The Case for a Humanized Wilderness

           “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.”

                                                 – Henry David Thoreau

In May of this year, I embarked upon a backpacking trip in the mountains of Northern Argentina, along the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a region famous for its sweeping desert landscapes and indigenous culture. During the trek I was as much captivated by the natural vistas as by the presence of civilization up in the high mountains: the subsistence pastoralists who tread upon the same footpaths carved out by their Incan ancestors. I enjoy hiking in natural environs as a means for adventure and meditation. The contrast between a rugged mountain ridge and the familiar urban conditions in which I’ve grown up is refreshing, and I always seem to stumble upon new insights during the hike back down. However, as a result of my interactions with the pastoralists up in the Quebrada, I cannot help but think something’s missing from my usual wild haunts up in, say, California’s Sierra Nevada… but what could it be? Continue reading

Advertisements