[Cdt-l] the A list

Matthew Edwards Hetchhetchyman at aol.com
Sun Dec 5 17:01:01 CST 2010


I like your style Mags! This is what I like about the email lists. 
Anyhow you inspired me to think. So here is my(as always) rough draft.

I agree that nobody should be obligated to carry any more civilization (syphilization: Ed Abbey's term) than they find neccesary.
For twenty years before my first thru hike I made solo treks into the Northern Yosemite Wilderness.
>From the start I reviled technology. Much like the fiction of an Alduous Huxley novel (Brave New world) or the reality behind "Into the Wild"
I thought the further I ran from the "real" world the closer I would get to a state of "purity" and wilderness.
What I found is that the two worlds are inextricably linked. On a thru hike our food is brought by truck and train.
The very shoes we shod our feet in arermade half way around the world in Vietnam. I found it was impossible to avoid people and the 
trappings of civilization. It was all a matter of degrees. To what extent can I "escape" and still remain in the real world.
We can think backwards in time to the Lewis and Clark expedition. They were just as dependent on each other as the Shoshone Indians and others for their safe passage.
The Indians themselves existed in a network and never completely alone in the wilderness. The animals have a complex community of life in the 
same world inhabited by man from the beginning. 
My question, still unanswered, is :where exactly does wilderness end and the city begin? 
Certainly we all can recognize the extremes of either ,but in between, it is not so simple is it?
Is anyone ever NOT connected to the real world whether they carry a modern cell phone or make cave paintings in a place beyond the reach of the sun?
I don't know the answers.. I am still searching.
I do know that people recognize the fact that I am searching. They understand that all of us that go into the wilds represent something beyond the commonly excepted realities of the civilized world. 
We that hike have an audience in the world. Whether we recognize it or not people look to us and relate to us on some basic level. Our physical journey
communicates something beyond words. We connect with people otherwise why would they help us as they always do?
We are not obligated to respond to this need. We can hike and keep it all to ourselves. 
Or perhaps we can share some of that sense of wonder. Both the city and wilds are wilderness in their own ways. But the lesser known places always inspire those that have not or could not make the journey.
It is funny, as i am not a religeous man, but: If thy right arm offend thee.. cut it off.
If you make a decision that you feel compromises your safety or comfort, or realization or delusion.. mail it home. 
Personally I would rather share my experience with the world. The world has been good to me. 
There is a lot of pain in the world; self imposed and otherwise. There is division in the world as well. If people can find a connection to each other through wilderness.. 
I am happy to share that wilderness I have found with them. 
We are one world afterall. We rely on one another each day for the food in our mouths to the clothes on our backs. 
Is it so great an encumberance to behold our fellow humans as brothers and sisters? 
Can we still find solitude without totally divorcing ourselves from the society of which we are and integral part?
Hell.. I dunno.. thats why I am still hiking!
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