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Who is your back-country idol?


Bobo Uzala
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I suspect that TrailGroovy people with an insatiable appetite for the outdoors collect an Everest-sized mountain of books, maps, magazines, CD/DVDs – whatever delivers us to a trailhead or instructs our daring intent. Dog-eared rags knotting us into a figure eight daydream, guiding us to the next expedition. There’s a hallowed section of our library where the shelves are sheer and precipitous. Horizontal rain and heavy snow, you can feel the color and warmth of life at altitude. It’s the place where our heroes are camped out.

Who resides in that special place of your library, the people that inspire us to travel to far-away places? Who pushes you on the daily workout, takes one to non-ordinary space, and maxes out our credit cards?!? Who is your back-country idol?

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I suspect that TrailGroovy people with an insatiable appetite for the outdoors collect an Everest-sized mountain of books, maps, magazines, CD/DVDs – whatever delivers us to a trailhead or instructs our daring intent. Dog-eared rags knotting us into a figure eight daydream, guiding us to the next expedition. There’s a hallowed section of our library where the shelves are sheer and precipitous. Horizontal rain and heavy snow, you can feel the color and warmth of life at altitude. It’s the place where our heroes are camped out.

Who resides in that special place of your library, the people that inspire us to travel to far-away places? Who pushes you on the daily workout, takes one to non-ordinary space, and maxes out our credit cards?!? Who is your back-country idol?

Very well put!!

Without any doubt for me (as I have mentioned several times already on this forum) growing up in the city and learning about hiking and the outdoors it is Edward Abbey. Abbey is a must read, especially if you love the desert and like myself are concerned about our national natural resources.

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Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

A copy of Desert Solitaire:A Season in the Wilderness is always in my backpack!

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Aaron Zagrodnick

My bookshelf is filled with classic American authors like Thoreau and Steinbeck, and of course Edward Abbey as Gary mentioned above. Actually had coffee from a cup with the quote "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." (Thoreau) on the side earlier this morning! Also with my interest in exploring the Wind River Range definitely have to mention Finis Mitchell, Wind River Trails is a must-read for anyone who enjoys exploring the Winds.

Additionally, a lot of my inspiration comes from just pure data. Maps, field guides, satellite views, information...The aforementioned authors seem to offer inspiration in one respect, but that valley on the map I've never seen, the hidden meadow noticed on the satellite view of Google Maps that could make a perfect campsite, an out of the way lake that might be full of golden trout...Have been the things keeping my feet moving as of late. There's also the intangible inspiration of past experience - The idea of a different route to the same place, the exploration of a specific place more in depth, or just hiking the same trail / area again to see how it looks on a new day.

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My bookshelf is filled with classic American authors like Thoreau and Steinbeck, and of course Edward Abbey as Gary mentioned above. Actually had coffee from a cup with the quote "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." (Thoreau) on the side earlier this morning! Also with my interest in exploring the Wind River Range definitely have to mention Finis Mitchell, Wind River Trails is a must-read for anyone who enjoys exploring the Winds.

Additionally, a lot of my inspiration comes from just pure data. Maps, field guides, satellite views, information...The aforementioned authors seem to offer inspiration in one respect, but that valley on the map I've never seen, the hidden meadow noticed on the satellite view of Google Maps that could make a perfect campsite, an out of the way lake that might be full of golden trout...Have been the things keeping my feet moving as of late. There's also the intangible inspiration of past experience - The idea of a different route to the same place, the exploration of a specific place more in depth, or just hiking the same trail / area again to see how it looks on a new day.

Very well said!

......and I love Thoreau and Steinbeck also!

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Edited by Gary M
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Thanks for your stories guys, good stuff! I'm gonna check out Edward Abbey and Finis Mitchell.

- I’ve got so many idols, don’t know where to start. Muir, Emerson, and Thoreau probably top the list. Ed Viesturs as the indomitable American mountaineer. Reinhold Messner for his incredible feats as the most incredible climber of all time (and his encounter with a yeti!). Beck Weathers for his incredible inner strength – I saw him give a lecture and he brought me to tears. I picked up Galen Rowell’s books and was absolutely mesmerized with his photography, he also turned me on to something called a “graduated neutral density filter”! Unknown adventurers and friends like Curt Saville and Bill Fox who really got me started climbing the big mountains. Benton MacKaye and the stories of how he imagined the Appalachian Trail. The list goes on….

And then there’s Lou Whittaker. When I climbed Mt Rainier in 2007, I used RMI guides and stayed at the Whittaker bunkhouse. Of course, I wanted to learn all about Jim and Lou Whittaker (the pre-Wiki days!). I read Lou’s book “Memoirs of a Mountain Guide”. I also picked up his movies that are still, to my knowledge, only available on VHS. I bugged my head guide if I could meet Lou, but was told he was away. I was heading to my room when we got back to the bunkhouse after a day of glacier training, when I saw this huge figure running across the lawn. This dude was about 7 feet tall and was amazingly ripped – and he was only 75 years old?!! I ran over to him and introduced myself. My hand literally disappeared when he shook my hand with his gigantic bear claw of an arm! He was in a hurry and we had no time to talk. A week after I got home, I received a package in the mail. My guide Dave had told Lou about me and they sent me his book autographed, “To Bobo, with my best regards – Lou”. It was really thoughtful of Dave to do that for me, totally inspirational!

Edited by Bobo Uzala
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Bobo Uzala

Fascinating, and very well written. You are very lucky to have had such a memorable encounter.

Definitely check out Desert Solitaire,it is an incredible book.

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, Desert Solitaire

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Edited by Gary M
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I just checked, and you can get a used copy of Desert Solitaire at Amazon for $2.40. Incredible!

But those who dare read this book, BEWARNED!!!

Abbey was called an environmental anarchist, and it just might be catching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Striving to live in the spirit of Abbey and Thoreau

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I just checked, and you can get a used copy of Desert Solitaire at Amazon for $2.40. Incredible!

But those who dare read this book, BEWARNED!!!

Abbey was called an environmental anarchist, and it just might be catching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Striving to live in the spirit of Abbey and Thoreau

THANKS Gary!

Although I ordered the book for $2.95, because it was "Used - Like New" condition!

I'll give you a review when I get it

;):cool::rolleyes:

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Bobo Uzula...............

Fantastic!

I believe I can tell from reading your forum entries that you will love the book. Just remember Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968,and some parts may sound rather dated. It was written by a man passionately fighting to keep wilderness from being forever lost. Give it a chance, I don't believe you'll be disappointed.

I would love to read your review, and see if Abbey's writing still resonates with folks in the 21st Century. It made me turn off the TV in the early 1970's, and hit the trail; for that I will be forever grateful!

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

"We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.” - Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Edited by Gary M
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