Topic

I’m Breaking Up with the West


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable I’m Breaking Up with the West

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 68 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3729744
    Andrew Marshall
    BPL Member

    @andrewsmarshall

    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Companion forum thread to: I’m Breaking Up with the West

    Andrew Marshall uses a trip around the Collegiate Peaks Loop in Colorado to ponder his future in the American West.

    #3729753
    Nicholas Ramey
    Spectator

    @nicholas-ramey

    great read! Always love those introspective articles.

    #3729808
    Tom K
    BPL Member

    @tom-kirchneraol-com-2

    I guess it boils down to where you want to bide your time until the climate apocalypse is upon us.  No doubt we are experiencing conditions that test even the solidest of relationships.  Mine goes back 47 years now, and I have found myself migrating steadily north to avoid steadily deteriorating conditions in California and Washington.  Now that I am living in Bellingham, I’m about out of room to maneuver, but, still, I cannot bring myself to break up with a partner that has steadfastly given me her all these many years and so influenced who I  am.  I’ll probably make my last stand here.  If you are truly deeply in love, you will find a way to avoid a break up that you will almost certainly come to regret, based on the feelings you have shared.  But I will say, if Bellingham is a serious possibility, you’d best hurry;  it has been discovered, and housing prices are soaring, along with all the predictable social and economic ills that plague other idyllic locations who have undergone the experience.

    Speaking as a long time Sierra-phile, I truly feel your pain.  A combination of COVID and fire issues has cost me the last two seasons in my beloved Sierra, and I’m no longer sure I have what it takes to get in over the high passes of the East Side approaches.   It is a bitter pill and potentially a sad end to a long career that stretches back nearly 5 decades.

     

    #3729813
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    You can run from climate change, but you can’t hide. If it isn’t fire, it’ll be something else. But there is beauty everywhere.

    #3729815
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    Yeah, climate change is real … and not everyone can afford to live in the top handful of most desirable locations. ;-)

    #3729826
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    A front and center issue for many of us. Andrew, I really appreciate your vulnerability and sensitivity on this subject.

    As a Bozeman expat, the topic hits to the core of my gut.

    Our approach at this point is to live as small and nimble/mobile as possible, so we can live in areas with a high quality of life without the stress of an ethereal mortgage. But that in and of itself comes with its own challenges.

    #3729827
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Great article.  Imagine there’ll be people still moving into Tahoe, but speaking with some restaurant workers it’s a tough scene leading to substance abuse as some try to stay awake for 2 jobs.

    Met some couples moving away from California with the wildfire smoke of 2017 being the last straw.   Rural Northern California, urban California.. didn’t make much difference.  Wildfire smoke being fairly toxic/not that healthy when breathed in, can simplify the moving decision for many if the job allows it.

    Add rent/mortgage/taxes (of all types)/ utilities (which may be set to increase if traditional).   Lots of possibilities.

    Also don’t forget foreign living if the dollar to foreign currency ratio is favorable.  If something is uninsurable and going to get smashed by climate change anyways, it may help if it’s paid for in pesos..

    #3729828
    folecr r
    Spectator

    @folecr

    Congratulations on the baby!

    #3729842
    obx hiker
    BPL Member

    @obxer

    Around here we look at the water every day, measure the flooding height of each new storm and compare to storms past, watch the deep water ocean water temps and wonder when?

    About those water temps. Hurricanes gain/maintain strength over 82-83 degree water. Below that they unwind. The off-shore temps used to never be that high. Now they can be. It was sorta like one off those off-ramps for cargo trucks part way down a big highway dropping down a big ridge. The ones with the sand piles that are supposed to catch the runaway truck when the brakes fail. That’s how the cooler water works. A class 5 drops very rapidly to a moderate class 3. Makes a BIG difference.

    So there’s rising water and potentially stronger storms. How about infrastructure? What happens when there’s no longer any highways/bridges out here? Etc Etc.

    Frankly I guess I’ll end up going down with the ship.

