So this may be the most random blog I write. I got to thinking about how the past year has been and what sort of memories I have from various outings this year, as well as some from long ago. Making a living has a way of keeping me from getting into the backwoods, as do other life commitments. But I digress. I treasure the times I did get away.
Early this year (or was it late December 2007?), I got to spend a chilly day exploring the boulder field south of Elk Mountain in the Wichita Mountains. And I got my first taste of a Meers Burger.
Later in the winter, I was blessed with trips to Winter Park and Breckenridge, Colo. Much-needed honing of ski skills. Plus, I got to drive a dog sled. How cool was that!
Well, probably not as cool as climbing through a cave near Phang, Nga, Thailand. Now the official reason for going to Thailand was a church mission trip. But we did get a day to play, and scrambling through the middle of a mountain to an opening overlooking a placid tropical bay was probably about as cool as it gets. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
In terms of outdoor accomplishments, I’d have to put summiting Mount Yale in Colorado on the top of the list. While not a technical climb, it’s a real leg- and lung-buster. There’s also a scary backstory, but I’ll save that for another day. Needless to say, that summit was reached at a pretty heavy price.
Several recovery weeks later, I was able to find one last day trip getaway, this time exploring Charon’s Garden in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. That trip got me a close-up look at one of the more interesting geological formations there, Crab Eyes (pictured aboce). You might have read about it in an earlier post. And, of course, the day ended with the obligatory and well-received Meers Burger.
What I got out of those times were some awesome memories. Many times, those memories are shared experiences with close friends that we can relive with great fondness. There’s no amount of money, no special possession that can equal that. If you really want to know what gets people excited about being outdoors, the memories and shared experiences are a couple of big reasons.
My plans for 2009 are more ambitious. Possibly more skiing, more summits, more time outdoors with friends. God gave us a wonderful world to live in, full of amazing places to explore. And while Oklahoma doesn’t feature the extremes of a lot of places, there are incredible wild places here that are close by and worth seeing. I plan on writing about those quite a bit.