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Old 01-03-2012, 10:59 AM   #57
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Wilderness

Means wild. To me, insistence on 24/7 rapid response to save your chestnuts is the antithesis of the wilderness experience. Prepare yourself, manage the risks, be self reliant. The day that self-reliance is removed as integral to being in the wilds, we will have become a much poorer people.Those seeking the illusion of wilderness with the safety net, should stay in the National Parks in the high traffic areas. Lets not turn our wild spaces into wireless zones, next step would be paved trails and railings everywhere. If you insist on the 24/7 big brother coverage, perhaps boondocking, let alone the backcountry are not for you.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:08 AM   #58
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Means wild. To me, insistence on 24/7 rapid response to save your chestnuts is the antithesis of the wilderness experience. Prepare yourself, manage the risks, be self reliant. The day that self-reliance is removed as integral to being in the wilds, we will have become a much poorer people.Those seeking the illusion of wilderness with the safety net, should stay in the National Parks in the high traffic areas. Lets not turn our wild spaces into wireless zones, next step would be paved trails and railings everywhere. If you insist on the 24/7 big brother coverage, perhaps boondocking, let alone the backcountry are not for you.
How old are you? Just curious. I have arrived at an age where I am in a higher risk group for any number of things, but am not willing to give up the wilderness. I also am not willing to take the same level of risk as when I was 35. The odds are stacking up.

I resent your glib analysis of telling folks where they should and should not stay or go. I go to places where I have seen ZERO people in a 5 day trip. I will continue to do so as long as I am capable and after that, my children have promised to carry my heavy loads so I can go a few more years.
That doesn't mean stupidity prevails and I don't take emergency ELECTRONIC equipment with me.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:36 AM   #59
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How old are you? Just curious. I have arrived at an age where I am in a higher risk group for any number of things, but am not willing to give up the wilderness. I also am not willing to take the same level of risk as when I was 35. The odds are stacking up.

I resent your glib analysis of telling folks where they should and should not stay or go. I go to places where I have seen ZERO people in a 5 day trip. I will continue to do so as long as I am capable and after that, my children have promised to carry my heavy loads so I can go a few more years.
That doesn't mean stupidity prevails and I don't take emergency ELECTRONIC equipment with me.
Sorry you chose to be offended. My analysis was not glib at all, but rather reflects honestly held philosophy. What I am saying is that encroachment of the 911 mentality and technologies into the backcountry homogenizes travel and dilutes the character of wilderness and forest travel. When the last corner of earth has been homogenized, where will one go then for adventure? I stand by my statement that people who insist on immediate rescue assistance being available would be better off staying in those areas where it is.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:41 AM   #60
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I resent your glib analysis of telling folks where they should and should not stay or go.
I think you're a little oversensitive here. What Rodney is saying is that until one gains some experience in the wilds, miles from civilization, without marked trails and cell phone service, they need to learn to be self-reliant. The National Parks are not Disneyland with rangers around every corner. You can get lost and things can eat you. Many who venture beyond their limits can panic and start doing things that will not help them to be found or rescued. I have traveled back trails only to find 2 wheel drive sedans stuck, a cut tire without a full spare, and a bottle of water for a family of four. There are those who should just not cross the line if they intend to rely on 911 as their personal saviour.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:08 PM   #61
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Perhaps we are talking about two kinds of wilderness. To me, a National Park, for all practical purposes, has very little if any true wilderness left. You are rarely out of whistle range, there are enough folks around to see a signal mirror, etc.
My definition of wilderness is a designated wilderness area and beyond to plain old uninhabited open land.
You won't find cars, motorcycles, 4 wheelers, motor boats or nuttin' there...only boots and canoes. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. Many times I have been no less than 3 days from a cell signal, so no cell phone goes along. During fall there are few float planes overhead carrying hunters to unknown destinations, so you can't rely on signaling to the air (really can't RELY on that in the summer either).

My point of having several and redundant rescue aids IS SELF RELIANCE. Rodney, it appears is trying to say that having the means to help yourself (electronically) when you cannot get out on your own is somehow cheating or un warrented. And if you need them you have no right to be out there and should just fade away in a rocking chair, or stay on the groomed tourist trails.

I have seen many men in their 70s out in the true wilderness and a couple in their 80s. I met a woman in her 80s paddling away like a 40 year old last summer!

I plan on being one of those, and it's nobody's business if I'm carrying an EPRIB. And it's nobody's business to tell a senior they shouldn't be out there if they aren't "self reliant". Whatever that means. 20 somethings can, and do find themselves in life threatening situations as well.
Talk to rescue experts and folks who have had trouble in the wild what should be carried. I have.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:28 PM   #62
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To some people Central Park is the wilderness and they would be helpless even there. They should stay home. Others are better prepared. What "prepared" means is different for different people.

