I finished packing my food packages for the Arizona Trail. All I need to do now is ship them. I made some slight variations in my itinerary. My 4 food drops are thus: at the Oracle P.O., at the Roosevelt Lake Marina Visitor's Center, in Pine at That Brewery and Pub, and finally at the Tusayan General Store near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
I have had some great correspondence with Swami lately. He has definitely helped me through the private land issues by spurring along some deep ponderences. It seems silly to me to deprive others from seeing the wonders of nature. To me, land is free and instills an overwhelming sense of freedom. I almost feel to take that away from me is a blatant deprivation. I feel this way especially since most of the landowners in the Culebra Range open their gates to wealthy hunters for an astronomical sum to take aim at a massive, trophy elk. Do they care for the land to earn money? Or do they really consider the land their home? Well, I mean, does all that land make their home or do they find economical ways to use that land? They say having others trespass on their land would only disturb the wildlife, hence disturb their pocket book. Is it there right to claim wildlife on their property as wild, as well? I care for the land, am a steward of the land, because I do not 'own' any of it. It is all ours to be passed down and shared, so it must be cared for, not exploited.
I think of human and animal migrations. Home is where the seasons see fit. I know times have changed but to deny passage over pristine peaks is like cutting off one's instincts to migrate, or to spiritually practice. I am very in touch with my instincts, unlike the millions who live in cemented cages in large cities, horded up in convenient, comfortable, homes to make life easier; well, at least, my instincts are not benumbed. To me, the answers of life are outside, along with the seasons and wildlife, feeling the skin prickle of survival/living.
I have heard in some parts of Europe there is a 'rights-of-way' passage act. You may pass through private land in a respectful manner. Large swaths of private land are not totally off limits to wayfarers. In the western U.S., I hear the cattle ranchers concerns about disturbing the cattle. The hikers, bikers, etc. get to close to cattle, they say. Their habits are disrupted and they will not frequent watering holes any longer, they grunt. Are they not disturbed by the ATVs or the cowboys herding them in an enclosed area? Are they not disturbed by the human arm inseminating them all the way up their terd-hole? Plus, the ranchers know what the cattle want because it is in the purpose of what the ranchers want out of the cattle. (Seems like the elk in the Culebra Range are in a similar position.) My point is there are many types of disturbances, and yes, a lousy, mis-behaved, irresponsible hiker may contribute to these disturbances. I get that, but there are a lot of hikers who are stewards of the land. They treat the wilderness and the outdoors like most would treat their hallways of church. They will not desecrate it, only worship it.
And I know there are steward ranchers that treat the land with respect and share what the land may reap. But there are also some putzes...
I remember when I first moved to Montana. I recall after many months finally acquiring knowledge of the land issues around the state. Wolves were of a main concern and threatened the livestock of many ranches. I saw a news broadcast reporting on the rise of wolf attacks between Billings and Livingston. Many of the large ranches between the 2 towns had been there for about a 100 years. Old ranches passed down along the family line, traditions and rites as well. They interviewed a Rolf Rolfson. I distinctly remember the name, it was hard not to. He stuttered on camera pleading his case for the riddance of wolves. He said he could not understand why wolves would be in that type of terrain of rolling grasslands. I guess he thought they should be way up yonder in the high mountains. He said that the wolves did not belong there, that they were intruders. However, since re-introduction of the wolf, their populations has exploded, almost back to respectable levels before they were eradicated as vermin of the West in the late 1800s and early 1900s. So, with their population going up they were moving instinctly back to lands they roved and hunted. They migrated with the seasons. The barbed wire signifying property boundaries meant nothing to them.
That's why Rolf, that's why they were back there. It had been there home before, and through the lineage of instincts and DNA, just like things passed down through humans, folklore and all, the wolves went back home. And when they filled their belly they rambled away to another home, following food and the seasons, the natural way of things...
Another similar story is the Blackfeet near Glacier National Park. Every year the Blackfeet dismantle the barbed wire fence, many times, keeping them out of their native grazing grounds. And mulitple times out of the year the National Park Service re-contructs the fence. Over and over, this futile process occurs. The Blackfeet are adamant, and I would be too if my home had been taken away and my people placed in the wastelands of a new nation.
'The land of many uses' maybe should read 'the land of many homes.'
I know at some point this summer I will face a barbed wire fence and I will have to make a decision. I do not own any land but I feel I have many 'homes' because of the land. I know my instincts will help me in making the right choice.
Also, I believe in hunting---but for sustenance and not for a trophied expense to hang on your mantle. Hunt to live, to provide. Own land to live and share, not provide a refuge for rich people to kill.
I am a very self-centered individual and I really have no point or cause in crossing their land, especially for their own benefit. I only aim to go home...in the mountains.
I'll leave you with this quote from Einstein:
"The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been."
Leave the herds for the cows...and cities.
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