a.r.h 1.4 not-yet-posted; l/m 2001/9/17
alt.rec.hiking FAQ -- v 1.4b -- 17 September 2001
Q1. Is there a FAQ?
A1. *NOW* there is.
Q2. I hate this newsgroup, are there others like it?
A2. Yes, here are some others you might merely loathe:
rec.backcountry - fairly high volume, the focus is mostly on
backpacking (USA meaning: see Q9) and really getting away from
civilization. Has been polluted lately by trolls, bigots, fools,
and politics junkies, so you'll probably need to set up filters.
rec.outdoors.camping - high volume, seems to be mostly
about car-camping and all kinds of trailers.
rec.outdoors.national-parks - USA, mostly. Largely overlaps
the previous two newsgroups, but with the obvious somewhat
rec.outdoors.marketplace - outdoors-related stuff for sale,
for auction, and wanted ("WTB:").
And so you a.r.h readers can see where I'm coming from:
alt.rec.hiking - low volume, might not have been created
"properly", therefore gets poor propagation. Focus is on
hiking rather than backpacking. Though current USENET
demographics imply that subjects tend to involve the USA,
that emphasis is not imposed by a.r.h's nonexistent charter.
rec.travel.budget.backpacking - see Q/A#9.
There are a few other newsgroups that might be considered to
be related to alt.rec.hiking: rec.sport.orienteering,
rec.climbing, rec.skiing.backcountry, and some *.walking
groups. And some regional ones.
To locate the FAQ-like postings in either rec.backcountry or
rec.climbing, seek out "Distilled Wisdom" postings by Eugene Miya.
Q3. How 'bout web sites?
A3. Start with some of these general-hiking-information sites:
peak to peak <http://www.peaktopeak.net>
Backpacker Mag <http://www.backpacker.com>
Lightweight Backpacker <http://www.backpacking.net>
There are plenty of others. I mostly like trip reports,
especially the ones about the Sierra Nevada (since they describe
trips which are relatively close to where I live), and the ones
whose owner is an especially good writer. Examples of these are
the hiking, backpacking, and/or climbing sites done by Charles
Hayden, Frank Farmer, Michael Gordon ("Gordie's Ramblings"), Tom
Hilton, Tom Kenney, and Sara "thermophile" Boomer. Most of
these sites can be reached from the California section of the
peak-to-peak site, <http://www.peaktopeak.net/ca.html>. One
exception is Sara Boomer's, at
[Just a sampling; if I didn't mention your site here, it is
(despite Sturgeon's Law) most likely because I haven't seen it.]
Q4. Mailing lists?
A4. There are some hiking- and outdoors-oriented mailing lists that
are intended to be global in scope, though they tend to be
predominantly US-specific because of the net's demographics.
There are tons of regional hiking-oriented mailing lists, and
even some trail-specific ones, including AT-L (Appalachian Trail),
PCT-L (Pacific Crest Trail), etc. The easiest way to find regional
mailing lists relevant to your region might be to contact your local
chapter of the Sierra Club, if there is one. If you can't find an
email list for your region, hey, it's easy enough to start one at
groups.yahoo.com. (Or topica.com. [Are any of the other free email
list providers still alive?])
Here is some info about the non-regional mailing lists that I
am most familiar with (OUTDOR-L, BACKPACK-L, freshair, no-gear,
OUTDOR-L, the "Outdoor Discussion Group" one of the oldest
outdoors-oriented mailing lists still in use -- it was originally
from the old IBM mainframe "BITNET" days! The list is pretty
low volume, high quality. To subscribe, send a message to
LISTSERV@LISTSERV.LOUISVILLE.EDU, whose body contains
BACKPACK-L, the "Backpackers List". For a list of commands,
send the message: INFO COMMANDS to LISTSERVER@switchback.com
freshair - Michael Allen Gelman's list, moderately low volume,
might average four messages a week. To sign up via the web,
go to <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freshair>
no-gear - My moribund, *very* low volume list. Intended for
all kinds of trip reports, trail info, etc., but excluding
chatter about equipment. To join, sign up via the web:
BackpackingLight - a very high volume list, averaging nearly
fifty messages a day. The main subject is how to lighten your
backpacking load -- in some sense the opposite of my "no-gear"
list. Lots of input about home-made ultra-lightweight gear
(usually stoves, tents/tarps, or packs), discussions about
some of the ideas popularized by Ray Jardine. Occasionally
there will be list-announced trips or get-togethers. Sign
up via the web:
A sample of some regional ones (SF Bay Area)
[SF] Bay Area Hiking (at groups.yahoo.com)
[SF] Bay Area Backpacking (at groups.yahoo.com)
Desert Survivors <http://www.desert-survivors.org/> is an
Oakland (CA) based organization which concentrates on desert
conservation issues; and holds organized hikes and backpacking
trips. Must be a member ($20/year) in order to be on their
PCT-L - the list for the Pacific Crest Trail Association;
Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Day-Hiking Section
Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Peak-Climbing Section
Q5. Is it OK to list eBay items here?
