Exploration and adventure in nature has been integral in shaping my identity. I drew inspiration for this project from my own experience in nature, in the awe-stricken humility I feel in the face of its sublimity, and from American Earth readings. One piece that has been particularly inspirational in my life and to this project was Why We Need Wilderness by Wallace Stegner. Stegner touches on the issue of liberty when he says that if we continue with our detached and consumptive practices unabated, “never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste.” Today we exalt freedom and individual liberties, but we rarely think of how our freedom would be hindered if we simply did not have the ability to do something or go somewhere because we had destroyed it. And Stegner proposes just that: that if we are not careful we will rob ourselves of our right as natural beings to be part of nature.
Hopefully my project emphasizes the importance of nature in our local community and to our identity as human beings. I believe that we humans need forces greater than ourselves to keep us in check. Laws, natural disasters, and nature itself above all are the powers necessary to remind us, in Stegner’s words, of “our sanity as creatures.” Nature is sublime. Nature, with its complex interactions and intricate ecosystems, is greater and more powerful than we can understand, and we need the presence of this higher power to remind us that we are simply creatures in a greater natural community.
The driving force behind my project is my desire to make the outdoors accessible to everyone. This guide to “Seven Wonders of Marin” will hopefully encourage and inspire others in the community to spend time in nature as I have. And by providing directions to these places by public transportation, the natural world can be more accessible to those who may not have cars or easy ways to access these places. Hopefully this guide will inspire and facilitate access so that everyone can find joy and inspiration in these places, not just those who can afford to drive there.
And although I've provided ways to get to trailheads and various places, I haven't detailed specific hikes. This is because I believe in exploration. Once you are in a beautiful place, I think it is best to walk, wander, and see where you end up. The Seven Wonders I've chosen have beauty at every turn. Let yourself enjoy.