One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken – Leo Tolstoy

I took the shuttle bus out to Toklat to go hiking with some friends Saturday. On the bus ride one of my friends remarked, “That looks like it’d be fun to climb.” She was looking up a mountain. To her the idea of hiking up a mountain and standing on top of it was something of pride and accomplishment. While,when I do hike up a mountain I do feel that pride and accomplishment, I have never, not once in my life, looked at a mountain and thought, “I want to stand on top of that.” My brain just isn’t hard wired that way. I enjoy hiking and it is awe inspiring to stand higher than your surroundings and look down on the world, but when setting out on a hike I don’t think on those terms. I think ‘my legs are going to hate me tomorrow’ or ‘I’m so slow everyone I’m hiking with is going to get annoyed with me’ or I’m terrified I lack the coordination to make it up a steep slope and I’ll plummet to my death. And trust me, all those thoughts and more ran through my head yesterday, and it wasn’t even a long or particularly challenging hike. But today, my legs are surprisingly okay, my friends are still talking to me, and hey, I’m alive. I want to think differently and I’m sure one day it will happen, but until then I’m glad I have friends to motivate me to get out there because it’s worth it.

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5.24_10 Me, clearly ecstatic that I made it up alive.

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