The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The WildeBeat edition 12: Ventana Vox Pop
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Does the average person value getting into the wilderness? Listen next, to the voices of some candid wilderness visitors, on the WildeBeat.
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News from the Wildebeat, the audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
This is program number twelve.
I'm Steve Sergeant.
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STEVE: What do infrequent or first-time wilderness hikers and backpackers feel about their experience in the wilderness?
This week's show is our first Vox Pop. A Vox Pop is a radio story format pioneered by the British Broadcasting Corporation; an abbreviation for the latin "Vox Populi", it means, "voice of the people." The people will do all of the talking.
These hikers were interviewed on the Pine Ridge Tail, in the Big Sur River Canyon of California's Ventana Wilderness. They'll be hiking ten miles each way to visit the popular hot springs at Sykes Camp.
STEPHANIE KINGDON: We're hiking in to Sykes Hot Springs! We're hikin' in, we're going to spend the night, we brought some box wine. We're going to enjoy that in the hot springs. And then we're getting up really early to hike out.
IGNETAY PADUA: This is my first time! [laughs] But I hardly go. I'm not an outdoors person.
ALECIA FORSTER: It will be difficult. I teach middle school P.E, so I've been running with my students, but I don't think I'm prepared to do this hike with this heavy backpack so it'll be... I'll be hurtin'. I have a little bit of Advil in there, and some MSM for my joints.
MATHEW WYMAN: Well we get out to skiing and things like that, but to do things like this where you're really in the back country, hiking, you know like this. Like this is my first time really to get this far back and camp overnight.
IGNETAY PADUA: Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! [laughs]
JACKIE LOPEZ: I feel safer… I feel safer, and it's really nice. I know what happens immediately is there's a trust in people out here. There's just an unspoken trust. Like we left our packs all open. You went to the hot tubs; you don't even think about people trying to steal from you out here. In the city we could never leave our stuff on a corner and walk, you know, a mile away, and leave it unattended.
IGNETAY PADUA: This is wilderness right here, where no one's here, and somewhere where you can get lost real easily. Lot's of trees, bugs, fresh air. Come here and relax.
ALECIA FORSTER: I love connecting with nature, and just kind of being a part of it.
IGNETAY PADUA: It's a good workout!
RAMSEY SHANBAKY: Ahh it's good to get out in the fresh air. Get away from all the noise, you know, of the city or where ever you are. Just to be able to think.
JACKIE LOPEZ: It lets me breathe. I think the fact that there is no cell phone reception, and no one can get ahold of us, and there's no responsibility and absolutely nothing to do once it starts to get dark. That really helps me get away from it all.
STEPHANIE KINGDON: Just, I think it's calming. I mean we all live in the city. I mean it's great — there's tons of diversity, there's lots going on — but it's really important for people to be in contact with the natural world.
JACKIE LOPEZ: I was almost disappointed when I got here, and there were so many people back here, 'cause it was so hard to get to. I thought, "Oh, it's going to be remote, and we're not going to see very many people." And it was, contrary to that, there was a lot of people here.
MATHEW WYMAN: It seemed very pristine and very nice. But I mean you notice aspects of man around, because there's people. This obviously is a popular camping spot, so you do notice man's presence. But it's still beautiful, it's gorgeous, and it's really a fantastic experience.
JACKIE LOPEZ: The view, just sitting at our camp last night, looking through the trees at the really, really bright sky, and the full moon coming through the trees — and the trees were all silhouetted, and all you can hear is the river, and the crickets. You just can't buy that anywhere.
MATHEW WYMAN: I think in the heart of the country I think it's hard to find true frontier anymore.
STEPHANIE KINGDON: Well, I definitely don't want to conquer it. I'm into preserving it. I would like to see more, just, taking back of urban areas and of redeveloping them, and stopping the spread. Because we need to protect what we still have, and maybe even take back areas, that, you know, have been developed, and bring those back into the wilderness. Because we need to keep the air clean, and have open spaces. You know? Because we're just destroying it, and it's not going to last forever.
JACKIE LOPEZ: I feel like they are stealthily removing our wilderness. And they're doing it without headlines, without notice, without public attention. So it really enrages me. But it's happening. I just feel like, you know, industry and big business is taking away our wilderness.
STEPHANIE KINGDON: I teach middle schoolers in West Oakland. And it's pretty, I don't know, I see it with my kids all the time. I'm trying to have them write stories right now about kind of native American creation stories; their own, their own stories and it's just been kind of a battle because they just have no concept of nature. You know, I'm like, "how's your story going to start? What's the world like before there's people." And, you know, "Is it a desert, is it a jungle, is it a vast ocean." And they're like, "Jungle." And then I'm like, "OK. Describe it." And they're like, "Ahhh. It's hot." [laughs] You know? So it's… I don't know, it's just, I think people loose contact with nature and there's not a lot of piece involved with them. You know? Maybe they get wild. You need it, you need it, to be in nature. Especially the kids.
STEVE: The hikers you heard in this piece, in order of appearance, were Stephanie Kingdon, Ignetay Padua, Alecia Forster, Mathew Wyman, Jackie Lopez, and Ramsey Shanbaky.
As a closing aside: I'd like to thank those of you who have sent in suggestions of topics for future shows. As I responded in private e-mails, there will be more gear reviews, and exploration of less well known wild places, in future editions. And I'm working on getting stories from outside my home area of Northern California as well.
The feedback from listeners has been entirely positive. And so I also thank all of you for that. If you're enjoying the show, I'd appreciate it if you would help spread the word. On the "Support" page of our web site, are links to podcast directories where you can vote for the show, or post a review. Doing so makes The WildeBeat more prominent in those directories, and helps more people to discover it.
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Next time — Looking for darkness in the wilderness.
The Wildebeat is produced by Steve Sergeant for Effable Communications. Our official website is WWW dot WILDEBEAT (that's W-I-L-D-E-B-E-A-T) dot NET. Future editions of The Wildebeat depend on your news contributions, and on your financial support. Please see our website for details.
This has been The Wildebeat, program number twelve. Thank you for listening.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.