“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” ~ John Muir, Our National Parks (1901)


See also THIS POST.

Technology can make us feel big, strong, and in control. Save the theory. Enough data, algorithms, machine learning, and AI, and the world is solvable. And a lot of important problems have been solved. Our lives are better in many ways. But that’s made a lot of people confident. Overconfidence and hubris generally lead to bad things, especially when they manifest in the creation of pervasive platforms and services used by over a billion people; especially when they become near-monopolies and make so many people rich so quickly.  I spend more time in the tech-hubris camp than I’d like to admit.

But then there’s Longs. I’ve spent many nights in this camp, too. Longs makes me feel small, fragile, and slightly out-of-control. A summer at the base of Longs provided a lot in the way of love, mistakes, disequilibrium, and grace. It started with a lot of false humility and ended with a little humility. I got smaller. Climbing Longs made me smaller still.

I’ll probably spend much of my life exploring the complex ways in which technologies affect our identities, relationships, and ways of learning and knowing; finding ways for technology to support growth and solve some problems. More difficult, I think, will be the work of fully embracing how acute is my need to be small, to stay small. I think I’m more useful when I’m small.

“Lie down among the pines for a while then get to plain pure white love-work to help humanity and other mortals.” ~ John Muir, The National Parks and Forest Reservations (1896)

  • Hi Andy, I was surprised to see this while I’m working looking for WP info. I grew up in CO and my father and I climbed Long’s Peak when the Keyhole was still in one piece. That was something to behold. Sadly, as you know, the keyhole is now just another pile of rocks. What a great journey, though. On the way to the Long’s Peak Trailhead, there’s an Inn and restaruant called Bald Pate Inn – Inn of 10,000 Keys. Its an interesting stop, but one that’s closed for winter. My wife and I managed to sneak in there in Sept. Long’s Peak is such an icon of CO for those who know…

    Best regards, Dave Karner

  • Andy Saltarelli

    Hi Dave!
    I’m so glad you dropped me a message! You’re making me went to book a flight to Denver right now. I worked at a camp at the the base of Longs (Covenant Heights) for one summer and we’ve climbed it a few times — I’m NEVER disappointed and obviously it’s had quite an impact on me. We were in Boulder early this summer, but it was a bit early to have a go at Longs without ice equipt. I’ve never heard of the Bald Pate Inn, but we’ll be sure to hit it up next time we’re in the area.

    Take care and thanks again for leaving a comment,