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  1. #41

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    It took some time for the AT to catch on, so the same will be for the GET. As the route improves, it will gain traction. There have been several thruhike attempts, so that is a good sign. As the AT becomes more popular, the GET will be in a good position to benefit. I think it is a novel idea and worth pursuing. This may be a silly suggestion, but what about a more "compelling" northern terminus? Mt. Marcy, Slide Mtn, Niagara Falls, or one of the Finger Lakes region waterfalls?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmitchell View Post
    This may be a silly suggestion, but what about a more "compelling" northern terminus? Mt. Marcy, Slide Mtn, Niagara Falls, or one of the Finger Lakes region waterfalls?
    The NCNST/FLT powers that be resisted another overlay designation. Reasoning was that it might upset an apple cart of tender negotiations for the NCNST route in the Adirondack Park. But there seemed no appetite for non-Adirondack alternatives either.

    Shepherd and Star Left did choose to begin their SOBO thru at Niagara Falls on the Conservation Trail.

    One crazy cartographer even worked out a way to incorporate parts of the eastern FLT, Long Path, Taconic Crest Trail, what is now the New England NST, the Midstate Trail of Massachusetts, and RI's North-South Trail to land on the beach, but that was simply ignored.

  3. #43
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    The AT is as pointed out, significantly different and shows the types of hikers. Those seeking what the AT 'was' would be, and are, seeking out what the GET is now. Also hiking it in the numbers of the original AT, in other words there are really a very small number of hikers seeking the original AT experience, and they have plenty of options, further diluting these hikers among many trails.

    The AT has evolved way past that, to something IMHO much more wonderful and attracts many people, both hikers and angels, which has a much higher draw to it and connects many more people to a deep experience with nature, but in their case it also connects community, and that is the difference.

    It is the connection of nature/self/community that is so attractive, it is a basic need of many people, it is a basic need of everyone to have connections, many need more then just a 'nature/self' only connection and why the current AT is so important to society as it is today and as it is evolving.
    Last edited by Starchild; 02-04-2016 at 10:21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post

    One of the problems I worry about is the occasional town stop. Along the AT corridor, ragged hikers are a common sight and probably don't elicit all that much response from the locals. Along the GET, or similar lesser-known trail, you don't have that advantage. Folks may react with alarm. I suppose it was like that in '76 along the AT as well.
    You are 100% correct that hikers were not a common sight in most of the GET trail towns. But far from reacting with alarm, strangers were so incredibly wonderful, offering up places to stay, often offering us money (thinking we were homeless - no, we didn't accept!), being genuinely curious and friendly. We didn't have a single bad experience in trail towns. If anything, I felt more welcomed than I did on the AT.

    I think the kindness of strangers meant even more to me on the GET than it did on the AT (which is saying something!) because GET locals generally didn't have any idea whatsoever about what we'd been going through, and still they reached out to help. Pretty incredible.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonrisaJo View Post
    You are 100% correct that hikers were not a common sight in most of the GET trail towns. But far from reacting with alarm, strangers were so incredibly wonderful, offering up places to stay, often offering us money (thinking we were homeless - no, we didn't accept!), being genuinely curious and friendly. We didn't have a single bad experience in trail towns. If anything, I felt more welcomed than I did on the AT.

    I think the kindness of strangers meant even more to me on the GET than it did on the AT (which is saying something!) because GET locals generally didn't have any idea whatsoever about what we'd been going through, and still they reached out to help. Pretty incredible.

    Thanks so much, Jo. Good to know!!!

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    The AT is as pointed out, significantly different and shows the types of hikers. Those seeking what the AT 'was' would be, and are, seeking out what the GET is now. Also hiking it in the numbers of the original AT, in other words there are really a very small number of hikers seeking the original AT experience, and they have plenty of options, further diluting these hikers among many trails.

    The AT has evolved way past that, to something IMHO much more wonderful and attracts many people, both hikers and angels, which has a much higher draw to it and connects many more people to a deep experience with nature, but in their case it also connects community, and that is the difference.

