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  1. #21
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    I see two problems:
    1) Obviously there isn't enough public wild-land space. We need 2 to 10 times more, especially along the east coast. Let's engage these new converts, temporary or not, to develop large public commitments to more public wild-lands.
    2) We're all tourists in our public wild places, and the late-comers pay the same taxes and have just as much right as us longer-term exploiters of the too limited resource.

    We all made stupid mistakes when we started out too. If you can't find wild areas and trails that the new-comers haven't figured out how to find yet, I think that puts you in the relative neophyte category too. Personally, I've never understood the appeal of the AT. Why would anyone want to hike for months on a trail where you are running into other people every day!? Isn't a 5 month commitment to a trail worth traveling a few hundred or thousand miles to find a really beautiful and wild place? But hey, to each their own wild.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    I see two problems:
    1) Obviously there isn't enough public wild-land space. We need 2 to 10 times more, especially along the east coast. Let's engage these new converts, temporary or not, to develop large public commitments to more public wild-lands.
    2) We're all tourists in our public wild places, and the late-comers pay the same taxes and have just as much right as us longer-term exploiters of the too limited resource.

    We all made stupid mistakes when we started out too. If you can't find wild areas and trails that the new-comers haven't figured out how to find yet, I think that puts you in the relative neophyte category too. Personally, I've never understood the appeal of the AT. Why would anyone want to hike for months on a trail where you are running into other people every day!? Isn't a 5 month commitment to a trail worth traveling a few hundred or thousand miles to find a really beautiful and wild place? But hey, to each their own wild.
    In the Southeast where I backpack public lands are prolific but sadly surrounded by development and sprawl---ever encroaching sprawl. And overhead jet traffic noise is terrible no matter if you're on private land or inside a wilderness area. And in the last 20 years motorcycle tourism has taken over our county roads, most esp Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway---rendering surrounding areas unfit for hiking due to the noise pollution.

    Your last point echoes what I've been saying for decades---A wannabe AT thruhiker should/could use his/her 5 month commitment and backpack a vast area far removed from the glommed up AT---like start at Springer and head north on the BMT and in Watson Gap hike all the trails of Cohutta wilderness on various loops and then use the BMT to do all the trails in Big Frog and keep heading north to Hiwassee River and in Sandy Gap do all the trails in the Upper Bald River wilderness like Kirkland and Brookshire and Bald River trail etc.

    Why no one does this is a supreme mystery. I regularly pull long trips and never see a single backpacker the whole time I'm out. In fact on my last 15 day trip in May I didn't see a single backpacker except for Patman who I invited out to join me.

  3. #23
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    Personally, I've never understood the appeal of the AT.



    which leads one to wonder----why you on this board then? after all, it's geared towards the AT....

    and yes, i know other trails and areas are discussed on this board, but it's primary focus is the AT....

    it's kinda like going to a porn site to look for recipes........

  4. #24
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    In case anybody missed it (like I did), the forest service has reopened AT access points.
    May 21 news release

    Every evening when I get home I open the chicken pen, and there's a flood of hens running out to enjoy a few hours of freedom and green grass and bugs. But without fail, as the daylight wanes, every one of them goes back inside and finds their place on the roost. Same is true with people. They've been cooped up for many weeks, prevented from normal activities, social events, and entertainment. Somebody opens the door, and they flood out to run and flap their wings...or, I guess their arms. But just watch as the summer heats up, or they get busy with other things, or the churches/entertainment/sports reopen, and without fail the crowds will go back to normal.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    which leads one to wonder----why you on this board then? . . . a porn site to look for recipes........
    Because, it's easy to look down condescendingly and troll all the privileged white people that have grown up in suburban American with wealth enough to have spare time to backpack, or more accurately share all the expertise they've learned surfing the internet instead of backpacking and thinking they are special because of that. . . I'm bonding with my community of like minded, hypocritical people.

    Actually, this board is a great community of fantastic people, generally being quite respectful of each other and sharing passion for the outdoors far beyond just the AT. . . and yes, there are also some of us that have moments of bating others to provide an opportunity to practice our trolling skills.

    As to your other point, I'm not to proud to accept good recipes from any good, reliable, and entertaining source?

