During an email exchange with a friend of mine,  we discussed how part of the allure of the outdoor life is simplicity.

As we are both gentlemen in our 40s, with busy lives, it seems that this aspect of the outdoors has more and more appeal with each passing year.

When I did trail work this past weekend, a highlight for me was just simply being in camp on that Friday night before the work began.

The creek provided some gentle background noise. The slight damp and decaying smell of the vegetation from the recent rains had a pleasant earthy odor. And there were stars peeking out of the partially cloud covered sky.

No WiFi. No cell phone signal. I do not know what was going on a mere hour down the road in “civilization“.

I was just enjoying being out in the night air.

Outdoors. Under the sky. Nothing to worry about but sipping my beer and turning the next page in my book.

I’ve hiked thirty mile days, skied out in , and camped in, below zero conditions and scrambled up mountains with a lot of elevation gain.

But when I think of my moments in the outdoors that I treasured the most….they were moments of simplicity:

  • Making it to a mountain pass as the sun was starting to set and seeing the pink light reflect on a tarn.
  • A quiet lake in Maine with the loons making their evening call.
  • Schussing through the freshly fallen snow with all noises muffled
  • Waking up in New Mexico and seeing the gorge below our campsite that we had to our selves
  • A cup of hot coffee on a cool Autumn morning

And countless other memories.

As I spend time in the outdoors, the physical challenges, the beauty and the remoteness will always be facets of the experience I treasure.

But I think the simplicity, and the calm I receive from it, are what I will continue to treasure the most.

Some would call the outdoors an escape.

I think of it a return to what is an important part of my life.

And in many ways, a needed part.


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8 years ago

Ironic that I never sleep good in a hotel room, yet I struggle to stay awake in my tent listening to coyote yelps and looking at the stars. So relaxing!