Man vs Nature

A group of my friends and I are heading to the woods soon for three days of backpacking. Conflicts make stories. Classic conflicts are man vs man, man vs himself, and man vs nature. Added to that can also be man vs society. I am referring to people, not a specific sex. I am not anticipating any significant man vs man conflict as we are a group defined by our equanimity. Not to say it couldn’t happen, but I feel confident we can work out any difficulties. Man vs himself is certainly possible. Taking on a rugged hike, setting up a campsite in the woods, one does look inward and face doubts. Age and infirmities take their toll, and a person will wonder if he or she is up to the challenge. Knowing that one has prepared, trained, and come equipped to handle emergencies helps overcome these doubts, yet still there is a fear that must be ignored. To me, man vs nature carries the implication that nature is working to defeat man. However, nature is just there, and man must adapt to it. We have constant natural challenges, but to go hiking in the woods, or take on any adventure means facing sometimes extraordinary and difficult challenges. I can think of many that are specific to backpacking, such as not getting lost, scrambling up and down steep hills with a heavy pack, keeping warm, well hydrated and nourished, avoiding injury, dealing with wild animals, including insects, knowing one’s limits, to name a few. The rewards of taking on these natural challenges are many and they are enriching to the body and spirit. I’m very excited to be going on this trip, and many more in the future.

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