"Was all this necessary in the gear section?"
Well it seemed like a legitimate question to me.
Many people take writing instruments on their trips. Where would our civilization be if Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, John Wesley Powell, John Muir, Jack London, Robert Service, Edward Abbey, Colin Fletcher, Chris Townsend, Harvey Butchart and a host of others had left their pencils/pens and paper at home? I dare say that backpacking would not be what it is today; it would be less.
How is a pencil less relevant than the dozens upon dozens of the JMT gear threads I have read here on BPL over the years?
Is a pencil not a piece of gear?
Some other thought provoking threads I have read here regarding the JMT over the years include such questions as...
Do I need a sleeping bag or quilt? Is a quilt better than a sleeping bag? What temperature bag or quilt for doing the JMT in July or August?
Do I need a tent? Tent or Tarp? Bivy instead of a shelter?
Do I need a smartphone, Kindle, iPod, iPad, MPS, PLB, SPOT, spare batteries, solar charger, etc.?
Do I need a wind shirt, rain jacket, or poncho? Which is best? GoreTex or eVent?
Do I need a hat? What kind of hat do I need?
Do I need boots? Are running shoes okay? How about Vibram 5 Fingers? Do I need camp shoes? Do I need water crossing shoes?
Do I need trekking poles?
How do I pee and/or poop?
Do I need tent stakes? How do you pound stakes into granite?
Do I need a bear canister? How do I store my food? Where do I get food?
How far can I hike in a day?
How do I even get to the JMT?
What stove? Is Esbit or Alcohol okay?
Do I need underwear? If I do, what kind? Is wool better than synthetic?
Do I need a camera? Which camera is best for the JMT? Should I get a DSLR or a P&S?
Can I hike in shorts? Can I hike in trousers? What shirt should I wear? Do I need sunglasses? What brand sunglasses should I buy? Do I need polarized lenses?
Are there mosquitoes? DEET or headnet? How do you sleep without a fully enclosed tent?
What should I sleep on (foam pad, insulated pad, down pad, air mattress, duft)? What size pad should I sleep on? Do I need a groundsheet? What kind of groundsheet do I need? Where can I buy a groundsheet? Should I use a groundsheet under my tent?
Is cuben better than nylon, xPac, Dymeema, Spectra, Cordura?
Do I need a framed pack? What size pack do I need? Do I need outside pockets on my pack? Who makes the best pack? Who makes the cheapest pack?
Can I fish? Can I go vegan? Can I live off the land and not bring food?
How do I treat water? Which is best; iodine, AquaMira, filter, Steripen? Can I get by without treating water. How do I get water out of a shallow area? What should I carry my water in?
Do I need a knife, or razor blade, or ax, or machete?
How many pounds, or ounces should my first aid kit weigh? What should I carry in my first aid kit? Etc., etc., etc.
Maybe if more hikers took pencils, there would be more How To books, and thus no questions here on how to hike the JMT?
I don't think a pencil is a trivial thing, and having never used one to capture the flavor of my hikes it seemed that Gear would be the logical place to ask my questions.