Those of us who spend time in wild places often read about it in our spare time. Over the years we each find written words that have special meaning to us, words that help us understand our place in the natural world. Many times these words also help us to understand ourselves better. In the hope that some of these words may inspire, inform, or instruct you in your own journeys into the natural world, in this post I offer a series of my favorite quotes on wandering through the various wilderness locations that you may encounter.

“We do not go into the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks – anywhere that we may be placed – with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left. … Wherefore, let us be thankful that there are still thousands of cool, green nooks beside crystal springs, where the weary soul may hide for a time, away from debts, duns, and deviltries, and a while commune with nature in her undress.”

~ Nessmuck (George Washington Sears), Woodcraft, 1920

“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”

~ Fred Bear, Fred Bear’s Field Notes: The Adventures of Fred Bear, 1976

“The saying, Know More and Carry Less, is a popular saying among many outdoorsmen and adventurers … I can carry far more in my brain than I can carry on my back. Knowing more and carrying less not only forces the Earthroamer to be well versed in survival skills, thrival skills, and all manner of outdoor skills, but creates a better, more self-reliant and confident person. … Knowing more and carrying less means knowledge and skills are far more valuable when compared to unnecessary stuff. … How a person mentally and emotionally connects to nature is for each person to discover on their own.”

~ Donny Dust, Earthroamer, 2020

“The real archer when he goes afield enters a land of subtle delight. The dew glistens on the leaves, the thrush sings in the bush, the soft wind blows, and all nature welcomes him as she has the hunter since the world began. With the bow in his hand, his arrows softly rustling in the quiver, a horn at his back, and a hound at his heels, what more can a man want in life?”

~ Saxton Pope, Hunting with the Bow and Arrow, 1923

Hunter-gatherers are often thought of as more spiritual and connected to Nature than us, their modern counterparts. … Today we live in a modern world struggling to find the balance between a connection to Nature and the ability to modify it with seemingly endless technological power. … It would appear that a relationship with Nature is as vital today as it was in the early days of humanity and ignoring this fact can lead to a life of fear and neurotic behavior.”

~ Mike Lummio, 21st Century Bushcraft, 2020

“I have written much about many good places. But the best places of all, I have never mentioned.”

~ Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, 1989

“Then on a still night, when the campfire is low and the Pleiades have climbed over the rimrocks, sit quietly and listen for a wolf to howl, and think hard of everything you have seen and tried to understand. Then you may hear it- a vast pulsing harmony- its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and the centuries.”

― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, 1949

“A considerable part of the earth is still in a wild state. Many of us, sooner or later, will come in contact with some part of it; and the ability to travel in such areas can be a real source of enjoyment. … Wandering through a wilderness area is not aimless. You hit the target of adventure more often than you miss”.

~ Calvin Rutstrum, The New Way of the Wilderness, 1958

“There’s an absolute surety to the hands-on conservation lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping where you know you’re going to consume today.”

~ Ted Nugent

“The problem with most people today is that they seek the ultimate thrills and the grandiose entertainment even when they venture outdoors. We mistakenly admire the person that has toured the greater wonders of the world and ignore the people who seek out the little pockets of nature. And yet those who know how to look close possess a greater understanding of the oneness of nature. When they do finally face the grand and beautiful panoramas, they will know them in a much deeper way. They will fully understand the connection between the grandest mountain and the smallest blade of grass, and how each is dependent upon and a reflection of the other.”

~ Tom Brown, Field Guide to the Forgotten Wilderness, 1987

“A camp proper is a nomad’s biding-place. He may occupy it for a season or only for a single night according as the site and its surroundings please or do not please the wanderer’s whim. … It is not possession of the land, but of the landscape, that he enjoys; and as for that, all the wild parts of the earth are his, by a title that carries no obligation but that he shall not desecrate nor lay them waste.”

~ Horace Kephart, Camping and Woodcraft, 1917

And finally, just a bit of humor…

“If God didn’t want men to hunt, He wouldn’t have given them plaid shirts.” – Johnny Carson