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  1. #1
    Trail Name: Mangy Mo
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    Default Pay Phone Availability

    I am planning a 2008 thru-hike, and my current plan is to bring a phone card and use pay phones or hostel phones.

    My quick question: How available or hard to find are public phones in trail towns, at post offices, near trail heads, at hostels, etc... ?? Anybody have good or bad experiences depending on them?

    Qualifying info...

    I need phone access to help contact family back home who is helping mail my resupply packages. Calling them to coordinate will help minimize the time my packages are taking up space at the various destinations they're sent to... plus I can request last minute changes if I decide some food item is terrible ;-)

    The other alternative is a cell phone, and while I'm indifferent to philosophies about technology in the woods, I'm choosing not to carry one because of the extra weight and added logisitical requirement of bouncing the charger.

    As a matter of being practical though, I do want phone access, so I'm interested in how readily available public phones are near the trail.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Default

    pay phones are readily available all up the trail.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf View Post
    pay phones are readily available all up the trail.
    But phone cards are really helpful too, no?

    Jonathan

  4. #4
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    If not already being done ...the reporting of availability and location of pay phones would be a valuable addition. Based on my recent hiking in Maine this past year I'd say they are an indangered specie

    Guide book writers paying attention ?????

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  5. #5

    Default no more in Stratton Maine

    The ancient but usable one in Stratton Maine is now gone. And yes I'm a Companion Field Editor and notice things like this for a reason. 'Slogger, do you think it should be mentioned in town information if there is notone available? Just curious.

  6. #6
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebearee View Post
    The ancient but usable one in Stratton Maine is now gone. And yes I'm a Companion Field Editor and notice things like this for a reason. 'Slogger, do you think it should be mentioned in town information if there is notone available? Just curious.
    =================================

    Actually yes, I think that would be a good idea. In 2003 I carried a prepaid phone card and was able to access a payphone pretty regularly. But since then I've gone back and re-hiked sections and found that many of those payphones have been removed.

    For those prospective hikers preparing to hike the trail and depending on payphone availability to stay in touch with friends and family I think it would be a GREAT idea to call out the presence of payphones and update it yearly.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  7. #7
    "Switchback - NOBO '06" MyFeetHurt's Avatar
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    Default

    pay phone are still everywhere. if you do a thru in 2015, that may not be the case. but this year, you'll be fine....

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    used quite a few pay phones... but I too also had a pre-paid phone card but the activtion fee or minutes to get me connected were somtimes like 300 mins. It really made me mad. I brought a cell phone and used it more.

  9. #9
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    I think that I read somewhere that AT&T is phasing out their pay phones, but Verison and some of the other carriers intend to keep them - at least for now. I guess most folks have cell phones, and the pay phones just aren't making money like they used to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelterbuilder View Post
    I think that I read somewhere that AT&T is phasing out their pay phones, but Verison and some of the other carriers intend to keep them - at least for now. I guess most folks have cell phones, and the pay phones just aren't making money like they used to.
    off topic, but in NYC, the main reason pay phones are still available is that they have become ad space. big, in your face, blocking the sidewalk ad space. unfortunately, the phones usually don't work so those who can't afford cell phones or those who don't want cell phones are left with no phone but have a big brainwashing ad to look at, yay!

  11. #11
    But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
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    There was a movement in the Maine legislature a couple years back to force companies like Verizon to keep, and install more, pay phones around the state, as the state has been reporting for sever years in a row that the number of them is going down.

    Kirby

  12. #12
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    Better off using a phone card, cheaper then collect calls and at hotels WAY cheaper to use your phone card then to add the call to your room.

    I spent $12.00 for 2 calls home from a hotel, if I would have used my phone card, cost wouldve been around $1.50 - $2.00 for the call.

    Having a cell phone now, I dont use either anymore. I am also more then hapy to let hikers use my cell phone to make their calls now (after 7pm ), being that Sprint charges me $85.00 a month - I try to rack up all the call minutes I can in the "free after 7pm" area.

  13. #13
    Registered User SunnyWalker's Avatar
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    You might go to a discount store such as Walmart or similar and look at the TracPhones. They are a pretty low cost phone you purchase and then a card to add minutes. Something like that. It might be a good idea. If you did loose it in the creek or something it would not be a big loss. -SunnyWalker
    "Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go!" (Rudyard Kipling)
    From SunnyWalker, SOBO CDT hiker starting June 2014.
    Please visit: SunnyWalker.Net

  14. #14

    Default

    Get a rechargeable phone card. But you don't need to carry the card itself, just the telephone number, pin, and customer service number, if it's different.

  15. #15
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    I used payphones a lot for my pocketmail and until I picked up my cellphone in PA. The only town I remember not having on is Salsberry, CT. I recommend spending as little time as possible in that state, even the few locals I talked with on the trail agreed. Everywhere else making calls didn't seem like an issue.

    In Stranton, ME the hostel stay includes free long distance phone calls. Great cheap stay right across from the grocery and down from the bar.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appalachian Tater View Post
    Get a rechargeable phone card. But you don't need to carry the card itself, just the telephone number, pin, and customer service number, if it's different.
    You can buy an AT&T card online here and it is rechargable online or by phone.

  17. #17
    Trail Name: Mangy Mo
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    Default

    Thanks for the helpful tips everyone. Especially Footslogger and Bluebearee... the guidebook discussion was interesting. I use the Companion as my primary planning guide and it is wonderful... I would find phone location information to be a helpful addition.

  18. #18
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    Default

    there are 7 pay phones in damascus

  19. #19
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    there are 7 pay phones in damascus
    Outside, 24hr access?

  20. #20
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    Default

    yes. plus The Only Wanderer has one on his porch for hikers to use for free. that makes 8

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