The Spirit of Wild Places

My latest article for Voices of Monterey Bay is out. Here are the first two paragraphs.

I’ve been enchanted with the spirit of wild places most of my life. I went backpacking to the top of Mount San Jacinto when I was 9, long before the tram was built. My family and I took a weeklong mule trip to the high country camps of Yosemite when I was 10. We camped every summer when I was growing up. I grew up as a Girl Scout and wild places were very much part of my life. We were taught to pack it in, pack it out, just because … well, what else would one do? Long before there was a “leave no trace movement,” it was what we were taught and what we did.

This upbringing probably contributed to my love affair with Big Sur. It was a natural extension of my wildness education in many of the most beautiful places in California and the West. I learned to water ski on Big Bear Lake and hike in the Sierras. We traveled to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and other wild places of the West. I wish others had the opportunities that I did. Sadly, most of these places are overcrowded and overrun now. The experience is not quite what it was. The wildness is becoming harder and harder to find.

One can find the rest of the article here:


7 thoughts on “The Spirit of Wild Places

  1. Beautifully written Kate! You are a warrior in the very best meaning of the word.

  2. This story is filled with personal passion; great ability to listen; an honoring of your past and its cast for what they gave to your life; and a transparency of Kate the poet. Thank you for this gem of who you are and the plea for others to stop and listen to their inner voice. Big Sur deserves you.

  3. First… such a glorious image at the opening. So well written, too. And thanks for the book recommendation. Looks like “The Overstory” is very popular… all 9 copies of it at our various county libraries are out with 3 additional ‘holds’ in place! Not counting the one I’m about to place. Can’t wait to get my hands (and eyes) on it!

  4. This is a beautiful article. Thank you for your love of this beautiful and special place.

  5. Hello Kate and All, i think its time for all of us to push for a tourist bus center at the Point Sur area where the old military buildings are situated. This area will be an educational experience with interpretative exhibits about how to respect Big Surs nature, roads, and locals and how to live respectfully like leaving no trace, no shitting along roads, no unpermitted camp fires, no passing on solid lines etc.. This area could be a great staging area for buses or shuttles to bring people down and back eliminating hundreds of cars on the road. Moreover, our community needs to put pressure on the Coastal Commission to open up more beaches and coastal trails so people “spread out”!! Imagine a coastal hiking trail from Point Sur to Molera or having a picnic along the mouth of the Little Sur River. This problem of over tourism is a repercussion of privatized lands, inaccessability and pushing everyone into these tight small areas like Pheiffer beach or Big Sur Valley. To Mary Adams and other political leaders its time to open up our Wilderness and beaches! Botchers gap, Los Padres dam trail, Big Sur Sykes trail are all closed still and is not how forests should be managed after a forest fire. Most National federal lands open up forests fairly quick after forest fires and trust me on this one for i’ve traveled around most of Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Washington after fires to explore post fire ecology and successional productivity. The rangers a very welcome to letting people enjoy the wilderness as soon as possible and Ventana Wilderness needs to do the same!!

    Cheers to Solutions!

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