Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and Loving the Outdoors [GUEST POST]

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.

  1. The warm feeling you get from slipping into your sleeping bag for the first time on a cold night.
  2. The taste of fresh water pumped just moments ago from a lake.
  3. Seeing the moon or stars from inside the tent.
  4. The wonderful creativity, brainstorming sessions and thought-provoking conversations that go along with a nice stroll outside or a long drive to your destination.
  5. The feeling you get when you see your car after a long, hard day of hiking.
  6. Being sore the next day but having great stories to explain the hobbling around the office.
  7. Water. Hiking, backpacking and being active outdoors bring my appreciation of water to a whole new level.
  8. Chipmunks, fawn, calves, marmots, bunnies, and all sorts of other cute animals to coo at.
  9. The smell of campfire.
  10. Getting to spend quality time with someone you love in a place that you love (or just discovered you now love)
And those are just a few things as the list keeps growing and growing with each trip out. I guess it's true that you really do find love in unexpected (and beautiful) places!

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