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Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

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Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby ERIC » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:52 pm

link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2305051/

I've heard from several people now (one being Hobbs who posted back in July) that think this new movie is going to give a big boost to interest in (i.e. traffic to) the PCT and JMT. Thoughts?

Either way I am excited to see the movie.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:00 pm

Having read the book based on a rec from another hiker, I'll take a pass on the movie. It isn't about hiking but about her, poor decisions she makes, her hand wringing about her mother, and how she somehow finds -- something? from hiking that changes her life. Was not impressed and found her annoying, as I listen to people with those kinds of issues for a living and felt like she owed me my customary hourly fee at the end.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:40 pm

Since the movie played at the Mill Valley Film Festival and Witherspoon attended, she gave publicity interviews to the local press. In one interview she said carrying a 40 pound pack was the hardest thing she'd ever done.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby oldranger » Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:46 pm

As someone who has experienced the mountains from earliest memory and began my backpacking at the age of 10 in the 50s,I don't understand the "transformational character" of trips in the backcountry. To me it is simply where I feel most comfortable. As AlmostThere I have no interest in this movie and as long as these people who might be seeking to "transform their life" stick to the PCT I am good with it, but they better stick to the trail. I get pissed off enough when a little hidden valley, off trail is packed with Outward Bound Folks doing their "solo."

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Re: Think the new movie

Postby ERIC » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:19 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Was not impressed and found her annoying, as I listen to people with those kinds of issues for a living and felt like she owed me my customary hourly fee at the end.


Funny!

My interest in the movie is more more than anything else about the scenery/cinematography and its portrayal of the sport of backpacking.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:52 pm

Too bad it won't have the Sierra Nevada- if it is faithful to the book.


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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby markskor » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:02 pm

Hobbes wrote:Invariably, most PCT hikers who make it all the way to Canada consider the (high) Sierra [Cottonwood to Tuolumne] and the northern Cascades as the highlights of their 3-4 month long trek. (Interestingly, many also really enjoy the desert section.)

You ask if the "movie will have any impact?"...
IMHO, what brings me back backpacking is that area between Kennedy Meadows south -> Kennedy Meadows north...basically the Sierra. Since the book reads that the author "skipped the Sierra" as being too strenuous...WTF?
Most here at HST would probably skip the desert section, maybe most of Oregon too (a lot of thick forest). The high granite is where the altar lies; the rest is outside of the church.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby Jimr » Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:27 pm

"The high granite is where the altar lies; the rest is outside of the church."

Right on Bruthah :D
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby markskor » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:32 am

Unfortunately, the movie's release will probably increase traffic on the longer thru-type trails, like the PCT... maybe not so much the Muir though. Even though they share a common path for ~200 miles, two different types of hikers involved: one the short-termed, financed, adventurer, the other a good half-year escapee.

All last summer, in and out of Tuolumne, the most common answer to the ol' "Where you heading?" question was, "Doing the Muir!" For whatever reason, the JMT, with all its history, mystique, (availabllity?) is today's trail of choice as a do-able vacation adventure option...and can be done in only 2 - 3 weeks.

World famous (many foreigners met...), romantic, idealistic - Most arrive as Sierra novices, usually overloaded, still possessing a city attitude... their strict agendas written down, obviously plans pre-made and well-dissected...most actually clueless. BTW, They usually show up in Yosemite Valley's BP camp - trail naive... sporting tall, too heavy, tricked-out backpacks and wearing expensive headlamps set to "stun". At this point, most are bassholes: some will learn soon enough... or fail.

3500 Muir permits were issued Sobo this year from Yosemite...the high season's trail quota is now saturated. The movie (BTW, not seen) could have given us nice Sierra exposure (if she hiked the Sierra - which she didn't), but the only result of the movie might just be even harder-to-obtain JMT permits. Full is full, movie or not.

The PCT is a different animal. Where once less than 300 gnarly individuals, (seasoned trail veterans, well versed pros, well-tested/proven, minimalistic, lightest/best available gear - trail runners and bounce boxes, food drops and long miles)...started out near the Mexican boarder and headed North. These were IMHO, the trail elite. Trail Angels and well-wishers/entrepreneurs soon joined in by providing aid/water/lodging/whatever along the 2800-mile odyssey, impressed by the hiker's karma, endurance, available funds, and other "Jermiah Johnson" type self-sufficiencies.

Last year ~3000 individuals set off at the AZDPCTKO...many possessing the same attributes as stated above but with the addition of all too many free-loaders, trail bums, druggies, and alcoholics - often searching for something not there...many possessing some good (oft borrowed?) gear but having little experience or money...intent on scavenging their way along on a hop-scotch, 5-month, freeload party.

This is where the movie could effect the numbers.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby Hobbes » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:15 pm

I remember the first time I really had a chance to talk to a PCTer. I was amazed that it was kosher to leave the trail - sometimes for days - to go into town, re-supply, get cleaned up, eat out at restaurants, sleep in a bed, etc. I also couldn't quite get my head around the notion that strangers ie "trail angels" actually set up shop @junctions to cater to thru-hikers; it's called "trail magic".

Like others who are ready to yell "get off my lawn" on a moments notice, the idea of getting support or leaving the trail and re-joining civilization in the middle of a trip is a foreign concept. To me, you saddle up, pack in, do whatever you do **on your own**, hike out and head home.

There are, of course, plenty of people on the PCT who follow this ethic as close as possible. However, with its recent rise in popularity, the emergence of a "rolling party" aspect has been gaining popularity. In essence, outside of the JMT (which we regard as 'normal' backpacking, but PCTers see as the longest section without towns/re-supply points/trail magic), it's only 3-4 days between towns and/or trail angels.

Therefore, if you're a reasonably in-shape 20-something, all you have to do is hike 3-4 days before you hit another spot to hang out & party. This trend is what is threatening to bring down the entire support edifice. Tales of cigarette butts, empty beer cans, trash, etc has been percolating on the grapevine.

The bottom line is anything that is fun can be marketed. It happened to surfing 55 years ago; it will be interesting to see if UL thru-hiking becomes en vogue to the point of wrecking its core attraction.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby Jimr » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:48 pm

The "go in hard and fast, go out, clean up, party up" etc. and trail magic was what was most intriguing to me regarding the culture. Also the least desirable to my taste. Leaving trash behind is just un-excusable.
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Re: Think the new movie "Wild" will have any impact?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:08 pm

On another backpack forum, we have a triple crown hiker (completed all three long trails, PCT, CDT and AT). I read his journals - he is a 50-something and does his trails pretty "pure". He however did explain that the strategy of 3-5 hard long days then one day out to rest gives you the most probability of success. That has nothing to do with "partying". It simply is a matter of light packs make longer distances tolerable - and if you doing this for three-four months straight, you do not burn out with this strategy. Additionally, the calorie requirement to do the distance makes carrying enough food on the trail difficult. Most are simply making up calorie deficiency when they hit town.

The young PCT hikers do tend to be quite "social" in that they hike alone but most often camp in groups. I think 20-somethings are in general more social than we old boomers. They grew up with technology of constant communications. I simply grew up in an era where outdoor kids spent more time alone in the woods.

No matter what your methods, those who successfully finish the PCT in one season are to be admired. Even though they may emphasize their socializing and "zero-day" eating, it still takes a lot of perserverance, physical fitness and some outdoor skill to finish the PCT. I really do not think that most who step over the line in Canada have done excessive partying - if they actually make it there, they have become pretty hardened outdoorsmen.
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