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Backpacking Responsibly

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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:18 pm

whrdafamI wrote:How many on here can TRULY say they have "always" done it right, have never F'ed up and are always perfect?


Have I ever done dumb and dangerous stuff? Hmmm.....,let's see.

One time I filled up the bathtub, sprinted down the hall and attempted to be superman, flying (head first long jump) into the water. I did fly. The old spigot handles tapered to a sharp point at the upper ends, on one of which I impaled my knee and wound up getting stitches up the side.

Once I ran as fast as I could atop an elevated platform toward a set of stairs, intending to skip hop down them 4 or 5 at a time. I tripped and became superman once again. I flew the entire flight of stairs, touching none, ...... landing beyond the last stair of the flight......on concrete.....on my two front teeth........which turned to sand.

I was born with natural climbing skills and was like a chimp in the trees and scaling framed in walls of new houses. One day at a height of about 20 feet in a tree, I slipped. I woke up with the neighbor (who happened to be an orthopedic surgeon) kneeling over me telling me not to move. He and my dad took me in the back of the good doctor's station wagon to the hospital where X-rays revealed my broken back. I slept on the floor and wore a back brace that hoisted my shoulders like Frankenstein for 6 months.

I once raced my bike straight downhill attempting to hit the edged curb at the end and hop the entire stream beyond. Instead I flipped and landed in blackberry bushes full of thorns. On an even steeper hill I wanted to see how high I could get the speedometer on my new Schwinn. It hit 40, and I suddenly realized it might take a bit of distance to stop before the road ended or I skidded. Fortunately, this time my mental calculations were working a bit better.

The bathtub was age 4. I lost my teeth at 7 (and had to endure the nickname Silver Tooth until 16). Skydiving out of the tree came at 8. Both bike incidents were around 9.

So yeah, I was young and crazy once. But by the time I started camping and canoeing I was ready for my scout masters to teach me some actual discipline and respect for the wilderness.

As far as adulthood, my best pal and I got drunk the night of HS graduation. We puked so much I lost all taste for hard alcohol. I used to sail off cornices at Alpine and Squaw, but I grew into mild freestyle stunts gradually and never got hurt. In the back country, the biggest risk I took knowingly was doing single strand rappels with no belay off 110 degree overhangs down 100 + foot drops with the brake open and popping the brake just before reaching the ground. It was fun, but the anchors were set well, we were with numerous other instructors, and we had become skilled enough to do it safely. After the tree, however, I always was a cautious climber, even after I became an instructor.

My biggest goof up lately was not realizing how big the snowpack still was in mid-July of 2011 and having to traverse the 55 degree edge of Heather Lake with my inexperienced daughter and niece with no rope, ice axes, or crampons while the lake was frozen over excepting the thawed 3 feet nearest the edge. We were descending from Aloha and it was too steep to go back. This one was not by choice, but by necessity. I stomped the snow down back and forth 3 times, shuttled all 3 packs, then carefully eased across with those precious girls, praying to whatever may be out there to forgive my stupidity and spare those girls I love so much. Never again will I go where there may be those conditions without the right equipment. The back country is no place to take foolish risks. An old religious quote comes to mind. When I was a child, I spoke and thought (and acted) as a child, but when I became a man, such ways I put aside.



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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:40 am

balance wrote:This is interesting.

How many of us more experienced hikers have climbed a ledge that, in hindsight, wasn't worth the risk? Or forded a stream that was "this close" to going all wrong? It's a wonder John Muir survived some of his exploits!


I've done a lot of things in hindsight that wasn't worth the risk.

The difference between that and a lot of people who have been searched for *twice* (or more) is that some learn from mistakes, and others never even bother to think for the few minutes it would take to "get it" and not do the same idiotic things again and again. And the mistakes made that don't pay off *this time* will be made again.

