Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kent, CT: Trail-Friendly Town

"The Unwashed and the Upper Crust in Connecticut" is the headline over the New York Times article on 29 August 2008, written by Christopher Percy Collier. It describes the scene when A.T. thru-hikers make their way through Kent, CT.

Collier draws a strong contrast between the high-rent look of the natives and the low/no-rent look of the hikers. But, he continues with some stories about the friendliness of Kent's residents.

Several thru-hikers are named in the article: "Bones and Mudbug (whose names off the trail are Andrew Simpson and Tyler Geymann) ... Six Iron ... Holly Hammond, a red-haired hiker in her 20s who had several states behind her ... [and] Clay Whitson, who had been on the trail since starting several months earlier in Georgia." And several businesses and their owners are highlighted.

UVA Class Takes a Hike

Aaron Lee writes under the headline "7 Make Pilgrimage on Appalachian Trail" about an 8 day, 61 mile hike on a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The article appears in the 29 August 2008 issue of the Charlottesville (VA) Daily Progress.
"At the center of the expedition was University of Virginia religious studies assistant professor Heather Warren, who spent the spring semester teaching Pilgrimage and the Appalachian Trail.

"Warren was able to teach the course with a $2,000 grant from the university’s Mead Foundation endowment that encourages thinking outside the traditional classroom experience, Warren said."
The 6 women who hiked in the Maine wilderness with Professor Warren surely got something out of the experience, which began in the classroom with a series of readings, lectures, and discussion.

Illinois Man Hiking for Cancer Funding

The Belleville (IL) News Democrat had an article published around 30 August 2008 which included the sentence: "The genesis of Hammersley's quest began in his 40s with a hike along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia." The article title was, I believe, "Man Walks for Cancer Research," but the article seems to have walked right off their web site and I can't locate a live link to the full thing.

Speed Hikers, Women Hikers

Stephen Black uses Jennifer Pharr Davis's "record-breaking time of hiking the Appalachian Trail" as a jumping off point to caution women, all women, from venturing off into the woods alone. That's in his column titled "Women should not hike alone" in the 30 August 2008 issue of the Hendersonville, NC Times-News and preserved on their "Blue Ridge Now" web site.

He gets there through the point that
"She wanted to memorialize the death of the Bryants and Meredith Emerson who were killed while hiking in the woods.

"She hiked the trail to show that outdoor lovers won’t be deterred by one sick criminal. She hiked the trail to break the women’s speed record.

"Ms. Davis’ heart is in the right place. It is obvious she is a good, idealistic and decent person. I praise her for that. As far as her other reasoning however I totally disagree with it. As far as her speed record all I can say is this — Stop! Stop! Enough with the Olympics already!"
I kind of agree with him on this point. Does EVERYone hiking the Trail need to have a shtick of some kind? Whatever happened to hiking just to hike? (I know in my heart that most of the hikers are doing just that, not trying to be the first, oldest, youngest, fastest, or only SOMETHING to thru-hike. Maybe they just aren't worth a news story.)

On his main point, Black says he is just urging lots and lots of caution because one woman harmed is one woman too many. And there's no argument possible against that.