American Elephants

The Allure of the Idea of “Trails” by The Elephant's Child
November 30, 2022, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Politics

In a modern, highway spanned country, where you really have to hunt to find an unpaved road, and our lives revolve around our cars, transportation, how long it takes to get to where you want to go, and lately — the outrageous price if gas, that President Biden has inflicted us with. This gets all mixed up with misplaced concerns about the “climate”. The climate of the Earth is controlled by the actions of our sun, and the sun keeps on doing just fine.

Somewhere in there, concerns about the climate got mixed up with concerns about our extensive network of highways, that enabled us to get to our destinations easily. The people who had suddenly become interested in climate, became interested in nature and forests and trails, especially trails. Love for “trails”got into rejecting railroads and highways as too mechanical and not “natural” enough, or something like that. The highway here that extends from the South end of Lake Washington was clearly needed, but the railroad from one end of Lake Washington north to the other end became excessive when most of the merchandise being moved was going by truck anyway. So the trail-lovers were pushing for turning the now unnecessary railroad than spanned the length of Lake Washington into an unnecessary trail, instead.

What has become fairly apparent, though no one will admit it, is that few people are interested in hiking a trail the length of Lake Washington. In the first place, if you are traveling the length of Lake Washington, your trip probably involves moving stuff as well as people. Hiking a very long trail encumbered with loads of stuff isn’t really what they had in mind, but that is sort of the way it developed. And, of course the “idea” of hiking the length of Lake Washington was way more appealing than actually doing it.

We have the Cascade Range of mountains just a few miles up to the East, where there are trails all over the place. What I am trying to point our is that it is the “idea” of trails that is so appealing, not the actual walking of them. We are naturally lazy as all get out, and will do some major walking when absolutely forced to, but probably not just for fun. In other words the trail people liked the idea of trails, not the real hiking of them. But the creation of trails continues apace, they just don’t get very occupied or well used. If you go hiking in the Cascades, you may run into someone else on a trail, but the traffic does not yet require much beyond, at best an occasional bench. Trails may be loved in the abstract, but hiking them requires determination, and we are in reality a lazy bunch.

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