Five Reasons I'm Grateful for the Outdoors

It's the time of year where I find myself giving up a perfectly good climbing or hiking day in favor of holiday preparations, shopping, and parties.  So when I'm frustrated that I can't be out there climbing mountains, I try to replace that letdown with reflection on the things that make me so grateful for this deeply important part of my life.

5. Those Small Moments

A quiet morning paddle. A bear wandering through camp. The view into the next valley when I crest a pass. The feeling of jumping in a high alpine lake after hiking a week with no shower. Signing my name on a summit register. Laughing around a campfire with friends. Listening to rain drip on the tent while I'm snuggled in a sleeping bag. Strung together, it is the collective impact of these small moments that makes every second of my outdoor time valuable.

Greateful for the Outdoors

4. Wild Places

It goes without saying that I am dearly appreciative of the wild places that have been preserved for current and future generations. To be able to visit a place using my own two feet to get there, miles from the nearest road and fast food restaurant, is something that I will never take for granted.


3. The Challenge

I love the combination of physical and mental challenge that outdoor sports provide. It's a constant opportunity to challenge myself, learn new skills, push my comfort zones, and measure improvement. I have a hard time matching the sense of accomplishment and personal growth I find in the outdoors with any other aspect of my life.

love the outdoors

2. Friends and Family

I am thankful for friends to share my adventures with, old and new. I enjoy a solo outing from time to time, but the most memorable outdoor moments are always with a friend at my side.

gratitutde for the outdoors

I am thankful for my parents taking me on camping trips from a young age, planting that seed that would become a deep love of the outdoors. I am thankful for a husband who I have been able to grow and learn with as we've discovered new outdoor activities. And I'm really thankful for the newest addition to my family, a healthy and fun pup who loves nothing more than to be outside with us.

hiking dog

1. Health

More than anything else, I am thankful for my health. It allows me to get out an explore wild places and have experiences that are out of reach to so many. I'm even thankful for the smaller occasional injury which may take me out of commission for a while. It so quickly brings things back into perspective. I know too well how instantly this can be taken away and I try to never take advantage of it.

This season is a perfect time to sit back an appreciate the things that bring us joy, and let those feelings of gratitude inspire us to protect and preserve.

Join me in this week's trail time twitter chat to share what makes you thankful!


**Please welcome Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd as a regular contributor to the Sierra Social Hub. Check out Rebecca's blog for more great articles on backpacking, hiking, climbing, and general adventuring: Calipidder.
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Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
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Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd is a hiker, climber, kayaker, and outdoor gear nerd from San Jose, California. You can find her on Twitter and at her website, where she publishes useful advice for exploring the backcountry nooks and crannies of the Western United States.
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