A friend of mine asked me to write an article for a magazine about Joshua Tree National Park that would be of interest to owners of tent trailers and small campers. I reluctantly accepted, as I really don’t have time for these kinds of projects — they interfere with my camping and backpacking time. He said I could take a few months to complete it. So I proceeded. In the end, the magazine decided to make it a four part series.
Most women I know have an obsessive fixation on birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. That’s okay, in the proper context, they are good things to celebrate. Most men I know place less significance to these occasions. For the most part, I disdain them, but Joyce and I usually celebrate them with each other in our own way for the right reasons.
Last week Joyce asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. Hmm… backpacking was the first thought, though not communicated. Seeing that I have been home very little the past few months, the more appropriate response was to suggest something we could do together, which normally is camping. Camping is good. So that was my suggestion and it is what we did and it was another great weekend with my wonderful bride.
Friday morning I found myself in Tampa, Florida a long way from home.
Thanks to modern technology I left Tampa, Florida in the morning and arrived at our campsite in the afternoon. Sometimes technology is a really, really good thing!
Okay, bear with me in this.
Before I discuss trails, we need to talk about wilderness. This is wilderness is spelled with a lower case dubyah. This wilderness is also often referred to, by many people, as wild places; there is no formal definition that is satisfactory.
Since the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, it has been under attack. Attacked by those who want to relax the standards and develop wilderness areas for the “benefit“ of society, attacked by those who want more intervention via “land management,” attacked by the trail builders who want more well-groomed pathways, attacked by the sign people who want all kinds of directional and interpretive boards to inform people where they are or what they are looking at.
These attackers may seem to be unrelated to each other, but they have one thing in common — all these groups directly or indirectly see wilderness as an economic opportunity. Additionally groups of people such as the trail guide writers, the whitewater raft companies, and wilderness guides are benefitting financially from the wilderness and increasing man’s impact by bringing an increasing number of people into our wild areas. Oh, they say they do it to introduce more people to wilderness, but lets face it; they do it for the money. More people are not good for wilderness. Especially more people who would not have ventured forward without those who provide information and/or access.
But these attackers are not the biggest threat to wilderness; technology is. To keep our wilderness wild, society must see its value. Technology changes our perception of wilderness. It also changes the individual’s wilderness experience, whether it be used in selecting a destination, planning a trip, or using gadgets once we get there. To sum it up:
Technology marginalizes wilderness.
Halloween is generally a pain in the ass. Little people coming to the door trying to extort treats from me, threatening me with a “trick.” And the little beggars always begging for candy. I can’t take it.
This is excaborated with the constant door bell ringing, ringing, and ringing, which throws Corky into a tizzy, running around in circles and barking his head off — to the point that I have to lock him in the laundry room.
This is compounded by Joyce yelling at me to look at some store-bought costume a little person is wearing. All this Halloween stuff that consumers waste over $7 billion dollars worth of spending.
But this year I had a plan….