I recently spent a week backpacking in a remote region of the Washington Cascades. My hiking partner and I were on the trail for three days before we encountered another soul. Now that’s some solitude.
We rose each morning and looked eastward for the sun. There were wildfires burning north of us in Canada and sometimes our early sunshine was smoke-hazy. On this particular morning, the last day of our trip, Steve faced the sun and saluted it with this yoga pose.
Meeting nature on her terms can be a humbling experience. I am reminded how small I am in the world and how vulnerable we humans are in a wild, natural environment. But immersing myself in this wild place is also renewing and uplifting. Time spent in the great outdoors clears my head and nourishes my spirit.
On this Independence Day, I was lucky to be traveling through the wheat fields of Eastern Washington. It’s a reminder for me of just how vast, beautiful and diverse America is.
Riding a bike can be meditative. The rhythmic revolution of each pedal stroke and steady breathing can help clear your mind and put you in the present.
It feels natural then to make a short pilgrimage to the bicycle prayer wheel in Nord Alley. The wheel is mounted outside Back Alley Bike Repair and is available 24/7 for spinning prayers and good thoughts.
The fitness industry must be booming. There are six fitness facilities within a mile of my home–more if you include yoga, martial arts, and other specialty studios.
I’m glad that people care about their health and well being, but I don’t relate to going to the gym for a workout. Why spend time indoors spinning on a stationary bike when I can be outdoors exploring roads like this one?
I’ll share my 5 reasons to #optoutside:
- Variety. I can change up the scenery, terrain and duration simply by varying my travel route. My ride can be at dawn, at night, or anytime in between. I can ride rain or shine, on streets or trails, or in urban or rural environments. I can do all of this walking on my two feet as well.
- Time. The beauty of biking and walking is that it’s active living. I don’t have to carve out special time to do these things. Walking the dog, biking to work, jogging to do errands are examples of active living–daily tasks that incorporate physical activity. I am free to allocate my time to other pursuits rather than going to the gym.
- Money. Joining a gym or signing up for a fitness program costs money–sometimes a lot of money. I’d rather spend my extra dollars on travel, a night out with friends, or adding to my yarn stash.
- Accessibility. Almost everyone can walk or bike. Most of us can do it from our door step and it’s affordable. Neighborhood sidewalks and streets that take you to local parks, shops and libraries are enough to get you started.
- Nature. There’s a growing body of evidence that spending time outdoors is good for our health. That walk in the park or bike ride on a trail reduces my stress and mental fatigue, among other benefits.
Ok, now it’s your turn. Do you #optoutside? What are your reasons for doing so?
Raven’s call wakes me
Warming rays filter through tent
New day has arrived
I’m feeling a little blue this morning. Last night I learned that Ernie Bay, community leader and trail champion extraordinaire, died.
Ernie was a personal hero of mine. I met him when I was cutting my teeth in the world of bike and trail advocacy, working on forming what would become Friends of Burke-Gilman Trail. Ernie was championing the Foothills Trail, a rail-to-trail vision of a corridor that would connect the city of Tacoma with its rural neighbors and the Cascade foothills near Mount Rainier National Park. Continue reading
Dreams that you dare to dream.
Dreaming is a powerful state of mind. From Dorothy’s reverie about what lies over the rainbow to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s vision of a world where people are judged for their character and not by the color of their skin, dreams inspire and move us.