Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

Why I make time to get out in the outdoors

Even a short amount of time in the outdoors makes me feel refreshed

Life can be busy at times, whether it be working full-time, school full-time, owning a business, or having a family and kids. Making time to spend in the outdoors is important.

I recently started school again, my Junior year in college and the combination of a full 15 credit load combined with working 40 hours a week, doesn't allow myself very much time to get in the outdoors. I spent the entire summer in the wilderness, between three days on the Colorado Trail, four days on the Four Pass Loop, Kroenke lake, Lake Isabelle, Medicine Bow National Forest, Twin Lakes and multiple more. With my new schedule, I have begun to have outdoor withdrawals. For me, each element of the wilderness, the jagged edges of each mountain, the bend and flow of the gentle rivers, the warmth from the sun beaming gradually down between the white puffy clouds refresh's my soul. Each element in the outdoors gives me life and meaning. If I'm stressed or need clarity on an issue I tend to dip off into the woods for the day to find the answer.

This past week I managed to have an extra night off of work and my immediate thought when seeing my schedule was "I'm going camping!". I left after my last class on Wednesday afternoon, packed up the vehicle and took off on the road. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go but no specific place in mind. My pace instantly slowed down and it didn't matter any more what I was doing, just as long as I was in the mountains and in the outdoors. I stopped along the way to watch a herd of elk in a meadow, stopped to take pictures and appreciate the colorful fall colors. Eventually, I found myself up at Summit Lake on the Mt. Evans road and decided to fold down my seats lay out my sleeping pad and bag and sleep in my car. In my free time I have been teaching myself Astro Photography and decided that this spot would be one of the best for setting up the tripod while waiting for the starry night sky.

I did have class that following Thursday morning at 9:30am, so my plan was to set my alarm for right before sunrise and drive back down the winding mountain road just as the sun began to peak over the mountain tops. It was a gorgeous morning, the sky illuminated with orange and pinks I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the morning.

It was a short and sweet trip, but I immediately felt myself rejuvenated and my wanderlust restored. Ready to take on whatever lies ahead.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Kalli Hawkins

Adventure | Conservation | Education