“Leave No Trace” describes how important it is not to alter the natural world when we explore it. It’s tempting to let kids pick things up or knock over dead trees, but naturalists urge humans to leave no traces.
No gate, no main entrance, no ticket, no ranger. Not far away
From where Frost once raised chickens and unhappy children, near
Where the glacier-hewn face of the old man though strengthened for
His divine perch by rods and turnbuckles slipped
From our dawning millennium to oblivion,
You can cross the Pemigewasset on a bridge
Then, compass north but south on the track,
Climb an old, grass-covered forest path
At the hewn collarbone of Cannon Mountain.
It’s Lonesome Lake. How are you from here
It depends on why you came: to get a grouse out of Canada
Or listen to the whee-ah of a Bicknell’s thrush;
For a windy picnic or a midlife crisis,
A long drive or a day trip to the waterfalls.
Bring for your needs only what you need:
Salmon sausage, canteen or Camelbak,
Bandages, a ratchet and a strap, a battered heart.
Bring sunscreen, a notebook, the Beatles, Beyoncé,
The Bhagavad Gita, a Bible, some Hitchens or Hegel.
No matter how long you stay, you shouldn’t leave anything behind.
No matchbox, no pole tip, no grommet, no cup.
Pack and take out your Clif Bar packaging,
Your fear of bears and storms. keep the rage
You thought you were sinking your boot soles into the stones,
The grief you hoped to spread. If you think you’ve changed,
Take all your changes with you.
If you lift
An arrowhead from the leaves, turn it over. Poached
No pine cone, no pebble or fairy root. Resist
The trillium paints even though its purple throat
Asks to be squeezed between the pages of your hiking guide.