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Outback Observations: Vastness Close By

Once upon a time, everywhere around was equally undivided by fences and other divisions of land and property, real or symbolic.  One can debate philosophically about whether or not it’s possible to actually ‘own’ a piece of land, but people like to have a place they can call their own.

There’s a feeling a lot of people miss that don’t live out somewhere with wilderness close by, though, I think.

Looking out across an area that still has that untouched look to it, I almost feel like I could do anything.  Barring that, I could go anywhere, and see anything.

Sure, when you get lost in the rigors and routine of everyday life it’s not much of a worry, but sometimes the world feels very closed.  Most people wouldn’t think climbing over other people’s fences to get home faster to be a good idea, but essentially that’s what most people did before there were roads.

I can’t really guess as to what that sort of world would feel like.  Claims to property were made often in name only until there was some sort of legal system in place to regulate them.

At the same time, there was no third party to resolve conflicts that arose when two people claimed the same spot.  I wouldn’t want to be crossing a road if some stranger technically owned it.

Just the feeling, though, of trying to see what that would have been like is something I find rather interesting.  Public lands are like little islands of that world.

To me, then, the neatest part of some of the talks about ATVs in Lakeview is the existence of trails that connect a lot of areas in southern Oregon.  It’s a sign that people still want some places they can go without worrying about whose property line they might be crossing.

One of those trails runs somewhere from Bullard Canyon back into the wilderness southward.  Someday I’ll have to hike it all the way from my home in New Pine Creek up into the mountains and back down to Lakeview.

I’ve heard the view from Crane Mountain is amazing.

 -— Eric Hedlund

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