We now have a machine dependency, even in the outdoors
I long for simpler days that will never return.Last night the main family computer started acting funny so I gave up and went to bed. When I awoke at 5 a.m. to finish up my column the wonderful world of Microsoft crashed big-time.The operating system has had a catastrophic failure. Now I’m working off a laptop, starting over after being humbled by a machine.It will probably take most of if not the whole weekend to get things up and running again having experienced this sort of thing before. Glad I didn’t have any plans for spending time in the great outdoors.Oops, almost forgot to save this document. “Save and save often,” I’m told – slave that I am to the machine.This whole experience got me to thinking how dependent we are on machines and technology when it comes to enjoying the outdoors.First you’ve got to get where you want to go and that usually means driving in the old automobile. If your car breaks down and won’t even start then you’re stuck with finding some other way to the woods.The last time I loaded up the high-tech expensive state-of-the-art latest model internal frame backpack for only an overnight camping trip makes me think how dependent I am on technology.Aside from the fancy pack itself there is the small stove. I must admit that of all the items I’ve ever purchased that have made outdoor life simpler, this is my favorite. For almost 30 years it has worked every time, every trip. No repairs ever needed.Of course I could return to cooking on an open fire and have been known to do so at times. The little stove is a lot easier than carrying a pan for the ashes (being a “leave no trace” camper), finding dry wood, etc.Another must-have item in my pack is the new very small lightweight LED headlamp. Wouldn’t leave home without it.I’ll even confess how liberating it is to use around the house fixing things and finding stuff in the dark nooks and crannies of our house. Those days of the big black flashlight that takes 10 heavy batteries that last about 20 minutes are over.The next item in the pack is the GPS unit that also makes life easier.Sure, I can still use my old back-up Brunton pocket transit, otherwise known as a compass, but my expensive hand-held GPS unit is my pride and joy, except when the batteries play out and I forget to bring extras.There are some modern marvels not allowed on any trips with me into the backcountry. No palm pilots, cell phones, boom boxes, CD players or electronic games.And after this last computer crash, I guarantee there won’t ever be any cursed portable computer allowed in the woods on any trips I take.Unless of course it is able to write my column for me and wirelessly beam it to my editor without any effort on my part.Writing with over 25 years of experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his stories with readers every other week.Writing with over 25 years of experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his stories with readers every other week.
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