    Though some land in Maine within a few miles of the ocean (That big heat sink to keep temperature swings in check)  150-200 feet above sea level. Ridge to the NW to block/lift that cold air flowing down across the continent from The Yukon; something like that may be the future. (Not that I’ve given it much thought…)

    #3729864
    Cassandra C
    BPL Member

    @rapidlight

    I love the article and the photos. You’ve expressed a great deal of sensitivity on a complicated topic. I’m an Idaho native. I’ve watched my sleepy little mountain town become a place where no one can find reasonably placed homes to buy. People work here and travel 2 hours, in some cases, to get home to rest. How is that a life? This year, I also canceled backpacking trips and spent my summer on a fire evac notice, waiting and hoping we wouldn’t be forced to go. And then, Fall arrives and the fires go out and I can’t bear the thought of living—being elsewhere…I hope the right decision for you and your family arrives unexpectedly and with great joy. Congratulations on your new baby!

    #3729870
    John Conley
    BPL Member

    @jchinthe-2

    As a lifetime Backpacking Light member of MANY years, it saddens me to see the contents devoted to personal, philosophical, musings. This lengthy article could have been summed up as “Thought about moving back east, and have dismissed the idea for now!” (IF any of the readers even needed to know this.) I subscribed to BPL for the informative commentaries regarding options and advances in backpacking gear. I still cherish those articles. I’d enjoy BPL much more if the content could stick to those factual outdoors/backpacking-related items, and leave the philosophy to psychological journals.

    #3729871
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Hi John, we have always explored tangential ideas at the intersection of outdoor recreation, personal health and lifestyles, and public lands. We don’t have plans to stop any member of our community from expressing ideas at this intersection, whether staff, authors or members.

    #3729876
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    philosophy

    It has actually come down to hard-boiled logistics.  Many PCT hikers this year skipped NorCal and Oregon due to smoke so thick they could put a fork on it (even worse this year).  Most Southbounders rerouted to the CDT, AT, or AZT (Arizona Trail) after the California National forests all closed for an undetermined time (they mostly reopened).   Still those flights and other travel arrangements were added to their budgets (pretty sure they would’ve preferred to spend the money for burgers and beer in town).

    So even the “wild and free” thru hiker lifestyle (living out of a pack, a shower every few days … if that) was seriously interrupted by fire and smoke this year.  Also if dirty and sweaty thru hikers had to bail en masse, it likely dissuaded many others on shorter journeys from getting out.

    #3729881
    DavidS
    BPL Member

    @shepherdsond

    Re: John C’s comment.

    I respect your POV but want to note that I just today rejoined BPL (I was a member many years ago) after reading this beautifully written and thoughtful article.  Hoping for more of the same..

    And PS, we just moved to Bellingham!

    #3729883
    Mudjester
    BPL Member

    @mudjester

    Andrew – A lifetime BPLer, I really liked your essay: the personal candor, the physical facts, The Question dominating the lives of those of us living in what used to be called “a paradise.” Nevada City, Sierra foothills, me. Being retired, and still in good enough shape to hike the High Routes, I was able to cherry-pick my extended time in the high Sierra last year and this. But my biggest fortune was sheer luck in timing. So, I don’t take sides in your “breakup.” Flipping between loving and hating it here, I am with you that being in nature is a true love affair. That being the case, getting married & settling down may be beside the point, since the common core of great love affairs is they always break our heart. Even though we know this, who cannot help but be shocked when it happens, in living their “one wild and precious life”?

    – Ken

    #3729887
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I love the “philosophy” articles, as described above. No one has to read them, just like no one has to read yet one more thread about rain jackets if it’s not of interest. I can’t imagine being sad about it – I just skip whatever I don’t feel like reading. I’ve enjoyed the many articles that really dig into the psychological/mental health benefits, the challenges, the whys, the reflections on what nature brings us, how we can give back, diversifying the community of hikers, etc. etc. And I cherry pick the articles and forum threads about gear as I need to. It’s all good.

