We are in Bozeman for one more day before returning to Colorado tomorrow. Yesterday we skied West Yellowstone, a taxing day leaving us exhausted. We don’t have many opportunities for Nordic skiing where we live, that is, when it snows you have to hit it right away, as within a few days the snow will be iced up.
West Yellowstone is primarily a snowmobiling town, and it is a spectacle to behold. The machines have gotten bigger and more powerful over time, and so too has the equipment needed to haul them. They need big trailers and powerful pickup trucks. The apparel is reminiscent of Matt Damon’s Mars experience, expensive clothing, gloves, helmets that hide all body parts from the cutting wind.
It is like being outdoors without experiencing the outdoors.
As I witnessed the (usually) overweight bearded specimens riding the machines, I thought how vulgarized the American outdoor experience has become, snow machines in winter, ATV’s in summer, jet boats and motor boats and massive campers and trailers with satellites so that the occupants don’t miss any TV. We are in decline, surely. I can only hope that succeeding generations recover the experience of wind in the face, tired limbs and sore feet, vistas that take physical effort to behold, simple food and perhaps a rock to sit on and a book to read.
That, to me, is the outdoor experience.