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A Reminder of Why We Love Wilderness

My 3-day excursion into the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness with a couple of buddies last weekend was intended to be a hike, not a pilgrimage. But after viewing the following National Park Service visual paean to wilderness and the Wilderness Act of 1964, maybe it was a little of both:

For me, our trek into this open space in north-central Washington state (established in 1984 inside the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests) on the eastern periphery of North Cascades National Park Complex was not an all-time, mind-breaking journey to self-discovery. No new universal truths were revealed along the way. But the wildflowers were weirdly aglow in late August (one useful aftermath of a heavy late-spring snowpack that has kept many Western high-country trails clogged this hiking season), sunset views from our ridgeline campsite were sublime and the stargazing on 2 moonless nights was boffo.

Much of my time was spent walking the often-flowery Chelan Summit Trail, a route detailed in Backpacking Washington by Doug Lorain, though we accessed it via the Oval Lakes Trail, which is described in a trail guide authored by Craig Romano also titled Backpacking Washington. Occasionally the abundance of flowers created the impression that I was walking through a corridor of color, with a few thousand cheerful flowery faces smiling as I strolled by. Sounds silly, but mental silliness is OK in wild spaces. It was fun, refreshing, invigorating, sweaty, picturesque and entirely worthwhile.

Such are the benefits of wilderness, and the NPS video (made known to me by the kind folks at Leave No Trace) reminded me of just how valuable—precious, even—are wilderness lands. I've tossed in a brief photo album of my weekend trip (taken with a borrowed point-and-shoot; please don't judge my shots too harshly) to convey an idea of what it was like. It all makes me happy to be an outdoor dude and, not to get too sentimental here, so grateful wilderness lands exist.

Labor Day weekend is coming up, folks. What park or wilderness area are you planning to visit?

Posted on at 5:27 PM

Tagged: Hiking, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, Wilderness Act, backpacking, national parks and wilderness

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Jonathan Rheaume

How disconnect are we from nature? This video [] is a great reminder of how disconnected from nature we can get...

It's the start of the long weekend, if you haven't made any plans yet, get out there and take time to reconnect with what really matters!

Have a great weekend!

Jonathan Rheaume
I help people build successful adventure businesses.

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inspiring, encouraging, nourishing

Cool Feet

Great photos and write up about your experience. I recently came back from a family camping trip near Mount Hood in Oregon. We drove from the Bay Area in California and witnessed the splendor of the Cascades from Mount Shasta to Mount Adams in Washington. We are so fortunate in this country to have such vast territories of prime wilderness available so close to us.


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