We’re cresting the hump of the summer season, that busy time of the year when the crowds around town and the craziness at work can wear you thin if you’re not careful. So with no big events and an open weekend, we opted for a short backpack/peak climb to get away from it all, if only for a few days. Interestingly, as I started putting this post together afterwards, the Aspen Times ran a story about the Aspen Environmental Forum taking place in town this week, and a topic they discussed on the subject of “Nature Deficit Disorder”. You can read the story here, but to summarize, kids aren’t getting outside in nature enough, the urbanization of the world will continue, and when put together, these two trends could result in an increased disconnect between people and nature and the environment will suffer as a result.
Well, I don’t want to start a debate on the pros and cons of environmentalism, land use, wilderness designation etc.– I’ve seen how quickly the conversation degrades when environmentalists and their counterparts get into it– but I do find the concept of “NDD” to have some validity. And I thought it was particularly relevant to our weekend, where Dirk, Christy and I headed out for a little wilderness/NDD rehab, and it was just what the doctor ordered.
As usual, we didn’t have quite enough time as we would have liked, but we went for it anyway. We got out of town right after work on Friday and started hiking into our quiet spot around 6pm. Aware we didn’t have enough time to make it all the way in, sunset became night and we hiked in by headlamp for a bit, setting up for the night around 9:45, part way down the back of Buckskin Pass. In the morning, we were up early in an effort to complete our approach and when we got back on the trail, which is coincidentally part of the uber-popular Four Pass Loop, we came across 21 people in four different parties, all in about 20 minutes and at 7:30 in the morning. I guess the people at the Aspen Environmental Forum would be happy to hear there were so many people getting outside, but for us it was a bit crowded.
Thankfully, moments later we’d be turning off this backcountry superhighway, and on our way up to our quiet little valley. We found a good spot to set up camp and with the day still young, headed up higher to scout the potential climb we had planned. The weather has been “iffy” lately, so we were on the lookout for the building T-storms, but rather than let a bad forecast dampen our motivation, we decided to just keep pressing on, re-evaluating along the way. And before we knew it, we were on the summit.
Later that evening, as we sat in camp eating dinner, we were all so happy for this little backcountry escape. In the morning we would hike out and be back in “it”– work, town etc.– but these two days were like hitting the reset button, it was just perfect. Here are some pics:
Good times. No NDD here.