Tag Archives: Planned Obsolescence

Adventure #2: Snow, Soul Healing Fun, with a Story of Planned Obsolescence

Me - Snow

In my year-long journey to explore areas closer to home, my second adventure included a beautiful warm sunny day on Mt. Hood. Growing up in Bend Oregon, I had plenty of experiences on and arounMt. Bachelor, but I’ve  explored the Mt. Hood area very little. I grew up cross-country skiing, and honestly didn’t care for it much when I was a child (I was always so cold), but as an adult, I have grown to really love it. It’s such a pleasant way to enjoy the wilderness and snow in the winter season, and get a great workout. Cross-Country skiing is far more affordable than the alternative down-hill options, so it’s perfect for those of us that want to get outdoors, but are on a tighter budget.

I headed toward Mount Hood Meadows, a ski resort for those of you looking to snowboard or ski quickly down-hill. There are several snow parks in the area for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. I went with basically zero plan, and winged it quite successfully. (Note: these snow parks do require parking passes. They can be purchased nearly anywhere heading up the mountain.) It had snowed  1-2 feet the day before, so the area was simply gorgeous with fresh snow. Although it was a beautiful day, I went during the middle of the week, so very few people were out. I’m sort of selfish with my outdoor time. Unless I’m spending the day with friends or family, I enjoy being alone when I’m in the woods, nothing pleases me more, to be the only one out there. This proved handy when I had to take half my clothes off along the trail later, as I was way over dressed for such a warm day. (However, I obviously encourage folks to let someone know where you are going, and when to expect you home.)

Trees-Snow

I first went to Bennet Snow Park. Since it was my first time, I talked to a couple people I saw in the parking lot for insight into the area. (Okay, having people around has its advantages haha.) With all the fresh snow, there wasn’t a lot of tracks down yet, and since it was my first time out on skis in more than three years, I thought it would be good to stick to the main trail.

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So I geared up in my snow pants (bib style purchased at Goodwill for $7.00), and my late grandmother’s skis, boots, and poles she purchased in the 1980’s. Good thing retro is so cool in the Portland area, or I may have looked silly. I have a thing about avoiding upgrading or replacing items until absolutely necessary, especially when the equipment you have works perfectly well. (See my post on Planned Obsolescence.)

I will admit, I was a little cranky heading up to the mountain. We all have our off days, and I was just letting things get to me. The stress of looking for work and continual rejection can be  heavy at times. However, as soon as I took that first swish in the snow, all my anxieties, negativities, and grumpiness melted. There is nothing more healing than getting into that crisp fresh air. It was exactly what my mind, body and soul needed!

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I traveled the trail as it traversed a cliff heading into the woods with a very slow incline rising to a hill with a sweeping view of Mt. Hood and the valley below. It was a relatively short distance, so I decided to make my way to another snow park nearby. I randomly picked the White River Canyon snow park only a mile or so down the road back towards Government Camp.

I was greeted with several families sledding on the hills near the parking lot. The lot itself was much larger than Bennet, indicating its popularity. And I can attest, this was honestly one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever skied in. The trail traveled along a canyon with a running creek below and the mountain right in from of you. There was a wonderful expanse of vision along the trail (nice juxtaposition from the thick woods I was in minutes prior).

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I didn’t have a lot of time, so I traveled up the trail for a mile and half, and then made my way back to the parking lot. I didn’t notice I was going up hill on the way in, so to my surprise I glided all the way down (with a few falls here and there. I don’t like to go too fast, and I’m sure I was tired by this point haha).

It was a fabulous experience. I really encourage folks to try an outdoor activity that you haven’t experienced, or use gear that has been gathering dust for years- shake out those cobwebs and give it a try again. It’s one of the most rejuvenating experiences for us. Also, it’s easy and fairly low in cost to rent gear if you would like to give it a go. A friend of mine recently lent me his snowshoes, so perhaps that will be my next adventure.

Please share some of your favorite winter spots below!

Fighting Planned Obsolescence: The Bike Story

The highlight of my 13th birthday: the gift of a brand new bike.  My father took me to the neighborhood Schwinn store where I picked out a blue framed mountain bike with a neon yellow water bottle holder. The real miracle: I still use this bike every day!

For more than 20 years, this bike has served me well.  At times, it was my only mode of transportation.  It got me to and from work, grocery shopping and errand running. I explored my neighborhood, campgrounds in the summer, and nearby bike trails. Now my bike gets me to and from school nearly every day, and last summer it lived at Burning Man for a week, where it was decorated with accents and playa dust.

My bike has taken a few different forms over the years. A child seat was on the back for several years where my daughter rode around  town with me.  When she got older, I added a tag-along bike so she could help me pedal us around, though most of the time she simply cruised along “forgetting” to pedal.  Two years ago, my bike was transitioned back to a single ride mode of transportation as my daughter learned to ride her own bike and gained independence with her very own two-wheeler.

I have seen nice bikes over the years that always tempt me for half a moment to think, “Oh, I would like a new bike.” However, my bike works great; there is nothing wrong with it therefore, how could I even consider getting rid of it and purchasing something new!

Most people are quick to jump on the “new” bandwagon.  We want the next best thing, even if that means chucking something that is still perfectly useful.  Consumers are not entirely to blame for this occurrence of course.  Marketers purposefully create new designs for things every year so that individuals feel the need to keep spending their money to buy new things.

It’s a Type of Planned Obsolescence

Clothing and accessories are an easy example of this.  New styles come out not just annually, but seasonally.  It is easy to feel trapped into wanting to “fit in” with the newest fad.  Technology is another big market for planned obsolescence. For example, cell phone models change nearly monthly, prompting consumers to throw out their perfectly functioning old phones for the newest models. Not only is this mentality a waste of money for consumers, but it is very hard on the planet.  Many finite resources go into making all of our consumer goods, and every time we purchase new things, we are adding a burden on those resources.

I make a point with my daughter to explain the marketing behind new trends every year, and encourage her not to be “caught up” in that month’s biggest fad. I remember in junior high I just had to have a certain brand of jeans and winter coat; all the “cool” kids had them. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with those requests yet with my little one. She still gets a thrill out of going thrift shopping with her mom, though I’m sure those days won’t last forever!

As for my bike, it gets me everywhere I need to go and more.  I might still look at the shiny bikes that pass me by, but feel good knowing that I didn’t fall for the trap of planned obsolescence!

For more information about “Stuff” and planned obsolescence, watch Annie Leonard’s phenomenal 20-minute documentary: “The Story of Stuff.”  The link will take you to the website where you will find all her short clips. It is well worth your time, enjoy.