Notes: You wouldn’t know it now, heck, I forget sometimes, but there was a time when the outdoors was a major activity of mine. I am not one hundred percent sure how this happened, but I suspect my parents were involved.
I grew up on the edge of a large regional park (in a geodesic dome, but that’s another blog post), the kind with trails and deer and coyotes. They ran a children’s program called “Junior Rangers,” which I think was mostly supposed to be hiking and camping and instilling a love of nature into citified youth, but sometimes veered off into craft projects and trail maintenance. I remember one notable spring when we spent every Saturday digging up an old WWII-era bench that had gotten sunk in the mud by a pond, and another month devoted to a project of making coracles out of willow branches, black plastic and duct tape.
It turns out that duct tape isn’t terribly waterproof.
But there were more nature-oriented activities too, like creek walks, which is where you go and walk up a creek (now almost certainly illegal, due to creeks’ criminal slipperiness) and monthly overnight backpacking trips. So, by the time I left the group in high school, after serving as a participant and an aide, I thought of myself as being at least somewhat outdoorsy. The impression persists, even though I don’t hike much anymore, it’s been years since I went camping, and longer since I’ve backpacked anywhere*. But I wouldn’t dream of having a shoe wardrobe that did not include a good pair of hiking boots.
*Another story for a different time. This is a good one because it involves my total humiliation, but has a reasonably happy ending.