Looking Toward Isle Royale

Between finalizing reservations, assembling gear in earnest, and thinking on a hiking itinerary, I’m getting rather excited to visit Isle Royale. I’m nervous though, about several things. Utmost among them is concern that I won’t be able to sleep. I am a fetal-position sleeper, and sleeping pads and mummy sleeping bags are simply designed for people who sleep on their backs.

I’m also nervous, frankly, that the entire trip may be canceled. Now, if Republicans in the US House do force the Federal Government into default, there will likely be many more egregious results than the National Park System shutting down (like a halt in Social Security payments, for instance). But it would mean that we would not be able to go.

It lends a sense of fragility to the entire enterprise, belied by the sentiments in Ken Burns’ stellar documentary about the creation of the National Park System. Yes, these places are protected “in perpetuity” by a government and democracy that seem, sometimes, all too fragile themselves.

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