Since my website is called hooked on the wild, I figured I would tell one of my favorite outdoor experiences. I always enjoyed hiking and I have always loved the outdoors but I have never really had anyone who feels the same as I do. So I occasionally go hiking by myself, or me and my little brother will go mountain biking for the day, but it’s never as often as I want. I tell my family all the time that I’m going to live in Denver when I get out of college and they make fun of me for it saying that I never do anything outdoors. Well to get to the story this summer I decided to take a day to myself and go hiking up in NH at a mountain called Cardigan Mountain. It’s not that long of a hike, maybe 4 miles to the top. After about an hour and half of hiking I realized that I was completely lost. Because I always have to make things difficult when I was at the bottom I saw there were two ways to go, and I decided since I was relatively in shape I would take the long winding way to the top. But luckily there were signs and I could find the general direction to go so I kept on walking. When you know you are only hiking 4 miles you would only think to pack 2 maybe 3 waters and a little bit to each which is what I had. Well by now that was all gone and it was pretty warm outside. And I swear it was the perfect moment because I came up upon some sort of little wood building in the middle of nowhere. There was literally a little wooden house on this mountain. And when I walked up to it i saw two people packing all their stuff. They were mid twenties I’d say, and definitely had a little hippy in them (the place wreaked of pot), but they seemed nice and called me over to talk. And without them even knowing my name or anything about me they told me to sit down and we just started to talk. At first they just told me about why they were up their, and they showed me the journal that sits in the little house that people write their experiences in. But after about 10 minutes we were all engaged in talks about how every person should feel some sort of passion for doing things like hiking, that being outdoors is an out of body experience that is more than any drug can do for someone. It was ironic that they were probably a little high during this conversation but I mean… I wasn’t going to say anything. They gave me all the water they had left and told me to write in that journal about the experience we had together and what we talked about.
I walked away from that conversation with thoughts just rushing through my head, things they said, things I wanted to say to them that never got talked about. And now that we are in a digital storytelling class I realized something. I realized that the journal in the house on the mountain is something that will probably only be looked at by 50 or 60 people at the most. But that same journal could be put into a journal online and be looked at by thousands even millions of people in weeks alone. Is there a huge difference between finding that journal on your own or having it be online? A lot of people would say no, and say that their isn’t the same magic of reading online or meeting people online, and that online relationships will never work, or that people who sit on computers are nerds. But what if we just looked at digital storytelling as a way to connect our stories with a much broader audience? That maybe someone who read that story online would go walk up Mount Cardigan and write in the journal for themselves.
Well the story ends with me eventually finding my way to the top of mountain and 8 hours later getting home… not long before my parents would have called the cops thinking I got killed by a bear or something. I told my little brother the story and a couple weeks later me and him walked back to the house on the mountain, and since we had left there had only been one more post in the journal and it said “god room service is taking forever in this place”.
Now I get to share this story with everyone on the internet, anyone who is interested in hiking or just in reading other people’s stories.