A fine idea

 

Your wilderness issue (HCN, 7/21/14) was waiting for me on the day I returned from my own five-day reverie in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. I went on this trip to contemplate life and salute all who had a hand in creating the Wilderness Act 50 years ago. First, Christopher Ketcham’s article, “The Death of Backpacking,” gave me pause. I have to admit, as a 45-year-old female, much of the reason why I don’t backpack as much as I used to is that I can’t find companions willing to take the time to go. Finally, I found the perfect hiking partner, a 63-year-old retiree. Touché.

Agreed, the Wilderness Act has only saved biological islands and caused all kinds of political backlashes, and no, as John Hart acquiesces in his article, “Two Cheers for Wilderness,” it’s probably not the preservation of the world. But it’s a damn good idea for those of us who seek silence and solace, who seek to be challenged by all that Mother Nature and the natural Earth can throw at us. 

On my trip, I crossed a sweltering pumice field, napped by an alpine meadow and had a close call with hypothermia after an unexpected snowstorm. Fantastic! As we neared the trailhead, my hiking partner voiced my own thoughts: “Where are we going next year?”

Becky Wandell
Portland, Oregon 

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