I still do things that I could have done differently. I'm getting a lot of verbal abuse this morning for keeping a small group small on a cross country hike - people are selfish and not LNT, and make demands. I'm debating whether they will ever get to hike with me at all again....
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby Tom_H » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:27 am

AlmostThere wrote:The difference between (things in hindsight that wasn't worth the risk) and a lot of people who have been searched for *twice* (or more) is that some learn from mistakes, and others never even bother to think for the few minutes it would take to "get it" and not do the same idiotic things again and again. And the mistakes made that don't pay off *this time* will be made again.


Yep, Our mistakes are our best teachers..........IF we are willing learners. Life lessons come through the school of hard knocks. Some foolish people, however, go through that school and come out with nothing but a harder head. ](*,) They are too obsessed with this I'll do everything my own GDed way and nobody else has the right to tell me how I should do anything. They don't allow life to teach them humility. [-( That kind of arrogance is dangerous, not only to one's self, but others as well.

End :soapbox:
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby sparky » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:35 pm

Backpacking responsibly is an approach to this thing we do, and is worthy of discussion here no matter the experience level. Especially those of us perfectly comfortable when we are out there.

I think what we have here, are two worldviews meeting. I am reminded of police officers who only deal with lowlifes daily, and so begin to assume the world is full of lowlifes.

I just dont come from a world of idiots. I come from a world where people fix thier own cars, fix thier own houses, people who have spent thier lives getting thier hands dirty. People who are self realized and have nothing to prove.

But Tom & ATs attitude really is right in that we cant know how capable a random from the internet is. We dont know what world they come from. I dont have the ability to assume everyone is an idiot.

I encourage you two to show some patience when teminding us that we have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Some of us just arent used to that.
B
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby Tom_H » Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:12 pm

sparky wrote:I just dont come from a world of idiots. I come from a world where people fix thier own cars, fix thier own houses, people who have spent thier lives getting thier hands dirty. People who are self realized and have nothing to prove.


I don't just fix my own log house, I designed it; I contracted it; I did a lot of the work building it: put the roof on myself, drove nails, poured and worked concrete, have spent thousands of hours over the last 25 years doing backbreaking work out in my 5 acres. A realtor valued my property at around $1M and most of that has come through the manual labor of my wife and me. With our own 4 hands we have created a lush 2 acre woodland garden/forest with hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs and flowers, a 1k sq. ft. pool and 2 big waterfalls that looks like a Sierra lake in our own backyard. Nobody else takes care of it for us. I fix my own cars, drag my own implements to the 3 point hitch of my tractor, get covered in axle grease, and scrub it off with Go-Jo. I have carried packs over 100 lb. through snow, have gone as much as 26 miles in a day (16 of that in snow), and more than once have had to save the life of some unprepared person I found lost or injured in the back country.

I'm not trying to brag just for bragging's sake. I am telling you that this part of my world view is not as different from yours as you may think. I know what it is to work my behind off just as much as you do. Where we differ is our belief about self-discipline and responsibility toward society as a whole. The fact that someone is rugged and self made does not give him the innate right to go around acting like the rules and law of the land do not apply to him. When that boy, Jes, came on here, having never backpacked a day in his life, and asked about hiking the HST in March with a rickety little pack and an old rectangular bag, and not one other piece of equipment, some people here encouraged the boy to just go for it, told him he'd be fine, just depend on himself. That is not good advice. Had that boy gone out there he likely would have died. Those of us who are strong and know how to survive on our own in the wilderness have not always been that way. We once were children. Heck, my above post shows what a reckless wild child I was. But we grew and we had people to teach us skills and instill values of hard work and self reliance in us. And that took time, it also took a lot of patience by those who taught us. We learned a little at a time. Becoming the adults we are today took time and we all had a learning curve.

