Children, Youth and Environments 17(2), 2007
The Child’s Environmental Amnesia—
Peter H. Kahn, Jr.
University of Washington
Citation: Kahn Jr., Peter H. (2007). “The Child’s Environmental Amnesia—It’s
Children, Youth and Environments
17(2): 199-207. Retrieved [date] from
I was 17 at the time.
My two friends and I headed northeast on horseback aiming
for the edges of the Yolla Bolly Wilderness in Northern California.
By the afternoon
of the first day, we were in what to us was new country.
We crossed a river, and
traveled trails heavily overgrown with brush.
We managed perhaps 15 miles.
night we were surprised by a torrent of rain and our cheap plastic tube tents allowed
our sleeping bags, which were meager to start with, to end up as wet feathered
We figured we could make do without sleeping bags.
So we continued
east, up onto a high ridge in the Red Mountain area, and then we looped south as
the snow began to fall.
We had seen on a map that an old guest lodge, owned by
the closest thing this area had to a land baron, was somewhere further south by a
We kept our horses pointed that direction, and at a pretty steady trot we
arrived by late afternoon.
We then found our way into a small rustic guest cabin,
locked up though it was, and I’d prefer not to mention more about our method of
entry except to say that the light snow had mixed with cold sleet and we were frigid
cold, nothing mixed about it.
On the third night we camped beneath the summit of
Huge forests, primeval.
No rain, just cold.
We collected a night’s
worth of wood, built a large fire, and lay beside it, half of our bodies burning from
the heat and the other half freezing from the cold.
We knew this was good living.
We also knew it wasn’t so shabby back at the ranch.
The next day we rode 25 miles
home and called it a trip.
I came of age in these mountains.
I lived in these mountains.
Now, at best, I can
say I am a man who lives on 670 acres.
2007 Children, Youth and Environments