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Are We Going Soft? Asks the BMC's Carey Davies
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Are We Going Soft? Asks the BMC's Carey Davies on 11/07/2013 12:49:58 MST Print View

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/thoughts-from-the-outdoors/are-we-going-soft-asks-the-bmcs-carey-davies/11742.html

On warm, sunny days the mountains are thronged with people; witness the crowds on Snowdon over the August Bank Holiday. But even a smattering of rain seems to be enough to empty the hills. On several occasions recently I’ve turned up on weekends in honeypot places like Langdale or the Llanberis Pass when the weather is a bit grim to find the car parks half full, the hills eerily empty.

-----

So is demoralisation setting in? Have we gone soft? It’s hard to say, but it would certainly be a shame if a nation with such a proud outdoor walking tradition became one of picky fair-weather strollers. Modern outdoor clothing is virtually unrecognisable from the days of Alfred Wainwright. Whereas his definition of ‘appropriate clothing’ was a stiffened tweed jackets and nailed boots, nowadays we have ‘smart’ base layers, t-shirts infused with silver, breathable waterproof membranes tested to destruction in hi-tech German laboratories, soft shell gloves, toasty down jackets. An entire industry is competing to keeping you as warm and dry as possible. So is there really any excuse?


more at link ...

;)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Nah ... on 11/07/2013 13:50:31 MST Print View

You know, I think the same question was asked for similar reasons back in the days of the Romans.

More seriously, I think the author of the article has his head on back to front. Why should the general public go out in bad weather, when they have so many other things to do? And would they be competent to handle bad weather anyhow? Perhaps we should be pleased that so many do go out in good weather?

Cheers

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Bad weather on 11/07/2013 13:54:13 MST Print View

I am all for a little weather and a big pass to keep the crowds down.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Nah ... on 11/07/2013 13:59:38 MST Print View

"You know, I think the same question was asked for similar reasons back in the days of the Romans."

I didn't know that they had high-tech German labs back then.

Roger, tell us how it was.

--B.G.--

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Nah ... on 11/07/2013 21:03:46 MST Print View

Roger is right. Essays were written by Romans of the 'empire period' pining for the days when Romans lived simple lives instead of wasting away their time in marble baths.

No need for hi tech German labs and today, no need for fancy iPad apps to tell us the same or similar.

But sometimes, softer can be a good thing too. Having spent the last few weeks in the Arabian peninsular - I thank The Almighty for whoever invented air conditioning!!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Are we going soft? on 11/07/2013 21:40:13 MST Print View

Absolutely. Pretty hard to find someone that can flank a mammoth with a wooden pike these days.

1

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Nah ... on 11/08/2013 04:54:52 MST Print View

> "You know, I think the same question was asked for similar reasons back in the
> days of the Romans."
> I didn't know that they had high-tech German labs back then.
How do you think the VisiGoths managed to sack Rome in 410?

Cheers

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Are We Going Soft? Asks the BMC's Carey Davies" on 11/19/2013 16:39:22 MST Print View

Personally the fact that most people are "fair weather" hikers and campers thrills me- well, except when I've organized a Meetup and all the ladies bail out on me at the last minute. Haha. But still, I love that on a drizzly day (or windy, or cold) I can go out and see almost no one.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
trip rain on 11/21/2013 00:23:10 MST Print View

If I/ we have a trip planned I prettymuch refuse to cancel it if its a rainy forecast.

If its a spur of the moment weekend getaway and its raining a ton then I usually might find something else to do.

I enjoy/ prefer some rain though especially when its warm.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: trip rain on 11/21/2013 01:41:04 MST Print View

There are a thousand kinds of rain. I love walking the river valleys on a rainy winter day and watching the steamy clouds drifting into the trees on the ridges overhead. It's like watching the earth breath. The colors are soft gray above, steely gray water, the rusty red of fallen leaves, pale yellow grasses, lichen dappled alder trunks and deep green ferns and conifers.

