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canoeing on still lake Photo: Gary McGuffin

The lost art of disconnecting in a digital age

“Are you Tweeting?”

It can be a crushing blow to any backcountry experience. Enveloped in sublime solitude, a friend’s phone lets out the cheery chirp, the confirmation of 140 characters sent to a distant cellphone tower, relayed to Twitter and the whole world successfully. Even 20 miles from the nearest road, the experience becomes a little less remote and a little less wild.

What was the purpose of grunting up portages, sacrificing blood to blackflies and battling that never-ending headwind, I ask myself, if only to stay plugged into to what we’re trying to escape. We’ve brought our connection to the hectic rat race—and more technology than put man on the moon—with us, and it’s right here in our pockets.

Keeping up with social media in the wilderness might seem like the antithesis to a wilderness adventure, but gone too are the days of simply vanishing into the woods. How digital devices are affecting wilderness experiences is a hot topic perplexing outdoor educators. As tools such as satellite communicators, GPS devices and yes, even the iPhone, become smaller, cheaper and more powerful, they’ve become essentials in our camp kits. Does having them there take away from what we ventured into the wilderness for in the first place? ...

 

 

Screen_Shot_2014-07-15_at_11.04.39_AM.pngKeep reading this article in the digital edition of Canoeroots and Family Camping, Early Summer 2014, on our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it on your desktop here.

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