Tuesday, October 06, 2009
comentary on PBS national parks series
I have watched portions of Ken Burns PBS television series on the 'National Parks, America's best idea'. I watched the Yosemite part entire featuring the Sierra Nevada Mountain bard John Muir. His name live on in sierra lore and in the 200 mile long John Muir trail, which i have done about a third of. It is indeed quite spectacular in parts and slices thru the heart of the sierra high country but the lateral trails are also quite nice as well.
I have or did have at one time the same spirit which imbued John Muir, in looking at the sierra as kind of mystical, a feeling hard to describe. You see the waterfalls, pines,granite rock, meadows, creeping shadows, domes,outcroppings, gnarled pines clinging to life at timberline, the lonely tiny flower clinging to life in an alpine meadow, and take it all in. Everything else falls away to insignificance and the worlds problems and hassles as well. The deeper you get into wilderness and especially being alone in it you feel as one with it, being interconnected to it and also sometimes vulnerable and small.
The wilderness has dangers and can envelope you with sudden storms, a trip over a rock causing a ankle sprain or cracked head, a bear attack, a slip over a waterfall or down a raging river in spring flood,or u may get disoriented and lost and get exposed to a bitter cold wet night and end up with hypothermia. I have practiced and studied wilderness survival techiques and have backpacked deep in sierra wilderness solo for up to 8 days.
The dangers and eree silence of a truly wild place may be part of the mystic experience which awed John Muir, the feeling of being so small,insignificant and vulnerable deep in the wilderness. U are truly on your own and must depend on your own survival skills to travel safely thru the wilderness.
BTW the PBS series is indeed a marvelous piece of work, though 95 % of park visitors never get more than a few miles away from the trailhead(civilization) and really commune with remote nature as John Muir and i have.