By Ernie Maxwell
Town Crier Founder

During our many years in the woods we’ve heard one tune many times. Its melody boils down to one theme: “When things get too rough, I’ll take to the hills.”

Generally, the thought behind the tune is that when man begins to destroy himself, the place to be is deep in the wilderness, which is the small piece of America conservationists are trying vainly to hold for a few more years.

What most modern folks don’t realize is that heading for the woods to live off the land is rougher than living in a city when a super-super bomb goes off.

Assuming these people don’t starve the first week and feel too faint the second week to hunt for nuts, there’s the matter of convenience.

How about hot water? Most of us take a bath or shower whenever we feel like it. There must be plenty of hot water, a bar of soap and a clean towel. If the room is chilly, we require a heater.

Then, we must have clean clothes and a mirror to study the face, ears and teeth, not to mention an appraisal of the hair — or where it used to be.

What about moving about after dark? In the era of electricity, it’s no trouble to locate toothbrush, glasses, shoes or headache pills.

Try doing this in camp without a flashlight or full moon. Any item laid down in the forest after dark usually stays there until dawn, subject to removal by wildlife.

Most of the folks who brush world disaster off with “I’ll be safe under a lean-to” haven’t tried sleeping in a downpour or snowstorm without benefit of a roof. Nor have they spent the night in a cold, wet sleeping bag.

Finally, there’s the problem of space. Few people realize how small an area remains in its primitive state, excluding dense jungles of other lands.

If the woods fill with refugees singing the same melody about safety in the forest, all we can say is that there won’t be enough nuts and seeds to go around.

This ran in the Aug. 19, 1960 issue of the Idyllwild Town Crier.