By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Bug and Priss check in

Among the folks whose e-mail got stuck in my Northeastern inbox were Bug and Ms. Priss, also known as Bryan and Bethany Love, the Appalachian Trail thru-hikers whom I wrote about on Aug. 19. They answered a few questions about their online trail journal, to which they post observations and photos.

Bryan, 32, is a hospital pharmacist. Bethany, 26, is an interior designer and home-furnishings specialist. They e-mailed me on Sept. 1 from a hostel in Andover, Maine. Without any further ado:

Q: Why did you decide to record your thoughts and photos on the Internet during your thru-hike?

A: We wanted a lasting journal for ourselves, and we also wanted our families & friends to share in our experiences. Most people don’t understand what the AT experience is like, so we’re also trying to educate & encourage our audience to get out and hike.

Q: How do you do it – that is, hardware, software, Net connection and the like?

A: We use a Pocketmail ( device to send our journals to my best friend who then uploads them to our TJ website. The device sends the emails via built-in modem after dialing a 1-800 number. The device weighs ~8 oz, which is an important factor for most AT hikers. Photos are more difficult to get onto the site. We usually wait until we are in a large town and have CD’s made which we then mail back and are uploaded by the same friend.

Q: In what ways do you think doing this enhances your experience?

A: It forces us to think about our daily experience, so I think our memories will be more vivid. The pocketmail device has definitely been a conversation starter.

Q: Can you think of any ways in which it detracts from your hike?

A: Time … it definitely takes more time than we thought it would. After a long day of hiking, it is hard to be disciplined and journal.

Q: How many readers do you have?

A: We have had almost 36,000 hits on our website. I would guess we have had 100-200 readers.

Q: When do you plan to reach Katahdin? Are you planning anything special for
your online audience when that happens?

A: We estimate summiting on/around 9/20. We’d love to post our final journal the day we summit. We’re also planning to submit a few post-hike journals detailing our reacclimation back into society.

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