So here's more about my world view. I teach school. I do more parenting of my kids than their own parents do. Over half come from broken homes, have parents who drink and do drugs, who spoil their children. A lot have parents who are in jail. (And all of this is true for every race and ethnicity.) Just this Wednesday I was on a field trip to Coloma and a kid from another class was jumping around karate chopping and kicking other kids pretty hard. His mother was there, laughing at him because she thought it was downright "cute" the way he was "expressing himself." She was unhappy when I told him he needed to keep his hands and feet to himself. I have parents who don't think their kids need to use the bathroom at recess and should be allowed to leave class any time they desire to do so. Many parents just laugh when I ask them to help the kids practice math facts and to spend time reading with their children at home. On Thursday, one parent showed up outside the door at the end of school, distributing bags of cookies and cupcakes to every child as they left in honor of her daughter's birthday. She didn't ask if it was o.k., even though other parents have requested we not let this occur. It probably will not surprise you that this mother and her daughter are both morbidly obese. Half the children in my class do no homework and the parents do not care. One parent got angry when I took a drawing her son was making during math class and threw it away. The mother scheduled a meeting, yelled at me, said her precious son felt "bad" when that happened, that he should never have to feel bad about anything in his life, then threatened to have her husband come beat me up if the boy was ever made to feel bad or sad about anything again. In my classroom, I have to teach children how civilized people act, how to treat each other, and I have to make them learn. Having to be both parent as well as academic instructor at the same time is hard work. In spite of the fact that 60% of the children in our school are in poverty and qualify for free lunch and breakfast, my classes' standardized test scores are consistently high with the vast majority scoring proficient or advanced year after year. So this is where I am coming from, Sparky, a world of immature adults who are teaching their children to be even more immature. Truly, far to many parents today not only spoil their children, but it is actually their goal to do so. I also am deeply troubled by the ever increasing reports of psychopaths walking onto school campuses and mowing down innocent little children. The second amendment begins with a dependent clause that qualifies the meaning of the entire statement. When a member of this board like whrdafamI makes comments about guns, that view is contrary to everything I know and believe. I protect and guide the young and innocent every day. Innocents whose right to life and safety supersede the rights of others to inflict violence.

All of us are in the process of growing and maturing. My own adopted daughter knew that I expected her to be able to take care of herself by the time she was 18 or finished college. She knew I would never allow her to grow up and then mooch off of me or off of society as an adult. (She is now a computer science major at Cal Poly.) But she didn't get there on her own. I spent every day during 18 years of loving, nurturing, and teaching her how to get there. Sparky, I think you and I both have an expectation that people be able to take care of themselves. That is a good thing. The thing is, in today's pathetic world, far too many of them don't know how....because no one has ever taught them how. I, for one, cannot tell newbies, Just go do it and depend upon yourself, when they are not capable of doing it. They likely will not be o.k. When they come here, it is an inbuilt part of my nature to teach them how they can get to that point. It is the parent in me, the teacher in me, the wilderness instructor in me that wants to get them from novice status to self-reliant status. Sometimes I can do that gently, and other times they don't listen unless some of us start acting like a strict parent. It doesn't help that attempt when AT and I get called arrogant and have vulgarities thrown at us. This is why I don't like to backpack with other people unless one of two things is true. Either they are rank amateurs whom I can teach and mold in the best way possible, or they are seasoned veterans who practice LNT and all other of the safety protocols I use, such as knowing every possible evac. route available from every point along the route. And this is why the guy whose actions instigated this thread is wrong about maps. You cannot memorize a map. You can memorize a minuscule amount of information from a map. But in an emergency, you need to be able to calculate elevation differences between several points on a map. You need to be able to estimate the steepness of a slope at any point on the map by examining the density of elevation/contour lines. You need to be able accurately to determine latitude and longitude at any point on the map to within several feet. Uninformed people assume they know so much, when in fact they frequently are utterly clueless. Let's agree to help keep them safe, not egg on their dangerous foolishness.
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Re: Backpacking Responsibly

Postby ERIC » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:28 pm

Closing this thread as I think it has run its course, and because it seems some posters may be incapable of stating their positions without innuendo.
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