Walkabout

Good morning Tash Appreciators!

During TF’s unscheduled absence over the last fortnight, I made a couple of journeys into rural Scotland. The first of those trips in particular was to a fairly remote part of the country and offered some spectacular scenery:

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I found being out in the countryside very therapeutic. I’m not sure whether it was the road trip which made me feel like I was totally detached from the reality of everyday life or whether it was the views; but that’s really how it felt.

It strikes me that I am a fairly late convert to the therapeutic properties of leisurely travel and beautiful vistas. Australian Aborigines, for example, would go Walkabout during their adolescence and I suppose that gap years, these days, are a similar thing. Closer to home, there are plenty of examples of folk whose lives have been immeasurably enhanced by wide open spaces. One person in particular springs to mind, as he was born only 30 miles from where I’m currently sitting but ended up passing away 5,000 miles away, after a life devoted to the outdoors.

The chap I am referring to is John Muir. Although he was born in Dunbar, he moved to the US as a child and subsequently ventured to TF’s spiritual home, San Francisco. Immediately after arriving in San Francisco in 1867, he left for Yosemite; a place which would take the breath of even the most indoorsy of city dwellers:

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Interestingly, Yosemite’s protection from commercial exploitation was secured by a couple of TF regulars. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, which set a precedent for the creation of the first national park at Yellowstone. In 1890, following lobbying by Muir, Yosemite National Park was created.

The Park’s current form was created after Muir took President Theordore Roosevelt (he of “daring greatly” fame) camping for three nights in May 1903. It was then, after the President awoke under a light dusting of snow on Glacier Point, that Muir persuaded Roosevelt to take the Park into the control of the Federal Government, which he duly did in 1906. There’s a great photo of Muir and Roosevelt up on Glacier Point. If you look at the waterfall on the right side of both the picture below and the picture above, you can get an idea of what the view was from Glacier Point, which in turn explains why Roosevelt took action to protect it:

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In times when we are encouraged to broaden our horizons, and look beyond our current circumstances, I wonder how many of us get out to places where our horizons are literally broadened; where we can really experience the size and beauty of the world around us. I also wonder how many of us would be changed if we saw and appreciated the kinds of things that Muir did.

Naturally, this week’s Tash is John Muir. He had much more of a beard than a Tash but, to be fair, it would have been difficult to maintain a clean cut Tash when out in the wilderness. Also, who would have been looking at it? Muir had Yosemite all to himself most of the time.

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Have a great weekend folks!

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