The elusive American wilderness: in search of my own private Idaho

Off-trail amid towering mountains, engulfed in freezing fog and stepping over fresh bear tracks, our writer finally finds America in the raw

In 1901, the pioneering environmentalist John Muir sat down to write a compendium of America’s wildernesses, places he had learned to love and also helped preserve as the world’s first national parks. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people,” he wrote, “are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity …”

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