The Wilderness Boundary

I’ve been struggling to define my desire to take my boy out into the woods. Over the last year, I have been taking the boy on long walks among the trees. He often refers to it as ‘deep in the woods,’ and that is somewhat my goal. I’d like him to grow up with an understanding of what life is like on either side of the wilderness boundary.

I was reading today, essays from the California volume of the Pacific Crest Trailside Reader. I found a beautiful concept of the wilderness boundary, the line in our perception that we cross when we find ourselves beyond civilization. Reading about this, I thought about how I feel when I hike. How I feel unburdened of the banal concerns of modern life. Instead, thinking of where my feet will go next and how the sun and wind feel on my skin and how my muscles move under my skin.

I carry fond childhood memories of camping trips. I remember running around in the dirt with other kids. Menacing frogs by the side of some lake whose name I have long forgotten. As I got older I joined the scouts with hopes of backpacking trips. Sadly they never materialized. In stages, I moved farther and farther from the forests and hills.

When I moved up here into the rainy northwest, I decided to stem that rout and lead myself back to nature. I wanted to explore and hike and find myself in the wilderness again. My access isn’t as easy as I would like, but I’m still getting out into the trees. I’m planning on more. Next year I want to go on some longer through hikes. Spend some time on the trail with my thoughts.

These are the things that I want to give to my boy. I want to show him the majesty of the forests. I want to share the mountains and the rivers and falls and snow. Hopefully he will find them as special as I do. Hopefully he’ll be as happy beyond the wilderness boundary as I am.

One thought on “The Wilderness Boundary”

  1. I am in favor of this.

    I grew up feeling like nature is a hassle. Stuff got under my nails. I worried about creatures biting and stinging me. I worried about drowning.

    Your positive attitude about the wildness will certainly make an impression on the little man which I consider beneficial.

    The other benefit of these adventures is that the more inputs a person has at an early age, the more tools they have at their disposal for processing later inputs. I don’t think it’s possible to over-stimulate young people, barring some sort of Clockwork Orange arrangement. 🙂

    I’m certain he’ll have fond memories of these times many years from now, and that is a tremendous gift to give him.

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