Facebook. Sometimes I think it exists only for people to post how fast they run, how many friends they have, and how many misspelled, ungrammatical sappy posters they can put up. But, as with any free service, you don’t have to be on it. I have stayed on it because there are people whose pictures I want to see, people who have moved away from phone calls or even email. There are also a few private groups I like, and some public ones. I have gotten good information from them about endeavors I am attempting.
But. Danger lurks on Facebook. Sometimes it is so hard not to be snarky. The woman who puts up a saying about real women not attracting drama when she is the biggest drama queen around. The person whose every post is about the alcoholic beverage she is consuming. The one who badmouths her husband!
So how is this about the outdoors? Stay with me, people. Because today I got sucked into a troll’s posts on a hiking forum. This forum is mostly pretty great. People write about where to find water in the desert, post fire closures, and do reviews of their gear. But occasionally some tension creeps in. A woman wrote about wanting to do a thru-hike with her two year old, and some posters jumped all over that. The kid will overheat! The kid will slow you down! The kid will be too heavy to carry! You’re crazy! Now, maybe hiking two thousand miles with a two year old is pretty nuts. I wouldn’t want to do it. But the responses were rather cruel. I guess you open yourself up to that on a public forum, though.
Anyway, on to my situation. A hiker asked about when she needed to legally carry a bear canister in California. Most responses were helpful and polite, except for one guy, who proceeded to say that you didn’t need to carry them, not if you were a real hiker, unlike newbies or “gapers.” That the rangers just liked messing with real hikers and that all of them should drown and the world would be a better place.
Snap! Maybe it was the years of picking up and carrying other people’s trash out of the woods. The years of staring down TP-strewn toilets, armed with a brush and Pine Sol. Carrying dying people off the trails. Digging fireline to save their houses. I steamed in silence and then I wrote angrily that I was leaving the page.
Not that anyone cares about that. The point is, it’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in the fake world of the internet when there’s a real one out there. What was I doing on a forum that talked about hiking instead of actually..hiking? I immediately went to my Facebook page and deleted a bunch of groups. Time to leave the trolls behind and get out there and do something.