    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    . . . But just watch as the summer heats up, or they get busy with other things, or the churches/entertainment/sports reopen, and without fail the crowds will go back to normal.
    And once again, I'm torn. I love having the outside world pristine and kept to myself, but I want our society to value our wild places much more than we (as a whole) do. And, the best way to keep pressure up for protection is to keep the value high by keeping the crowds engaged and out there as much as possible to keep nurturing awareness of, and commitment to, it all.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  6. #26
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Take this opportunity to explore different trails.

    My alternative hike to Amicalola where I never used to see anyone is now filled with campers. So be it.

    I’ve done Black Crest Trail to Mitchell and back, the middle two thirds of the Foothills Trail and a three day loop in the Smokies, on weekends no less, and managed to mostly avoid people.

    Woody Gap and Blood Mountain can wait until sports, movies, night life returns.

    There was a lack of distancing at the Foothill waterfalls and a dozen people at the Road to Nowhere lot but once you’re a mile away from the parking lot it’s fine.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    Is it just me becoming bitter? The surge of tourists hitting the parks and trails is starting to become overwhelming.
    I thought joining a couple new hiking forums and FB pages would be interesting but its nothing but tourist hikers demanding information on trails and parks.
    If you think the OP is just a bitter troll who should move under a bridge, you should find and join one of the FB hiking groups. Some of them really are like ordering off the Burger King menu:

    "I'll have a 5 mile hike that is tough enough to get my heart rate up but easy enough for my 4 y/o. I'd like a waterfall at the end, oh, and hold the crowds" Then Monday they are posting: "THE TRAIL WAS TOO ROCKY AND THE RANGER WOULDN'T LET US SWIM IN THE FALLS!!!"

    Maybe it's a southern thing since most of the replies saying the OP is bitter are from places where people must be more self-sufficient. Or may it's just the trail gods mocking me for going someplace other than WhiteBlaze for my hiking feels. We need a good Florida Joe poster on here to liven things up.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    which leads one to wonder----why you on this board then? after all, it's geared towards the AT....

    and yes, i know other trails and areas are discussed on this board, but it's primary focus is the AT....

    it's kinda like going to a porn site to look for recipes........
    The reason I post on Whiteblaze is because it's a Backpacking forum first and foremost and an AT forum secondarily---and it deals with the Southeast mountains. Point me to an equally robust backpacking forum and I'll go to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    And once again, I'm torn. I love having the outside world pristine and kept to myself, but I want our society to value our wild places much more than we (as a whole) do. And, the best way to keep pressure up for protection is to keep the value high by keeping the crowds engaged and out there as much as possible to keep nurturing awareness of, and commitment to, it all.
    Keeping up protection for our wild lands will get harder and harder as our population sky rockets to 450 million by 2050---a billion eventually---with a 100% more infrastructure etc.

  9. #29
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    I don't know if I explained it tactfully or precisely in my post. I don't mind sharing the trail with amateurs or tourists. The community can't grow without them. I myself am not an big expert or hardcore hiker. I do take the initiative though. But some of the posts I have seen, I just got a sense that these individuals had no respect/commonsense for the outdoors, or didn't want to put the effort into looking up a trail. "I want waterfalls, open views, canoeing, and camping. Tell me where to go. But it needs to be an hour drive of me. And terrain must be easy. And must not have bears." Some seemed to be offended that I even mentioned they purchase a map or book. They just want to be fed the info and go. And on top of that rescues in Pisgah are higher than normal...mainly those that didn't prepare for the elements and those who didn't bring a map. Familes trying to navigate a difficult rock scramble all while carrying an infant in their arms and pulling up their leashed dogs.

    If one has genuine questions about a trail, I will be happy to give it.

    And to clarify, the place of discussion is not here on WB. Its more alternative hiking forum pages and FB. Which I recently began purging. And it wasn't my intention to cause a stir or troll. It was just to identify this abnormal surge. Hopefully there will be the ones that will have genuine interest that comes out of it.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 06-02-2020 at 17:43.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    In the Southeast where I backpack public lands are prolific but sadly surrounded by development and sprawl---ever encroaching sprawl. And overhead jet traffic noise is terrible no matter if you're on private land or inside a wilderness area. And in the last 20 years motorcycle tourism has taken over our county roads, most esp Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway---rendering surrounding areas unfit for hiking due to the noise pollution.

