The great Sir Edmund Hilary stated, “It is not the mountains we conquer but we ourselves.”

John Muir has many great lines, and two of the great ones are: “The mountains are calling and I must go” and “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure at least a few of them are dirt.”

Getting out in nature has brought me peace, joy, excitement, growth, and healing.

Trekking up a volcano in Ecuador, watching the sunrise from atop Mount Fuji, feeling the water hit your face on Yosemite’s Mist Trail, or staring 5,000 feet up from the bottom of the Grand Canyon are experiences that fill your soul.

When you get into the outdoors you take a deep breath, unwind from the demands of cities, jobs, and our daily routine.  As we become more and more connected and dependent on technology the purity of the outdoors calls us to come play in nature’s playground.

I played team sports all the till age 20.

Life was a rotating wheel of soccer, basketball, and baseball.  The following summer, my first sports-free summer in 15 years, I applied to work at an outdoors camp high in the Rockies in Colorado. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  The mountains were totally unfamiliar to me.  My biggest hikes included 4 miles on Yosemite’s Mist Trail and walking on Sacramento’s pancake flat bike trail.

Over the next couple of months I learned to love the outdoors.  My field and gym were exchanged for a dirt trail and trail running shoes, which could lead to unbelievable views and sense of accomplishment I had never felt before.  Summiting 14,000 peaks like Mount Massive, Colombia, Huron, Yale, and Elbert only helped my confidence grow.  There was no game clock, no opponent, no winning or losing.  Every day out in nature was a chance to push yourself, enjoy time with friends or alone, take awesome pictures, and feel truly at peace.

That same summer I started running…

this time not as punishment for a loss in a soccer game, but rather for the great workout and incredible feeling it gave me.  It also provided a chance to be with friends on early morning runs at 8,000 feet with some of Colorado’s biggest peaks looming behind me.  I started training regularly and got into running marathons.  The following years would see me run dozens of 26.2 mile races while living in the U.S. and abroad.

While I have loved running in official marathons, in recent times I have returned more and more to the trails to run and hike.  The joy in choosing a new peak, trail, mountain pass, or waterfall to get to keeps me heading out into wild places near home and overseas.

Getting into the outdoors ALWAYS makes you feel better.

Busy week at work?  Want a cheap activity to do with friends?  Need some alone time?  Want a great workout without staring at yourself and others in a crowded gym?  Looking to explore the beauty in your state?  GET OUTSIDE!  You will never regret taking sometime to recharge by heading out into the great outdoors!