Posted by: kellygiller | June 19, 2011

Love To Death

When reading about Jalbert’s idea of “access philosophy” I could not agree with him. He looked to the Europeans, showing that they have had the ability to expose the wilderness to people who may not able to say; mountaineer up a huge ice covered mountain to see the wonderful landscape and view from the top, and can instead take a tram up, and have a wonderful dinner and enjoy the view. I get that it, that’s the European’s way of living. Just like how they take a two hour nap in the middle of their workday, it’s just not how us Americans work. We look at life that the harder you work, the more benefits you will receive. The more hours on your paycheck, the more money you have to go out there and purchase all those belongings you need. I’m sorry but us Americans are just too greedy to let the “access philosophy” idea work.  Also I think that although everyone should be able to see the amazing natural wonders of wilderness, you have to work to see it. I can think of so many instances when I was so miserable climbing up a mountain, wanting nothing to do but to turn back around, but kept pushing myself, and reaching the top it’s such a rush to see the beautiful landscape surrounding you that you forget about your tough battle. If every large mountain in our country had a tram to access the peak, and then a restaurant and viewing area to cover you from the harsh realities of mother nature, no one could truly understand the wilderness. I think of the wilderness as being a challenge, one that sometimes wins, but it’s always a battle. Then I think of all the species who are peacefully living in the wilderness. How would they feel if some construction trucks came through tearing up their land to put in some sort of restaurant or even hotel so that more people could “access” this “wilderness. When I was in New Zealand we learned a lot about the Leave No Trace and became certified to teach other people what it is.  I think of Leave No Trace wilderness ethics as being just about the exact opposite end of the spectrum from the access philosophy. Leave No Trace is a set of wilderness ethics that encourages any users of the wilderness to follow their rules. It sets guidelines for the users so that they’re impact on the wilderness will “leave no trace” that they were there for the species that live there, and for the next users of that wilderness as well.

There are seven core principles that will forever be stuck in my head: Plan Ahead and Prepare | Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces | Dispose of Waste Properly | Leave What You Find |
Minimize Campfire Impacts | Respect Wildlife | Be Considerate of Other Visitors. Each of these rules have a little more to go with them, for example; dispose of waste properly- when washing dishes bring water at least 200 feet from any water system to wash, then cover and disguise the cathole when finished. I thought I’d share that one with you, not the 9 D’s of pooping we learned as well (I’ll let your imagination run with that one).

I enjoyed these principles so much, that I often find ways that Leave no trace falls into my everyday life even when I’m not in the wilderness. Such little things as recycling, using a reusable water bottle, all help for me to “leave no trace” on this earth when I leave. I found myself when I got back from New Zealand thinking about ways I can relate these principles so much, that I decided to get their logo tattooed to my foot. I don’t have a picture of my actual foot, but I’ll show you a picture of the logo. ( i thought the symbol was pretty cool looking too)

While looking up the logo for this post, I found this great video done by the National Park Service that talks about loving the wilderness, teaching the Leave No Trace Principles that will in essence help us not to do, love our wilderness to death. Because if we Americans were allowed total access to our wilderness without restrictions, its hard to imagine that there would be any left.




Posted by: kellygiller | June 12, 2011

Wilderness Experiences

For this week’s discussion board we were asked to go into an urban setting and a nature setting, to sit quietly with no distractions and compare and contrast the two situations. I really enjoyed this activity because it really made me think a lot about where and what I enjoy doing. I’ve had a lot of really great experiences in the wilderness before, and this class has really helped me analyze them even more. One of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had was my NOLS trip to New Zealand. I had been on a couple backpacking trips before, however nothing was like this trip. The thing I love so much about spending time in the wilderness is simplicity. After learning about the struggles so many people fought to keep our wilderness safe makes me appreciate the wilderness even more. I am so grateful that nature enthusiasts fought so hard to keep our wilderness protected. After feeling the anxiety and stress from the urban settings, I appreciated the nature even more. I have a hard time understanding how people like being in urban settings. All the noises and so many people around me really stresses me out. Like I said about my trip to New Zealand, it felt so great to not just being a “visitor”, a word that has been used in describing wilderness, I actually felt like we were living in the wilderness. Life was so simple and easy, we would walk to our next destination, set up our camp for the night, cook a great dinner and then fall asleep to the sounds of nature. This lifestyle definitely took a couple days to adjust to just like it did for Bill Bryson and his friend in a Walk in the Woods. I really enjoyed reading that excerpt from his book because it brought a smile to face remembering the first days of our trip.  When you start to think about your trip you think of how great it’s going to be, walking in the woods with your friends and enjoying the nature. You don’t really think about how wilderness can really kick your butt. The most memorable day on our backpacking trip was also one of the most miserable for me. Looking back on it, I can laugh but at the time I wanted so badly to give up. We were bushwacking through the toughest terrain we had experienced. We were lost on our maps, and had to get to a certain destination by the next day to meet our ration. I will never forget fighting back tears climbing through the bush. One of my favorite pictures from the trip is when I finally got through the bush, and met up with the rest of my group. I had so many emotions running wild, that when one kid who had been at the top for quite some time, had his pack off and was eating a snack and having a drink told me to smile for the camera, all I could respond with was giving him the bird. This is why I was smiling when I was reading a Walk in the Woods because I could sympathize with Katz.