A5. The proper newsgroup for such things is rec.outdoors.marketplace.
People looking for stuff to buy will more likely be looking for
it there than here. On rec.outdoors.marketplace, a few subject-
line prefixes are fairly common: "FS:" is "For Sale:", "WTB:"
means "Want To Buy", and "eBay:" seems to mean "For Sale via
Auction" ("FA:" is also sometimes used for this purpose).
Q6. How are conditions at Snowy Ridge? Is Bear Creek crossable?
Twin Lakes camping? Kennedy Meadows trailheads? White Mountains?
A6. How in heck should I know *which* Twin Lakes? Which White
Mountains? Which "Top of the World" park? PLEASE make your
*question* educational. If you start a thread, don't use "YNP".
Instead, spell it out, since we don't know whether you have
California or Wyoming (or eastern British Columbia) in mind.
Your question will be read not just by the folks who can answer
it, but also by thousands of lurkers, each of whom has an answer
for a few of the questions that will be posted here. The lurkers
stay here only as the group stays interesting -- many of them
read in order to learn things. You *want* to have an army of
lurkers reading the newsgroup, so that there will be a few who can
answer your question. One way to keep these lurkers reading is to
provide useful information as a part of your question. Like,
say, WHAT CONTINENT YOUR QUESTION IS ABOUT!?!??!!! It is better
to provide what you *do* know about the location in which
Slightly more effective (though somewhat dubious ethically) is to
post some intentionally inaccurate information about the place --
then someone will be sure to correct your apparent misapprehensions.
Best of all, IMHO, would be to do the research on your own, do your
trip, and then write us a nice trip report about it.
Q7: Will I like High Mountain River Canyon State National Wilderness
Park? What's the best hike/backpack trip there?
A7: How the heck should we know *what* you like? We don't know you.
We don't know if you're a fit, experienced long-distance hiker, a
climber, an RVer, a peak-bagger, a trailside botanist, a trailrunner,
a naturist, a naturalist, or a rockhound. We don't know if you have
a dog, have rain gear, hate heat, like swimming, hate bathing suits,
fear bears, drive a wheelchair, love bats, hunt elk, bring children,
like caves, prefer thick forests or wide-open views, mountains,
beaches, swamps, or deserts. Or desserts. As one of the acronyms in
Q/A12 says, TWIAVBP -- The World Is A Very Big Place. You have to
tell us a little about yourself, your capabilities and experience,
and your likes and dislikes, before we have a ghost of a chance of
helping you out with many of the questions y'all have.
Q8. Stop me if you've heard this one before...
A8. Stop. Yes, we have *ALL* heard that grizzly scat contains bells
from hikers who climbed trees faster than their partners, whom the
black bear caught, just before the grizzly knocked down the tree.
Q9. Where's the International Youth Hostel in Kathmandu?
A9. You probably want to ask in rec.travel.budget.backpacking rather
than alt.rec.hiking. In the USA, the word "backpacking" is used
almost exclusively to mean wilderness trekking in the backcountry,
sleeping in tents, under tarps, or just under the stars, and
walking for days carrying all of your own food, shelter, and
water purification system. In other words, it usually excludes
Q11. Sierras ...
A11. Careful, some folk take offense at the term "Sierras", since it
is one mountain range. These folks would be happier if you say
"Sierra" or "Sierra Nevada" or "Here, take this million dollars,
I don't need it".
Q12. GSMNP? RMNP? NPS? BLM? WCT? PCT? AT? CDT? ADT? DEET?
NOLS? GORP? OLN? MEC? SD? SC? BSF???
A12. FOAD: TWIAVBP. HAND. TTFN. CUL. BFD.