The Wilderness: Heaven or Hell?


I have always considered myself to be an outdoorsy kind of guy. I like hiking, bicycling, canoeing, skiing, basically anything that will get me back into nature. I wouldn't consider myself an athlete because I don't do well in competitive sports. I didn't play basketball or baseball or anything that a lot of kids did when I was growing up.

I was in my twenties when my friend Jim dropped by my office. He asked if I had ever done any back-packing. I had to confess that I had not but it sounded interesting. We visited the various outdoor outfitters, like Bass Pro and Cabelas and bought the requisite gear. It was expensive but new experiences often times carry a heavy price tag.

The planned week-end had finally arrived, we packed up the car and headed off to the Mark Twain National Forest near Springfield. This is a wilderness area not too far from the city. We were to back pack on the Berryman Trail. This is a rugged trail, circular in nature, so you end at the same spot you began. This design is so convenient because you end up back at your car without having to travel the same path back. It was to be a three-day adventure we would never forget.

Day 1: The Journey Begins

We arrived at the trail, loaded up the 75 lb packs on our backs. These packs contained everything we needed to survive. Freeze-dried food, water purification pellets, camp stove with fuel, sleeping bags, tent, and so on. We hiked through the day. It was a typically hot and humid August day. There didn't seem to be a breeze to be found anywhere.

Jim and I ate a wonderful lunch of dehydrated apples, cheese and unleavened bread. Tasty! The ticks and other jungle insects were unrelenting. The insect repellent cream that was supposedly used by the U.S. Army only seemed to attract them, rather than repel as I would have preferred.

That night we camped in a tiny pup tent, again no breeze. There was an abundance of wild animals that investigated our campsite at least 50 times during the night. I was sure these were bears and wolves who would like nothing better than enjoy a couple of city kids for a late-night snack. I felt safe and secure knowing a bear would never be able to penetrate the fortress of our tent made of the thinnest nylon fabric.

Day 2: A New Day

The next morning, I was groggy but those powdered eggs were indeed the incentive I needed to continue along toward our destination, the parked car and civilization were still another day away.

This day was so similar to Day 1. The topography and vegetation looked identical to that of the previous day. This was not going to be my best day.

That night we arrived at our pre-determined campsite. Our dinner was another freeze-dried delicacy that would have given cardboard a run for its money for culinary enjoyment. We were out of freeze-dried apples so there would be no dessert for us campers from the city.

We retired early, right at dusk in hopes of getting an early start in the morning. My back-packing pal didn't seem to be having much of a better time than I. To this day, I don't know if he was just sick of me or if he didn't enjoy this style of outdoor activity either. I fell asleep just as I laid my head down right where a pillow should have been.

About 10:00 p.m., I awoke to the sound of a diesel motor. It was a really nice big truck pulling a huge camper. Up until that time, I didn't realize this wilderness campsite had access to Missouri Highway W and our new neighbors were traveling in style.

It wasn't until 2 a.m. that they went to bed and turned off their big screen TV with theater surround sound. The sound and smell of their juicy 2" thick steaks sizzling on the grill was almost more than I could bear.

The rest of the night was restless as I was constantly reminded of how miserable I was: their central air unit cycled on and off every ten minutes. This had to be the worst night of my life.

Day 3: An Early Start

We got moving at the crack of dawn. I declined breakfast or coffee. I just wanted to go home so we hot-footed it the rest of the way to the car.

I was in heaven as I saw the parking lot, but realized I couldn't find my keys. It didn't take too long to find them, they were laying on the front-seat of the locked vehicle. My buddy apparently has talents in breaking and entering as he was able to open the car within a few minutes. He may be in prison as we speak.

I started the engine, turned on the air conditioning and we immediately headed to the nearest café for some food that had not been destroyed by some extraterrestrial food preparation technique embraced by NASA.

Conclusion: Here's where I get clever and make this apply to business

I decided back-packing wasn't right for me. I sold my gear and have never again been foolish enough to try such an undertaking. Other people love it, and I am happy for them. So, no disrespect is intended if this happens to be your thing.

I read somewhere that only 5% of the people who try affiliate marketing ever make enough money at it to earn a living. I believe that number is true, and most people will never do very well. This is a tough business.

The advantage for you and I: we have a support system unlike anything I have ever seen. With the complete training and support from the everyone here, I believe with the right amount of effort an dedication, everyone at Wealthy Affiliate can be among the 5%. We can all succeed.

The other 95% just weren't as smart as us and didn't take advantage of this nurturing community.

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for being smart. Ow! That hurt.


