Sometimes we forget
Mountains, wilderness, experience
Hiking, climbing, feeling alive
Believing, we are owed.
Sometimes we forget
Are owed ?
A moment’s reflection brings the realization that I’m not the first person who visited any particular wild area of the mountains. Indians, trappers, prospectors, hunters, and farmers walked the mountains, each bushwhacking through deadfall, following animal trails, scratching a living from the land.
Forced to earn a subsistence existence, those were the first to visit and exploit the wilderness. Their efforts to survive, improved pathways into the wild and gave us fairly easy approaches to the mountains we visit in the back-country today. They were "real" woodsmen and mountaineers, wearing hobnail boots and using hemp rope with no specialized equipment to help conquer the rock.
So, now we sit comfortably at our desks, living far above a subsistence level with the income and free time to allow for recreation, visiting SummitPost and philosophizing about the future, often thinking someone owes us the preservation of the wilderness mountains.
There is an old saying, the source of which I’ve long since forgotten, which goes something like, "There are no philosophers with empty stomachs." I try to remember that when I find myself thinking someone else owes "me" the preservation of wilderness and recall that most of those who preceded us were only trying to make a living – to survive.
I will not blame them for making choices which now seem to have been damaging and incorrect. Rather, I thank them for making it possible for allowing me to "stand on their shoulders" and do my best at emulating what were the "true" woodsmen and mountaineers.
Bud Moore's book, The Lochsa Story, Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains, from which several of the above images were extracted is a good read - both entertaining and informative.
Two things I found especially interesting - his stories about the men and women who helped shape the way the Bitterroots were and are viewed by most people and our government, plus Bud's belief of how the Bitterroot area should be managed, how he came to those conclusions, and how his views of "management" changed through the years.