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[pct-l] hiking speed vs packweight

An interesting thread - lot's of meat for pondering. For instance, just
what is "the purpose" for being out there. Some have indicated it is the
physical challenge, others to soak in the scenery, for others it is
photography or climbing, or perhaps just the opportunity to slow down,
unwind, and get into a quieter space. I can personally identify with all
of these as valid and rewarding, and this is obviously not an exhaustive

As for "seeing" what you are walking through, I don't think a person can
walk so fast as to make any difference in what one sees along the way.
Simple fact is, if you really want to "see" anything, you have to stop
and look - hours or days may not be too long in some instances, seconds
may suffice in others. By the same token, if one is heads down watching
the trail, hiking speed is also irrelevant as to what one sees. Mostly
it comes down to what you are attending to as you walk along.

I think the issue some have - and this is something I am wrestling with
in contemplating a thru-hike - is the constant pressure to be somewhere
- before the PO closes and that sort of thing - that will interfere with
my desire to stop and loiter along the way as the mood strikes me. Maybe
I'm making an artificial distinction - nature imposes some schedules,
too - day and night are obvious, the necessity to get over the passes in
a timely fashion each day, melt-off in the Sierra, etc. that we all
accept w/o question as part of our milieu.

As someone pointed out, there are hikers and there are campers -
unfortunately, I'm both. I love the feeling of walking, of breathing
deep while feeling my body efficiently moving over the land. I also love
kicking back in camp, watching the world go by, plugging into the
natural rhythms of the place, etc. While one can do both on a given
trip, a thru-hike tends to favor enjoying the hiking over the loitering.
Hiking fast is one answer to this dilemma, but the necessity to always
be hiking fast imposes a burden of its own sometimes. 

Ultimately it comes down to the individual. Undertaking a long hike
means accepting the basic conditions that hike will impose - there are
so many miles to go and a certain period available to do it. Hike fast,
hike long, start early and be prepared to deal with poor conditions, etc
- lot's of ways to work it out once you commit to the endeavor. Seems we
always come back to the same place - HYOH. Pretty good philosophy to my

Jim McEver