“What makes a place wild? Is it the distance to the nearest person, building, or road? Is it the amount of time it has been since another human walked in that place? Is it the abundance of wildlife, which lives and thrives there? Or is it the feelings and emotions that we get when we find the wilderness we have been seeking? So often we who crave solitude and silence seek the wild places. Sometimes I think we concentrate too much on deciding what is wild or how wild a place is. For me there is certainly validity in the idea of a wild place being secluded, away from other people. There is something truly rich in being alone, viewing moments in the outdoors for yourself, and knowing you are the only human to capture creation living and existing at that moment. However, there is another way to look at wilderness.
Instead of focusing on how wild your piece of solitude is, it is wise to focus on what you gain while you are there. It is more important to identify what it is that keeps you coming back to the wilderness and the outdoors. When we focus on the peace and satisfaction that being outside gives us and go looking for that instead of a place that is far from the nearest highway, we might find that there is incredible value in places closer to our front door. Whether it be a park bench at the center of the town, a walk through farm country, or sitting at the end of a dock at dusk, there are so many places that we can find a piece of what we crave and look for in the backcountry. The only thing we have to do is go looking for these places. By doing this we might feel less suffocated by our lack of opportunity to camp for extended periods, or hike in places there are not boot prints. The value of the wilderness is all around. The first step is to go, go and find your wild place.”
-Austin Homkes, a good friend and guest writer for WhenTimberMakesOneStill