Aug 24, 2011 at 8:11 am #1278439
I just exited reds meadows for an interview planted in the middle of my planned thru-hike and I can't get over what total disregard people have for the wilderness or park policies. Or are people so dumb to really thinking that if you put a rock on your pile of mess with 6 baby wipes is really okay.
I "reminded" a 40 year old man setting up his tent at 11am 5 feet from the trail and 5 feet from the Merced river (10 feet from the bridge) that he has has to be 100 feet from the trail. His response? "Well there's a spot here so everyone else has been staying here, I'm not moving". I told him if a ranger came by he'd be told to move and luckily two volunteers did. I also had a confrontation with a 35 year old man that was climbing on the rocks at devils postpile that refused to get down, yelled at me then came down after he thought I was going to tell on him.
I should mention the river camper had brand new backpacking gear and the postpile climber was a dayhiker. EVERYONE else we passed greeted us kindly but there were about ten other camps set up within 20 feet of the trail and right by creeks and we encountered people with illegal wood fires. In Curry and Yosemite villages there's always someone there feeding the squirrels. The squirrels by vernal/Nevada falls are so fat they can barely walk. Someone else on here mentioned a guy that had his pack ripped apart because he didn't hang or can his food now others who do properly store their food are getting harharassed
I could write a book. I was just incredibly disappointed. I backpack to get away from these people and instead I'm constantly reminded, especially by the trash and tp all along the trail like our roads and highways that they're ruining MY space. I take it personally.Aug 24, 2011 at 8:38 am #1772432
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
I don't think that a huge fraction of visitors commit these offences, but there are sooo many visitors to the CA parks that in absolute numbers it's more than the land can bear. When I hiked the Tuolumne last year, there was crap behind every tree near the established camp sites. I don't see that much of it here in the East, but I don't see as many hikers either. I wish the parks had better funding so they could field more rangers.
Pray for another round of stimulus funds. By the way, you SC hikers should know that your Senator Jim DeMented oops DeMint submitted an amendment to the first stimulus that would have forbidden any stimulus being spent on National Parks. Fortunately it was defeated.Aug 24, 2011 at 9:15 am #1772449
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
I just got back from an overnight to the Desolation Wilderness (Mt. Tallac T.H. to Gilmore Lake). Similar issues abound there as well. We were told directly that a 8" cathole was required and to pack out any tissue. The rangers even give you a black bag to pack your stuff out. I found a bag full of trash behind a tree right where I setup my tarp (being good steward I packed it out). In a similar fashion maybe 1 out of 10 trees behind the site had the "rock on top of T.P. cause I'm an idiot and cant follow the rules" method employed. I also saw evidence of a small wood fire in camp which are not allowed anywhere in the Desolation. The trails were similarly bad with people just going off 5-10' to do their business.
It's always disappointing and I don't know the solution. Maybe paying extra money as a trash deposit that I'll get back when I throw away my garbage at the ranger station?Aug 24, 2011 at 11:43 am #1772485
Most people still don't believe in global warming. A travelling austrailian in a tiny compact rental picked us up hitchhiking after a half an hour with our thumbs up and a "yose" sign near the entrance and about half were suvs with one or two people in them. He told us that in austrailia everyone drives tiny cars. My Camry is considered a large family vehicle but it feels so tiny and unsafe on the roads sandwiched between diesel trucks and suvs. I think its a national attitude about everything.Aug 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm #1772491
Where is the trip report in all thisAug 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1772506
@jakep_82Locale: Pacific Northwest
This is why I plan trips in less used areas. More people usually equals more problems. On a recent trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness I destroyed several fire rings and saw evidence of several more that had been previously destroyed. They were all well above the 4000' max. Some people don't care about the rules.Aug 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #1772507
Driving a smaller car does not necessarily make one have less impact on the environment. You can point a finger at a big diesel truck driver, yet he may recycle metal, stay off planes, drive his vehicles 300 thousand miles, have only one child. You can give the thumbs up to a Prius driver, yet she may have three kids, seven pets and fly to Europe every year. You don't know someone's footprint by what car they drive. Some "waste" in some areas and some waste in others and it is much more complicated than that.Aug 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm #1772508
KP- well said!Aug 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm #1772537
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Some trash on the trail clearly bounced out of packs unnoticed by the owner. Things like water bottles on snow fields, gloves, socks, shoes, hats, and flutes.
Other stuff, like the constant stream of wrappers, toilet paper, aluminum in fire pits, and the like were placed by inconsiderate people.
People who can't sh*t in the woods, leave sh*t in the woods for others to pick up.
Hiking the JMT was the most depressing backpacking trip I have ever taken.
