A week from right now I will be somewhere in the middle of my first ultra marathon – the Bryce 50k. Hopefully, I will be well hydrated, feeling strong, and loving the experience. Today, I should be putting in a few easy miles, but I’m not. Old stress fractures in both of my lower legs / ankles, and a possibly bruised foot are flaring up and I desperately want them to be pain free when I race next week.
So instead, I drove my new toy – a 1980 Vespa P200E up the Sq*** Peak road above Rock Canyon, sat down on a rocky outcrop overlooking Rock Canyon, and am doing some writing for a new book project. Well, I was…now I’m blogging, I guess. It is about 60 degrees, the hillsides are unseasonably green due to some record breaking rainfall, birds are chirping, etc… Heaven.
My word – how did I get lucky enough to live somewhere so beautiful. Everyday when I walk out of my house to the view of Mt. Timpanogos, or walk out of my office to the stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains beside campus, or drive 10 minutes up the canyon to idyllic mountain meadows and groves of aspen, I have to pinch myself. This place is ridiculous. The Wasatch isn’t subtle about its beauty. No modesty here. It slaps you in the face with it. And, not only is it stunning, but it is accessible. You aren’t separated by an hour-long drive through foothills to get to the Mountains. The mountains just pop up straight from the valley floor. Magnificent.
I have been lucky to live in some beautiful places. My home town – Bellingham, Washington – is nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the ocean. It’s about as close to perfection as your can get. An outdoors wonderland.
But what about Nebraska? I lived there for 9 years, and looking back, regret not having explored more. While there, my best friend from growing up would regularly post pictures of his adventures in the Cascades and I would be so jealous. Come to think of it, over the past couple years as I have posted my trail-running pics, a number of friends have messaged me saying how jealous they are. Jealous – just like I was while back in Nebraska. Did it have the kind of nature that rubs your face in how beautiful it is? No. It’s more subtle. And, I regret not having taken advantage of that. There were a lot of strikingly beautiful places and things about the Great Plains. Instead of just being jealous of my friend’s adventures, why wasn’t I out making my own?!
This is all easy to say now that I live in Utah. Do I prefer my mountains? Sure. But, I now realize that you can and must learn to love where you live. To this end I always try to find beautiful trails to run when I travel. And, I’ve found them! There are different kinds of natural beauty, but I think that the spirit-recharging power of wilderness and nature can be harnessed anywhere. I am learning that it is as much in your mind as is it in the landscape. Lots of people live here in the beauty of the Wasatch who DON’T climb up mountains to enjoy it. Pity. I guess it goes both ways.
In any case, enough rambling. Back to my writing.
Get outside people.
Find something beautiful.
Let it recharge you.