Here at Cranky Fitness, there is a tendency to engage in a lot of whining. And this is not going to change anytime soon. If fact, today's post is pretty much a rant, but there are Important Announcements at the end, so please hang in there.
So the Great Outdoors is no exception to Crabby's general whine-about-it policy: she has already complained about her fear of encountering lions and tigers and bears while hiking out in the wilderness. She has confessed that she often wonders: will she survive her little five mile loop, or will hungry predators catch her and eat her alive? (And what the heck does that even mean, "eaten alive?" How alive could you be without, say, your head?)
However, Crabby still loves hiking and camping and thinks everyone should do more of it. So she was alarmed to discover that National Park attendance is declining!
What? How could this be?
Sure, gas prices are high, and entrance fees have gone up, but that's true for any family vacation destination. DisneyWorld or even a trip to the multiplex costs way more money than it did a generation ago.
But c'mon. Some people do indeed spend a little money on vacations. And if those people can cruise to Cabo or pack the kids off with them to big resort hotel in Hawaii or spend a week within the confines of the Magic Kingdom, then they could also probably rent a tent and pitch it in a campground, or find a cheap motel near a national park, or at least take a few day trips to a nearby local park with trails and big trees or streams or waterfalls or something.
Everyone seems to be talking the big talk about "going green" and "caring about our natural environment," but no one seems to actually want to go out in it to appreciate it.
(And an aside, perhaps related and perhaps not, kids don't walk or bike to school much anymore, even when they live less than a mile away).
Crabby has great childhood memories of camping and hiking, and perhaps that's why she loves it now. She and her Most Significant Other (whom she shall nickname The Lobster, at least until she thinks of something better) are extremely fortunate: they have a five year old Camper Van that they have spent many nights in. So whenever they can, Crab and Lobster pack up "Fran the Van" and visit various county, state, provincial, and national parks, both in the U. S. and Canada.
(Another rambling aside: Fran the Van is a Pleasure-Way, and she hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Crabby and the Lobster visited Fran's factory-birthplace once, spent the night in their parking lot, and in the morning were given a tour and a very nice jar of something-berry jam. The folks in Saskatoon seemed very, very nice and they had super large bugs there).
Not everyone is so lucky as to own a small recreational vehicle; on the other hand, Crabby has spent many a night in her youth and young adulthood in a small cramped funky-smelling tents and managed to have a good time then, too.
Here's the thing: except in rare instances, like the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls or Half Dome or Bryce or whatever, the beauty and wonder of nature is often subtle. It's not in-your-face the same way a Pixar movie or a Six Flags Scare-You-to-Death Roller Coaster ride is.
Some people have always loved the sights, smells, sounds, adventures and grandeur of the Outdoors. But for many, it took deliberate exposure and education to learn to appreciate the wilderness--sort of like fine wine or fresh asparagus or classical music. And Crabby doubts most people are going to cultivate a taste for it by plopping themselves or their kids in front of a videogame every spare hour.
Is it important for us as a society that we appreciate nature? Crabby has her opinion, obviously, but you may have yours as well and she hopes you will share it here in the commments. And Crabby does not mean that any particular family should feel bad if it really doesn't want to commune with nature--her rant is more directed at our culture as a whole: one that values the Big and Easy and Fake over the Nuanced and Challenging and Real.
End of rant. And so, finally, we have our Two Announcements!
First: You may have seen this one coming. Apologies, but the Crab and Lobster will be off for a long weekend in Fran the Van. There will probably be a Random Research post tomorrow, but comment follow-up is unlikely. And Monday's post may be delayed until late Monday or possibly Tuesday.
Crabby realizes she's been less than conscientious lately too about responding to comments and visiting other blogs. She'll get better when she gets back, and then worse again. But she's in this for the long haul, and is really trying to get the "balance" thing figured out. She hopes you'll stick with her anyway, as she would be heartbroken if you all went away and found better, more reliable blogs in her absence.
And, Second Announcement: Crabby needs your hiking-and-camping related help!
She's hoping to assemble a future post with a "Best Damn Hikes You've Ever Been On" sort of theme.
And she's especially hoping to get her Smart Readers to do most of the work for her! So if you have ever been on an Awesome hike, or stayed at wonderful Campground, and want to send her a short description of it, and perhaps include a picture, Crabby would love to have some posts about this.
She can't offer any compensation other than a link to your blog if you have one and her undying gratitude. Please email her at CrabbyMcSlacker @ gmail.com (skip the spaces and don't worry about capitalization). Tell her about your great hike, why it was great, how long it was, and enough information about location to get readers started (i.e. the trail name and the park it's located in) and Crabby would be most grateful! And a picture you have rights to would be great too. (The picture for this post, btw, is actually one from a Great Hike Crabby and the Lobster took). If Crabby gets a couple submissions she'll do a post about it, and if she gets a whole bunch she'll do a series of posts spread out over a few weeks!
Yikes, what a long post! Comments are always welcome, although Crabby can't seem to predict when she'll be in or not, so possible apologies if she strays again. She's pretty sure she'll be more attentive today, and she always reads them, even when she doesn't respond.
So see you (briefly) tomorrow and have a great weekend after that. (And P.S.-- go outside!)