The day however did not end there. The place we thought we were going to camp for the night did not end up being the same spot, so we finally found a place and it was almost dark. We then turned around and saw scary looking storm clouds, so we scrambled to put up our tents in time. When we finally had our camp set up, we had to cook in our tents, which was a very hard task with everyone in them. Since I said that we had a new ration coming the next day, we barely had any food left. The only thing we had to eat after such a tough day was cous cous. One kid thought it would be a great idea to add a ton of spices to make it better. We ending up adding tons of chili pepper and bouillon cubes making it so salty and spicy. It was great. We made so much extra, that all of us were trying to force it down our throats. Here is a picture of some of the people in my group eating this cous cous.  To this day, I will not have cous cous. Although this day was so tough for me, mentally and physically, it was great to test my limits. This is why I love nature because it can throw anything at you. Nature can be so relaxing also, like what I experienced in college woods this week. Finally, I am currently writing this blog entry at a friends house. I was telling them about what this class was and what I was doing. My friend showed me this youtube that I just have to show to you all. It is hilarious and I hope you enjoy! 

“not so often you get this much neatness in one spot- that’s nature!” haha

Posted by: kellygiller | June 5, 2011

Creation of “Wilderness”

Throughout this week we learned about how the creation of defined “wilderness” first came about. In the Wilderness Act of 1964 wilderness was clearly defined as, “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” It’s funny because the first week we read many different examples of what wilderness meant to others, and I had issues of really finding one definition that sounded right. It’s funny because a lot of those definitions came before the wilderness act which finally gave law to the protection of wilderness. I think what I really like about this definition is the fact that they say that man is a visitor who does not remain. I like this because when I think of wilderness I think of an area that has great hiking or camping, when many of the other definitions said that it was an untouched piece of land. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to, one day I want to take a trip and visit many different National Parks in the west that all the explorers first found that helped shape our nation into what it is today.

After reading and hearing about all the debate about the Wilderness Act, I realized how similar it what to a topic that is more relevant to me and my major, which is the establishment of the USDA Organic. Both words to me and very similar in that one has a hard time defining. To a majority of people organic means made without use of pesticides. However, if you were to take a look at the Organic Food Productions Act which was only created in 1990 you would realize that there are many qualifications and certifications it takes to actually become USDA certified organic. With my dual major in Ec0-Gastronomy I have learned a lot about the creation of the USDA organic and the many struggles there were in creating it. Today there are still things that are being worked on to try and fix the certification to be what it was originally set up to be. One example that reminds me of the battle of the Hetch Hetchy is the fact that now there are huge organic farms out in California that are shipping produce all across the country. These farms are using synthetic pesticides that are allowed on the organic act’s list and they are producing foods in which are in no way sustainable for our land. The farms are producing mass amounts of the same food item, say lettuce, which is eliminating biodiversity and eventually leading to soil degradation, nutrient deficiency, and probably erosion on the nutritious soil. Then this food is being shipped across the country which is using up fossil fuels and adding to global warming. Consumers then go into a grocery store and see a USDA Organic sticker on this lettuce and choose it because they think they are being “green.”

 This situation reminds me of the battle of the Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite Park. This struggle first started because although the Yosemite National Park had already been created, it seemed as though Americans didn’t quite understand what the National Park and wilderness really meant. The president, Teddy Roosevelt ultimately decided it was OK to clear cut this valley to fill it with fresh water for the city of San Francisco because it was better for the greater good of the people. To me, many people choose organic foods because they really aren’t completely informed, but think that they are making the better choice. I think this is what happened to Teddy Roosevelt and his supporters. They did not really understand what this national park meant and if it was ok or not to use a section of the park to create a freshwater resource.  I think that if the wilderness act had been implemented before the Hetch Hetchy debate, that the dam would not have been created since it gave a great definition to wilderness and also put in place rules for the established lands.



Posted by: kellygiller | May 29, 2011

Wilderness vs. Nature

Throughout this week we have been discussing our views on the difference between nature and wilderness, and examining other people’s points of view as well. We then went into the changing view points early Americans had on wilderness. In the very beginning settlements wilderness was thought to be almost like a wild beast that must be tamed, or cultivated.  However this is where the definition between wilderness and wilderness come into play. The definition of wilderness compared to nature is something totally based on subjectivity. What one might consider wilderness is often very different to another persons, all based on their upbringing and their surroundings.  In the  Etiquette of freedom, Synder tries to give definitions of words that are all very similar however mean different things like wild, wilderness and nature. He then goes on to say that the etiquette of freedom are the lessons that we learn from nature. As the early settlers came into America the view points of wilderness followed them from their biblical beliefs that the wilderness was a scary untamed monster that should be avoided. However as these Puritans began to move westward their outlook on this untamed beast was changing. They came across many unseen natural wonders and their view points on nature started to change. As time continued more movements such as the Romantics, and Transcendentalists became more popular. This outlooks on life focused on minimal living with little possessions and appreciating nature and its many natural phenomena. One of the most famous Transcendentalists was Henry David Thoreau, is most well known for his book, Walden Pond. He here talks about his life in a primal living situation within what he considers wilderness. He wrote about his simple way of living. This book has gotten many people to think that life is happier when you are living simply without so many complications. All these movements allowed people’s outlooks on nature and the wilderness to change greatly in American culture. America today is known as having some of the most wilderness land. This land was preserved because of these early american thinkers who allowed their culture to realize how important wilderness is to us. Today we have hundreds of National Parks and and tons of preserved wilderness. I have attached a link to the newest national park in America, which is actually in my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. I think it is very interesting because after all of our talks about describing what nature and wilderness are, I don’t really think that this piece of property is wilderness. This national park is the old mansion that Rockefeller owned. He donated the house and also the small piece of land behind his house that has hiking trails on it. I think it is interesting because although we haven’t really gotten into it yet, the National Parks today are mostly looked at as being large pieces of wilderness that have some sort of natural wonder to attract tourists and preserve the land.