There's this idea out there, about conquering mountains, a certain terrain - perhaps by foot, maybe by bike. We see it in articles, social media posts, in our own retelling of an adventure.
But nature isn't something to be conquered. Fears, yes. Insecurities, bad habits, to-do lists. The last season of your favorite show. But the outdoors? Often in the wilderness what we find ourselves battling isn't the trail in front of us, but ourselves. Those things we tell ourselves when our feet are hurting, our packs heavy - that's what we work to overcome. And when we do, boy, does that other side of the hurdle feel good.
Because what you'll find there is that nature is to be loved, and respected, and cared for - and if you do those things, chances are it will care for you right back. It can take patience, understanding and cooperation. A reflection, perhaps, or our own relationship with ourselves.
At least that's what I kept finding myself thinking as I placed one foot in front of the other, the soft sounds of the world around us bouncing off the rocks and carrying us forward.