echoing the comments above - this is a great read!
> Wildfires were something foreign to me, their occurrence back home a rarity
> in the wet northeastern climate. But the few people I ran into near Mount Jefferson
> paid little attention to the clouds of smoke. They were just a part of the scenery, I guess.
You are probably guessing right. Most people I know would be disappointed but not surprised by a trail closed due to fire.
> A common replacement that I saw with dozens of people throughout the summer,
> however, was a multi-use piece of equipment that seems to be growing in popularity
> with long-distance hikers: the smart phone. Many people replaced their cell phones,
> MP3 players, cameras, and even guidebooks with iPhones or Droids,
> which meant less weight to carry and less bulk.
Less bulk, yes. What about reliability? one device is now the critical point of failure. Also, how do they deal with the low battery life? Carry spare batteries? Solar chargers?
Again, this is an excellent read. Thanks for the writeup.