This summer I answered the call of the wild. I spent four and a half months residing within the Tahoe National Forest, living simply and reconnecting with nature. Low-impact, portable outdoor living was the name of the game, and I made sure not to leave a single bit of evidence that I was ever out there.
For me, Leave No Trace is far more than just picking up your litter (and litter found along the way), it is using the outdoors in a minimal and responsible way. LNT is digging a proper cat hole, appropriately disposing of wash water and even making sure to spit out your toothpaste in a way that is virtually invisible to passers by and harmless to woodland creatures.
These wilderness areas were set aside to be left wild. There are so few places left in the world that are devoid of human influence that it becomes our responsibility to protect these places where nature is able to run its course. When I am out in the forest I make it a point to tread lightly and have as little impact as possible on the forest.
As soon as I began noticing faint trails forming around my campsite, I’d pick up and move to a new location. Same thing if I noticed that my presence has started leaving a mark in any way. I wanted to leave the forest exactly as I found it. If somebody hiked through one of my previous campsites they would never know I was there.
Besides practicing Leave No Trace for ethical reasons, I also had a very practical reason to not be seen. I was not fully sure what the legal status was for high-country homelessness on public land at first, so treading lightly protected my own hide as well as those belonging to the furry critters that I called my neighbors.
Todd Shimkus is a web developer at Tahoe Mountain Sports, and penned this Leave No Trace post to cap off our big $1 per fan Facebook promotion with the organization. Just a few days left to like us on Facebook for the great, Leave No Trace cause. Don’t delay!
Todd Shimkus manages the technical web operations for Tahoe Mountain Sports, including tahoemountainsports.com and our web presence on other online marketplaces. When not behind the computer, Todd enjoys rock climbing, hiking and snowboarding.