We try to make preparations when we are camped somewhere remote, but with a trailer, that is no where near as remote as where we used to go. When we backpacked we could be miles way from anything resembling a road and it was a wonderful experience. I wish I could still do it, but am not prepared to have new knees installed. We get as close as we can and a hike can replicate some of the experience, but not much. We have memories, and they can get better as we embellish them.

Every year I went into the wilderness there seemed to be more people and now there are probably many more. Even 10 miles from the trail head in many areas, you will soon run into someone, so you are never that alone. But you may not see anyone in less loved places and then your wits count. The people that are unprepared or are witless are usually those who have the problems, but second guessing is easy. I wonder if I could cut my arm off if a boulder fell on it, but I have no plans to try to climb down into a canyon with loose rock above me.

To me, first aid training (which I have done) is a good preparation for anything including never leaving your living room. Some basic kit with Ace bandage, etc., is a good idea anywhere. If you want some sort of electronic thing, fine. Flares worry me because of fire danger—things can go wrong and it may not fall in a lake. Being smart about personal limits is very important and it is good to have someone with you.

I agree with Rodney that I don't want to see wilderness "civilized" even though I cannot easily enjoy it except to see the vistas into it. Actually it was never "easy", but as hard as trudging 10 miles with a gazillion pound pack up thousands of feet was, it was more than worth it. I'm not sure we were all that well prepared when I first started backpacking in my 30's, but we learned from our experiences. My first backpacking trip in Colorado included insufficient sleeping bags for near freezing temps in July at night, putting fire near the tent in a place that made sure embers would blow toward the tent when the winds shifted in the evening, too much exposure to the high altitude sun and a bad sunburn, and carrying too much stuff (I'm not sure the Jack Daniels was a wise choice but it sure was good). I was young and observant enough to not get myself into a really dangerous situation and maybe a bit lucky. That's how you learn.

My adventures are tamer now, but we still take risks and decide whether it is worth it or not. Now risks are driving hundreds of miles on bad roads in northern Canada and Alaska. No services and not much gas nor food. We bring tools and food and keep the vehicles in good shape. We see things that can eat us or really mess us up and keep a respectful distance with the bear spray nearby. We still have fun although it is different fun.

Rodney is a lot younger than me and his perspective may change a little in 30 years, but his desire to protect wilderness is well said. Having met him and debated just about everything, I know a good discussion with him never results in anything but a civilized debate and mutual respect for our respective points of view. Then we have another drink. I think his feelings about electronics are misplaced, but I don't want to see a cell tower in the middle of a wilderness either. He has a cellphone too and if other phones don't work (he has a good one) he'll let you use his.

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Old 01-03-2012, 01:59 PM   #63
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means wild. To me, insistence on 24/7 rapid response to save your chestnuts is the antithesis of the wilderness experience. prepare yourself, manage the risks, be self reliant. The day that self-reliance is removed as integral to being in the wilds, we will have become a much poorer people.those seeking the illusion of wilderness with the safety net, should stay in the national parks in the high traffic areas. Lets not turn our wild spaces into wireless zones, next step would be paved trails and railings everywhere. If you insist on the 24/7 big brother coverage, perhaps boondocking, let alone the backcountry are not for you.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:29 PM   #64
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Nice, mediation Gene! I'll chill. I hardly think an EPRIB which is the size of a deck of cards and works off an invisable satellite (mostly, however, if you can see the satellites with the naked eye, you have just arrived at the edge of the TRUE wilderness) is an intrusion on the wilderness experience to anyone.
I don't want a cell tower either. In fact, the locals up nort' just defeated an attempt by one of the cell companies to errect a 400' tower. At that height it could be seen from deep into the BWCAW. They compromised and a 120' (I think) was approved...but it can't be seen in the Wilderness Area.

I just get really irratated by folks (not necessarily Rodney...he was just there this time) who:

1) think they're Superman and venture off with a bottle of water, a granola bar, a compass, map, and flint and think that's all ANYBODY should have. They are usually the ones in the newspaper headlines.

OR

2)Think that man is such a foul creature that we have no right to even be on this planet, let alone making bootprints in the wild.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:41 PM   #65
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I think you're a little oversensitive here. What Rodney is saying is that until one gains some experience in the wilds, miles from civilization, without marked trails and cell phone service, they need to learn to be self-reliant. The National Parks are not Disneyland with rangers around every corner. You can get lost and things can eat you. Many who venture beyond their limits can panic and start doing things that will not help them to be found or rescued. I have traveled back trails only to find 2 wheel drive sedans stuck, a cut tire without a full spare, and a bottle of water for a family of four. There are those who should just not cross the line if they intend to rely on 911 as their personal saviour.
You are absolutely right about panic....and it happens for a variety of reasons...and to the experienced experts as well. For my particular favorite wilderness area, I would point you to a book called "Lost in The Wild" by Cary Griffith. It is the true accounts of 3 separate EXPERIENCED outdoorsmen in the Northwoods. One was an Eagle Scout and professional Guide, one an experienced wilderness backpacker and I forget the third.

