“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
When asked to define what #MyNature means to me, I couldn’t help but kick things off with an overused cliche quote about the great outdoor. Afterall, I think we can all agree that Jack Kerouac had a good grasp on embracing life and he understood that nature was a significant part of the experience.
Nature is the playground where I learned as a kid, that the most memorable of adventures happen outside. In the woods, in the rivers and in the mountains covered in mud with a matching pair of skinned knees.
My Nature is indeed the smell of the air above 13,000’ or the pain your finger tips after climbing 31 pitches with one of your closest friends, or even the taste of glacial runoff after desperately searching for water in the middle of a long mountain run..mountain-shrimp and all. My nature encompasses all of these things, but it goes deeper.
It’s more than Jack’s encouraging words taunting us to seize the day. My Nature is a thirst that’s never quenched, but offers a map for us to go in search of the Shangri-La: The perfect powder day, the flowiest singletrack, the most splitter handcrack or the infinite ridge scramble. It’s these experiences that keeps us coming back.
More than the journey alone, My Nature is about community. Growing up it was sports. Teammates and families provided community structure for me when I wasn’t in school, or enjoying time with my family.
For years, “my nature” was a 300’ x 159’ rectangle made of green grass. I found out early on as a college football player during three-a-days in 100 degree heat that what I enjoyed most about the experience was the bond created with my teammates. This 100 person community is what made the experience as we slugged it out together during our 60 hours a week training regimen. It was football. It was tough, but man was it fun! Not to mention we were always covered in mud and more likely than not donned a matching pair of scraped knees.
After graduating, I found myself filling that void of challenge in the outdoors through climbing, hiking, mountaineering and eventually trail running. Since I have immersed myself in the outdoor community, I have made some incredible friends whose bonds I am sure have only been solidified through the fun we call suffering in the mountains.
Beyond community, My Nature is a lifestyle. I moved from Boston to the mountains of Colorado not only because of geographical proximity from the concrete jungle to the jagged summits,, but more because of the way of life that is not only acceptable there, but encouraged. My nature is a land, where it’s commonplace for a “weekend warrior” to go ski 2 feet of fresh before filtering through your email inbox for the day, embarking on a 20 mile mountain ride or run before your morning meetings, or climbing a 5-pitch classic before you open up that laptop for the first time that day. You might have to get up a little earlier, and change from snow-pants to business casual in a parking lot, but the juice is always worth the squeeze.
My nature, rather Our Nature is an inspiration to myself and those around me that encourages us to take advantage of every single day – I guess Jack was right on point.
My Nature takes place daily around the mountains of Colorado. When I’m not in the office, I’m embracing the remaining 16 hours left in each day to enjoy a quick trail run down a local section of single track, getting a few powder turns on a nearby mountain, or climbing one of the many nearby routes or peaks that make up the Rocky Mountains.
If I have more than a few hours – My Nature has provided me an endless bucket list of destinations to explore around the world.
On thing that resonates with me more than anything else about My Nature, is that it provides a platform for transformation. My Nature is a medium that encourages growth, reflection and change. In today’s society, so much of what we do is automated. Very rarely are we truly responsible for making decisions that immediately affect our well-being, and there’s often no one else around to re-distribute or responsibility too – except ourselves.
That is frightening and incredibly rewarding. Challenging myself mentally and physically in a high mountain environment is one of the few places I’ve been able to experience this, but when you’re in one of these moments – you know it. It is then, you realize the great, and swift outcomes of the constant decisions you are making. It almost seems comical to compare this to day-to-day tasks outside of this space, but I am a completely different and better person today because I’ve put myself in these situations.
This transformative canvas comes in many forms within my nature. However it is in that place where I feel the most focused; where my brain and body are working together out of primal necessity, and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.