    It is the connection of nature/self/community that is so attractive, it is a basic need of many people, it is a basic need of everyone to have connections, many need more then just a 'nature/self' only connection and why the current AT is so important to society as it is today and as it is evolving.
    I just threw up in my mouth a little. The hoards of hikers you celebrate are unwittingly creating an unsustainable stress on the ecosystems of the Southern Appalachians. The Georgia Blue Ridge and Nantahala portions of the trail are literally being loved to death by this travelling party. Its heartbreaking to see what has happened to the hundreds of campsites along the first couple hundred miles of the AT. Every year it gets worse. At some point, the forest service along with the ATC will have to step in and curb the overuse. So regardless of the success of the NET effort, if the AT is to survive into the future without a ruined ecology we'll have to change the way we do business.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by full conditions View Post
    I just threw up in my mouth a little. The hoards of hikers you celebrate are unwittingly creating an unsustainable stress on the ecosystems of the Southern Appalachians. The Georgia Blue Ridge and Nantahala portions of the trail are literally being loved to death by this travelling party. Its heartbreaking to see what has happened to the hundreds of campsites along the first couple hundred miles of the AT. Every year it gets worse. At some point, the forest service along with the ATC will have to step in and curb the overuse. So regardless of the success of the NET effort, if the AT is to survive into the future without a ruined ecology we'll have to change the way we do business.
    It's been 26 years since I walked the southern part of the AT. You make it sound pretty awful. I hope you're over-stating the case just a wee bit.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    It's been 26 years since I walked the southern part of the AT. You make it sound pretty awful. I hope you're over-stating the case just a wee bit.
    It depends on the spot but I've been monitoring and cleaning the campsites around the Wesser Bald shelter for nearly two decades and the rhododendrons around the campsites have been so denuded over the years that it looks like it was done intentionally. That's the thing, the vegetation takes a beating every year because the hoard needs more and more camping sites which means more and more vegetation gets trampled and trimmed back. The trails to water sources multiply and widen; in most places there are no privies and words can't describe the effect of two thousand badly dug (or not dug) cat holes every year. You can still find plenty of undisturbed campsites by going off trail - so your experience can still be a very positive one (and this, apparently, is all Starchild gives a crap about) but the cumulative effect has become pretty depressing.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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    Consider more people are interested in the GET than one might assume. The GET, just like the AT, utilized/utilizes existing trail and footpaths to make up what is now labeled the AT. The GET is in that process. When we view interests in their entirety on the Pinhoti, Sheltowee, Cumberland, Finger lakes, Mid State, etc trails we are in essence showing some interest in the GET. It's what the GET and AT include.

    When we travel the AT through all 14 states we are traveling on sections of trail that pre-existed what we now refer to as "THE AT." Even if the AT disappears it's my assumption folks are still going to hike the once AT labeled path through GSM NP, S NP, MT Rogers Nat Rec Area, White Mts, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    When we travel the AT through all 14 states we are traveling on sections of trail that pre-existed what we now refer to as "THE AT." Even if the AT disappears it's my assumption folks are still going to hike the once AT labeled path through GSM NP, S NP, MT Rogers Nat Rec Area, White Mts, etc.
    At this point, some of the most important "magic" around the AT is the fact of its protection as a legal entity, with federal protection. Which means conservation, ie. limitations on development. National Scenic Trails Act or something like that. 1968. LBJ. I'm not sure what it would take to get similar protection for the GET. In today's political climate, it's not going to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    It's been 26 years since I walked the southern part of the AT. You make it sound pretty awful. I hope you're over-stating the case just a wee bit.
    While I haven't personally witnessed what full conditions described, I don't have any doubts about its truth. I've seen some really sad eroded non-AT trails in the Smokies. Heartbreaking.
    On the other hand, I've hiked a few weeks behind the bubble (say April/May) and been impressed with how well the AT recovers in such a short time. Mother Nature is a powerful healer, and the maintainers are angels.

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    At this point, some of the most important "magic" around the AT is the fact of its protection as a legal entity, with federal protection. Which means conservation, ie. limitations on development. National Scenic Trails Act or something like that. 1968. LBJ. I'm not sure what it would take to get similar protection for the GET. In today's political climate, it's not going to happen.
    I'm inclined to agree but it is worth noting that the Obama administration did sign into law legislation that created national scenic trail status for the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Arizona Trail, and the New England Trail. Now, there was virtually no money allotted for trail protection but it is a start. Some groups like the Benton MacKaye Trail Association have expressed strong reservations about applying for national trail status believing that it will create more problems (eg landowner resistance) than it solves. Hard knowin'.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by full conditions View Post
    It depends on the spot but I've been monitoring and cleaning the campsites around the Wesser Bald shelter for nearly two decades ...
    You have a tough job there, that's way too close to where the herd starts out. As it turns out, one of my worst days on the trail was when I stepped in someone's fresh droppings in Tellico gap. And running out of water on the way down that *&^% roller coaster on Wesser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    At this point, some of the most important "magic" around the AT is the fact of its protection as a legal entity, with federal protection. Which means conservation, ie. limitations on development. National Scenic Trails Act or something like that. 1968. LBJ. I'm not sure what it would take to get similar protection for the GET. In today's political climate, it's not going to happen.
    It is very true that the moment in history that allowed the A.T. to be protected in the way that it is has passed. Politically speaking, the GET passes only through "red" counties (in the current sense), with the (narrower than you would think) exception of Centre County, PA (home to Penn State, not coincidentally, GET's longest single extant component path began as a project of Penn State Outing Club).

