It was my good fortune that I was born and raised on a farm. Growing up my siblings and I all cherished being able to play outside with every year our playground getting bigger with more woods, creeks and neighbors to discover. My fondest experience was to play in the creek which during the summer time was a series of large puddles no more than 3 feet deep ad 6 foot long. Water only ran through these puddles springtime and during a rain storm. My mom did not like us t play there but the draw of the animals, tall grasses and the opportunity to get wet and dirty persisted.
My occupation as a construction engineer provided me the opportunity to travel and work places I previously had only heard about. While in New Orleans I befriended some local city boys who liked to camp and canoe in southern Mississippi state. This was totally new to me. On the farm we had camped out in the back yard and bar-be-que-d our food on a grill we lit by gasoline but these city slickers took this hayseed to a different level. They taught me how to pack the right gear for a 3 day canoe trip, how to cook over an open fire and most importantly how to start a fire in the worst conditions of moist firewood.
Traveling from Texas to Montana to a land surveying project I was passing thru Yellowstone park stopping at a few spots to observe the geysers and while I was driving I thought that I would like to camp here but did not know how to go about doing that. Wouldn’t you know it but a half mile down the road I picked up a young man who was carrying camping gear. He had just finished a 2 day hike and was seeking a ride to park headquarters to go out camping again. He quickly invited me to go with him and him being a stranger ii said no but as I left him off to park headquarters I realized I had wanted to go camping and this was my chance. My skill of starting a fire and his expertise hiding food up a tree away from bears created a special trust I had never had with a stranger. Having a three day hike seeing elk, bear,mountain goat, finding a pile of elk horns and enjoying fresh air and quiet wilderness is a joy I will never forget .
Enjoying the outside does not have to be that exotic but there still are so many reasons to make being outside a weekly if not daily event. Being outside sharing the fresh air we have and enjoying interacting with our environment only adds to the peace and tranquility we can have in everyday life. We gain spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially by being outside. From balcony gardening to rock climbing, frizbee golf to bird watching, geocaching to fishing there is a whole world out there to discover. I hope my sharing with you my experiences and discoveries will encourage you enjoy more of this special common treasure.