So many people with no trail manners, and no respect for the land.Aug 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm #1772547
I'm sorry that is completely untrue about people in Australia driving small cars. I spent a month in Melbourne and everything about Australia is so similar to the US, they wouldn't admit it. They have the exact same cars we have here and yes, half of them are SUV's. I understand you are trying to make a rant about waste, global warming, and disregard for the environment, but leave Australian cars out of it. It does not help your case.Aug 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm #1772587
"Hiking the JMT was the most depressing backpacking trip I have ever taken.
So many people with no trail manners, and no respect for the land."
That is a really sad statement. I am sorry to hear that.Aug 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm #1772594
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
That is really unfortunate Cameron. Did you just recently return with Tony?Aug 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm #1772596
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
On my 8 day visit thru Sequoia NP in CA, the second night which was at Tyndale Creek, someone had left their trash along with a mesh shirt or something. I left it, too much to pack in my pack as I had also the day before policed my campsite at Vidette Meadow. Some of the pro-Starbucks Via crowd, as those little corners were scattered about the campsite too, which I gathered up and placed in the firepit with the rest of that sites trash. Can't believe someone would bp that far in and leave so much trash. Bummer. Man.
DuaneAug 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm #1772603
Unfortunately David is correct about "small" cars and Australia.
Part of the reason why we have a lot of big cars is that many do travel great distances.
This is a shot looking at my house and the neighbour's:
Behind the dark Nissan next door there is another similar but much newer Mazda. He is the only driver in his house.
My wife's Nissan Navarra was purchased when she was living in a remote community in Western Australia. Up North that kind of "car" is the most common.
(handy with wild life, however she destroyed the previous one against a Brahman cow)
http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/02F6E8335650272FCA25784C002527B0Aug 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm #1772630
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
I'll just say, that I just finished about half (Duck Pass -> Kearsarge), and did not find a trash problem on the trail, but then maybe I'm not that observant.
It's true that many of the rangers spend a large portion of their time destroying illegal fire rings and picking up trash, but to paint a picture of a trash strewn trail seems pretty excessive. If anything, I'd say the trail is well trodden, and maybe the number of people on the trail, especially this August, was a negative, but generally things looked pretty good to me.
I did one too-close-to-water camp because there were no available established campsites farther away without traveling some distance. This does seem to be one place where people often bend or break the rules.
Also, just about everyone I met on the trail – including day hikers – was super friendly. Far more friendly than the day hikers here in Oregon, for whatever reason.
Maybe I'm naïve.Aug 25, 2011 at 1:29 am #1772698
I didn't have time to fully explain. The national attitude I'm talking about is the suv people driving passed us with so much room in their huge vehicles trying not to make eye contact like we were total bums yet after a half an hour in blazing sun an austrailian pulled his tiny car over without hesitance, cleaned out his car and put all of his stuff in his trunk which was much more of an inconvenience.
Before that we were hitching outside of mammoth for a while and finally an off-duty ranger picked us up. Mind you we were not dirty looking.
I can hardly believe someone who unnecessarily drives a v8 or has 6 tires is putting such effort forth for the earth. A hot item for hunters now is to completely saturate their camping spot with a gallon jug of bug spray, "so ants don't get in our tent". Four hours ago I had this this conversation at Walmart with a guy buying it, no he didn't have reusable bags in his cart and if I followed him I doubt he drove a Prius.
But I digress, instead of people becoming hyper aware of their surroundings I'm seeing more people throw trash out of their windows while driving down the roads. Its this "I don't see a problem" attitude because they don't walk down the hwy with the trash. That's what the dayhiker climbing devils postpile said, "what's the problem". This was not a post about suvs or global warming, I was just shocked to see such disregard. It was just unexpected.Aug 25, 2011 at 5:12 am #1772708
"I can hardly believe someone who unnecessarily drives a v8 or has 6 tires is putting such effort forth for the earth. A hot item for hunters now is to completely saturate their camping spot with a gallon jug of bug spray, "so ants don't get in our tent". Four hours ago I had this this conversation at Walmart with a guy buying it, no he didn't have reusable bags in his cart and if I followed him I doubt he drove a Prius."
I see the point you are trying to make and I understand why you are upset. I still stand by my original response that you may not like the size of the vehicle, the waste at Wallmart and so forth, but you are still only seeing and considering a very small part of how a person impacts this planet. I could make you a list of things that would make me look very good as far as my carbon footprint; then I would have to tell you that my going back to Europe regularly, my driving all the way to Northern Cal for a weekend trip, the insane number of pets I have had over the years, more than offset that number.
