I don’t like having any technology while on backpacking trips . I find it to be the complete opposite of why I’m out there. Part of the reason why I go into the woods is to get away from my phone, email and facebook. However, thru hiking is not backpacking and staying connected is something that most of us want or need to do.
On the 2013 CDT Facebook page, it seems that most people are bringing some form of ‘technology’ on the trail. They either have a cell phone, iPod, digital camera, GPS or even an iPad. Do I need these things for my hike? Am I invalidating the ‘purity’ of my hike by bringing along a cell phone?
My friends know me as the guy who gets mad if you bring your cell phone with you to play games while we were in camp or to listen to music. Even bringing a GPS is a huge NO for me because as Doug Peacock says, “It’s a privilege to get lost in America today”. Even hiking with an iPod is a no-no. What if someone was hurt in the area you’re hiking and their screams for help were not heard because you were listening to the Bieb on your iPod instead of helping them from a near-death wildebeest attack. Would you want that to happen to you? Technology is a distraction, not an advantage in the wilderness when backpacking. But, now I’m transitioning to thru hiker, which is a whole different game.
So I must confess to you and the world that I am taking a Cell phone with me on the CDT. Not only that, but I am bringing a solar charger and a Delorme InReach system that will let me ‘live tweet’ as I hike the CDT. I will be updating Twitter, Facebook, blogging and sending messages to friends, families and sponsors along the way. I’m going to fill it with music, podcasts and a dreaded GPS. I might even end up watching a Fail Compilation of people getting hit in the privates on YouTube at my campsite if Verizon’s network reaches me. I know, I know, you must be shaking your head and screaming at the screen saying “WHY!?!? Why do such a thing?” Well, my answer will be that my job will now be to hike all day, not walk to camp and relax. Hiking everyday will get exhausting and a I’ll be needing distractions, badly. Yes, I will love the sounds of the birds chirping, the smell of the water and the rustling of the leaves, but after a while it won’t be this mysterious place anymore, it will be my day to day.
In the office I dream of the birds, water and leaves because it’s the opposite of what I’m doing now. However, when I’m out there, the cell phone and everything that it can provide will be my new way of life. Weird. Its not that I’ll be missing my desk job but, instead I’ll be missing those things that we all do in the office for some distraction like the YouTube video your friend sent you or the new funny website.
My view on technology for this trip has changed the more I’ve thought about it. It’s not only a trip for me but, it’s a trip that has involved countless other people including family, friends, coworkers and the great people like you that read my blog. I want to stay close to you, not far away. I want to share my experiences whether they be good or bad so you can be there with me. Technology is what will help me share it. So please, don’t be mad. When I come back, I promise to be the same old grumpy backpacker that yells at people for listening to the Beib.