Glad you guys have the AT. I truly think all of the different types of lands managed for public use are the last tie to the natural world most
people today will ever experience. For people born in the mountains, raised in the mountains, with a social and family history tied to the mountains and the people who were here when they settled in the mountains sometimes it is easy to view people with the time to do something we could not afford to as the future home builder who wants to scalp out a place for all creation to see. With no regard for the mountain. Their were no houses to view on the side of a mountain until people brought money that was earned in the mountains to build them. As you hike just remember their are living in the place you visit. People who know they might do better else where but love where they are the same as family. Hope you guys get to keep your trail in one piece for everyone to enjoy , learn and grow from from now on
Thanks for this article. To be frank, as a thru hiker, I have to agree
with BSP —the collective integrity that is needed to produce and maintain a
healthy trail community was not always demonstrated by the action of hikers
this season. I felt there were many people using the trail and the identity of ‘thru
hiker’ as a physical and social space where they could enact their coming of
age journey (whether they were aged 18 or 58). That’s fair enough –however,
some people’s understanding of personal “freedom” seemed to be informed by an adolescent ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’
rejection and disdain for any kind of ‘authority’—rather than viewing park regulations
and common social etiquette as a collaborative and contributory way in which adult
citizens share and maintain common lands and public spaces. Too often I heard
hikers say, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission” in
relation to how they treated townships, hostel owners and park authorities. It was hard to watch and certainly made me
think that perhaps the PCT or CDT—which take more effort to plan and self-reliance
to complete due to their remoteness might be more authentic back country experience
of nature appreciation and focus on long distance endurance hiking—SELF RELIANCE
and INTEGRITY: If you don’t bring them to the trail—hopefully the trail will
teach them to you—that used to be the way of it. I hope this code of conduct is
picked up by the larger AT hiking community—good work!
I have been a bit surprised that Appalachian Trials has not been more proactive about informing the number of bloggers who are planning on hiking with their dogs that these pets are not allowed in Baxter State Park.
The guidelines are great, the post is awesome, but can you imagine that the park ranger is complaining that there is a petition to extend the AT? Extend it and most of his complaints disappear. Petitions are democracy. Petitions are helpful. Opposing petitions is tyrany.
It’s interesting that the letter cites videos and documentaries as inspiring people to do this trail, when they had the exact opposite effect on me. Northbound hikes seem like one long party, and while I love a good party, it’s kind of the opposite of what I have in mind when I go hiking. SOBO hikes eliminate 60% or more of the crowds you’ll see, but even that is about 98% more than I want to encounter in the woods.
The last AT set of videos I watched was Dixie’s Homemade Wanderlust series, and that pretty solidly hammered the final nail in my AT pipedream.
I’ll just hike the eleventy million other totally amazing, and unpopulated trails in this country.
You didn’t like Dixie’s videos?
Dixie is one incredible woman. I’m not understanding your comment.
In regards to Robert’s comment about Dixie’s Homemade Wanderlust series that “…pretty solidly hammered the final nail in my AT pipedream.”:
I think I understand what Robert was expressing with that comment. It wasn’t particularly anything disparaging of Dixie; I believe he was referring to her accurate documentation of some portions of what she witnessed/experienced on her trail journey. This unfortunately includes what many would deem unsavory aspects in the AT experience for hikers. There was significant footage of lots of drinking, overcrowded shelters/campsites, hoards of hikers at restaurants and eateries (where I even questioned if the hikers’ behavior might be too rowdy/disrespectful of the other patrons with loud talking, laughing and video recording). Perhaps none of that was the case, but it did bring those questions to my mind in watching several incidences she documented.
I agree that Dixie is incredible and inspiring; she personally did an outstanding job of advocating for LNT, (as well as her distain for others that did not observe it), showing gratitude for the trail angels’ magic, and many other positive messages. Her series, to me, revealed many aspects of the trail. Dixie came across to me as a thoughtful, positive, and respectful young woman.
That said, I too picked up many instances where I questioned whether the positives outweigh the negative these days in the AT experience. The BSP letter above, as well as many instances in Dixie’s videos, (at times) appeared to me to be one big college-type drinking party. We as viewers of her vlog were only shown brief segments at some of the shelters and hostels she visited, but from the footage, some of it appeared it could have or would have gotten very unruly/shown lack of respect for owners, others on the trail, disrespect for the trail, and spirit of the trail itself. I recall in one of the videos, she camped in the yard of a homeowner who stated to her that this (the 2015 hiking season) may be the last year he (the owner) will allow hikers to camp on his property as there had been gross disrespect shown to him and his property, as well as disregard for his neighbors, with the hikers’ behavior in recent years.
I stumbled across her videos as I have been wanting to complete a thru hike as well (in the near future). Personally, I would not want to encounter that type of behavior on the trail, in trail towns or hostels. I would also not wish to experience the hikers’ disregard for rules and regulations of BSP and Mt. Katahdin. I realize there are sometimes”bad apples” spoiling the bunch, but the BSP letter, Dixie’s documentary, as well as other forums I have visited, frequently discuss that this type of disrespect and entitlement behavior is becoming the norm. I sincerely hope not.
So sad that it’s all come to this. Thank you for the post though, you guys rock (: