.

  3. #303

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    Well, since the only ones who are dying from this are minorities and feeble old folks who are just waiting to die anyway, lets just stop doing anything to try and contain this. Who cares about those people anyway? I'm white and have low risk factors, so why should I care? I might even get my inheritance sooner.

    The thing is, many people do get seriously sick from this who aren't a minority or elderly and if your one of them, it's not fun. You may not die, but you might come damn close to it. There are still millions of Americans who have heath issues which makes catching this an iffy proposition.

    So, lets just give up and stop trying. I guess we'll see how well that works out before too long.
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  4. #304
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    This thread is turning into nothing more than a snarky last comment thread.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  5. #305
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph View Post
    This thread is turning into nothing more than a snarky last comment thread.
    Unfortunately, there will be no last comment from one of the snarkiest. Well, I guess I was just snarky myself. Sigh.

  6. #306

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_zavocki View Post
    .........If you believe as I do that your that the virus cannot be contained and that it must run its course then hike on. Social distancing only drags out what can't be stopped.

    .................If the virus death rate is in the range of 0.1 to 0.5 and the vast majority have other conditions then hike on. This is from MD's not CNN.
    ................HYOH really applies here. This isn't really an ethical decision this is a personal decision.

    325 million x 0.1% = 325,000 dead people. 325 million x 0.5% = 1,625,000 dead people. Hardly comparable to traffic deaths. Yes it is an ethical decision whether to do what you can to prevent death or do what ever you personally want to do regardless of how that might affect the health of others. With rights come responsibilities even on a hiking trail.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  7. #307

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    Likely 500,000 - 600-000 deaths will be attributed to Covid-19 this year if the death rate is anywhere the near rate in New York City, 19,000/8,400,000. Like the flu, this virus will spread in spite of any masks or social distancing. Most of the folks who die will be the old and frail who were gonna die of heart disease, cancer or stroke anyway. We can shut down society and the economy and we will still have 500,000 - 600,000 deaths.

  8. #308

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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    Likely 500,000 - 600-000 deaths will be attributed to Covid-19 this year if the death rate is anywhere the near rate in New York City, 19,000/8,400,000. Like the flu, this virus will spread in spite of any masks or social distancing. Most of the folks who die will be the old and frail who were gonna die of heart disease, cancer or stroke anyway. We can shut down society and the economy and we will still have 500,000 - 600,000 deaths.
    You and I are going to have to agree to disagree. I believe you are making false assumptions about the spread of this disease but there is no point arguing about that. Old people who have underlying health conditions could live for many years with those conditions if they don't get the virus so "they are going to die anyway" is an over simplification of the situation. Everyone is going to die at some time, the question is when and how. As you are in the "old" category (as I am), I hope you don't get the virus and stay well.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  9. #309

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    Will it spread in spite of masks or social distancing? Yes.

    Will it spread at the same rate? Absolutely not.

    Will the number of people that succumb to it be affected by the rate at which it spreads? Yes, unquestionably. Without controlling the rate of infection, our medical system cannot keep up. Additionally, we learn as it goes. When each case can get real attention, notes are taken and outcomes are observed. That information is shared throughout the medical system (worldwide) and best practices can be collected and put into place systematically. This continuously reduces the mortality rate.

  10. #310

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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    Likely 500,000 - 600-000 deaths will be attributed to Covid-19 this year if the death rate is anywhere the near rate in New York City, 19,000/8,400,000. Like the flu, this virus will spread in spite of any masks or social distancing. Most of the folks who die will be the old and frail who were gonna die of heart disease, cancer or stroke anyway. We can shut down society and the economy and we will still have 500,000 - 600,000 deaths.
    Research comparing deaths this year, January through March and April, to years past for the same period is showing that there is considerably more mortality than the average for those months during past years. Even further this above average mortality exceeds identified Covid-19 mortality. Most of that excess is considered to be unreported Covid-19 mortality, people dying before having the official designation of Covid-19. There are a substantial number of people dying who would have lived otherwise.
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  11. #311

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_zavocki View Post
    I understand why you bring it back to the ethics of hiking, that makes sense, however the ethics *depend* on how we interpret the what is going on.

    If you believe as I do that your that the virus cannot be contained and that it must run its course then hike on. Social distancing only drags out what can't be stopped.

    There is evidence that the number of people who develop symptoms can be as low at 5%, so if that is true than hike on. This is from studies on jails.

    If the virus death rate is in the range of 0.1 to 0.5 and the vast majority have other conditions then hike on. This is from MD's not CNN.

