Today, being Valentines Day, it seems appropriate to talk a little about love. Who better to do it than the lady I love, my hiking companion, Beylah.
The two of us on the Muir Snowfield, Mt. Rainier.
I didn’t always love the outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, my family would go on excursions to Yosemite and Big Basin while I was growing up, and we’d frequent local parks and trails just in our backyard. And of course I liked it. But my relationship with the outdoors didn’t quite surpass the like phase until much later in life.
It all started with meeting Chris, a former Boy Scout with a strong desire to do anything that involved putting on hiking boots. All of a sudden I found myself on weekend road-trips to Big Sur to hike and photograph near waterfalls, taking a hiking class at our local community college, investing in fleece and hiking pants and *gasp* real hiking boots, and camping out in the wilderness.
It's only in the last year and a half that things got really serious. Before I had time to question the insanity I was going on multi-day backpacking trips, pumping my own water straight from a lake, investing in national parks passes, and shelling out the $15 for my very own REI membership card (Oh, and I dare I say camp in places without a bathroom and running water?).
The thing is that I kind of loved everything that went with it. Who would have thought? Even though I was hesitant, thanks to Chris I have developed a real love of the outdoors. (Chris 1, Beylah 0.) Therefore I thought that on Valentine’s Day it would only be appropriate to share with you the things I enjoy most about my new found love, the outdoors:
Caption: Our Second Camping Trip. Gaviota State Beach, April 2009.
- The warm feeling you get from slipping into your sleeping bag for the first time on a cold night.
- The taste of fresh water pumped just moments ago from a lake.
- Seeing the moon or stars from inside the tent.
- The wonderful creativity, brainstorming sessions and thought-provoking conversations that go along with a nice stroll outside or a long drive to your destination.
- The feeling you get when you see your car after a long, hard day of hiking.
- Being sore the next day but having great stories to explain the hobbling around the office.
- Water. Hiking, backpacking and being active outdoors bring my appreciation of water to a whole new level.
- Chipmunks, fawn, calves, marmots, bunnies, and all sorts of other cute animals to coo at.
- The smell of campfire.
- Getting to spend quality time with someone you love in a place that you love (or just discovered you now love)