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Recent Comments


I can't stop laughing Kali... I can't catch my breath long enough to consider your business correlation, but I'll give it a shot after I pass out and get some air! LOL

I loved that story Kali. Especially when I got to your second night and you told how you woke up to the sound of the diesel motor, and could hardly bear the smell of the 2 inch steaks and the surround a sound big screen TV. Hilarious! I've had similar back packing experiences. But I have done a few, and many have been hikes and adventures that I wouldn't trade for the world. You should give it another try someday in places like Yosemite or Yellowstone. The topography changes, the wildlife is great, and in certain seasons, no bugs!

I live in the woods so every day is almost like camping. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I find however, that I rarely trek deep into the forest during the summer months. I don't like the ticks, snakes, etc. In the wintertime however, you can't keep me out of the woods.

If I wake at 3 a.m. and find blizzard conditions, you'll find me hiking for hours.

I have grown accustomed, however to a warm bed, a fire and a home-cooked meal. Perhaps I have the best right at my fingertips. (Is that a glass half-full kind of comment?)

This totally cracked me up, and reminds me of my one trip trying to snow ski. I went with a group, no lessons, and everyone took off, and got it, while I struggled with the bunny hill, fell down, couldn't get back up, so just layed there struggling, like a fish out of water, until some kind soul rode by and said over his shoulder, "take off one of your skis". I think he left the "stupid" off the end of that, but it worked like a charm, I got up, soaked to the bone, since no one bothered telling me not to wear jeans, and "walked" up the hill, while my friends were having a great time, I went through about 8 bowls of soup, trying to get warm, impossible, since I still had on my wet jeans, didn't bring any extra clothes either. I just counted the seconds until everyone was ready to leave, hoping I didn't develop pnemonia before that happened. To this day, I have no desire whatsoever to learn to ski, like you and your backpacking, and here I am, living in Colorado, ski capital of the nation, it figures.

I have to relate to your bug problem too. I went on Bivouac with the Air Force, and they gave us all that Army bug stuff. I had better luck though, because a friend warned me about it, and gave me some Avon Skin So Soft bath oil, the best stuff in the world, for everything, I go through this stuff like water to this day, and use it on the cat dishes I put outside to keep the ants out of the food, and I use it to get the the goo off after you take stickers off of things you buy. It has so many uses, and I use it for everything EXCEPT bath oil. Anyway, I'm not promoting SSS, just wanted to tell you, that Army stuff doesn't work for beans, and it's not just you. I was fine, but since they gave it to everyone, they ended up coming out with a truck and spraying the tents and the whole area, since this was in North Dakota. They sell TShirts there, with a big pic of a mosquito, and it reads "State Bird". That should tell you something.

Anyway, I'm not much of an outdoor person, jogged some when I was younger, that's about it, so I always thought people were stupid (no offense intended) for trucking around in the woods, up and down hills, etc., with 50 lbs of stuff on their back, just to see what's out there, I guess. Same thing as sleeping in a pup tent. I did that once, with a long ago boyfriend, and it rained, and it was really kind of romantic, but he had a gun, and this big truck that was parked next to us, so I felt pretty safe. We did some target practice, drank some beer, and watched the fire. It's a good memory, even so, if I ever did anything like that again, I want a cabin, with a bathroom and TP.

Well, good to know you're not doing that again, I still don't know what the point is to it all. If it's to get in shape, isn't that why they make treadmills? And when you've had enough, you just get off. And you don't have to carry anything on your back. I do love your stories though, they crack me up, and always remind me of things when I was younger, guess I'm just getting old, what's that called? Nostalgia? War Stories? Whatever, good times. What's funny, is even the bad times, are now remembered as good times. Yeah, I guess that's an age thing, geez, and I really didn't want to go there. Anyway, I always say, you have to try everything at least once, otherwise how can you complain about it? Of course with WA, I guess they're all just stories waiting to be written, so keep on writing, I just love these things..

Funny stuff. I wonder if I am chronicling all the silly things I've done in my life, just in case I lose my memory - at least I can read back on what I was like. :)

OK - Ski story. My first ski trip ever was to Summit County and this particular day we were at Keystone Mountain. I had gotten really sick on the first day of the trip and stayed home while all my friends took ski lessons. You don't want all the gory details - I always refer to this sickness as the Civil War Flu. (You don't know if the North or the South is going to win).

I was better on day 2 and my pals all said they would teach me and I would have it down by lunch time. (I had forgotten the incident about the inner tube and the lake). They took me to the beginner hill, (if you recall, Keystone was owned by the Ralston Purina company and the Bunny Hill was labeled 'Checkerboard Flats' ) they taught me the basic snowplow maneuver and left me to figure the rest out for myself.

