Letters

I greatly enjoyed your

Summer 2018 articles focusing on women on the Trail. As a young child, I met a 16-year-old girl hiking by herself on the A.T. in Massachusetts. I talked to her for a while and remember thinking to myself that someday I wanted to hike on the A.T. for a length of time. In 1982, my now husband and I hiked for five weeks on the Trail heading south from Virginia. Throughout that period, we only passed two other women, hiking together, and quite honestly, I was so excited to see them! I also recall stopping at a firehouse advertising that long-distance hikers could take a shower at their department. When we arrived, the firemen looked at me in disbelief. They said, I was the first female hiker to take up their offer. The men were ordered out of the firehouse while I showered. Over the years, I’ve noticed that more and more women are hiking the Trail and it constantly brings a smile to my face.

Debra Wasserman

Baltimore, Maryland
I am dumbfounded that

A.T. Journeys would run a feature story about Delaware Water Gap (“A.T. Communities”/ Summer 2018) without even the slightest mention of Presbyterian Church of the Mountain. We have provided hospitality, accommodation, counseling, medical assistance, and meals at no cost, for thru-hikers for over 40 years; and over 900 hikers this season alone.

William “Mr. Ed” Edward Kendall

Editor’s response:

Yes, “Mr. Ed,” we agree. We should have mentioned the Church of the Mountain in our last article on Delaware Water Gap. Although not everyone who comes to Delaware Water Gap to explore the A.T. is a long-distance hiker eligible to stay at the church, everyone who visits the town should know about the legacy of this church and the extraordinary mission and generosity of its members. The Church of the Mountain put Delaware Water Gap on the map as a notable stop for serious long-distance hikers more than 40 years ago. The quiet hospitality and kindness freely given to Trail-worn, grubby hikers over the years has, for many, been one of the most remarkable parts of their A.T. journey. When someone says that thru-hiking restored their faith in humanity, the treatment the hiker received from this big-hearted congregation here may well have been part of what gave them this outlook.

Reading the Trail updates

weekly [on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s website], I think it is time to make it mandatory for all hikers to utilize a bear canister on all parts of the A.T. to ensure the safety of everyone and avoid unnecessary bear extermination. That’s it in a nutshell; a simple solution to a growing and ongoing problem, which seems to grow exponentially each year. I for one, do not wish to see electric fences while out reconnecting with nature.

Deb Kneisly

Gastonia, North Carolina

The ATC’s response:

The ATC is quite concerned about the safety of A.T. hikers and campers and keeping bears wild. We have “strongly recommended” the use of bear canisters by all A.T. campers for the last few years and their use has been slowly increasing. We believe that all A.T. campers must take full responsibility for taking every precaution to prevent bears from becoming habituated to human food. Habituation can lead to aggressive behavior on the part of bears seeking easy food sources resulting in damage to personal property, injuries to campers, and ultimately to removal or euthanization of bears. A spotless camp and properly stored food is the best way to avoid attracting bears. The U.S. Forest Service is currently considering a bear-resistant personal food storage container requirement for the A.T. in North Carolina and we have supported this proposal; and would like to see this type of requirement Trail-wide.

For more information and to see the ATC’s new bear incident report form visit: appalachiantrail.org/bears

A.T. Journeys welcomes your comments.
The editors are committed to providing balanced and objective perspectives. Not all letters received may be published. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

[email protected]
Letters to the Editor
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807

thedreamerjournals
When the clouds clear slightly and it isn’t raining for the first time in what feels like weeks, you might come across what some people call a “view.” I highly recommend them.

mandymcmenemyphotos
Hiking day after day in the rain is hard… feet prune, clothes get musty, shoes stay wet, views are hidden… it’s easy to have low spirits. However, having a “tramily”

mandymcmenemyphotos
Hiking day after day in the rain is hard… feet prune, clothes get musty, shoes stay wet, views are hidden… it’s easy to have low spirits. However, having a “tramily” helps. Making coffee at breaks, listening to the rainfall, having audio books, and spotting the colorful fall leaves help. It’s the summary of the good and bad days that make the Trail so memorable! I just need to be reminded of that fairly often.

helps. Making coffee at breaks, listening to the rainfall, having audio books, and spotting the colorful fall leaves help. It’s the summary of the good and bad days that make the Trail so memorable! I just need to be reminded of that fairly often.

jstonejamie
Autumn in the ‘Doahs. The smell of wet leaves and rocks.

i.e.meg
Day 136: In the spring we found fiddleheads and baby blue robin eggs. In the summer, blueberries and blackberries. Now in early autumn, a kaleidoscope of leaves and chestnuts. These forest treasures never cease to brighten my day. Now who knows how you go about eating a chestnut?
I’m listening.

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