In the wilderness is the preservation of the world – Henry David Thoreau
Forty three years ago I was recruiting for Peace Corps Volunteers at the University of California at Davis when Earth Day I took place. It was a beautiful spring day so I took a break and walked around campus visiting various booths featuring everything from recycling to wilderness protection. It changed my life.
Within a month, I was Executive Director of the Ecology Information Center in Sacramento, one of the nation’s first environmental centers, working seven days a week for a hundred dollars per month. While I would go on to spend a significant portion of my life fighting public health battles and wandering the world, I never travelled far from my environmental roots.
For 30 years I had the privilege of leading weeklong wilderness backpack trips through the High Sierra Nevada Mountains, following the same paths that the great naturalist John Muir hiked. Today, in honor of Earth Day 2013, I would like to share photographs from a 360-mile backpack trip I took from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Whitney to celebrate my sixtieth birthday.
These are the views that inspired Muir to begin his crusade to save the natural areas of America and the world. We owe him a deep vote of thanks for his efforts. More importantly, we owe it to ourselves, and future generations, to continue his efforts. As John Muir said so eloquently, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
The beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is found in its distant vistas…
In its stately trees…
In its sparkling water…
And in its carpets of flowers.
Happy Earth Day… Earth. May you maintain your beauty, wilderness and quiet places for the soul as long as humankind wanders the world.