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Wilderness Tripping - BWCA & Beyond New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  What Counts as Wilderness?
  Posted by: booztalkin on Aug-05-11 1:15 PM (EST)

It's pretty wild in parts of West Baltimore.

Davidson and Rugge's "The Complete Wilderness Paddler" discussed how to define wilderness. They settled on a definition they found in the dictionary "a trackless waste of any kind". But, as in many other areas of paddling, it's about compromise, and Davidson and Rugge conclude "your dreams" (of wilderness trips) "may have to strike a bargain with reality."

So, if a wilderness is trackless, there's no road there, and you can't get there and back in a day. But clearly, you can find some places close by, especially by boat, where if you were blindfolded set down there, and the blindfold was lifted, you'd think you could be in a trackless wild. The compromise with reality.

There's a river nearby where I often go, and I almost never see anybody. In the winter, I can always hear road traffic, but in the summer, you can really feel out there. I see fox, deer, beavers, owls, herons, etc. It's the Patuxent River, in the middle of a highly populated area. There are enough timber clogs to keep the timid out. If I were to have a disabling accident, it would be anybodies' guess how long it would take to be found. It's like this for most of the way between Crain Highway and Route 214, except every few miles there is a road crossing, where I will encounter a few fishing people or dog walkers. Then it is back into "wilderness" for another few miles. My compromise with reality!


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