    Your last point echoes what I've been saying for decades---A wannabe AT thruhiker should/could use his/her 5 month commitment and backpack a vast area far removed from the glommed up AT---like start at Springer and head north on the BMT and in Watson Gap hike all the trails of Cohutta wilderness on various loopsand then use the BMT to do all the trails in Big Frog and keep heading north to Hiwassee River and in Sandy Gap do all the trails in the Upper Bald River wilderness like Kirkland and Brookshire and Bald River trail etc.

    Why no one does this is a supreme mystery. I regularly pull long trips and never see a single backpacker the whole time I'm out. In fact on my last 15 day trip in May I didn't see a single backpacker except for Patman who I invited out to join me.
    It wonít be all of the trails, but Iím nailing down my route right now for a ~60 mile expedition in the Cohutta/Big Frog wilderness using 20+ trail changes later on this month. Canít freakiní wait.
    traveliní light

  11. #31
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    Lightbulb Some friendly advice

    I don't know if I explained it tactfully or precisely in my post
    Perhaps you didn't.

    its nothing but tourist hikers demanding information on trails and parks.

    But some of the posts I have seen, I just got a sense that these individuals had no respect/commonsense for the outdoors
    One of your statements must be false, or at least an exaggeration.

    I've been TRYING to give advice on the internet (various topics of interest to me) for over twenty years now. For about a year I've been doing so on "Appalachian Trail Section Hikers" in Facebook.
    It's always been the case that someone will come along and ask a question that is so ridiculously vague that no useful advice can be given. A recent one on this FB Group asked, "Looking for sleeping bag, pack and tent recommendations for 4+ nights on trail."
    When this happens, I simply ask for clarification; in this case, "How many people? What time of the year?"
    90% of the time I get no response to these requests, but that won't stop me from TRYING to make it possible for me (or anyone else!) to give a useful answer.
    If the question can't be answered with the information given to me, I just ignore it -- I guess ignoring questions that I can't answer comes easily to me.

    But I'll continue to answer the myriad of question that I conclude I CAN help with -- mainly because I view people who want help as a gift for me.
    Last edited by GoldenBear; 06-04-2020 at 14:07.

  12. #32

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    There are a lot of public lands in many areas of the country but they tend to be where people are not. This map is a nice tool for identifying conserved lands http://www.protectedlands.net/map/

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    Is it just me becoming bitter? The surge of tourists hitting the parks and trails is starting to become overwhelming. Can't find a quite trailhead in NC much anymore. I have taken up FSR hiking to keep away from the crowds.
    Maybe it is starting to change but 2 weeks ago I hiked from Davenport to Allen Gap. Max Patch was kind of ridiculous but otherwise I had the trail to myself. In fact since this mess has begun I have about 12 bag nights all on the AT, and I am enjoying it. I almost never venture on the AT this time of year because I feel it is overcrowded, but this year it is a completely different experience because of the lack of people in the back country.
    I was in Hot Springs on the Saturday AM of the weekend that they "opened up." There were a number of people hiking the Pump Gap/AT/Lover's Leap area, but less so than in a typical year.

  14. #34
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    The reason I post on Whiteblaze is because it's a Backpacking forum first and foremost and an AT forum secondarily---and it deals with the Southeast mountains. Point me to an equally robust backpacking forum and I'll go to it.



    other way around....it started as a place to talk about the AT and has evolved into other topics...

    from the FAQ-----" WhiteBlaze was started on 03 September 2002. It was created to fill the void and a need for a place that hikers could go to and learn new things, share experiences, and to meet other Appalachian Trial hikers"



    and using the archive way back machine----here's something from of the first captures of this webpage....

    "Welcome to WhiteBlaze.Net - We are a new arrival on the AT scene. We are strictly an Appalachian Trail website, as you will see our content reflects. We hope to provide the Appalachian Trail community with a non-biased, thorough interactive resource regarding all aspects of hiking the Appalachian Trail, whether you are a thru-hiker, section hiker or day hiker.
    How this website grows and the direction it takes, is up to those that participate. So please take the time to register, and get involved in the interactive features, start a topic or two in the forum, ask a question, or reply to a few posts. Everyone has an opinion, experience or question, we would like to hear yours. We also offer you our photo gallery feature where you can upload your Appalachian Trail photos for all to see. This is a great resource for future hikers of the trail to see what they're getting into.
    We have a lot of great things planned for WhiteBlaze.Net in the future, so check back often."





    as for other forums---you have been part of others (trailspace and backpacker) but those, just like many other non hiking related forums and boards, have died over the years or lost activity.......seemingly most of the active groups are on the book of face....

    the internet aint what it used to be.....
    Last edited by TNhiker; 06-02-2020 at 20:45.

