I've been watching The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and have been delighted to see the passion and spirituality behind the individuals who championed the parks to those who could make a difference. However, many articles and publications tend to focus on the athletic side of being out in the wilderness. We see how fast and high we can climb and hike. We try out different space-age fabrics and lab-designed drinks and energy bars. We communicate to each other about which shoes are lighter and faster.
When I was a youth, my external frame backpack was bought from Gemco (look it up) for around $20 and didn't have all the bells and whistles. I hiked in blue jeans and t-shirts. I slept on an Ensolite pad (still do) and slept inside used tents.
I still made it to the top of Mount Whitney, among other places, and developed my lifelong love of the wilderness.
My personal feeling is that no matter how materially- or performance-oriented we are when planning to explore the wilderness, or however much we are overwhelmed by the complexity of our multitasking modern lives, we all become philosophers once our feet hit the trail or our hands start climbing the rocks.
The question is:
Who are you when you decide to step out into the wilderness? An athlete? A philosopher? A photographer? A blogger?
All of the above? Let me know what you think and what you become once you are out there.