The situations come from injury and confusion surrounding a concusion. One was a map reading error. And Again, I forget the third.

The point is, even if you are experienced, equiped and prepared, stuff can happen. As I age, I want that rip cord for when nothing else will get me out...in time.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:34 AM   #66
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Difficult to give someone else Diplomatic Advice

I am the worst person to deliver a message without offending someone... It is just a factor of life experiences and birth. I would not be a doctor with pleasant bed side manners. It is not intentional, but just how I am wired. If someone is building a campfire beneath a grove of pine trees... I speak up and try... try to be polite and explain it is rather stupid and why. And you think I am kidding, but I see a campfire circle under the "shelter" of trees frequently.

I always follow the Boondocking threads and at times make my comments, when I think I can add additional information from my experiences. Someone in Chicago, Illinois has a different concept about the back country than someone living in Olney, Montana. I would be out of my "element" in the forests of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The backcountry of Alaska would be a learning experience for almost ALL Airstream owners. I am not offended when someone tells me I should not crap in the woods, but should carry all human waste back out in a bag to be disposed of... properly. These people think we are talking Yellowstone Park, and I am talking about something they cannot imagine.

The places I describe and give directions to find are campsites I enjoy, but are more accessible. If I frequent a spot regularly, I would not even mention it on this website. Go find your own. Taking Airstream owners and condensing the small number of owners who actually can handle isolated camping are very few. Going to an established Forest Service campground is extreme to some people. And for 90%, this is true. I feel, if you are in a wheel chair and can push your limits camping at a NFS campsite... you are more courageous than I.

Some of the blogs about hauling black water around in wheel barrows, fresh water pumping from 100 gallon tanks in the back of your pickup to your AS, just are not my "cup of tea". I would feel like an absolute fool, doing so. I did make up the wheel barrow comment, but it was a similar to a blog I read. I have met people who are more capable than I am in extreme conditions, of which I would have no interest. I have climbed three 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado. All I drove to the top. I am not looking for punishment for my body, and have nothing to prove one way or the other. It is just not why I am out in the back country. Following a trail behind a string of hikers to experience a climb is not what I want to do. I am a geologist who likes hunting rocks, fossils and exploring. I am comfortable camped in a casino parking lot for the evening or above tree line, expecting a frost in July. But to those of you with a thin skin, like I use to have on this website some years ago, "toughen up princess". No one is picking on you or judging your capabilities. You could be one of the few capable of deeds most of us cannot imagine... or as I have discovered in my experiences... just so full of themselves that they are a danger to all of those they are around.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #67
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I am the worst person to deliver a message without offending someone... It is just a factor of life experiences and birth. I would not be a doctor with pleasant bed side manners. It is not intentional, but just how I am wired.
It's a left brain thing. I am more left brain than right, and have to work to make myself filter my words. Some times I am successful, sometimes...... There are also times when brutal, honest truth is the only reasonable thing to dish out.

You are absolutely right about this. Sometimes it is naivete, sometimes worse, but people get themselves into jams they never imagined and are unable to get out of. It only takes a second for everything to go to hell in a handbasket, but if you are near a populated area help is reasonably close by.

It seems to me that the older one gets, the more medical issues you have and when you have those such as kiddies who depend on you, you simply must be more cautious and careful about where you go, what you do and how you do it.

If you must take risks, be prepared for the consequences.


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Old 01-08-2012, 12:49 AM   #68
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There's enough risks for people who know what they're doing, and I really don't count myself among that group. It's a lot worse when people have no clue they don't have a clue.

I once sat and chatted with a ranger in the Boulder Field on Long's Peak (a fourteener open about 3 weeks out of each year), while we watched a parade of people go by with little water, no gear, and without proper shoes, going through the Keyhole, rather late in the morning. After a while, I asked, "uh, how long did it take you to stop trying to warn these people?" He shrugged and replied, "it doesn't take long to give up. Half these folks are going to come back down with hypothermia. I just hope I don't have to go up and get 'em."

The ranger did say that he thought cell phones were great; he thought they were gifts from God. The Diamond is a good technical climb and it's very popular with Boulder climbers. He told me about a climber coming down off the face ending up at the bottom with his axe through his neck. Luckily for him, the next team waiting for their turn was two nurses and two doctors, one of whom had his cell phone on him. Three of them were able to stabilize the guy while the other called for help. The rangers hiked up fast, rappelled him down the cliff off the Boulder Field to the lake below (yikes!), and then took him down by boat to the trail where the pack animals could get him to the trailhead. (The guy lived. The ranger said he would have died without that cell phone.)