  15. #35

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    Being recently retired, I'm planning to stick to weekday hiking this summer. Did a short loop near home with my wife this afternoon.

    Agree with other posters that there just aren't many entertainments other than the outdoors right now. I saw at least 30 people on a bike path in about an hour of riding yesterday--at about 11 AM on a non-holiday Monday.
    Last edited by Patrickjd9; 06-02-2020 at 22:07.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    It won’t be all of the trails, but I’m nailing down my route right now for a ~60 mile expedition in the Cohutta/Big Frog wilderness using 20+ trail changes later on this month. Can’t freakin’ wait.
    This is what I'm talkin' about. How long will the trip be? Sounds like maybe a 6 or 7 day trek? I've done the same thing many times but would stretch it out to 21+ days---cuz I did low mile days and zero days in bad weather. And was always concerned about heavy rains impeding my route schedule over Jacks and Conasauga. Big Frog has no real crossing dangers and offers some outstanding loops too. (Wolf Ridge/Grassy Gap/Big Creek etc).

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    I don't know if I explained it tactfully or precisely in my post. I don't mind sharing the trail with amateurs or tourists. The community can't grow without them. I myself am not an big expert or hardcore hiker. I do take the initiative though. But some of the posts I have seen, I just got a sense that these individuals had no respect/commonsense for the outdoors, or didn't want to put the effort into looking up a trail. "I want waterfalls, open views, canoeing, and camping. Tell me where to go. But it needs to be an hour drive of me. And terrain must be easy. And must not have bears." Some seemed to be offended that I even mentioned they purchase a map or book. They just want to be fed the info and go. And on top of that rescues in Pisgah are higher than normal...mainly those that didn't prepare for the elements and those who didn't bring a map. Familes trying to navigate a difficult rock scramble all while carrying an infant in their arms and pulling up their leashed dogs.

    If one has genuine questions about a trail, I will be happy to give it.

    And to clarify, the place of discussion is not here on WB. Its more alternative hiking forum pages and FB. Which I recently began purging. And it wasn't my intention to cause a stir or troll. It was just to identify this abnormal surge. Hopefully there will be the ones that will have genuine interest that comes out of it.
    I appreciate this post and would like to make a couple of comments; First, I can relate to what you are saying about new hikers. I personally have had numerous people want to hike with me after a conversation about hiking/backpacking and looking at pictures, etc. But few follow through or continue to go after trying it once or twice. It seems that the pictures don't tell the whole story and when they realize they might experience new levels of discomfort, pain, bad weather, etc, they go a different direction looking for leisure--same thing as new attempts at thru-hiking.
    Second, I think your last paragraph is starting to become a reality. I see less permitted discussion with more censuring and have noticed that many of the regular posters are no longer participating in discussions. It is sad to me to see this because I have always(since joining) enjoyed the various topics, good and bad, informative or "colorful". Hope this trend is only imagined or at least does not continue.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    This is what I'm talkin' about. How long will the trip be? Sounds like maybe a 6 or 7 day trek? I've done the same thing many times but would stretch it out to 21+ days---cuz I did low mile days and zero days in bad weather. And was always concerned about heavy rains impeding my route schedule over Jacks and Conasauga. Big Frog has no real crossing dangers and offers some outstanding loops too. (Wolf Ridge/Grassy Gap/Big Creek etc).
    I’m familiar with your trips, I very much look forward to your new reports. You may have even inspired this trip to some extent.

    I’m not putting a time frame on it, my ride can be flexible on my pickup date and location so I can afford to change my route based on bad weather, miles taking longer than I anticipated, etc.
    traveliní light

  19. #39
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  20. #40
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    Sometimes it simply comes down to knowing the trails in your local area. For example, I live in the Raleigh-Durham metro area with nearly 2 million people. I know the trails at the park near my house are going to be crowded - I see dozens of people when I go jogging there at 7 AM. I know the trails at the nearest state park are going to be crowded - they were busy even before COVID-19. So instead, I've been driving 30-40 minutes and doing day hikes on the MST on weekday mornings. I've done dozen 8-10 mile day hikes since everything shut down, and most of the time I've seen one or two people in four hours. If it's raining I'm pretty much guaranteed not to see anyone.
    It's all good in the woods.

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