Appreciation, Connection, And Awareness

Today’s guest blog comes from writer and photographer Herb Belrose. We were introduced to Herb by Brian Riepe of Mountain Flyer magazine. Thank you Brian for the introduction. As you all will learn as you read this post, and the linked Mountain Flyer story that follows it, Herb has something to tell us…that is worth our taking the time to read it. Thank you Herb. -Kid

As the years accumulate, I value adventures and companionship more and more. We have elevated our curiosity and boldness to a creed by bushwhacking our way through the backwoods, mountains and deserts of this globe. My work as a photographer and a writer relies on this intellectual and cultural saturation. Exploration is my motivation and, as a distraction from the rat race, it helps me find my wits.

This fall I completed an expedition with my lifelong friend, the architect and conservationist Allan Schmidt, that took us through the heart of an industrialized wilderness in coastal Oregon. We traveled from Portland to the Pacific Ocean through the Tillamook Burn, a forest that was the scene of many man-made forest fires from 1933 to 1951. We relied on a trusty pair of Salsa Mukluks to help us cover 60 miles of logging tracks abandoned by the Port of Tillamook Bay after a freak la nina powered cyclone flooded and gutted the infrastructure of the line in 2007.

Like a musician whose ears have been trained to hear tones and pitches, my awareness of environmental abuse and destruction has become fine-tuned. When we planned this trip a few years ago, we expected the ride of a lifetime. It was not until we peeled back the layers of history that we discovered the Tillamook Burn is a proverbial chorus asking humans to respect the forest and its inhabitants. The Burn is a place where reckless fires, logging, construction and climate change have gathered to wreak havoc on ecosystems and wildlife.

Absorbing the present, and the projected futures of our planet, is a lesson in humility. I want there to be beautiful places to bike, swim, hike and explore all over our world. I also want these areas to be permanent and protected. It’s a little bit too late for many industrialized sites, but, like Allan and I discovered, there are lessons hidden where you may not expect them.

The spirit of adventure in the past was about exploring the unknown geography, culture and topography of the earth. It was informed by the practice of colonialism. Today, we live in an age where satellite pictures of Antarctica are available in our pockets. This is the new age of exploration. It is about appreciation of the land and oceans; it is about connecting with old and new friends in diverse places; and it is about championing awareness for this lovely, chaotic mess of a world so that we can build solutions to maintain it.

We will need more wild places to go and find our sanity in the future, not less.

Herb Belrose
Portland, Oregon

My publisher, Mountain Flyer Magazine, has posted the article “Riding the Burn Cycle” on Click here to read “Riding the Burn Cycle”

Click here to visit the Mountain Flyer website


What about you? Is there a wild place that has captured your attention? Or perhaps even your heart?

This post filed under topics: Fatbike Guest Blogger Mukluk

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cmherron | January 23rd, 2012

This was a great piece in Mountain Flyer.  Herb and Allan, you guys did it right.  The part that resonated with me most was when you said, “Like a musician whose ears have been trained to hear tones and pitches, my awareness of environmental abuse and destruction has become fine-tuned.”  I have an MS in Restoration Ecology and because of my experience and personal connections with the environment I constantly see the destructive side of human nature, as well as how mother nature can reclaim our spoils.  I’ve found that riding a mountain bike takes me to those wild places where I can find my sanity amid the mind-numbingness of “the rat race”.  It also takes me through places where I see human nature and mother nature fighting for ground.  It is quite an interesting dichotomy.
I enjoyed the article and this little post, thanks for sharing your adventure.

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Glenn Charles | January 24th, 2012

Beautifully written. Having cycled my Fargo near this area last year, I can remember the roller coaster ride of emotion that I felt as I traveled through scenes of lush green forest punctuated by scenes of clear cut destruction caused by the timber industry.

As our world gets closer, and the electronic age continues to dominate the lives of young people, we desperately need more stories like this in hopes of reminding all that the earth must be cared for lest all the beautiful wild places be destroyed and forever lost.

Well done!


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Nathan Daniel | April 10th, 2012

As a adventurous person I really like this view. You guys did very good job and I like yours adventure. Thanks mate and keep it up. :)

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Green Rudder | April 27th, 2012

Looks like you all dude very adventitious and I’m delighted through your adventure. Thanks for sharing such kind of post here. :)

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girokonto kostenlose | April 30th, 2012

Really it’s interesting exposed. I just wonder to see the rail line. How’s it setting over the lake. Ha, very critical work!

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Irénée | October 25th, 2013

Beautiful story and unbelievable pics ! This railway remind me of a fallen train bridge in a deep river in Jablanica, Bosnia.

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