Twitter Got Us Outside Today

by

Evil Twins?

Harrison Kaplan*

Who says computers keep us indoors?  This afternoon, Amanda was Twittering and Facebooking an article I had written a few days ago on how studies show green exercise helps mental health. Enter old friend Rob Kaplan, who  happened to be visiting his parents’ home, here in the area.  He was on Facebook the same time Amanda  was posting on FB and Twitter.  After reading the article, he thought of us, and gave us a call.

Just about that time we had decided to climb Mt. Sunapee,  so I asked Rob if he and his family would like to join us.  “Sure” he said, “just name the time.”  In about an hour, Rob, his two kids, Lucas and Harrison,  my wife Amanda and I were headed up  the old Dick Durrance trail, from Newbury, NH.

Lucas and Harrison are outdoor kids, the former is headed for Camp Coniston this summer, and both are then headed to a Boy Scout camp, (their parents will also be involved in facilitating at the camp).  They seem to be kids who love to camp, get outside and seek adventure. They seem atypical of many kids who spend a lot of time and attention in front of a computer.

Enjoying the spring green**

Facebook has helped me do everything from connect with old friends, to  keep up on an American Mountain Guides Association examee’s  experience on a recent ski guides exam.  Maybe it’s not all bad. Maybe it can, in fact, help get us outside, (I never thought I’d say that). Maybe it’s all about balance.

Jerry Mander writing in “In Absence of the Sacred” stated that technology in not neutral.  By it’s very nature, it pulls us away from nature. He wrote that the computer just doesn’t sit there, it sucks us in.  Point taken.  But it was cool how Facebook  may have pulled us together for a nice afternoon hike with Rob and his kids. It’s all about balance. As my old climbing and skiing buddy, Junji Itagaki says, “step away from the machine” …and go climb a mountain, but check Facebook on your way out, you might have some friends that will join you.

Images:
* Harrison stands by the old doubled up stump at the start of the old Dick Durrance Ski Trail, in Newbury NH.
** Harrison Kaplan, R. Richards and Rob Kaplan cross the brook near the start of the old ski trail.
Historical Notes:
The Dick Durrance Ski Trail was the first ski trail on Mount Sunapee, cut by the Newport/Mt. Sunapee Ski Club. Members also built a cabin on the mountain’s southeast shoulder, at the top of this ski trail. The cabin’s logs came from the immediate area, and were all cut by hand. Hikers can still see the outline of the ski trail by observing the old growth line at trail’s edge. The author skied this trail in about 2001 when we had a March dump that covered up all the trail, making for great backcountry skiing. It’s a bit narrow in spots, but in good deep snow, it’s great skiing. I have pictures of the old cabin which was still standing in the late ’70’s. (I’ll post these images one of these days). Back in the day, ski club members would boot pack the trail, climb to the cabin and stay the night and have races or runs on the weekends.

I wrote the Governor at the time,  in the late ’70’s, and requested permission to save the cabin. When he said no, I gave up on the idea to restore the cabin. But in hind sight should have persisted. We’d have a great skiing historical landmark today.  Oh well, I was only a teenager then.  I thought that when I got a no from the government, that was it. Now I, and others,  know better.

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