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  1. #1

    Default Question for Jack Tarlin.

    Jack, Most of us would be interested in what you think are the differences between the CONTEMPORARY Trail ie. the Trail as it exists today, and as it existed several years ago? Also there seems to be an increase in alternative Thru Hikes ie. Flip Flops, Leap Frogs etc. Is this something you would consider? Thanks in advance.
    Singletrack

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    yes, enquiring minds want to know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    yes, enquiring minds want to know
    Wouldn't this be a perfect thread for your usual "it's just a trail"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by camojack View Post
    Wouldn't this be a perfect thread for your usual "it's just a trail"?
    it's just a trail. with a lot more sucky shelters than before

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    it's just a trail. with a lot more sucky shelters than before
    That's my boy.

    I figured, since you went to all the trouble of doing a virtual "dumpster dive", you'd use at least one of your "trademark" phrases.
    (And now I've afforded you the opportunity to use two of 'em)

    Is this your 'Net version of being a "Freegan"?

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    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    • From having read Earl Shaffer's account and my own observations about blue blazes I've done that used to be part of the AT -- the trail is much easier than it used to be.
    • As LW notes, it is now littered with shelters.
    • The amount of organized 'Trail Magic' has rendered it much less wild than before.

    I consider the AT a great beginner trail or step-down (as for the elderly and injured hikers that can't do the more serious trails anymore) trail for long-distance hiking, but not all that challenging because it really isn't all that remote, it is well blazed and maintained, and it has been extensively redesigned to be somewhat easier than trails like the PCT and CDT. Now those are challenging trails.

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    Registered User hopefulhiker's Avatar
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    In some places it is like an extended "block party"

  8. #8

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    Alot of the original A.T. ran on existing forest service roads if I'm not mistaken. I remember hearing something about a quoted conversation with Earl during his last thru where he said that the trail was alot harder now and it was killing him.

    I did 1000 miles of the PCT in '07 and never found anything as hard or challenging as the A.T. The actual footbed is a sidewalk compared to the A.T.

    geek

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    Ironic ...this thread is a "Question for Jack Tarlin" and he's liable to end up being the only one who doesn't reply

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Footslogger View Post
    Ironic ...this thread is a "Question for Jack Tarlin" and he's liable to end up being the only one who doesn't reply
    'Slogger
    Especially since the question was first posed over 5 years ago, with no responses...until Lone Wolf dug it out of the trash today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    • From having read Earl Shaffer's account and my own observations about blue blazes I've done that used to be part of the AT -- the trail is much easier than it used to be.
    • As LW notes, it is now littered with shelters.
    • The amount of organized 'Trail Magic' has rendered it much less wild than before.

    I consider the AT a great beginner trail or step-down (as for the elderly and injured hikers that can't do the more serious trails anymore) trail for long-distance hiking, but not all that challenging because it really isn't all that remote, it is well blazed and maintained, and it has been extensively redesigned to be somewhat easier than trails like the PCT and CDT. Now those are challenging trails.
    Earl thought the trail was more difficult when he last walked it in 1998. The Maine trail is certainly more difficult than it was in the 30s, 40s and 50s when it tended to go from sporting camp to sporting camp, and bypassed numerous high mountains. However, the construction of roads has made access easier.

    The number of hikers has been on a downward trend for more than a decade, though there was a brief peak in 2000 for the millennial. This makes for a wilder trail, though fewer hikers is a little ominous. People tend not to support things that aren't used.

    Then and now, Maine has been the most remote and wildest section. I drove 100 miles last night and attended a three hour meeting as a few of us struggle to keep it that way.

    Weary www.matlt.org

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Adams View Post

    I did 1000 miles of the PCT in '07 and never found anything as hard or challenging as the A.T. The actual footbed is a sidewalk compared to the A.T.
    Not as challenging? You fell 1650 miles short.

  14. #14
    Registered User hopefulhiker's Avatar
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    I think Jack ought to write a book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by weary View Post
    Earl thought the trail was more difficult when he last walked it in 1998. The Maine trail is certainly more difficult than it was in the 30s, 40s and 50s when it tended to go from sporting camp to sporting camp, and bypassed numerous high mountains. However, the construction of roads has made access easier.

    The number of hikers has been on a downward trend for more than a decade, though there was a brief peak in 2000 for the millennial. This makes for a wilder trail, though fewer hikers is a little ominous. People tend not to support things that aren't used.
    Weary, do you think Earl's observation had anything to do with the fact that he was 50 years older the second time around?

    I, too, am concerned that hiking in general is down somewhat. This more than anything else has lead to me becoming active in the effort to protect trails in general - not just the AT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    I consider the AT a great beginner trail or step-down (as for the elderly and injured hikers that can't do the more serious trails anymore) trail for long-distance hiking, but not all that challenging because it really isn't all that remote, it is well blazed and maintained, and it has been extensively redesigned to be somewhat easier than trails like the PCT and CDT. Now those are challenging trails.
    I hope you aren't including Maine in that assessment-- if that ain't serious hiking, I'd hate to see what you call serious.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sly View Post
    Not as challenging? You fell 1650 miles short.
    I got burned out on hiking and also ran out of money!

    geek

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopefulhiker View Post
    I think Jack ought to write a book.
    about what?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    about what?
    Not sure he had anything past the Jack ought to write a book idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    • From having read Earl Shaffer's account and my own observations about blue blazes I've done that used to be part of the AT -- the trail is much easier than it used to be.
    • As LW notes, it is now littered with shelters.
    • The amount of organized 'Trail Magic' has rendered it much less wild than before.
    I consider the AT a great beginner trail or step-down (as for the elderly and injured hikers that can't do the more serious trails anymore) trail for long-distance hiking, but not all that challenging because it really isn't all that remote, it is well blazed and maintained, and it has been extensively redesigned to be somewhat easier than trails like the PCT and CDT. Now those are challenging trails.
    Wrong on several counts, Dino. The trail is harder in most cases. Read Earl Shaffer's account from his last hike. He was quite adamant on this issue.

    AT as a beginner trail? Maybe, from the point of view of navigation and blazing. But from what I hear, the PCT is a much easier walk than the AT, with far less daily vertical.

    Lack of wilderness is regrettable, but then again, the AT is subject to sprawl in a way that the PCT and CDT aren't. OTOH, it was designed to be "maximally accessible" to folks in eastern cities.

    I'm not sure the number of shelters has changed significantly. It seems to me that the new shelters being built have been roughly matched by old ones torn down. Certainly in the Whites, there hasn't been a significant change, for at least the last 25 years or so.
    Last edited by Frolicking Dinosaurs; 02-01-2008 at 11:50. Reason: Fixed misspoken idea

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