What is wealth?
In my world of backpacking, wealth is warmth.
Wealth is a campsite all to yourself.
Wealth is time with the wilderness.
Wealth is taking more than a day trip. It is a week to four months to a life immersed in the incredible.
Wealth is imagination.
To look at a dry canyon and not worry about where the water is, but to wonder how the water shaped these cathedrals into castles.
I am a woman of wealth.
I have wandered the winding canyon systems of Utah.
I have meandered up and around the mountains of Appalachia.
I have slept many nights under the stars in the Sierras and the San Juans.
My wealth is in experience and expanse.
My expenses are not always related to survival.
I eat a chocolate bar every night and drink a hot cup of coffee every morning.
My sun hoodie was handed down and my hat cost $5 at a thrift store.
My shoes have holes in them, yet I refuse to buy new boots. Not because I can’t afford them but because I don’t want to go through the discomfort of blisters from breaking in a new pair of boots.
That is wealth.
Wealth is the choice to be uncomfortable hiking up a mountain and the choice to sleep warm in my sleeping bag.
My wealth lies not in my down jacket or synthetic rain pants.
My wealth cannot be calculated in numbers or miles.
My wealth is our wealth: it is public lands.
Wilderness is wealth.
Open space is our source for the sacred.
Adventure is our abundance.
Solitude is our spiritual practice.
Time in the wild is our treasure.
We can extend our wealth to others by sharing space outside.
We can enjoy our wealth for years to come if we speak up when it’s our turn to vote for conservation.