Recently, I completed a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) expedition leader training in the back country of North Cascades. While I was there, I certainly had the opportunity to sharpen my “outdoorsy” backpacking, knot tying, and risk management skills.
An unexpected gift unfolded for me out there, too: After about day 5 or so out in the wilds of Washington State, a clarity of mind came over me that I rarely experience in the “front country” (a term backpackers often use to refer to developed, non-wilderness areas). I returned to my Midwestern home with a renewed reservoir of energy to live my fleeting life on this planet in ways that truly prioritize what is most meaningful to me.
With deep reverence and gratitude for the wild rugged beauty of the North Cascades (and for the wild beauty all around us, if we only take a moment to look, smell, feel…), I offer a glimpse of my recent journey (photos taken by my talented fellow students & leaders):
In my own journey, I am reminded of John Muir’s quote:
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
Cheers to going home. I welcome you here, too.