We were 12 hours into our day when the sun was starting to set. Lost, stuck above a cliff that wasn’t on the map, my climbing partner and I were getting scared. This was not how our outing into the Beartooths was supposed to go. Instead of ascending a lovely, long alpine climb, we bailed and got lost. Rappelling into the unknown, believing that we were getting ourselves more stuck than we were, but wishing with all our heart for a way out and back to the trail, we were high strung with the stress. My legs were shaking from the adrenaline running through them.
As darkness engulfed the entire canyon, luck found its way into our adventure, landing us back on the trail. A few hours of exhausted, silent hiking later, my partner and I arrived back at the car. Defeated, beaten up, but alive; all I wanted was ice cream, whiskey and to get out of the wilderness. All in all, our adventure turned out to become less type-one fun and more type-two (perhaps borderline type-three) fun. Despite all of this — the fear, the pain, not knowing whether we would make it back — it was a relaxing and centering trip. It made me remember the importance of getting out into nature, away from it all; the value of the important places.
As stress levels peak this far into the semester — with research projects, papers and exams — it is important to remember to get outdoors and take time to relax in your favorite places. Whether in the outdoors, miles from the trailhead or simply a place you hold dear to your heart, hit the pause button on the stresses of life and get there. Being away from all the stress and drama, you will find yourself again. Sure, it is important to stay on top of school, however, personal health and well-being is more valuable than any grade you will get on an exam. Being able to breathe, relax and forget life’s stresses, the outdoors will center you again. Stay away from the social media instamyfacesnaptwittergram and truly explore. Go to an unknown area, get outside your comfort zone and truly live. Adventure is just steps away.
The amount of concentration it takes, forced upon you by necessity, to be within risky situations in the outdoors is the same concentration that fuels the driving passion deep inside you. Whether leading up an alpine climb in the remote Beartooths, dropping into a steep couloir or simple traversing a ridgeline high above treeline, this is where the fire gets stoked. School is important, yes, and you recognize this as you are reading a college newspaper. Yet, away from society, papers and the clammer of politics, we find ourselves again. Get out there and breathe. Experience yourself, revitalize for the end of the semester.