Fresh mountain air.

(iPhone photo creds: Steven Tinnell)

So yesterday was my very first day of spring break. The first day in a while that I'd had absolutely no obligations; no homework to worry about doing at the last minute or work to go to or anything. I haven't gotten a chance to go outside and do anything in a while, so I was really feeling like I needed a small adventure. So AbbyJamesSteven, and I decided to drive out to Tower Mountain and go for a hike.

Little did I know, what I thought would just be an easy walk through the woods turned into a 2 and a half hour, 2-3 mile uphill hike to the top of the mountain. Halfway up, we got into some snow and ice. It's the end of March people. Snow. Yeah. The mountain proceeded to become steeper and steeper the farther we went. Myself, being completely out of shape, became out of breath relatively quickly, only to realize that the top was not just over the next steep jaunt. Or the next one, or the next one. It seemed as though every time I would get to the top of a small stretch of hill, there would be another one waiting for me to tackle it.

We hiked and hiked and my legs felt like Jell-o. Finally, we rounded a corner and out of nowhere, I could finally see what we were hiking too: the rocks at the top. These rocks are not visible from the bottom of the trail, and since I'd never been there before I didn't know what I was expecting to see when we reached the top. The sun glistened off the rock in the most beautifully golden way, and mixture of wispy and puffy clouds formed the perfect backdrop. All of a sudden, I'd forgotten that my legs were sore and tired, and I pressed on.

Within 20 minutes, we had rounded the last bend and had approached the rocks up close. I could hardly contain my excitement; the sun was out, the wind was blowing, and I was surrounded by huge rocks everywhere and a view of the plains out below. I had to marvel at the fact that my own two human legs had gotten me in this very location all by themselves. My weak and gangly legs had in fact carried me to the top of a mountain with a view I could have never gotten to in a car.

I have to say that I'm a huge sucker for clouds. I don't think I will ever lose my fascination and wonder for staring up into the depths of the sky at them. The way they form and move at different speeds and directions will always hold my attention. Yesterday, the clouds were nothing short of breathtaking. I jumped around from rock to rock photographing the sky like it was the first time I'd ever seen it before. (If you ever watch me when I'm shooting, I'm most likely to be dancing around and squealing with the excitement level of a 7 year old girl who was just given her first Barbie doll.)

The sun started to disappear and I knew that we would have to start making our way back down the mountain to get to the car before it got dark. We got back to the bottom in easily half the time it took us to get to the top, slipping on the ice and mud all the way down. I definitely want to go back and do that hike again, but probably when it's a little bit warmer and the ice is melted!

I am not a nature and landscape photographer by any means. It's not my intended profession and it's not where I want to make my living. But the fact that I can get outside, go hike around and discover scenes that are invisible to the blur of everyday people commuting to work and living routine lives is what motivates me to do this. Yesterday was just what I needed to clear my brain for a few hours. The fresh air flowing through my lungs and the blood coursing through my veins reminded me that there is more than just sitting around watching Netflix and surfing the internet.

Anyone wanna go on a hike?