I am just pointing out that this is just a tiny part of it. I have said this before here on BPL, but where I live, the Highway runs through town and on a weekly basis I see someone walking across it, making several big rigs come to a complete stop, instead of waiting a minute. This is done without much concern for their own safety, and often with attitude and entitlement. Some of these people may feel that their walking to work makes them better than these wasteful big rig drivers that pollute the earth. Well, with the amount of carbon that these heavy trucks are putting out to get going again from a complete stop, the pedestrian might as well been driving around in their vehicle the entire day in circles.
There have been many in depth threads about this subject here on Bpl, "The carbon Flame War" being the main, ongoing one. People are going to disagree, but no one wants to be painted as someone who is worse than someone else based on what car they drive, and they should not. The Prius driver may be the same person that re uses plastic bags, but she also may be someone unaware of all the ways in which we impact the environment. Right now its ok to tell someone they should not drive a big wasteful vehicle, but it's not ok to count their kids and pets and square footage of their house, and miles flown etc.Aug 25, 2011 at 10:33 am #1772763
Pilate de GuerreMember
@deguerreLocale: SE, USA
Jennifer, Eric, and Cameron: I'm sorry to hear of your experiences in the backcountry.
A concise, excellent article in Orion Magazine "Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change" does a good job of clearly and directly debunking the assumed efficacy of our agency as consumers when it comes to mitigating the continued destruction of the total environment — never mind stopping it entirely. Personal choice is simply a green-herring if you will. This fetishization of consumer agency only serves the interests of those that benefit from the destruction of our land bases.
Example: I had to laugh at the Georgia-Pacific ad on the public transit rail I was on the other day. They were advertising their latest "green" initiative of planting 560 trees. This from a leading deforester and carcinogenic polluter. Green is simply the color of money. It has never been and cannot be a path to sane stewardship.
Cheers :)Aug 25, 2011 at 11:34 am #1772775
"This fetishization of consumer agency only serves the interests of those that benefit from the destruction of our land bases."
I don't care much for being guilt-tripped about the length of my showers by County-sponsored marketing campaigns when there are three 18 hole golf courses within a couple miles of me.
There are the dozens of car dealerships in my city, 1000 watt bulbs burning in all their glory 365 days a year and I'm the one that needs to buy new lightbulbs to save the world…yeah, me with my $35/month electric bill.
Talk about smoke and mirrors.Aug 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm #1772779
How did all the ice in the Ice Age melt? …….oh yeah it was the wooly mammoths and their danged Big Rig diesel trucks and those saber tooth tigers and their SUV's.
How about the fact that weather goes in cycles?
P.S. I drive a deisel truck that gets 42MPG's. Deisel fuel is what's left over after petroleum is refined, which makes my truck operate on repurposed material. Also can be ran on waste veggie oil.
Its the people who rant and rave about these things and try to shove it down everyone elses throats that get me. Like the Sierra Club….they sent me a packet of information to become a member. It included 16 pages of information wanting me to join the fight against cutting down trees and blowing the tops off of mountains for coal. Do they not realize they could have just sent a cd with a PDF and saved hundreds of trees by not having 16 pieces of paper. Or do they not realize how much coal was burned for the electricity to make the paper, the ink on the paper, to fold the envelope, to operate the post offices that delivered it to me. How much gas was used to get them the products to make the packet and to deliver it to my house. How much gas and coal based electricity and nonrecycled paper do they use fighting in Washington each year?
For every convenience ther is a trade off. Manufacturing ANYTHING involves taking natural resources.
So until you live like the American Indians did and have no ownership of anything manufactured, please don't tell me how to live my life. Although we might not look the same at first glance, we are kettles and pots..both being black.Aug 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm #1772797
I thought this thread was about TP, trash, fire rings, and inappropriate camping along the John Muir Trail.Aug 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm #1772802
It could have been about that if OP did not include some generalized statements.Aug 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm #1772804
Just to put things back on track:
I too have seen toilet paper, trash, illegal fire pits, imbeciles, illegal camps, and all other manner of debauchery and defilement on the JMT.
Damn, I hate people.
Who's with me?Aug 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm #1772841
last time i was in emigrant wilderness i was heading back to my car when i encountered a pretty big plastic bag with trash that someone had left in the middle of the trail. what was interesting is the way they had left it. most will hide it behind a tree on throw it somewhere where it wont be noticed, but this people had left it nicely place on purpose like if they actually wanted people to notice the trash. i had to carry this nasty smelly bag for 4 miles until i got to the trail head and found a trash can. its sad but it happens.Aug 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm #1772845
@walksoftly33Locale: New England
Maybe it is because I am unfamiliar with this specific "pile of rocks" but whats wrong with climbing on rocks? Isn't climbing one of the big activities individuals enjoy outdoors?
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