I did ok, and after lunch went to the top of the hill - there is a very long green trail known as Schoolmarm. They took me to the very top of the mountain and we began our trek to the bottom. I fell every 10 feet. Fortunately, I had on snow bibs so I didn't have the wetness chill you had.

Anyway, 30 or 40 falls later, this fantastic skier raced toward me (I was again on my butt), skidded and sprayed snow all over me. That skier removed the goggles to reveal it was a girl (A Girl!, Shown up again by a girl). Anyway, she said there was a much easier way down the mountain and I was so happy and was awaiting her directions.

The easier way down the mountain, was not on my ass! Then she skied away.

I made one pass down the mountainside from noon until the lifts closed. That was one very expensive lift ticket!

I got better and while I wouldn't consider myself a great skier, I will attempt any hill. I may not look good but I can get down them.

Thanks for the reminder about skiing. That is another sport I really love.


Well, your trip seemed to go better than mine, but not by much. My friends taught me about like yours did, except they didn't even tell me how to get up if I fell, and I guess I just didn't figure it out. I guess I just wanted someone to resuce me, carry me up the hill, give me some dry clothes, and bring me a drink in front of a roaring fire. Ha, like that would ever happen.

I love your Civil War description of being sick, I'll have to remember that, what a great way to say it, since I've fought that same war, and there's no classy way to say it.

Well, I just woike up, and have one eye open, and am dying from the heat. I'm getting that AC in today, no matter what. I can't believe it, I've spent two of the hottest days cleaning the garage, and packing stuff up for Goodwill, my SUV was packed with the load I brought there yesterday. I don't start until midnight, so it'll be cooler, even though it doesn't seem so. Anyway, I have another load today, then that's good enough for awhile, at least I can get my car in without running over stuff, I only had inches on either side when I parked in there, so it was just a matter of time before I did some real damage. It's suppose to cool off and rain some this next week, so I'll get a break, then when it gets hot again, I'll probably start hanging out in the basement where it's cooler.

I have to clear out my one space at the antique mall today, and put some more stuff in, then that can wait for a week or so, while I start my schedule. WA is scheduled for Monday, so we'll see what problems I run into this time. Anyway, have a good weekend, and keep on writing these stories, I really do love them, and it appears everyone else does too. You should write a book. I have a friend who has always said I should write a book on my trip up Mt. Fuji, she thought it was hilarious, I never saw it as that funny, but I guess some of the stuff kind of is, so if I ever do start writing, I might do that. You should definitely collect these stories you write though, plus you write so well, you could call it "Memories of my Youth" or something. We should both do that. Anyway, gotta go, have a good one.

I am a garage fanatic. My brother always joked, isn't it interesting how someone will park their $30K car outside to protect $100 worth of junk.

I always respected that.

Don't get too overheated, and have a great week-end too.


Well I just packed up the last of my Antique mall stuff, and am ready to take a cold shower before I go. I know what you're saying though, I've known people who's garage was so full of stuff, there wasn't even a place to walk, while their cars are parked outside. MY dad lived for his garage, and had checkerboard tile on the floors, and hung egg cartons running across the ceiling, on wires, and had pegboard, with each tool painted on it, so he knew exactly where each tool went, and if anything was missing. He was so organized, it wasn't even funny. He had the coolest garage on the block, and everyone loved hanging out there, but he didn't like long hair, so if a guy had too long hair, he would bar them from his garage until they got a haircut. This guy came to see me once, and had on jeans and a Marine dress jacket, I thought he looked cool, but my dad went through the roof and wouldn't let me go with him, he thought it was a total disgrace to wear a uniform that way. Needless to say, he was pretty strict.

Anyway, getting sidetracked again, what I was saying, is I'm real protective of this car, since my Jeep got so beat up in the hail, so I don't go out in any weather, for fear of hail. The sky is all black, so it will probably rain, so I have to think about leaving, since I never know when it will hail, I'll probably get over this by next year, but it's my baby right now.

Well, this is the hottest room in the house, and sweat is running down my face, ooh, how sexy! Actually, my TShirt is sticking to me, and I'm feeling pretty gross, so a cold shower sounds real good right now. So have a good one, ttyl.

Wet T-Shirts, sounds pretty hot to me. You should write an article about your Dad, he sounds pretty cool. I'll bet I would have liked him.

I don't think you'd want to see me in a wet TShirt, maybe when I was 20, but I'd have to drink a lot of beer before I'd do it, even then. I'm an observer, not a doer.

