Some of my backcountry lessons include taking a trail name (like thru-hikers do), making sure to check the stars if you get up in the middle of the night, and taking every opportunity to put your bare feet in a cold stream on a hot day.
Like many parents, I’m horrified by the devices and the screens and how addictive staring at a screen can be – and worry that kid’s brains are being rewired by the dopamine hits of the endless scroll and the abyss of consumerism. I worry that kids won’t know what to do if they’re dropped into the backcountry, but I’m here to report dear reader – it’s not true. In the absence of the iPad and the Switch and all other external stimulation devices kids – will find a way – they’ll revert to their feral selves and bask in the bugs and sunshine and streams and huckleberries.
We spent the past few days in the backcountry around Mt Hood. I deliberately kept the mileage low and the exploring and down time high. It was a good combination of backpacking time, day hikes and no schedule. And lots of snacks.
There’s a phrase in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Sierra book that I’m reading in which he describes an early member of the Sierra Club who “pursued life intensely”. I really like that… Onward.