A Wood-Foraging Workout

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© Liesl Clark

It occurred to me, last winter, when high winds blew down so many trees, that I could help clear the trails, rather than just hike them. The added benefit was wood.

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Blown-down wood on a Pacific Northwest Trail © Liesl Clark

Rather than carrying a backpack filled with random items to give me added weight for a pre-expedition workout, I realized the resource I could gather on my hikes was right at my feet. My friend, Yangin Sherpa, walks 5 miles a day to collect wood where she lives. Why couldn’t I?

Trail

We heat our home with wood and our property provides most of what we need. But I realized that every day, during the storm season, I was picking up and throwing aside big chunks of wood that had come down the day before onto the trails we hike on our hill.

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Huge Trees Come Down, Blocking Our Trails, All Winter Long © Liesl Clark

I bring an empty pack after a windstorm and load it with large chunks blocking the trail that I would otherwise throw aside. There’s so much wood out there, areas where blow-downs outnumber the trees standing. I figure a small payment for my clearing of the trails are the few pieces I can gather to add weight to my gait, to give greater resistance to my uphill climb so I can prepare for the high passes and cliffside traverses we do each summer in the Himalaya.

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Payment for My Pains © Liesl Clark

I find joy in knowing what it feels like to walk 5 miles for a bundle of wood that will keep my family warm for one more day.

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What are your simple pleasures?

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8 thoughts on “A Wood-Foraging Workout

  1. Oh, I really used to love foraging for wood when we lived in France: such a sense of achievement in bringing home and weathering down the means of keeping ourselves warm for the winter. It’s not so easy here in the UK. The wood is simply not conveniently around in the right sort of quantities, or on common land. So we content ourselves, on the whole, with finding odd bits of kindling. But it’s not the same. Not at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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