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Backpacking Light Magazine (Print) PDF Reprint - Wilderness and the Family Next Door


Backpacking Light Magazine (Print) PDF Reprint - Wilderness and the Family Next Door

PDF reprint of an article on the benefits (both tangible and otherwise) of preserving wilderness areas.

Description

Originally Published In: Issue 8, Fall 2007

PDF reprint of an article on the benefits (both tangible and otherwise) of preserving wilderness areas from Backpacking Light Magazine (Print Version).

  • Title: Wilderness and the Family Next Door
  • Author: Kevin Sawchuk
  • Word Count: 1,332
  • Images: 1 Photo

Abstract

I am alone as I sit on the edge of a small tarn high on the Darwin Bench. The cool morning air is breathless and warmed by the sun to a drowsy comfort. The distant caw of a Clarke’s nutcracker and close up chirps of a slate sided junco are companion sounds to the trickle of a small stream strained through rocks. I sit on grass that is soft and dry with a perfect backrest. Fresh snowmelt water — no treatment needed — satisfies my thirst. My mind focuses on safely crossing Snow Tongue Pass. I consider navigation, how firm the northeast-facing gully’s snow will be at this time of morning and the difficulty of crossing the Wahoo Basin’s car-sized boulders. I am a wild animal at his best: strong, focused and attentive. I am fully engaged, fully in the moment, and fully alive.

We who give up the comforts of home and “civilization” for a wilderness experience have an intrinsic understanding of how these experiences enhance our lives. We understand how free and alive we feel; how our independence, commitment, and self-sufficiency are challenged in ways few other experiences can — no matter how well contrived. We have lived the transformation and self-actualization that occurs during these trips. The confidence, humility, and
respect these experiences inspire benefit the individual, and, by diffusion, society as a whole. These benefits may provide sufficient justification for wilderness preservation.

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