In this age of technology and social media, many long-distance hikers carry a packful of electronic devices, keeping a precise record of their journey and sharing it with an internet audience.
But James Lunning, 23, is more of a back-of-the-envelope kind of guy. Lunning, of Minneapolis, is about to finish the Pacific Crest Trail, and then will try to tackle the Continental Divide Trail. He has already hiked the Appalachian Trail.
One reason he is not exactly sure how many miles he has hiked on his cross-country trek is that he uses a tablet as a music player more than a device to log his steps. “The tablet can be used as a [global positioning system],” he said, “but it takes a long time to get a position reading. It’s easier to figure out my rough distance with guides and paper maps.”
“I do social media so people I’ve met along the way could keep up with what I’m doing,” he said. “But looking back, maybe it wasn’t a great idea because it’s really hard for me to keep up with it.”
Even so he does find the blog to be a good way to keep a record of his travels. It will be forever less detailed than some, though, because he said he is convinced that “people really don’t care what I had for breakfast.”
None of this means Lunning is anti-technology. In fact, his parents, Bruce and Stephanie Lunning, said he is their “technology guy” when he’s back at their Minneapolis home.
“I just don’t need all that data when I’m on the trail,” Lunning said. “I don’t know the exact temperature when I’m out there. My body knows if it is cold out or not, and that’s enough.”