Micro-expeditions

Posted by Ken Campbell January 20, 2011 0 Comment 846 views

“I would discourage, if not ban, trekking to Everest base camp and flying over the Greenland Icecap. Generally, people should stay home. Forget gaining a little knowledge about a lot and strive to learn a lot about a little.”
Harvey Manning
Walking the Beach to Bellingham

Harvey’s making that assertion as part of a complex and elegant theory about the differences in the traveling habits between ants and spiders. It gets complicated. In the text above, he’s attempting to make a case for why, in an era of international travel and eco-adventures on seven continents, the idea of walking along the beach from Seattle to Bellingham is a different way to look at discovery. Harvey makes it a comedy, a memoir, a gaudy vaudeville story, while also managing to be a soulful and witty commentary on what is, what used to be and what may be coming next.

Thinking about explorations still undone used to always end up at the Press Party Trail for me. For years, it was on my list – this year for sure – and the years went on and I never did retrace the route of that first crew that made it across. Until a couple of years ago, when I finally did it, went from Whiskey to the Quinault in three days, three hot days. I finished with an hours-long soak in Lake Quinault, where the Press Party had first exited the forest over a hundred years before. I was on-trail the whole time, so it wasn’t exploring, not in any real sense of the word. But at the same time, I have gained a first-hand view of the route the early explorers took and the Olympic Peninsula makes more sense to me now than it would have, had I not been able to make that trip.

I think that’s what Harvey’s talking about. The idea that you don’t have to go far from home to find new regions to explore. I still think about the Olympic Grand Circle expedition that is on hold after being canceled last summer. In fact, that’s where my mind ends up now when I’m pondering those trips still untaken. That’s the new number one on my close-to-home list.

It took forever before I finally did the Press Party route; I hope I get to the OGC with a little more of a sense of urgency.

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