    If you want to stay at home for months to avoid this, then that is up to you, but you (in general) shouldn't impose your belief (which IMO is rooted in fear) on others who have very good reasons to act otherwise. Misery loves company is an expression that comes to mind.

    Believe me, if this was really as bad as they say then I would certainly stay home. The analogy of swjohnsy of highway deaths is actually a very valid comparison. Every time I drive in Georgia I am reminded of how many die on the highways because they remind everyone on highway message boards. It is effective because it reminds me to be diligent in how I drive, but I certainly don't think I better get home and stay there.

    HYOH really applies here. This isn't really an ethical decision this is a personal decision.
    To be totally clear, the thread is about thruhiking and ethics. Backpacking in general for shorter trip lengths has different conditions and the arguments are different.

    No I don't believe like you at all. There might be time to stop complete spread by working on social distancing while they work on a vaccine. And while we can't keep everyone in their homes until then, there are things we can do minimize the spread and save lives until that happens. If not a vaccine, time to develop therapies to lower the death rate.

    I read quite extensively on this subject and your numbers are cherry-picked. I go right to the sources BTW, there's an incredible amount of distortion in the news. That means I go straight to the actual publications. IMO, if you haven't realized yet that this is a once in a century type crisis then you are just burying your head in the sand. There are currently 1.2 million cases in the US with 72,000 deaths. If you would like to throw in 4x as many unreported cases, that's still 72,000 deaths for 6 million Americans. There's over 300 million Americans. What's 50 times 72,000? 3.6 million, which is 90 years of highway fatalities. Like I said a much bigger problem.

    HYOH does not apply. What people are doing will have consequences for other people, deadly ones even. Pick 1-3 of your family and friends who are going to die. Is a thruhike worth that?
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  12. #312

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    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has requested that thru-hikers continue to postpone their hikes:

    https://appalachiantrail.org/officia...-update-may20/

    I was disappointed to see a vlogger I was following resume their thru-hike recently. In my opinion, this is not cool.

    What do others think?
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  13. #313

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    Quote Originally Posted by futureatwalker View Post
    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has requested that thru-hikers continue to postpone their hikes:

    https://appalachiantrail.org/officia...-update-may20/

    I was disappointed to see a vlogger I was following resume their thru-hike recently. In my opinion, this is not cool.

    What do others think?
    Here is a quote from a Harris County (contains the city of Houston) official yesterday. “The truth is that we are no safer today from this virus than we were in March,” said Judge Hidalgo. “There is still no vaccine, no treatment, no cure. ......"

    Pretty good summation of the situation.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  14. #314

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    Caution and patience will do more for a successful outcome than impatience and risk taking.

  15. #315
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Caution and patience will do more for a successful outcome than impatience and risk taking.
    I tend to disagree with this in some cases, take mountaineering for example. The risk takers will generally be significantly more successful in, say, summiting mountains or establishing a new route somewhere.

    I know thru hiking during a pandemic is quite different from mountaineering.

    Sill, there are similarities in philosophies and the trade off between risk and reward. This whole Covid-ethics thing really is about such trade offs.

    For myself, and why I would not consider a long thru hike right now is the lack of a reward... I don't see long thru hikes as anything special in terms of an "Accomplishment" like so many others do, so for me, thru hiking the AT has not much of a reward, hence why I wouldn't take such a risk. The only reason I enjoy a 4-month thru hike so much is simply because it's 4 months of doing my favorite thing; backpacking.

    But shorter thru hikes? A CO trail hike, for example, is still a thru hike, though only about 500 miles. A month hiking on a much more remote trail with 3 resupplies, all mailed boxes, posts probably less of a Covid risk than "normal" life visiting a grocery once a week and Home Depot 3 times a day because during stay-at-home what can one do besides catch up on home repairs?

    Thru hiking the AT right now? Too much risk for yourself and others, simply because of the nature of hiking the AT (hostels, town stops, crowds, etc). I'd say pretty much the same even for a PCT thru attempt, maybe even a CDT.

    But shorter more remote thru hikes? Go for it. (AZT, CT, JMT, SHR, WRHR, the alphabet soup list is endless, or as Dogwood would say, create your own and avoid the 2-3 letter trails!). String a bunch of shorter thru's together and enjoy this coming summer. That's my plan.

  16. #316

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    I agree with pretty much all of that, colorado_rob. With the minor addendum that cautious and patient mountaineers have a more successful track record of making it back to base camp after the summit. Ed Viesturs is a good example of one that's been all over and summited the biggest of them but made it home by being patient for the right opportunities.

    Getting out on a spot like the Colorado Trali, etc seems like a good option at this point.

