This past weekend, Tara and I went hiking.
Which seems to be a recurring theme in my life these days. I have gone hiking every weekend for the past month. Maybe in a past life I was Paul Bunyan, but in this one I have traded in my axe for hiking poles. I don’t want to chop down trees; I just want to enjoy them.
I do wish I owned a blue ox, though. How cool would that be?!
I owe my love of nature to my folks, I suppose. For as long as I can remember, we have always gone hiking. Growing up in Hawaii we’d trek through lush bamboo forests, retrieving passionfruit that had fallen from trees that my mom would subsequently turn into these amazing cookies. In Ohio, we bought a pop-up camper and explored some of the farthest corners of the Buckeye State. In South Dakota, the Black Hills were our playground. Hiking has long been an important part of my life.
When I married my ex, hiking took a backseat to other pursuits. Raising kids is hard work, and saps your energy. The last thing in the world you feel like doing is tackling five or six miles through rugged backcountry when you’ve just stepped on a Lego and gotten a whopping three hours of sleep.
After our divorce, I spent a couple of years trying to navigate the dating world (oh-so-fun!) (no, really!) and my newfound freedom before I remembered hiking. One morning in 2009 I woke up and suddenly recalled that getting outside and enjoying nature was something I used to do quite frequently. So I gave it a whirl again. And quickly became hooked.
One of the things I love most about Tara is her own love of getting outside and exploring. During my first trip to Ely, before we were even an official couple, we drove out to Great Basin State Park and ended up doing an alpine hike at Mount Wheeler. Elevation: 10,000′. That was brutal, and just about killed me. Then again, I was a good 60+ lbs. heavier and used to sea level. I’m surprised I didn’t keel over from a heart attack.
We’ve hiked together many times since, and now that I’m fit, it’s only gotten easier. I bet I could conquer Mount Wheeler without even breaking a sweat today. Elevation gain and altitude don’t even faze me. It’s tough to pick a favorite hike – we’ve done a lot of good ones over the years. The hike across the pumice plain to a hidden waterfall in the crater of Mount St. Helens was memorable. As was the Iron Goat Trail and haunted railroad in Steven’s Pass, the Naches Peak Loop at Mount Rainier, and the huckleberry fields in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. If there are trees, I’m in my element. The forest is my happy place.
Here are some pics of recent hikes. Enjoy!