Mitt Romney, Tired Old Tropes and the Myth of Self-Reliance

Mitt Romney‘s comments at a May fundraiser describing 47% of the American population as, roughly, a bunch of no-goodnik moochers are merely the latest expression of one aspect of a peculiar view that many reasonably intelligent folks are fond of espousing. It is a view that insists on imposing a facile dichotomy on this worldContinue reading “Mitt Romney, Tired Old Tropes and the Myth of Self-Reliance”

Monument Valley and The Familiarity of the New

One of the strangest, and yet entirely unsurprising, reactions to seeing Monument Valley (my journey to which had served as occasion for rueful wonderment at the continued plight of the Native American), is a sense of familiarity: I’ve seen this before, somewhere, somehow. Among the curious welter of emotions too, that the Valley evokes isContinue reading “Monument Valley and The Familiarity of the New”

The Not-So-Easily-Captured Wonders of US-95

If you drive north-west on US-491 from Cortez, Colorado toward Utah, your route will take you to Monticello, UT. At that point, you can take US-191 south or north. Someday you should go north on 191, for that will bring you to Moab and all of its attendant attractions. But if it is your firstContinue reading “The Not-So-Easily-Captured Wonders of US-95”

Wheeler Peak, NM, Summitted, and Blogging on the Road Reconsidered

I had thought I was going to be able to post photos from my travels in lieu of blogging but that hasn’t turned out so well: one post with photos of Guthrie, OK, went up just fine, but the second post, which was supposed to showcase photos from New Mexico was an utter disaster. Frankly,Continue reading “Wheeler Peak, NM, Summitted, and Blogging on the Road Reconsidered”

The Mountaineering Make-Over

A few days ago, as my nephew, an aspiring mountaineer who has been on expeditions to Kamet, Trishul, (both in the Garhwal Himalayas) and Stok Kangri (a trekking peak in Ladakh), chatted with me on Facebook, he said (roughly), You know, for me it’s no longer that away from the hustle-bustle, out to find myselfContinue reading “The Mountaineering Make-Over”

Hiking The El Toro Trail in El Yunque

The problem with a rainforest is that, well, it rains. And when you are hiking the El Toro trail in the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, you are reminded of that quasi-tautological fact quite often. You are also reminded of the remarkable effect that moisture has on damp earth as it renders itsContinue reading “Hiking The El Toro Trail in El Yunque”

Getting Rid of “Mastery” Over Mountains

A couple of days ago, in response to my post on the language of mountaineering, my friend Karl Steel said (on a Facebook page somewhere, far, far away): Great piece, but haven’t you shifted the language of battle from climber vs. mountain to climber vs. self? what if we lose the battle or mastery languageContinue reading “Getting Rid of “Mastery” Over Mountains”

Of Mountains, “Assault” and “Conquest”

A common reaction of mine when watching mountaineering documentaries is distaste at the accompanying linguistic package: the language of “assault” and “conquer”, directed against and at the mountain. Though many mountaineers have self-consciously forsworn such language (Ed Viesturs makes a point of noting such language in his books even though at times he slips backContinue reading “Of Mountains, “Assault” and “Conquest””