You would have loved my dad, everyone did, especially the guys. He had no tact though, and a lot of women are sensitive about their weight, etc., and he'd zero in on it, like a joke, to embarrass them, I've been mortified more than once.

We were best of friends until I became a teen, and we kind of clashed after that. I've brought guys home before, and even after it ended, they still went back to see him. We always clashed because of my choice of boyfriends, how I spent my money, and a million other things, so I was surprised when I got married, and he actually liked my husband, unfortunately, he liked him better than I did. I didn't fit the mold, like my sister and mom, your standard wife and mother. My sister is a clone of my dad, so of course she was his little darling. I probably would have hated her, except that I liked her too much myself, she's a really hard person to hate, and I have never been able to stay mad at her, but then, I don't hold grudges anyway, once I go to sleep and wake up, I forget I was mad, usually.

Anyway, all the guys loved hanging out in his garage, and he'd tell his war stories, and they all just loved him. He bought this property up on Palomar Mt, in CA, and use to build models of what his house was going to look like someday. For years, before he retired, he'd go up there on the weekends, and just hang out, drink beer, and look at the stars. Yeah, he was a born mountain man, you guys would have really got along, I'm sure. He finally retired, built his house, the house literally sat on top of his garage, that's how big his garage was. He was part of the Volunteer Fire Dept, and they did a big story on the mountain, and called him a legend up there. It was really kind of cool, too bad you'll never have a chance to meet him.

Anyway, I got all my stuff done today, so the weekend is mine, but I'm going to try to start working on the house now. It was 94 today, but it's suppose to drop to the 80s and the high 70s next week, now that's more like it. It rained pretty good tonight, I can almost see the weeds growing, and it's suppose to rain every afternoon/eve through next week, but I have my stuff done, and groceries, so I'm just staying put.

I went to ACM today (Antique Mall), and got everything put up, and cleared out my space, and brought my shelving unit home. I was talking to this guy, and he said to get those mover pads, and if it hails while I'm out, I can through those over the car, and it will soften the blows, so there's little or no damage, so I need to find out where to get those. I did real good the last two weeks though, a sale every couple of days, so if this keeps up, I'll have a pretty decent check. I'm going to put my name on a waiting list for another space, next to my wine space, and start making jewelry out of that dichroic glass, and this viking weave for the chain. I found a small microwave kiln on Amazon for $80, but you can only make a piece or two at a time, but if I enjoy it, I can invest the $700-$900 for a regular small kiln. A lot to know with those, and I had a friend who had a big one, and she almost burned her house down, so they kind of scare me. I also want to learn Chain Maille, and make jewlry with these chinese knots, and make survivor bracelets. I have to learn some of this stuff, but I have kits and books, and there's always You Tube, so that's the plan. Then I quit, I'll be happy with those spaces,

Well, it's 4AM, and time to go to bed. I've had cat fights tonight (a stray came in my yard, and my cat with the attitude attacked him, then the dogs ran him up a tree. I have a cat tree on the front porch, and had a momma racoon and her 4 babies eating the cat food, and the babies were playing on it, and hanging upside down, etc. It was sooo cute. I couldn't stand them last year, because I had about 10 of them, or more, living in this huge appple tree next to the house, and running back and forth on the roof, and crapping all over the one side of the roof, and even the roof outside my window, like I really want to see that when I look out the window. So I really couldn't stand them, so I cut the tree down, and there's only one tree now, so it's only this one family, instead of a racoon convention every night. Geez, I did it again, get off the subject, and rambling, I do that anyway, when I'm tired, so I'm off to bed. I'm not even looking at this computer until Monday when I get back to my WA stuff, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I would like to read about your experience on Mount Fuji. I recently posted mine:

Really enjoyed this blog kali, and am afraid that I also do not enjoy the great and wild out-doors when it keeps me away from all my comforts. I enjoy my own bed at night, good meals, "conditioned air", and all the modern conveniences available to us! You sure are clever, and probably a bit tricky - turning that blog into a money-maker was good. You could probably promote a bucket of coal and make money at it!

I don't know, US President is starting to talk bad about the coal industry. Maybe it is time to bail. Or, maybe I could take all those lumps of coal II got as Christmas gifts and sell them to the energy companies. :)

And here, I thought you were gonna give people ideas about niches. I thought you were gonna promote earplugs.:0)

Funny stuff! Maybe food delivery service to campsites, great niche, eh?

Well, you had to mention it.
Once a year, I get together with a bunch of guys from Central PA. Long story how I hooked up with these guys but now this has been going on for 30+ years. We have t-shirts printed from the previous year's event (there is always a standout item of some kind)

The intent is Canoeing. It has become known as the Annual Pine Creek Regata. Basically it is a drinking weekend with Canoeing.

