Monday, July 25, 2016

Social Media, Journaling and Hiking the Trail

Since I started seriously hiking the trail, I have always enjoyed sharing my journeys with the world.  I’m sure only my family and a few friends actually read my shit, but I really write it for me.  I like to be able to go back and read what I wrote and have it bring back memories and good feelings from my adventures.  Sometimes, it also brings back the pain and that is a good thing.  It’s good to remember the pain. 

I have used various methods of logging my hikes.  Trail Journals (TJ) is one where I have recorded all of my hikes, both on the A.T. and elsewhere.  The website has good and bad attributes.  It is really good at keeping track of your miles and your stops. Where you sleep and pictures you take and a few other good things, but you must fill out the entry form correctly and string them together properly.  The bad is that it is a little hard to navigate using a phone with spotty signal out in the bush.  Many times I have abandoned posting from the trail and just took good notes.  When I returned home to my computer, I would update the journal.  I have seen long distance hikers use the app throughout their hike.  Updating from the mountain tops and staying fairly close to real time.  I will try this during our long hike, but make no promises.

I also have maintained a blog using the blogspot (blogger) website. (This Blog, right here)  The site has an easier interface both at home and on the go and has a better layout than the TJ site.  What I have learned is I can create something here with pictures and links and then copy its html over to a TJ entry and it will look the same.  Pictures and links and all.

So this blog has all of my hikes on it too with additional content about the weird and special things I think about, then write about in this world.  This is sort of my Central Information Center, my Home Base.

Facebook has also come in handy where it is really easy to post a quick update with a little bit of signal.  You can even post pictures if the signal is strong enough.  This is the old go-to if I’m feeling lazy, but still want to update.  I have created this Like Page, Adventures of EarthTone and Logear to also track our journey.  We will see how it works out.

There is another site, not unlike TJ, called  It could do a lot of things and had a great app for your phone, but it was spartan looking and the app disappeared from Google Play.  (I heard that the author of the app died and when the license ran out, the app was removed).  I have an account on postholer, but I don’t plan on using it any time soon.

There are multitude of other sites to use.  Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Wordpress to name a few.

Regardless of which site(s) I choose to use, I will always have my handy dandy lo-tech notebook where I record the particulars of the day and can refer back to when it is time to write the journal entry, which will be written into my phone in the Google Keep app.  From there I will be able to cut and paste to whichever app or site I want. 

The big question is, will I be able to maintain my journaling while we are hiking?  I have seen it happen countless times.  The hiker starts out updating every day, then it falls off to a couple times a week.  Before too long, the hiker is updating about once every week or two, before they throw in the towel and admit that after hiking for 10 to 12 hours, getting water, eating dinner and any other chore that needs to be done, writing a journal entry loses to sleep.

If that happens, so be it.  I will have my notes and eventually, I will be able to tell my story.



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