In another short burst of wisdom, Mr. Egan brings attention to the remarkable risks that accompany forays into wilderness, quoting one of the elders of the field:
Yosemite’s most lyrical advocate, the naturalist John Muir, anticipated the urban hordes as the population moved away from field and farm. At the dawn of the 20th century, he saw the parks as places to escape “the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury.” But Muir also expected people to have some basic understanding of the outdoors.
This paragraph is bounded by vignettes of sublime and ridiculous examples of nature providing refuge as well as danger. It is not clear why he validates a trope of ideologues–his point would have been made without the nanny state reference. Or would it?