Why I love the outdoors.

I practically grew up outside. I grew up on an island with lots of property around and not very many neighbors. As a kid, I shunned TV and gaming consoles for reading books outside and playing with my older siblings. We built forts and explored the property around my house. Nothing feeds the imagination of a kid like acres of property and an ocean.  I grew very accustomed to the sun on my skin and running around barefooted. There were some other kids in the neighborhood that we would occasionally take sailing. I have a deep respect of the ocean and feel like I can safely call her home. We’d leave early in the morning and spend all day out on the water and come home in time for supper.

When I got old enough, I joined the Boy Scouts of America. This was a great way for me to go on trips and experience more than just the outdoors in a coastal region. I learned to love the mountains and value the streams that run through them. I’m comfortable outdoors, I feel quite in my element. I got my Eagle when I was 15 and decided to move on from the Boy Scouts. My brothers, dad and I canoed the Suwanee river in Florida, the following year, some friends and I did part of the Appalachian Trail.

It was in my first two years of college I discovered my passion for rock climbing. Rock climbing puts you on the edge, literally. It’s a great form of exercise, puts me out in the mountains and allows me to challenge myself. This pursuit of rock climbing, combined with the enjoyment I had received from helping my friends discover their love for the outdoors led me to work a boys summer adventure camp in North Carolina. I taught sailing and rock climbing and led camping trips. It was also in the mountains of North Carolina that I learned how to mountain bike.

When I returned from that summer, I got rid of my hybrid bicycle and got a road bike. There’s something about feeling the wind pour past your ears that I never quite get tired of.  It’s quite different from a mountain bike experience, but its more practical for my purposes. However, I jump at every opportunity to mountain bike.

The outdoors will always be there- in every season, there’s a reason to go outside and get to know what’s around you. It’s a great thing to share with a loved one. Cold nights and hot chocolate, adventures out on open water. Hiking through trails, camping, even just taking a walk and breathing fresh air for a little while.

The outdoors represent freedom to me- there’s nothing quite like knowing that you and your group are miles away from anything remotely civilized. Being away from a schedule and connection to the world is sublime. There’s always something to learn outdoors. Thinking you know something completely is a sure way to leave blood on the trail. I’ve had my fair share of close calls, bloody knees, cold nights and hunger pangs, but the beauty of the outdoors is in its design. That’s probably the biggest reason I love the outdoors- because I know I’m designed for it.

-Couper

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