Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mundane settings

I haven't really done anything that extreme in the outdoors. I once was a subscriber to Outside Magazine for a while, but my endeavors wilt when compared to what most of the people featured in that publication do. I've topped out on Class II rapids. I've peaked at 12,000 feet. I've probably hiked, at most, 12 miles in one day. I'm really just a world-class car camper.

A couple recent events serve as reminders that Mother Nature can have an impact even in mundane settings. The deadly floods in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas are beyond the scariest thing a camper could ever imagine. The Little Missouri River rose a horrifying 20 feet in four hours, overnight no less--the timing couldn't have been worse for the people in the Albert Pike Campground. The destruction is reminiscent of the flood that struck Nelson County, Va., also overnight, in 1969 due to Hurricane Camille.

A few years ago, we hiked to Volcan Pacaya, near Guatemala City, Guatemala. It isn't quite a mundane setting--we walked very close to bubbling lava--but it certainly was a fairly typical tourist trek at the time. Last month, Pacaya began spewing significant lava and ash for the first time in almost two decades. It rained ash all the way to Guatemala City, where it piled up in the streets. An AP story reports that the lava continues to flow, and tourists are wandering perilously close. It notes that even in quieter times guidebooks warn about the hike to Pacaya.

The lesson in all of this? Stay close to home. The most extreme thing I did today was clip a few herbs from the back balcony.


2 comments:

estherme said...
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JayB said...

Do NOT let Sportsshrike fool anyone. He is a HardCore outdoor junkie. He probably leapt over the lava in Guatamala.