The Badlands were amazing, given access to bottled water and air-conditioning. I don’t suppose I’d have appreciated them much as a pioneer, on foot and in a hot, sweaty, long dress.
Or, for that matter, as a serious hiker today – the sort who goes places you have to register at, so they know where you were last when they (and you) don’t know where you are now.
But it’s great to stand on the edges and admire the view.
Part of being brought up in the US is reading fictionalized stories about the pioneers. I have no idea how anyone survived the westward movement. Your photo reminds me why so many did not. Even with modern search and rescue equipment I don’t know how someone who fell and broke a leg in one of those crevasses could be found. Formidable territory.
Laurna – I know what you mean. They were tough because they had no choice, I guess. The ones who weren’t so tough stayed where they were.
I admired their courage, especially of the women. I remember how lonely a woman in the Texas panhandle felt and how the ceaseless wind aggravated her even more. The books I read dealt with raw subjects, such as the wars with the Natives; definitely not The Little House on the Prairie romanticism. I think some of that idealism stuck. The idea of making do and inventing solutions and pressing onward into new territory despite all odds could be translated into other kinds of adventures closer to my capabilities. I suppose the literature was intended partly for that purpose and it succeeded.
Laurna – Indeed, the stories we tell about our past (individual or collective) don’t have to be true to resonate with us, to express who we want to be. In time, they can become part of our culture even if it never really happened that way (or, maybe, never happened at all) – what in organizational terms would be a vision, or a set of common vales, attitudes, and beliefs. If they inspire us to reach deeper (re ourselves) and higher (re our outcomes) as you point out, that seems good enough to me also. I saw a quote by David Sedaris, who, when asked if the stories he told were true, replied, “They’re true enough.”