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22 January 2008 @ 11:26 pm
Every month of every season I am dying to be SOMEWHERE on a trail, with the exception of a few summer days when the bugs are out! After spending countless hours backpacking in some of the most beautiful areas of the country I have come to learn how important it is to keep these areas as healthy as they are now. There are hundreds of people who crave the woods and the mountains and the trails the same way I do. They have the same love for sweating the walk during the day and freezing in their sleeping bags at night. Unfortunately, these people and I, as Chris Conway so elegantly put, are "loving the outdoors to death".

Because of how selfish humans naturally are, I can hardly say that we are willing to forfeit the happiness we find in the wilderness altogether in an attempt to save a little more of its pureness. Instead, we practice leave no trace backpacking, an art that attempts to lower the impact we as backpackers have on the wilderness' "pureness". Leave no trace, or low impact hiking can be practiced on many levels. Hopefully it is natural to practice basic principles of leave no trace such as burying your toilet paper. However, a fellow backpacker I have shared a few trips with went as far as to drink his wash water [the water used in washing your dishes, often consisting of warm water and relatively large particles of food] in an attempt to even further minimize what we dispose of on the trail. As much of an advocate of leave no trace as I am, I have not yet mastered this practice. In all honesty I probably never will. While low impact backpacking cannot ensure that our forests and mountains and trails stay healthy, it is the best approach backpackers have to ensuring the places they treasure are there and intact when they return to visit. Don't forget that these woods and mountains are also homes to hundreds of animals. Preserving their habitat is essential to keeping them alive. Backpackers are invading their homes. It is the backpacker's duty to be respectful.

 Please keep me clean!
Please help keep me clean!

goodforeverydaygoodforeveryday on January 22nd, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
Righteous. outside is the shit. i did 77 miles in new mexico once. it was tight. washwater... gross. speaking of extremes... we cut our toothbrushes in half to save weight. we never drank dishwater though. bleh.
ridleybridleyb on January 22nd, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
that toothbrush idea is cool. I'll definitely be doing an entry on shaving off the weight!
New Mexico is one place I have never been. I bet it is gorgeous though, it's definitely on my list
justing_b on January 29th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
i think i know you? :}
ridleybridleyb on January 29th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
I definitely know you :] nice picture!