One Man's Paradise

Another Day in Paradise

“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.”

Edward Abbey


Ed had an uncanny ability to express fundamental truth in words that anybody could understand, if they were only willing to listen. He has written more than just “Desert Solitaire” and “The Monkey Wrench Gang”…

When am I going to find the time to read all these books?

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Into the Wild

A Blessing

“Beyond the wall of the unreal city … there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it. And then —

Lower Dewey

may your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill.

May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God’s dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.”

Edward Abbey


Taking a break from reminiscing about the Chilkoot trail, letting Ed speak. He was such a gifted writer. I hope everybody finds time to read his books and thoughts on humanity, most notably.

  • Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968)
  • Appalachian Wilderness (1970)
  • Abbey’s Road (1979)
  • One Life at a Time, Please (1988)
  • A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes from a Secret Journal (1989)
  • Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951–1989 (1994)

Many put him in the  conservationist camp. I think he was much more. He was philosopher, an anthropologist concerned about the survival and well-being of human society.

Those are big words. In the end he was a man who experienced Nature as it was meant to be and had the gift to capture these moments in words for us, to remember, to reflect, and to protect…


Previously posted:

Thoughts on Wilderness

Thoughts on Wilderness – № 2

On Progress and Growth

The love of wilderness…

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Into the Wild

Thoughts on Wilderness – № 2

“We need the tonic of wildness…

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things,
we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable,
that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.

We can never have enough of nature.”

Henry David Thoreau


Denali National Park management goes one step further than most other parks by promoting their leave-no-trace policy. Backpackers in the park are now, as part of the mandatory safety instruction, advised not to publish or follow GPS-data on their hike in an effort to avoid the creation of man-made trails. “Leave only footprints, take only photographs” may be a popular motto in other parks with designated, and well maintained hiking trails. Not so in Denali National Park.

McKinley Bar Trail, Denali National Park, AK

McKinley Bar Trail, Denali National Park, AK

A few marked trails exist in Denali National Park, mostly around the park entrance. Few backpackers venture far away from the park’s road into the back country of this vast park. Those that do, enjoy the experience of wilderness as described by Thoreau. The management of Denali National Park wants to keep it that way. By preventing the establishment of man-made trails they hope to keep the majority of the park wild and pristine.

Tundra hiking in Denali National Park

Tundra hiking in Denali National Park

“Let the tourist be on his own, and not be spoon-fed at intervals. Let him be encouraged to keep his eyes open, do his own looking and exploring, and catch what he can of the magic of wilderness.” Those were Adolph Murie’s words in the 50’s, opposing a plan to develop trails in Denali National Park. His opinion seemed to have inspired the park’s trail-less philosophy.

This approach provides the unique opportunity for hikers to experience nature in the most profound and intense way.

tundra

Find your own path…

Wildlife management in Denali National Park also differs from most other national forest lands and parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas. It’s hands-off. No animals are culled! In the most protected areas there is no hunting, period. In other areas subsistence hunting is allowed, but no guided trophy hunting, thank you very much.

Finally, no private traffic on the park’s one and only road. Just as Edward Abbey suggested. Unfortunately, many other parks look more like drive-through theaters than wilderness.

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Inside Out

On Progress and Growth

Edward_AbbeyRemembering Edward Abbey, an opinionated author, and a controversial environmentalist (ahead of his time). Today would be his 88th birthday.

I think many of his observations and proposals were brilliant and unpopular, like banning automobiles from National Parks. To give you a flavor of his razor sharp pen read the following excerpt on our basic premise of economical growth:

“The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.”

Edward Abbey

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Inside Out

Thoughts on Wilderness

“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.

A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”

Edward Abbey

Thank you Ed.  I admire this author, who has witnessed the evolution of a little known National Park (The Arches) to a major tourist attraction. It is a fine line we are walking in the National Parks. Preserving beauty while making it accessible to the public. This is not  an easy task. Edward has also expressed the opinion of eliminating private traffic in National Parks, which I find a brilliant idea. And wilderness areas in my opinion should be totally hands of for hunting, motorized vehicles, and any commercial activities. Oh, I hear the grunting of the hunters, and Fish & Game, who love to tell us what a  great job they do in controlling populations. Bullshit. That’s not a wilderness, or a wildlife refuge. There are wilderness areas in the world that allow no human access. Bravo! Is it so hard to understand that wildlife needs undisturbed (by humans) territories? Let nature control populations. She does a much better job than trophy hunters or paper pushers.

somewhere in Alaska...

somewhere in Alaska…

Sorry my dear readers. I just needed to vent a bit.

Writing this actually helped me to understand why I like Alaska and the desert. It is the lack of accessibility that keeps both places wild. Alaska and some areas in the Southwest are such vast places, that cannot be controlled or managed, thank God. Incidentally, many places in the desert and far North have no commercial value, so we keep them alone and they remain unspoiled, pristine. Until we declare them National Parks…

somewhere in Utah

somewhere in Utah…

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