Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hiking with a purpose

Well, I've been so busy lately, now that the weather has finally turned, that I haven't been keeping up with new posts.  The garden's all in, though and with our first camping trip under our belts, I think I can slow down a bit.  We went for an evening hike a week ago to Spring Valley Reservoir - a nice, mellow jaunt around the water, with no elevation change. It's a beautiful area, although a bit too mucky this time (I hadn't taken into account all the rain we'd been getting.)

Now, for a bit of a rant. I always bring a plastic grocery bag with me when hiking and pick up any trash that I see. It just makes me sick to see trash strewn about. During our last three hikes, I'd barely gotten any garbage on the trails (at Hobo Historical Trail I had picked up numerous cans/bottles at the trail head).  However, I was sadly disappointed in the state of Spring Valley.  By the time I made the full loop, my bag was stuffed to overflowing and that didn't even touch the trash left at the picnic/camping areas around the back side of the reservoir where I saw bags (even one full-size black trash bag!) - no way I could haul all of it out myself.  Why do people think this is acceptable?  If you're out for a hike, or even a stroll around your neighborhood, please join me in grabbing a bag and picking up any trash you find along the way.  It's not "someone else's" problem to deal with, it's everyone's.  Take a few minutes to keep the area around you beautiful.

Growing up in a very rural area, the surrounding community would come together every spring for a "Road Clean-up".  It was an event we all looked forward to for the fun and camaraderie - starting at the top of the road, folks would join in along the entire route (maybe 10 miles total) - walking, driving ATVs or pickup trucks, families with children of all ages.  The vehicles would creep along at walking pace, so those on foot could pick up trash and add it to the bags in the vehicles. The kids would walk and help when they could, or hop in for a ride when they needed a break.  These were the days when rural areas just had multiple dumpsters in an area for folks to bring their garbage to; the area wasn't fenced or anything, so unfortunately, local bears and other critters would help themselves, causing garbage to be strewn up the hill behind the dumpsters.  Once we reached the dumpster area, the group would spend some extra time there, dumping what had been collected and cleaning up the surrounding area.  After that, we'd all convene at the local school just a bit further down the road, for an afternoon & evening of softball, playing, and a huge chili feed.  It was a great way to grow up - this wonderful sense of community and a concern for each other and the area around us.  I miss that - it's not something I see much of these days.  So, please, keep an eye out around you as you travel through your days - see what you can do to improve the area around you.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I feel exactly the same way. It makes me so sad to see people litter without giving it a second thought. I was raised to leave a place better than I found it. If only everyone would do that....imagine what a beautiful world it would be!