Monday, November 12, 2007

walking with John Muir

I don’t do much walking. It’s so slow as a mode of transportation. I’d generally prefer to run or bike somewhere. But, I’m reading a book by John Muir about his 1867 walk to Florida from Indiana. On this journey he brought almost nothing with him. He pretty much just walked out of his door one day with only the slightest plan of a route. He just wanted to see the plants in Florida. And why not see all the plants along the way, too.

He had no tent, sleeping bag, gps, gore-tex, energy bars… He did have: “a comb, brush, towel, soap, a change of underclothing, a copy of Burns’s poems, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and a small New Testament.” He also occasionally mentions having a piece of bread in his pocket, which seems to sustain him until the next piece can be found along the way.

He stops at homes along the way and asks for a place to sleep and/or some food. Surprisingly, this seems to work for him a lot of the time. Would that work today? When he doesn’t find accommodation in a home he just lays down and sleeps in his clothes somewhere just off his path.

I suppose we could call him the grandfather of the minimalist approach to travel and life. This was only the first of many such adventures he would undertake over the next 40 years of his life.

As we all know, Muir went on to become a major influence in the preservation of natural spaces and the environmental movement. Interesting to see how it all started, though. Just a young man recently out of college who decided to do a bit of wandering away from the mainstream path of society…

Anyway, Muir got me out on a walk last night. Thank you.

Last Week:
Run: 30 = 16+7+7
Bike: 103 = (9+3)+15+(27+6)+(21+9+7)+6
Burrito: 2
Beer: 11 = 2+1+2+4+2
Car: 0

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