Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide

Men talk glibly enough about moonshine, as if they knew its qualities very well, and despised them; as owls might talk of sunshine.

— Henry David Thoreau, “Night and Moonlight,” 1883

  • Met Alan and Amy for dinner in Phoenicia, and then the three of us proceeded to the Woodland Valley Campground.  It was 8:15 and pitch black, with rain in the forecast, which at elevation might well manifest itself as heavy sleet driven by gale-force winds, and accordingly I’d warned Alan and Amy to prepare for the worst — but they are experienced hikers and were totally unfazed.  After gearing up, we headed out on the trail in high spirits.

Continue reading “Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide”

Notes from a hike: Nightime bushwhack of Panther and Slide

Walden, in a Weekend

Friday evening, my nephew Nathaniel stopped by to visit during college break.  Over dinner he mentioned a course he was taking on Henry David Thoreau, the 19th century transcendentalist who had spent two years living in a cabin by the side of Walden Pond.  I had read Walden recently and appreciated Thoreau’s experiment in self-sufficiency and simple living, as well as his clever style.  I asked Nathaniel, did he think Thoreau was a nature lover or a social recluse?  Then I wondered aloud why Thoreau had left Walden after only two years.

Once dinner was over, and Nathaniel had left, I summoned Odie the Labradoodle, and we piled into the car for a weekend adventure that might, it occurred to me, share some of Thoreau’s values.  For us, self-sufficiency and simplicity would mean hiking barefoot, skipping meals, and sleeping in a lean-to.  However, instead of two years, our trip would last two days.  It would be like Walden, just in miniature.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Continue reading “Walden, in a Weekend”

Walden, in a Weekend