What's Tony Thinking

Fast Takes: Mask-less, Un-Discovered, and Grand-dogs


What a day it was in Seattle today for our first day of going mask-less! Whoo-hoo! While the place where I work out still wanted us masked, I joined a friend for a walk in Discovery Park on this most gloriously beautiful day. We were gratefully mask-less, as were virtually all of those we saw on the trails.

But it’s a transition. Having gotten used to masks, not everyone is quite ready to let’er rip, so to speak. And there’s also a bit of a weird “we don’t trust the science” thing now coming from the left. Now that the science, a.k.a. the CDC, are saying it’s okay for the fully vaccinated to shed masks some are worried that going mask-less will lead people to think they are among the  scoff-laws and irresponsible, or worse, conservatives or right-wingers.

So masks continue to be “cultural signifiers,” as in which side of the culture war are you on. Which is just nuts. Only now, the shoe’s on the other foot, the left foot. Go figure.

We will head to the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon later next week. Time to open up, clean up, fix up the old family cabin. And I do mean old. “The cabin” will turn 100 in 2026. Compared to the things people build these days, our “cabin” is tiny, about 1100 square feet. I have a hard time calling the newer cabins in the area “cabins.” Most seem to weigh in somewhere in excess of 3,000 square feet. Some in the 5,000 square foot category. Whatever happened to “living simply, that others may simply live”?

In recent years, really over the last thirty, there have been all sorts of articles about the Wallowas in publications like Sunset, The New York Times, and Outdoors touting the Wallowas as an “undiscovered” pristine place (one of the last!) This is a genre in the travel industry, telling people about that special, unsullied, undiscovered place that is awaiting you.

I suggest we travelers stop lusting for, vying to be the first (you won’t be anyhow) to whatever the new “undiscovered” place may be. What happens is that such, often fragile, places get overrun — which is happening in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of the Wallowas.

There’s something to be said for humbly sticking to the “discovered.” These areas are better prepared for handling big numbers. The constant search for the next, the new and “undiscovered” place only means that our human footprint keeps, like our houses, getting bigger and more impactful.

We are “grand-dog” sitting for the week, as Laura travels. Her “Georgie” is adapting to life in the condo rather well. Although our cat, “George,” (is this some kind of family fetish with the name “George”?) is less than thrilled. She has retreated to a corner of our bedroom to sulk.

Anyhow, all this to invite you to watch a video that is pretty fun for those who love dogs (and mountain biking). Here it is. Watch those doggies run with joy and abandon! This will put a smile on your face. Guaranteed.

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