    #3729899
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    I’ve come pretty close to breaking up with the West a couple of times.  No coincidence both times were hot, dry and smoky summers.  One four years ago and of course this last one.  Living here 45 years makes it a little tougher to do than living here a couple of years I would suspect.

    The fires are out here now and elk season is around the corner, so the breakup thoughts are just bad memories now.  I hope they stay that way.

    #3729905
    Monty Montana
    BPL Member

    @tarasbulba

    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Well said Karen!  I’ve been a follower/member of BPL since day one practically and witnessed it go through many permutations:  some of what was once advocated for lightweight backpacking is now viewed as “stupid light”; with the advent of a plethora of electronics, pack weights have gone up, as have the weights of the packs needed to carry all this stiff – my 4 oz GG Uber Whisperlite from a couple decades ago would fail miserably.  Some have lamented this move away from ultralight, but there has always been a thread of introspection, motivation, circumspection…that it has also gotten “heavier”, especially in these times, should not give one pause

    #3729906
    Tom K
    BPL Member

    @tom-kirchneraol-com-2

    “I’d enjoy BPL much more if the content could stick to those factual outdoors/backpacking-related items, and leave the philosophy to psychological journals.”

    Why not be content with enjoying what you enjoy and according others the same privilege?  There is no requirement to read every thread.

    #3729909
    Ian Clark
    BPL Member

    @chindits

    Locale: Cntrl ROMO

    I hope the reverse migration in the west truly develops into a trend that even the .com crowd and billionaires can’t resist.

    However, I’m not sure I would consider the tourist towns you listed as the west.

    #3729918
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    That’s a fair point Ian. Tahoe, Bozeman, Vail, Telluride, Jackson are a far cry from and definitely not representative of the American West as a whole. It’s definitely just a subset but one that evokes a ton of heartache and emotion for the people in those towns who have roots there, grew up there, who raised their families there – and can’t see a future for themselves there.

    Grieving the loss of a sense of place is real, and it’s hard.

    #3729926
    obx hiker
    BPL Member

    @obxer

    It’s not just in the west either. Look at a topo map of Waverly Tn. How much rain fell in how short a period of time to create that flood. Never seen anything like it in ‘written history’

    300 years not long enough? How about this flood? 1000 years?

    @ here we have mammals we’ve never had before, plants, bugs, birds.

    There’s a lot going on! The painted buntings are pretty cool.

    #3729930
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    The last five or six houses in my neighborhood that sold are people leaving California and moving east.  I go west backpacking every year, and luckily haven’t had too many issues with smoke, though this year was the worst.

    #3729934
    Bruce Kolkebeck
    BPL Member

    @cjcanoe

    Locale: Uhwarrie National Forest

    In a survey conducted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill the demographics of North Carolina showed that 48% of people in the state were born someplace other than NC. A lot has changed in the years since you left. If you are coming with preconception that we here are bigots then I please ask that you stay where you are. You can keep the west coast/Mountain State  snobbery where it belongs.

     

    #3729936
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2020/09/18/california-may-need-more-fire-to-fix-its-wildfire-problem

    Almost all know there should be more controlled burns but funding hasn’t kept pace (though California as a state just increased their funding by a 1/2 billion dollars more reportedly).

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/Gov-Newsom-s-budget-calls-for-investment-in-15856612.php

    Some basic methodology that’s worked elsewhere ..

    https://www.npr.org/2021/08/31/1029821831/to-stop-extreme-wildfires-california-is-learning-from-florida

     

    Also any additional fire crews need to be trained (obviously).  There’s even a pilot program for controlled burn insurance to cover any lapses ..

    https://www.nature.org/en-us/newsroom/california-budget-prescribed-fire/

     

     

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 68 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Get the Newsletter

Get our free Handbook and Receive our weekly newsletter to see what's new at Backpacking Light!

Gear Research & Discovery Tools


Loading...