Saturday, July 11, 2009


I love climbing up on a really high mountain and looking down and across and not being able to see a single sign of the hand of Man. Here in the eastern USA this is a very difficult thing to be able to do. There are a few canyons where you can do that and a few mountain valleys that I've found, also. And probably a couple of places where I've hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

But by and large wherever you can climb to the top of a mountain you are going to look off and see roads and houses and businesses and even factories. I recall a few years ago climbing to the peak of what I thought was an isolated summit in the Pisgah National Forest. And once at the top I looked down to see a factory. Ugh.

Recently I managed to summit a relatively high mountain in Virginia. Once on the top I could look down and far off. Almost everywhere I looked I saw indications of human beings. Mainly I was looking at farms and fields and pastures. But I could see a lot of roads and even houses. This wasn't so bad, really. It was still rural area and there were no subdivisions and no shopping centers and little of what I would describe as urban sprawl.

Sometimes it doesn't gall me to see humans squatting on the landscape.

From Walker Mountain I looked down and saw a pale smear far below. With my telephoto lens I took this photo and realized it was a small farm with a couple of houses sitting close together. Likely an extended family? Hard to say, but I think so.

Then I zoomed in as much as I could. At least two houses. Looks like it. Classic farm stuff. Sheds. Trailers. Storage buildings. What looks like a recently plowed garden plot. I even saw some humans, like tiny bugs crawling across the green. It was okay.

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