Anyhow, one year the organizer with input from others decided that dinner on Saturday after Canoeing all day was too hard to manage so he hired a Guy to come in and Cater a Chicken dinner for the 50 of us.

He did a pretty good job, showed up with a Grill on the open trailer. One of those 1/2 barrel things with lots of room to cook on. He fired up the grill with Charcoal, Boiled up some corn and new potatoes and basically came up with a great dinner for us. All in a primitive campsite next to the creek.

He finished up, tossed everything, including the grill into the back of his trailer and headed off down the road 20 miles to home.

Next year's t-shirt featured a burning trailer. Seems that the breeze stirred up the coals in the grill and ignited the trailer about 4 miles down the road. Trailer was a total loss.

Needless to say, we had to make our own dinner the next year. BTW you might have noticed the location. Same one as I sent you for your site.

I have added Pine Creek Trail to my Facebook page and I'm learning all about the wonderful adventures people have on this beautiful part of the world.

Canoe: My college pals had an annual float trip in the Current River in Missouri. We did this for years. The campsite was about a 4 hour drive from Kansas City, so one year someone had a great idea to make the drive more interesting. A scavenger hunt.

The person who collected the most valuable items along the way won a huge traveling trophy with a canoe on top. It was the most hideous thing ever. But if you won, you had to prominently display the trophy in your home until the next year. The winner had to organize the next year's scavenger hunt.

This was so much fun and it turned our 4 hour drive into a 8 to 12 hour one. What the heck. It was once a year and we still talk about it although we are all way too old for such foolishness today. I'm still young and foolish, but so many of my friends are really old. I wonder how that happened!

Nice one, Kali! Of course, I would have to pat my back as well for being in the the top 5%! LoL!!!

You deserve all the credit for making smart choices.

A good article for those who love free outdoors life. I do agree with you on the opinions that" only 5% of the people who try affiliate marketing ever make enough money at it to earn a living.....everyone at Wealthy Affiliate can be among the 5% ? " I realize that why someone comes and goes in WA. For me, may be I start thinking TO CALL IT QUITS even I am a premium member since I cannot see the goal set.


I would hate to see you quit at the beginning of your journey here. This is the hardest time of the process, but I'm already seeing it is getting easier.

Of course, you know what is best for you. If it makes sense, you can always back down from premium and still be a part of the community.

I would be interested in hearing what your final decision is. Whichever you decide, I support that decision 100%. Best of luck to you in every endeavor.


Hi, I agree with Kali, and would hang in there. I quit before, right after I got my website up, and here I am again, at the same place, considering it again. I paid for a year this time so I won't be quitting at this point, but I get so frustrated at every turn, on the other hand, I'm so proud of myself when I get it. The only way I can get around the frustration, is to take a break, this last one was a LONG break, but gave me time to think of what I want to do with this.

I really like talking to the people here, and reading their blogs, and I have got my website started, so that's something. Anyway, I've decided to dedicate one day a week, 4-5 hrs throughout the day, to WA, no pressure, since I won't have to do it again for another week, and just get done what I can that one day, you know, baby steps, but I think this is going to work well for me. I wanted to make some decent money at first, but if it comes, I know it will be awhile, so I'm doing whatever works for me, to enjoy the trip, learn what I can, and see where I am next year.

You should do the same, figure out how you can work it into your life, without stressing over it, and just do a little at a time until it gets easier, and enjoy the people, and whatever you can along the way, and see where you are down the road. I always wondered where I'd be if I would have just done this last time, since I think this will work for me. Find something that works for you, and just ask for help when you hit a snag. That's the good thing about WA, there are so many people willing to help. It's much easier to get help now, than when I first joined, and they are constantly working to make things easier for us, I don't know of anywhere else where they do that.

These are just some ideas I've had for myself, so maybe they will help you some. Anyway, good luck to you, no matter what you decide to do.

You are, as I have said, such a good writer; and, of course, I really enjoyed the WA pitch!

Gotta make this apply some how. I really like these blogs so much better than anything else I write. I have fun with them.

Only 5%? Very disappointing..

No 5% is exciting. If everyone did it then it wouldn't be worth anything. By being exclusive to the people who are willing to put in the work, those of who do can be wildly successful.

Mass participation dilutes the prize.

I like this approach. It is good to feel that you're a part of something special, a sort of elitism..Thank you for this. I've never thought this way. Very well done!

Love your stories. ;O) Hmmmm I think I remember someone saying that he was the tent camping kinda of guy, Haha

Tents are perfect as long as I can see the car.

uh unh whatever! ; O)

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