    Consider the flip side of the coin, however. The need to engage with communities all along the GET's length could allow for more authentic encounters with the local population than within a bubble traveling along a synthetic "wilderness" strip.

    The A.T. is mostly outside the Federally defined Appalachian Region, but the GET is almost entirely within it (yes, including the county of New York State).

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmitchell View Post
    ... or one of the Finger Lakes region waterfalls?
    It occurred to me over the weekend that Taughannock Falls (higher than Niagara) might be a worthy end point, with the Buttermilk Falls spur, crossing the City of Ithaca, and the Black Diamond rail trail. Perhaps that would offer an incentive for the additional two counties of overlay on the FLT, that would not incidentally also pass Watkins Glen. Might need a famed outdoor writer to help push that one though.

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    I don't know about "people" in general, but I am interested in the GET. It's in the form of the Cumberland Trail, right in my backyard (Chattanooga). To me, it offers a much more accessible way to do section hiking, in areas less-spoiled by inconsiderate / careless hikers, which should also translate into fewer problems with wildlife. I am currently working on section-hiking the CT here in TN.

    Let me hazard a guess about why the GET is not more popular. When many people want to achieve something or do something, they want it to be something recognizable to others. Something that will give them street cred. Sort of like "I ran in the Boston (or NYC) Marathon", instead of "I ran in a marathon" or even worse, "I ran 26.2 miles".

    It is also similar to the formation of markets - that people gravitate toward a small number of markets because the best prices for buying/selling (or in hiking terms, services/views) are there.

    In short, only a small % of people want to go someplace less well known to others, with fewer services for hikers, requiring more advanced planning, and sometimes with second-rate scenery or topography (even if it's still quite good), like where I recently hiked. SnoopersView-1024x384.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    no shelters, no hostels, no feeds, no shuttles, etc.
    Inaccurate generalization.

    The GET is an old-school, seat-of-your-pants, really-have-to-think, multi-month trek down the Appalachians. It is not the AT, not a superhighway, and I hope it always remains this way. The GET lives up to its name; it is truly the Great Eastern Trail.
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    Last edited by kf1wv; 08-28-2016 at 00:06. Reason: adding pix to post

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    We hikers who cut our teeth on the superhighway of the AT are spoiled. We learn to be takers, and that can be a very difficult habit to break. Any trail that is "less [insert descriptive adjective here]" is seen as less worthy and an excuse to complain. A trail's "community" is much, much larger than the hikers who traverse it. Off-the-cuff complaints by hikers are disrespectful to trail builders, trail maintainers, trail neighbors, and trail communities -- and cast a poor light on the hikers. This can't be said enough: trails don't maintain themselves. If hikers want great treadway, actions speak louder than words: volunteer. Volunteer. Volunteer.
    Last edited by kf1wv; 12-12-2016 at 09:48. Reason: minor typo

  19. #59

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    I have no reason why I wouldn't hike certain trails. But the better question is "why hike that specific trail?"
    When you're planning your adventure, there are so many great options, so a trail has to stand out for some reason. There are many trails or sections that can be described as follows:
    - nice woods
    - fairly well maintained
    - some road sections or other boring sections like a rail trail (multi-use)

    If it doesn't stand out, I only hike it if it's right next to me and it's a convenience thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikingjim View Post
    I have no reason why I wouldn't hike certain trails. But the better question is "why hike that specific trail?"
    When you're planning your adventure, there are so many great options, so a trail has to stand out for some reason. There are many trails or sections that can be described as follows:
    - nice woods
    - fairly well maintained
    - some road sections or other boring sections like a rail trail (multi-use)

    If it doesn't stand out, I only hike it if it's right next to me and it's a convenience thing.
    In Pennsylvania, the GET trails tend to be more scenic, higher/cooler, and definitely less crowded. One section (Standing Stone Trail) is the PA conservation department's Trail of the Year for 2016.

    But the northernmost (in PA) GET (there Mid State Trail) register was found this fall to show 19 signatures per year. That register is a 10 minute hike in from a point that is a 10 minute drive from a 70 mph expressway (US 15/future I-99)

    As for convenience, coming from Ontario, Canada the printed PA Mid State Trail maps use the same scale and units as the Bruce Trail maps (though the contour interval is quite different). How convenient is that?

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