Route-Itis

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Hobbes
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Re: Route-Itis

Post by Hobbes » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:41 am

If the trend continues, more bloggers frontiersmen, who are trying to make money by offering GPS tracks wagon trail routes and off-trail grazing/watering information, will put out more routes and more people pioneers, who wound have not done such route on their own, will do the route. Partly they will do the route because the uncertainty has been take out and partly because it now has a "name" and recognition and gets put on a "to-do safe migration path" list.

282px-Emigrant_trails_-_Various_emigrant_trails_showing_California_gold_fields.svg.png

Books, pamphlets and guides were available for trail information after about 1846. After 1848, information about the trip to California and Oregon and what was needed for the trip was often available in the local newspapers, as, after 1849, mail and news (heavily subsidized) got back to the U.S. (via Panama) in about 40 days. By 1848 the newspapers of the day often published articles about California. After deciding to go, the first thing many did was to sell their farm or business, and start putting together an outfit.

Census Population of western States
State 1870 1860 Difference
California 560,247 379,994 180,253
Nevada 42,491 6,857 35,634
Oregon 90,923 52,465 38,458
Colorado* 39,684 34,277 5,407
Idaho* 14,990 - 14,990
Montana* 20,595 – 20,595
Utah* 86,789 40,273 46,516
Washington* 23,955 11,594 12,361
Wyoming* 9,118 - 9,118
Totals 888,792 525,460 363,332

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail

Note that this is right before the trans-continental railway was completed. After 1870, it was Katy, bar the door. There are dozens of towns in the San gabriel valley which were incorporated in 1887 as a result of the SoCal spur being finished and the creation of a major land rush:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/41171704?s ... b_contents

I'm still kinda surprised by the seeming lack of awareness of westward population and migration trends. How is this possible? There is so much information, and it's a key staple of any Calif primary education. What is occurring today with hiking, technology and mapping (GPS) is simply a technical update of behaviors, tools and techniques that have been available for centuries.

Why all the discussion as if it's a new phenomenon, when we know the CA population doubled from 20m to 40m over the last 35-40 years, and will do so again to 80m within many people's lifetimes. Has anyone noticed that it's getting to the point where you cannot find even semi-secret respites anymore? No more Sunday am empty freeways, no more midweek empty concert shows at the Hollywood bowl, etc. Either deal or don't, but complaining just sours everyone.
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Re: Route-Itis

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:36 pm

Interesting comparison. Nevertheless, the settlers were making a permanent move for economic opportunities. Immigrants were looking for a place with opportunities and less discrimination. Backpackers merely are out for short term recreation. I am not sure one should make a direct comparison. In both cases, an opportunity to make some money by providing information is there. However nowadays you really do not make much money providing that information. A lot of people (most backpackers on our forum) simply want to share their experiences. Perhaps a bit of notoriety for doing so, but that is not the main driver.

I do not see those of us bringing up this issue as complainers. Any issue has to be brought to people's attention before solutions can be talked about, or even worked out. I do think it is a bit of a trend, hopefully to ease off with time, but "Route-It is" will not totally go away. If insightful and dedicated people had just thrown up their hands at the devastating treatment of the wild areas in the late 1800's to early 1900's and done nothing, we would not even have a Sierra wilderness to be talking about today. I totally disagree that "nothing can be done". We have a permit system in place. Tweaking this current system may be all that is needed. The legal framework of environmental protection is there. Outdoor education is also a good means make technology impacts positive instead of negative on wilderness ethics. It is simply a matter of political will and people becoming involved in finding solutions.

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Re: Route-Itis

Post by ndwoods » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:10 pm

Here's my answer as to whether social media off trail routes is a good thing. I think social media making off trail "routes" more popular can be a problem for newbies. On FB there are thousands of wannabe hikers now. A good percentage have never spent one night in the wilderness! They post and comment for a season or two on the JMT page and Ladies of the JMT and then lo and behold post about finally doing their very first backpack. Those same folks ask questions like "should I bring rain gear?" And, "do I need to bring a compass?" Now...add social media suggesting great off trail trips and it could be a major disaster. Didn't all you off trail folks earn your stripes with on trail hiking first, then gradually doing a few short explorations off trail? I sure did. Just my 2 cents from watching an amazing number of head scratching questions pop up on facebook....:)
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Re: Route-Itis

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:51 pm

The other thing social media does well is get people into trouble. "Hey, I just got back from doing the JMT. It was great! Where can I go in January that's warm?"

Cue long list of suggestions by other relatively inexperienced backpackers. Including a cholla-filled off trail desert hike in New Mexico, Rae Lakes, High Sierra Trail, etc.

Of course, those of us with some small awareness say something, but sometimes in the end you throw up your hands and let them believe what they want. After all, walking that closed road to the trailhead for Rae Lakes may be all they need to wake up and realize that Facebook was a bad place to research things after all.

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Re: Route-Itis

Post by balzaccom » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:32 pm

My favorite is when people solicit medical advice on line! Getting advice from people you don't know and who don't know you: a perfect recipe for disaster
Last edited by balzaccom on Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Route-Itis

Post by rlown » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:38 pm

P, what does that have to do with routes?

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Re: Route-Itis

Post by balzaccom » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:19 pm

Same issue. The internet is a source of endless information--but it may not be right for you.
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Re: Route-Itis

Post by rlown » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:31 pm

It isn't the same thing.

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Re: Route-Itis

Post by CAMERONM » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:07 pm

I did the SHR last year the the KCHBR this year. I barely saw anyone. I appreciate the work others put in to help me to experience wonderful places. I was not led around by the nose, I had to make decisions for myself all through the day. HYOH. I don't see any problem.

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