As an avid traveler and lover of the outdoors, I often wonder what it is about a mountain trail or thick forest that leaves me so breathless. Why am I so enthralled by wide open spaces, a desert river and deep valleys surrounded by snowy peaks? What is it about standing at the edge of the ocean that swells my soul with wonder?
If you asked these same questions to other outdoor enthusiasts, or maybe even yourself, I believe you would hear a similar answer: the unknown. It’s the moment when you look out as far as your eyes can see and all you can do is wonder what’s out there; the moment when you summit a 14er and see the other hills and peaks that stretch for miles. Those are the experiences that drive people to go outdoors. It’s the chance to see something new and be amazed by views that are so beyond what we could imagine without first experiencing.
In a trip to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, I experienced this feeling so tangibly while standing at the top of a 12,000-ft summit. When I finally sucked in enough air to stand straight in the high altitude, I looked up and paused to soak in the view. While staring across the green hills and seeing the distant mountain peaks, I spotted a dirt path headed straight toward that unknown territory. Right then, I wanted to pack my bag and hit the trail. Unfortunately, it wasn’t feasible. I was on vacation with my family and had none of the necessary preparations, but that didn’t take away from the joy of seeing and wondering what it would be like to go.
Mountain peaks aside, the allure of the unknown shows up in numerous landscapes. California is blessed with just about every terrain an outdoorsperson could hope to experience from Joshua Tree National Park to the Ocean to the Redwoods. Whether you reach the “Top of the World” in Laguna Beach and get to look out at the Pacific Ocean as the blue stretches beyond your view, or stand at the edge of the rocky desert-land in Joshua tree as the sun sets, every part of an outdoor journey holds the thrill of the unknown.
So friends, let’s dive into the outdoors and experience the rush of the unknown!
Mackenzie is a writer who loves to travel, be outdoors, find adventures, meet new people, hangout with old ones, ponder truth, and enjoy just about anything else that involves truly sucking the marrow out of life. Whether it's hiking a 14,000-ft mountain or traveling around the U.S. living out of her SUV, she loves to explore. Check out her blog at bandanabow.com.