Happy turkey day lovely people! We’ve all made it through the longest part of first semester, and now we get to stuff our faces with incredible food and spend time with the ones we love. It really doesn’t get much better than that. These are a few important things to be thankful for on this day of jubilation and bursting stomachs, and here’s a few more of mine that hopefully remind you how lucky we are to live on this pretty little planet.
1. I’m thankful for rivers. The best of my summer memories have always, and always will, revolved around mud fights, huge waves, sand castles, and rowing. That thrill of crazy whitewater on the Grand Canyon and the calm of placid water on the San Juan both hold equal weight in my heart. I’m thankful for the awe I feel as I float between towering sandstone cliffs or the pride as I navigate my little boat through the literal mountain stream that they call the top part of the Middle Fork of the Salmon. To all the friends, family, and random groups of people we’ve somehow shimmied our way into, I’m thankful I can share all these experiences with you.
2. I’m thankful for skiing. And the fact that most mountains are opening this week! Even though that might mean shredding one bunny-hill equivalent run all day and having to ride back down the main lift to get to the base, you better believe I’ll be up there cutting it up. There’s nothing quite like the feeling and the fun of hopping on two sticks and barreling down a hill with your best of friends. I’m thankful for my parents and brother for being so obsessed that I can’t help but be a ski-junkie myself. And I’m thankful for having Friday afternoons off of school for an extra bit of skiing in the weekends.
3. I’m thankful for rocks. As someone who’s recently gotten into climbing, I’m sure I can’t express my thankfulness for the sport quite as much as those of you who are as obsessed with climbing as I am with skiing, but let me do my best because I love it more and more every day. I’m thankful for the free bouldering gym at my school and the people who first brought me there. I’m thankful for the discounted shoes I got so I didn’t break the budget on yet another new outdoor sport. I’m thankful to the rock gym at home for closing all summer, forcing me to finally get outside, and the friends with gear who helped me do that. I’m thankful for the early mornings before work and the instant sweat when the sun first hits the rock. I’m thankful for the sore fingers/every muscle in my arms that I never knew I had, for a sport that gets me outside, and for the knowledge that I am getting better! Watch out Alex Honnold.
4. I’m thankful for mountains! Oh sweet mountains! All the hiking, backpacking (that I may or may not complain about in the moment), camping, picnics in wildflowers, grueling peak summits, frigid glacier lakes (that I quickly regret jumping into), waterfalls, weird little animals and plants that somehow thrive above treeline, their silhouettes at sunset: nothing compares.
5. I’m thankful for the desert. I don’t think there’s any way to replicate the burnt oranges and smooth, pinkish-whites of a giant sandstone dome. Crayola ain’t got nothin’ on desert colors. I’m thankful for the hidden slot canyons, the views from the top of Muley Point, the oases of water you somehow miraculously find when you’re about to die of heat stroke, the vibrant green of the dry landscape when it finally rains and the smell of the wet earth, the little voodoos and arches that you find around every corner, and so much more. The des(s)art sure is a treat… Hahahaha.
6. I’m thankful for trees. One, they’re so pretty in every season, and two they give us oxygen. Doesn’t really relate to an outdoor activity but I thought I’d still give them a shoutout.
7. I’m thankful for National Parks and public lands and wide open nature places!
8. I’m thankful for the people working to preserve those, and all the environmentally conscience pushes people and companies are making.
9. I’m thankful for the friends and family who have always gotten me outside. And bought me gear @momanddad.
10. And mostly I’m just so thankful for all the memories and for the love I have for being outside. For the people, the places, and the activities that I spend every waking hour dreaming about. We live in a pretty great world and are part of a pretty great community. I’m acknowledging how thankful I am today, but I know that we’re all thankful each and every day. So eat some food, enjoy time with your friends and family, eat some more food, relish the fact that you’re on break (and don’t think about the upcoming finals), and then go get outside. See you there.
Header photo PC: @andresvou