Monday, April 01, 2013

Reason Enough

Blackwater Canyon.
A lot of people ask me why I go hiking. This actually confuses the hell out of me because, to me, the question makes no sense whatsoever. But I was raised to understand that no question is stupid, really. It was my own inquisitive nature promoted to the Nth degree by my parents that all but forced me to want to put myself into wild and rural lands. So I'll try to answer it,  but I don't think anyone will like the answer, because I don't like the answer, either.

I push myself to hike into the mountains, mainly. This is because that so much of the
Mackey Mountain.
forests and relatively untouched land that remains here in the eastern USA where I live is located in mountains. Mountains by and large don't make for convenient places to put subdivisions and shopping centers and the accompanying wreck of so-called civilization. Our eastern high country was ecologically raped early on in our nation's history and was ruined to such an extent that the nation spat it out and left it behind where it was, ironically, allowed to heal into a faded image of what it had been before the floods of people and the sawmills and the factories and the mines and drilling rigs.

I go camping, hiking, and backpacking because...the good guys lost.

That's right. The people who tried to warn us what was coming down the pike were all killed and silenced. They were labeled as crackpots, tarred with the epithet of alarmist, or gunned down where they stood and tried to speak.

Black Mountain Crest Trail, NC.

Dolly Sods, WV.
We've wrecked the Earth. And this, for good. There's no going back, now. The planet is quite literally withering before our worthless eyes. The tiny minority of folk who profit from this terminal destruction keep the lion's share of you drunk on a little catnip or reaching for a shiny object that you'll never grasp. All while they wallow in luxury you can't even imagine.

The bad guys won.

This is why I spend my time in the woods whenever I can find a moment to do so. It's all going away. They've taken almost everything we had of value, and they're going to get what little remains. The last wild animals are going fast, so if you want to see them, I
Midnight Hole, Great Smoky Mountains.
strongly fucking suggest in the most powerful terms that you by Jove do so. The existence of things like elephants and lions, tigers and whales, eagles and sharks, corals and redwoods, glaciers and rivers...these things are measured now in years, not centuries--not even decades.

Whenever I can scrape together the wages I'm allowed, I spend them to visit the vanishing wild. So this is why I take the things I earn--time and transportation--and run off to the whittled spots where trees still blow in the breezes and birds still land in the leaves and a few pitiful things continue to pace the forest floor.

In a little while, all of this will be gone. Your children won't even know that it ever existed.

Tower Canyon, Yellowstone.

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