Michael Baughman is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. He is a writer in Oregon.
“Recreation is valuable in proportion to the intensity of the experiences, and to the degree to which it differs from and contrasts with workaday life.”
— Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Camping World, the corporation that specializes in selling recreational vehicles, lists the following features of the Marchi Mobile eleMMent Palazzo motorhome: a retractable rooftop deck, leather-clad rotating loungers, wireless control of everything from the temperature to the security cameras, a living room that lifts to become a full bar, a fireplace, two flat-screen TVs, and a push-button retractable skydeck with a heated floor. With its 510 horsepower diesel engine, the Palazzo can hit 93 mph on the open road. The price of the vehicle: $3 million.
For anyone who takes Aldo Leopold seriously, as I do, something besides the vehicle’s name (what in the world is an eleMMent?) seems terribly wrong here.
I’ve been enjoying outdoor recreation with my wife, Hilde, for 56 years, and the most rewarding and memorable of our experiences didn’t cost a lot and we worked like dogs in order to eat. For many years after our children were grown, we spent the month of July camping in the midriff section of Baja, where we fly-fished from a 12-foot aluminum boat powered by a 15-horsepower engine. Out on the water early every morning, we caught dorado, tuna, cabrilla, bonito and sierra, and released everything except…
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