Winter walks mean drizzle and overwhelming your rain gear. A fleecy mid layer and a spare base layer can keep you comfortable. There are dry clothes and a thermos of hot coffee in the car to make it all worthwhile. And oatmeal raisin cookies :)

One Sunday morning in January, I went to the grocery store for hiking snacks. The clerk said, "what's the score?" I said, "I'm doing great--- headed out for a hike." The clerk said, "no, man, THE GAME, what's the score?" I asked him what game, and he replied, "ARE YOU FROM MARS? IT'S SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!!!" I had the woods all to myself :)

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/21/2013 01:48:45 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: trip rain on 11/21/2013 09:53:54 MST Print View

I'm a fair-weather hiker. But if it starts to rain and I'm already out, I usually enjoy it and wonder why I don't go out in the rain more often.

Most people are soft because they think they need all that high-tech stuff to just take a little walk outside. Add to that list the air mattresses and pillows and certain kinds of unnecessary creature-comforts they tend to bring. Oh and don't get me started on people who need GPS and phone and solar charger just to take a little day hike.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: trip rain on 11/21/2013 09:57:45 MST Print View

Yeah, I don't use my solar charger on rainy day hikes ;)

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Are We Going Soft? Asks the BMC's Carey Davies on 11/22/2013 08:48:51 MST Print View

A little adversity might make a short, slow overnight into a satisfying adventure as I recently found out. Normally I do not mind a little rain or even some minor snow flurries, ..but going up into a thunderstorm with lightning cracking? No, I will live to hike another day. Same thing today with a massive cold front coming in, it may be time to test out the clothing by itself on a small day hike.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Are we going soft? on 11/22/2013 16:19:00 MST Print View

"Pretty hard to find someone that can flank a mammoth with a wooden pike these days."

Wait'll the economy tanks for real, and Joe 6 Pack runs out of cheep beer and Doritos. You just have to be hungry enough....

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Up here in the Pacific NW on 11/22/2013 16:25:21 MST Print View

If you can't handle hiking in serious rain much of the time, and snow most of the rest of the time, you are going to be spending most of the winter indoors. That means either climbing on one of the many varieties of hamster wheel available at your local fitness facility and risking brain death, or going seriously soft. OK, OK, going seriously soft, period.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Are we going soft? on 11/22/2013 16:42:47 MST Print View

"Absolutely. Pretty hard to find someone that can flank a mammoth with a wooden pike these days."

I though that was a herd of snuffleupagus. I can nail a banana slug with a trekking pole from a distance. They aren't bad with a little BBQ sauce ;)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
I'm all for softness... in others. on 11/25/2013 14:32:46 MST Print View

I did a 3-day hike in Lost Creek Wilderness and environs once during some awful weather. Slushy rain, hail, snow- always right around freezing so it would melt, get you wet, then freeze again.

And it was AWESOME! I only saw one other group out hiking all weekend! (A couple who looked just as blissful as I.)

Not to mention that bad weather can be scenic as hell.

That trip did convince me to bring a 'real' knife in such conditions in the future, though, when I had trouble getting a fire started for lack of any fuel that wasn't waterlogged and/or frozen solid and no practical way to split logs to get at some...

Edited by acrosome on 11/25/2013 14:33:28 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: I'm all for softness... in others. on 11/26/2013 00:43:07 MST Print View

Yeah. I finally got an Opinel that is up to the jobKnife

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: I'm all for softness... in others. on 11/26/2013 01:21:35 MST Print View

In those kind of conditions I really value the ability to start a fire. There is so much utility in warming yourself up, drying clothes, and even keep warm through the night if necessary (has happened to me more than I want to admit). I find that a flat tarp works best for receiving that warmth while sheltered. Of course this doesn't work so well in exposed areas, only in well forested sheltered areas.

Anyways, not considering weather, I find that the general reluctance of most backpackers to hike off trail leaves plenty of options for solitude. The high sierras are an exception here, as off trail travel is pretty popular up there, but still plenty of solitude. I've walked off crowded, almost traffic jammed trails to explore up some creek or canyon and I have never seen anyone while doing that, often no trash or old fire rings.
Seems like cross country travel was more popular in the past. I liked reading about the los padres hiking club and allison ward back in the 60's.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: I'm all for softness... in others. on 11/26/2013 01:22:37 MST Print View

Dale, I bet you could shave a mammoth with that thing.