Matt HealeyThursday,30 May 2013

The Snap:

One of the things you learn on the trail is that you have limited resources. There are obvious resource limitations. Like the amount of things you can carry. If the pack gets too heavy, then you will suffer, so everything is a trade off. If I carry this then I might not be able to carry that. But there are other limitations as well. The one that is on my mind is time.

The Download:

Trail Days just wrapped up in Damascus, Virginia. Granted, this year’s event was marked by the unfortunate tragedy during the hiker parade. Fortunately, the reports that I am getting from people who were there are that it was not as bad as the media made it seem. Personally, I skipped Trail Days because I am a bit behind some people on my hike, and I want to see if I can catch up to them. I also only have a limited amount of time before I have to get off trail because the season is over and I have to get a job. A lot of fellow hikers told me that I should go to Trail Days. It was supposed to be a great time. My rational for skipping it was I only have a limited number of zero days and I would rather use them visiting my wife, family, and friends. Spending 3 days at an outdoor festival is less appealing than those options, even though I really like the people I have met on trail.

This is one of the interesting things about the Appalachian Trail. Because your resources are so limited, in every way, every choice is a conscious trade-off. Go to Trail Days or spend a week with family. Carry more equipment and be more comfortable, or carry less and have a lighter pack. The list goes on. Which brings me back to the choices we have to make in society. It feels like we assume that we have unlimited resources and there are no choices to be made. After all, we think we can have everything. Anyone who has taken a microeconomics can tell you that is not true. There is no such thing as a free lunch. I think we would be in better shape if we understood that we do not have unlimited resources, and that the most precious and limited resource of all is time.

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