Some places have a plethora of wilderness, but just living there is so hard that recreation in the wilderness is not really an option. Other places have the leisure culture to enjoy the wilderness, but no wilderness to enjoy.
We are so fortunate to still have wilderness left in North America, wilderness so wild as to be almost entirely unaffected by human touch, yet with modern access, technology, and a culture that makes exploring this wilderness a safe and easy endeavor. Sure, we can make it challenging and dangerous if we want, but that's our choice.
I have spent more time in this wilderness than I probably deserve, but am thankful to live at a time and in a place where it is possible to go into these wild places in comfort, safely, and as a form of recreation rather than only as a risky expedition of discovery. It wasn’t long ago that the wilderness was viewed as a place where everyday humans should not go and only the most intrepid explorers set foot.
Today, in North America, average people can dive deep into the wilderness with maps, mountain guides, GPS devices, and guidebooks to show us the way; with lightweight equipment that keeps us warm, dry and comfortable in the sun, wind, rain and snow.
Here, we have the best of both worlds. We have all the modern comforts and the privilege of leisure time as well as deep and unmarked wilderness. We can effortlessly travel to the edge of civilization and spend a long weekend in the woods, away from the hectic modern world.
Every one of the thousands of days I’ve spent in the wilderness I view as gifts from our modern world, gifts from this time and this culture. As much as the politics, tragedies, and information overload can be maddening, this time in history - for those of us fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it - is a time of happiness unlike anything the world has ever known.
I took these two photos during a CMH Summer Adventure at the Bobbie Burns Lodge. They perfectly demonstrate the incredible privilege of wilderness access. In little more than a long weekend, we jetted to Calgary, rode a bus to the edge of the vast wilderness of Interior British Columbia, and were whisked by a reliable twin-engine helicopter deep into a wilderness so sublime and untamed as to make us feel like astronauts on planet earth.
Words do little to express my gratitude for the chance to live in this culture, and at this time in history, where adventure travel into the wilderness is an easy, safe and comfortable experience that can be shared by the young, the old, and everyone in between.