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Life Lessons in the Wild?

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New England outdoorsman Guy Waterman and his son mountaineer Johnny Waterman both placed a high premium on their wilderness experiences—perhaps too high, considering their tragic fates. (See "The Last Cairn" in the March 2003 Adventure—read excerpt.)

Whether the Watermans looked to their time in the outdoors as a chance to "find" themselves or to bag a difficult peak is a matter of speculation, one that rests on the idea that wilderness has the power to transform lives. That may have been true in the frontier-era U.S., but does that notion carry any credence today?

Can the outdoors really shape a person's character?

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March 2003



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