When the guy I was with came back down from the summit, he brought a guy with him who had no gear, was wearing a light wind jacket, and was wearing tennis shoes. Luckily, he'd taken some of my rain gear as well as his and was at least able to lend the man my rain pants. I'd met up with his new wife in the Boulder Field, and left our tent up instead of taking it down, because the ranger had said there was probably a hailstorm due. I thought his wife was going to have a heart attack worrying about him. I said he'd probably meet my friend and get gear from him. That's what happened, and they both tumbled into our two man tent in a hail of, well, hail, and I fed all four of us a hot lunch while they got him unfrozen.

On the way back down, I lent her my emergency poncho, because she didn't have anything that would keep the wind off her. She seemed amazed that cutting the wind made any difference to how warm she was.

They were spending their honeymoon going round to every fourteener they could get to and trying to summit each one.

I also once stopped dating a guy who was actually proud of having gotten lost in the snow up near Long's Peak and making rangers come after him. (He seemed to think it proved his macho qualities or something. I definitely thought of my chat with the ranger when he told me about that one.) We parted ways after he wanted me to go up above treeline in the mountains near Guanella Pass when we were out walking the pass one fall afternoon, without proper boots, no rain gear, no water, in the middle of the afternoon with clouds coming in, and neither of us having told anyone where we were going.

You don't have to be out in the true wilderness for there to be big risks, either, and you don't have to be particularly stupid about the outdoors. Having cowered/turtled on the saddle off Bare Peak having had to race an unexpected lightning storm down the summit, a short hike right outside of Boulder, convinced me of that - lightning strikes WAY too close.

I consider myself somewhat ignorant of the backcountry (and that's after being trained for it) and I generally don't go armed, so I stay out of it these days. (Although one of my friends is a biologist for Montana and wants me to go out with her one of these days. I might, but I'm not sure if I can keep up with her, despite her prosthesis leg.) I think that's because I know something of what I don't know. I'd say the vast majority of people don't. It doesn't make them stupid, just ignorant. And being ignorant doesn't make them any less dead. So the way I figure it, way better to risk offending someone than letting them kill themselves.

(Papa Bear Whitmore, btw, used to tell WAY more harrowing stories than these, usually ending with people dying. I consider myself very lucky to have taken some of his courses before he died in 2003, harrowing stories included.)

eta: erm, sorry that got awfully long...!
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:57 AM   #69
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Yeah, I can hear you now (damn it)

Zlee, what you are describing are perfect examples of the Disneyification of our once wild places. Anyone who can get there feels free to approach travel within with the same abandonment (if they ever possessed it) of responsibility required for a day at a theme park. Rush into areas you don't understand or know how to navigate safely? No worries, just pick up the phone and call 911. The backcountry ceases to be backcountry, wild spaces cease to be wild, the experience of travel there becomes impoverished for all. Some will leave with the illusion of a wilderness experience which is something, I suppose.

Of course, the zones between peripheral wilderness and true wilderness are grey areas in many ways, nonetheless, I maintain it is right mindedness to be cautious in extending the 911 mentality there as well. If you think the odds of needing assistance are high enough to merit more than normal daily precautions, perhaps it is better to reevaluate plans- or be prepared to live with the consequences of taking the risk. No amount of ageism other name calling or diversionary argument changes this so far as I can tell. By the way, I never said or implied older people should not be allowed into remote areas. There are inherent risks in any activity, unwillingness to accept those risks, demanding that the world bend to accommodate ones special needs is the very height of self-absorption.

Really, at the end of the day, this isn't a technology issue. If a boondocker wants every gadget known to man including satellite internet I guess thats OK, maybe even a good thing under some conditions. BUT if the purpose of the gadgetry is to have a means of calling in help when the person goes into the activity knowing there is a good chance they are not physically up to the rigors of being where they are going, then I have to come down on the side of saying it is a bad plan.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:32 AM   #70
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Rodney, I still think we are far apart in our understanding of one another's positions. My position is relative to Zlees example....when the ice ax is sticking out of someones neck, that's when I want the "cavalry" to be on their way. This is the reason I chose an EPRIP over a SPOT type device. (That and I'm too cheap to maintain ANOTHER subscription).

I completely understand, your position on phones, ipods, SPOT (maybe, if you're using the "phone home" communication features), etc.

I STILL MAINTAIN, however, it is irresponsible to venture into the "true" wilderness unprepared to summon help on several levels and methods. JMO.
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