“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wildness is a necessity and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
- John Muir

Fall 2021 - Written in the Rockies
Without the vast, wild, open spaces of Nature, man will completely lose touch with himself and will cease to have a true connection to the land, and to his spirit. John Muir rings true more today than he did in his day. He was far ahead of his time. With our highly technological world, we are downtrodden with an amount of stress and anxiety that Muir never could have imagined. When he said that forest reservations and mountain parks are fountains of life, he is correct. Man may not have a fountain of youth, but he has countless fountains of life in his hands.
 As humans cope with record high amounts of depression and anxiety, particularly in our youth, we see more people than ever turning to nature to nurture their spirits. Countless tired souls are locked up in cities, concrete jungles made to trap happiness and tramp it down the sewer drain. Even in cities, what do we find on many street corners? Parks. Playgrounds, dog fields. We know that even as we “civilize” ourselves, we want a  little controlled piece of our past within our cities. We build these small oases of nature within the prison we have constructed to keep Mother Nature out. Nevertheless, even those small islands of green in oceans of gray are necessary and beneficial. Whether nature comes in the form of a small child playing in her backyard, or a month long expedition into the most rugged backcountry of Alaska, they have one thing in common; connection.

 Some of us are frightened by nature, and for good reason. Nature is the great humbler. Take anyone, no matter how attractive, rich, or skilled, and Mother Nature will find a way to very lovingly put them in their place. She silently demands respect. If you view her as a conquest, you will fail. If you view her as a creator of a formidable yet achievable challenge, all the while respecting her power, you may succeed in your goal. Whether it be climbing the slopes of Denali, or walking across the park.
When we escape into nature, we find a place that is foreign, yet familiar. Humans came from nature, and it is where we will return. Try as we will, we can not separate ourselves from nature. Our spirits long for mountains, rivers, trees, and other common sights within wilderness. That wilderness is the very thing that will rejuvenate even the most weary soul. We do not want that connection to our world, we desperately need it. Without that link to our past, we will doom our future to concrete and unhappiness. We have been given wondrous places that are divine storehouses of wonder, inspiration, grandeur, and the essence of the human spirit. The human spirit is intrinsically intertwined with the mountains, lakes, rivers, canyons, oceans, trees, grasses, and wildlife of our planet, and if we try to sever that link, we will cut out the most important part of ourselves; our connection to the land. 

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