Montana, huh? Aren’t you scared of Grizzly Bears out there.

Nope. Read Stephen Herrero’s classic book, Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance. It contains everything you need to know. The short story: bear attacks are extremely, extremely (I mean extremely) rare and between climate change and the impending removal of endangered species protections, they have much more to fear from us. Once you finish Herrero, go read Doug Peacock’s Grizzly Years.

But you hike alone. Isn’t that risky?

Maybe sometimes, but so is life. I can only quote the late Colin Fletcher, who responded best to this eminently bizarre concern:

[I]f you judge safety to be the paramount consideration in life you should never, under any circumstances, go on long hikes alone. Don’t take short hikes alone, either – or, for that matter, go anywhere alone. And avoid at all costs such foolhardy activities as driving, falling in love, or inhaling air that is almost certainly riddled with deadly germs. Wear wool next to the skin. Insure every good and chattel you possess against every conceivable contingency the future might bring, even if the premiums half-cripple the present. Never cross an intersection against a red light, even when you can see all roads are clear for miles. And never, of course, explore the guts of an idea that seems as if it might threaten one of your more cherished beliefs. In your wisdom you will probably live to be a ripe old age. But you may discover, just before you die, that you have been dead for a long, long time.

Why do you destroy fire rings?

Because nothing irritates me more than people either too ignorant or just plain inconsiderate to follow Leave No Trace principles—and I’ll destroy the evidence if others refuse to do it themselves. If I had my way, wilderness would be off-limits to anyone who hasn’t passed a basic course in ecology and environmental preservation. The woods are not your personal garbage dump and if you do make a mess, clean that shit up.

Are you on social media?

Yep, right here.

Where can I read some of your scholarly writing?

Head over to my professional page: petersen-overton.com

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