“When you put a drop of red dye into a glass of water, you do not get a glass of water with a drop of red dye in it; you get a red glass of water.” Uh, OK, so what’s that got to do with hiking the Appalachian Trail? Read and find out!
Write in Front of Me
Photo courtesy amish.patel at Flickr
I recently ran my eye over this comment: “Neil Postman has an analogy along the lines of what you’re saying about giving forethought to your use of a new technology: ‘When you put a drop of red dye into a glass of water, you do not get a glass of water with a drop of red dye in it; you get a red glass of water…’”
Nowadays, we’re disposed to leap on anything “new” like a jaguar on a capybara. Why do we do this? Why do we glom onto the latest thing without considering the consequences to our lives? All of us are trying to employ some command over our lives and we do this by making what we believe are wise decisions. Yet the truth is that we are swamped with tidal waves of options, more than we can manage. It seems to…
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I still hold to the answer, whenever I’m asked, as to what “one thing” gets you to Katahdin more than anything else. One thing — one word — PERSISTENCE! Thus, we revisit the spirit of Gimli this Flashback Friday.
Write in Front of Me
Perhaps Gimli personifies the endurance it takes to hike the A.T. For sure, he is uncomfortable, way past a long rest. Yet he seems up for the game, and presses on. Chasing orcs will take you out of long pursuits; after all, they’re Saruman‘s creations – mindless, heedless of discomfort, meant for speed and killing. Humans, not so much. Granted, Aragorn and Legolasare faring better and they also keep going, regardless of pain. Because they’re focused and committed. And, yes, the lives of the hobbits are at stake. When hiking long distances, it’s likely the safety of friends or family is not in the balance, and Katahdin is not Mordor. But you want to get there. That’s why you set out – to get there and back again. So the key is to accept the physical pain. But don’t be reckless about it. Don’t ignore blisters and aching…
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Photo courtesy Thruhike98 at Flickr.
Dear Hiking Gear,
First off, I am sorry. Sorry that you’ve been stowed away in boxes on the upper shelf of my dark closet. I am sorry I separated you into “gear I normally use” and “spare gear” whose box lid I rarely open.
For instance. I love my Whisperlite white gas backpacking stove. But, I also like my Svea 123, the old brass workhorse whose coarse and noisy voice was a welcome wake-up on many memorable mornings.
Dear Whisperlite, I love you for your quiet voice. But, Svea, I respect you for your simplicity and reliability. Just because I boxed you doesn’t mean I don’t care. Don’t you remember when we walked down memory lane and I polished you with Brasso last summer? I know — I didn’t light you up, so the shine job doesn’t really count. But I still know you’re there; ready to rock should the Whisperlite fail…
Photo courtesy kc7fys at Flickr.
Yes, dear gear — I’ll still keep you. And if you doubt that, remember the old Kelty Tioga pack frame. You know the one. The pack bag is long gone, but I can’t part with the hardy aluminum skeleton. Sure, I’ll never find a replacement for the pack bag, but I’ve kept the frame safe and sound. Along with the Sierra tent, First Need water filter, and Svea stove.
Photo courtesy Simonov at Flickr.
Take heart, dear gear. Maybe we’ll all have a class reunion one day. And, yes, expect to see a Spork, some titanium cooking gear, and an ultralight backpack on the guest list.
Aislinn gives an interesting perspective about backpacking solo.
Is is somewhere in the Himalayas? The Canadian wilds, perhaps? Maybe even the dark land of — Mordor?! Wherever you think this wild wonder is, take ten minutes with your journal and pen and imagine you’ve been dropped off in this vast landscape. You have nothing but a knife and a short length of rope and a small container of water. You have five days to get to civilization or summon rescue. What would you do? What’s most important first — food? water? shelter? fire? Let your imagination roam with the exercise. Enjoy the challenge of trying to sort things out on paper, as opposed to actually being right there in the middle of it. What did you learn about yourself? What did you think and feel? What skills did you have? How did your exercise turn out?
There is something which stands in the way of an Appalachian Trail backpacker and success. Something that makes even the day-hiker hesitant to head out the door into the wild.
Vast and dominant, it looms over the beauty which beckons the heart and soul, daring the brave who wish to enter the sanctuary of wood and stream, glen and crag.
There is something which intimidates and defeats, which cripples and discourages. Even the seasoned backpacker who is armed with profound skill might in a moment collapse into discouraged retreat. Rather than forge into the green, they will pack up and head for home, tail between their legs. Rather than return to the world with wondrous stories and rich memories, they bear the shame of having given up to a simple and pervasive enemy which will haunt them for their lack of fortitude.
Countless expeditions and numerous souls who might otherwise push hesitancy aside lose all sense and intention when faced with this one, single, seemingly-mighty barrier.
Should you be among those with the will and ability to endure this demon, you will find it accompanies you the entire length of your woodland sojourn. It will gawk at you across the fireside and pester you as you walk the miles.
Nevertheless, this creature which plagues the wilderness is deserving of existence. For it is the guardian and force which prevents lesser prepared travelers from crossing the boundary into the mystic mist of remote lands.
Should you be among the few who can tolerate its company, you will find that it does not disempower or distract you from the joy to be found in walking wild places. In fact, this jinn obstructs lesser souls, but nourishes those wise to the gift it can bring.
What is this force; this barrier? Simply this…
Ever heard of Forest Therapy? Want to know more? Keep reading!
The Big Epic
Have you noticed how you feel better in your daily life after spending time outdoors? As we immerse ourselves in the natural world, we become more whole physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plus, the better we know the world around us, the more we enjoy spending time outside. Continue reading to learn about the three different levels of connecting with Nature…
A – Have an ADVENTURE in Nature
“Nature” refers to the outdoors, the natural world, the places not made by humans. Everyone has an emotional response when they hear that word. For some of us, it is a place of comfort or adventure or pleasure. For others, it is a place that is dangerous or boring, a place to avoid. At this level, Nature is something separate from the adventurers, something to be explored or enjoyed in and of itself.
We enjoy extended backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail
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