Hiking

Camping the Polywander Way

Camping is such a delightful undertaking with a gazillion options available to us on this luscious earth, so how could we limit ourselves to civilized comfort?

We gradually lose touch with our presence as we walk its shores, forgetting who we are. We're not meant to be cooped up inside air conditioned spaces and windows looking out. Go outside, and embrace life for what it is!

As a walking meat bag, we may bring ourselves down from our steep cliffs of comfort and live on the edge by alternative camping . Rather than sit in a well worn pile of dirt alongside other comfort seekers in campgrounds, we'll check out three new options: dispersed camping, wild camping, and urban camping. 

Dispersed Camping

A fantastic way to get out into nature without throwing yourself into the heart of the wild. Often allowing stays for longer than a week, these areas are an entry into real camping. Still paved out by humanity and easy to get to, they provide a way for a quick stop off the road. 

Or time in Utah was spent for free by using all the national forests as we transited the state.  Each dispersed camping area had plentiful paths going this way and that, taking you off into the forest and into more sideroads. Each one provided several turnouts along the way one could stop and set up camp.  

All were far enough away to seclude your group to the experience of the land, but remained close enough to feel the warmth of others. You get the best of both worlds, and don't pay a dime.

Depending on the season, they may all be full or taken, but there are still more options.

Wild Camping

Forget the paved roads, and take it by foot. Plunge into the wilderness with your gear, settling down where you please. While there are jurisdictions and regulations to be followed, there are times when nature prevails; or, the nail that sticks out gets hammered.

Most people have access to adequate shelter, electricity, running water, and a plethora of accommodations we as a species have created. Often times these luxuries we have grown accustomed to are overlooked and taken for granted. While a permanent headquarters is an ideal acquisition, we cannot overlook the other options beyond our comfortable abode. Sitting on our pre-assembled furniture, we gaze into the television screen, observing documentaries of individuals who have taken alternative lodging to the next level, opting for hand-built cabins in the bush. We read books of people who hitchhike into the last frontier and fantasize of a life of such simplicity, forgetting that we possess the power to change our direction in an instant. Although it is not very realistic to abandon our everyday comforts, it could be an unforgettable experience to pack a bag with a tent and some basic necessities, and venture into the night.

We've taken our fair share of wandering into the deep end; crossing rivers, ponds, and streams.  There could be no greater pleasure than the test of your own doing, in the thick of it. There is but you and the world, melding seamlessly together in a joyous harmony.

We have witnessed some severe weather in the past months- hurricanes in the southern hemisphere obliterate entire towns and cities, turning exquisite real estate into piles of rubbish. People grind away at their jobs day after day to afford a residence where they can comfortably get a night's sleep, and without warning, their efforts are destroyed by natural disaster. How would one cope with such unfortunate events like their homes being wiped away? Better yet, how could we attach such a valuable reputation to a mere construction project

 All burdens and stressors that we encounter on a daily basis in our industrialized economy are replaced with our primal instincts of locating shelter, gathering food and water, and not being a victim of Mother Nature or predators that lurk around. You are concious of your every move, and when such a mindfulness ensues, it is pure bliss. Unplugging from our weapons of mass distraction, we are reacquainted with a familiar and nostalgic experience relevant to our ancestors. Several options exist to pursue wild camping- perhaps on a bowhunting exploration in the wilderness, or as a moderate backcountry trip into the deep recesses of the forest. Either route you take, it pays to research basic survival tips and bring adequate gear for your stay.

Urban Camping

You've seen them. All the hobos on the streets, among up their own path of tents. Taking it urban is to live without fear. Rid yourself of old perceptions and connotations to the homeless. Join them. 

Due to social stipulation and potential illegality, this last option exists for those who cannot afford modern living standards, or are perhaps fed up with the way housing is set up. To pay a steep price for a rental property, or pay a hefty lump-sum of hard-earned cash for a potentially depreciating property, is simply out of the picture for some people. 

Pitching a tent in the middle of an urban sprawl sounds like a nightmare to some. But we must ask ourselves- this is one of the most unfavorable living conditions on this planet, no? Coined by Tim Ferriss, the term "fear-setting" is most appropriate. Putting ourselves our there, in the situations we fear most, to strengthen our character. Ask yourself, "is this what I so feared?" Some people may benefit from a temporary stint sleeping with the bums, allowing for a more wholesome appreciation of our daily lives.

To be cold, hungry, and sleeping on concrete does not exactly strike a chord in our minds as a perfect living scenario, but we must exploit all potentialities as we see fit. Maybe living in a van sounds more appealing. Definitely a unique approach, but there is quite the following of this particular group. Something about being on the open road and sleeping where you please is a very liberating sensation..

Hiking as a Practice of the Moment

Hiking aids us to let go and be free. 

It has a beginning and an end. When embarking the trail, one may ease into the moment at hand knowing the end will come. There's no need to worry or draw out diverging thoughts, for this is a time for clarity. With every step, one can be open to the experience around, taking things as they come into our view. 

The experience we immerse ourselves into becomes an engagement with the basic nature of all things. We see the world with fresh eyes in mindfulness, with no projection. It's all a process of intaking the new that we may later use to fuel our fire.

In this new cycle, we recharge our perspective on what's important. We may finally disband all the pressure built up by which has lingered in our thoughts, and incorporate the spark of novelty with our redeveloped self. By cleansing our mind, we become free with no constraints, and nature becomes our gateway to transformation.