  17. #317
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    I agree with pretty much all of that, colorado_rob. With the minor addendum that cautious and patient mountaineers have a more successful track record of making it back to base camp after the summit. Ed Viesturs is a good example of one that's been all over and summited the biggest of them but made it home by being patient for the right opportunities.

    Getting out on a spot like the Colorado Trali, etc seems like a good option at this point.
    Yep, I read "No shortcuts to the Top". Yeah, Ed is still alive, but then again, so is Reinhold Messner and Conrad Anker two very different style climbers. It's all about trade-offs, risk vs. reward.

    As far as I know, Ed V is still the only American to have climbed The Fourteen (8000 M peaks), but then again, in the world community of mountaineers, the USA is an "also ran", alas.

  18. #318
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    You appear to be missing a very salient point......Covid 19 is deadly......it transcends anything else out there. In any event stay safe and do everything possible to avoid infecting anyone else.

  19. #319
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    Life is deadly. This latest disease will run its course no matter what we do. All this social distancing and shut-downs will only slow the spread.
    Slowing the spread is exactly the goal that "social distancing" and closures/shutdowns is trying to accomplish. Yes, ultimately, if no vaccine is developed, somewhere around 60% of the population will become infected at some point [herd immunity levels differs with different diseases] before the transmission rate slows dramatically (but doesn't stop completely). As we have seen to date, the virus spreads quickly in environments when people are in close contact - densely populated cities and cluster outbreaks such as at funerals, parties, etc. Nursing homes have the multiple whammy of patient density, healthcare workers treating multiple patients, and patients who often have severe underlying health issues as well as, in general, just old age. There are a finite number of hospital beds available that are suitable for people with highly infectious diseases, and the COVID19 patients can't be commingled with all the other necessary hospitalizations for other health issues. The idea of shutdowns and "social distancing" is precisely to slow the spread so as not to overwhelm the hospital/healthcare system over a shorter period of time. And we still need to treat people with other diseases and ailments that the system is ultimately sized to handle. And yes, the economic impact in general is beyond severe - but that isn't the specific thread topic.

    As to thru-hiking specifically, there are competing ethical interests - it isn't simply a one-sided question:

    On one hand, we have the potential of thru-hikers spreading the disease during travel to the trail, to other hikers, trail towns and their residents, at hiker feeds and trail festivals and hostels and shelters, etc.

    On the other hand, the trail related businesses (many of them small) and their employees have suffered greatly - stores, hostels, shuttle, food establishments, employees and owners in the hiking gear/supply businesses, etc. [Side note: I think this is going to be very bad for trail dependent lodging and food businesses with debt load and also the smaller boutique gear manufacturers, especially those in the growth stages beyond cottage level]

    Just as relevant are thru-hikers themselves, who have suffered by being prohibited and/or discouraged from thru-hiking. And I feel it's beyond just a minor inconvenience as some seem to espouse. Most hikers save for years and often schedule school, employment, family, and work their life situation around an anticipated one-time thru-hike window. Many don't have the luxury of postponing a thru-hike until next year or the year after. And some of us older folk are just running out of time in general. For some, this is a one-time opportunity that is/was lost and won't happen again. Yet many outdoor spaces, including the AT or access to it, where maintaining physical distancing/separation is reasonably easy and by air dilution alone the chances of contracting or spreading the virus are very small, were simply closed seemingly without regard to any other interests beyond simply keeping people out in general. Closing shelters, prohibiting hiker feeds, cancelling trail festivals, etc, is understandable as density and proximity are the obvious biggest factors in the transmission of this disease. Would every hiker act responsibly? Probably not. And yes, that factors into risk, but it is small compared to the major ones regarding thru-hiking that we can control. There is virtually no medical evidence that says this disease is spread over any reasonable distance when outdoors. In fact, people are encouraged to go outside and walk, run, etc - but do it in your own backyard so as not to spread it - well, except that the disease has already spread to every county in the US. To me, essentially shutting down thru-hiking altogether seems out of proportion to the level of risk. Yes, that's all just opinion. But I just don't feel the whole situation was / is looked at fairly in terms of the competing ethical interests in regards to hikers and hiking related businesses, and I find the idea of the AT and thru-hikers being a significant factor in the overall spread of the disease way overblown.

    Ethics, by its very nature, isn't a one sided coin.

  20. #320
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I suspect many would be far more comfortable risking the lives of strangers, than risking say a million dollars of their own money (or their parentsí money or all future social security benefits if they have yet to acquire any significant assets themselves).

    If that is true (just my guess that it is) probably not such an ethical choice to assume that risk.

    Getting sick from anything would suck in the middle of a thru hike. Getting sick from anything at all these days would be very difficult to deal with.

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