“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”

John Muir

As soon as we approached Auburn on the I80 and saw the Sierra mountains in the distance, something happened.The stress that had been gripping my brain released its clamming hold. The loneliness that had threatened my heart vanished. And that pit inside my stomach? I looked at the opening sky, took a sip of water, and digested it. 

“We’re going to the mountains,” I told my daughter in the back.

“We are? Do you like it there, Mommy?  Do you like mountains?”

“I do, love,” I said. “I do. And I think you might too.”

I didn’t just didn’t like it. I needed it. For 16 years California’s peaks and its wild ocean have been my saviors when city life got too jittery. I hiked, skied, and surfed across the state each weekend. And now, kid in tow, I needed respite from the pandemic and non stop NPR. 

Unfortunately, other residents of the Bay Area had the same idea. But we ignored the crowds downtown and popular parks, and went out to secluded trails and played. Beaten paths weren’t our thing.

If you can brave the drive and do the due diligence to find uncrowded spaces, I encourage all of you to escape to nature. 

Whether it’s the surf at Bolinas or the foothills of the Sierras, here are 5 reasons to get outside.

  1. You feel insignificant compared to the towering peaks (or if near the ocean, the crashing waves). This means your problems are insignificant. 
  2. You are in a different place, which forces a different frame of mind.
  3. People are nice to each other and band together. No, not the tourists, the locals. If you get off beaten paths into local areas and homes you’ll realize there’s a different, more wholesome way of living. They bake their own bread in non covid time.
  4. Nature’s beauty will astound you. The dire news on NPR will fade you see what the universe can create and replenish. You will be more determined to help preserve it.
  5. Cell phone service doesn’t work. If you go far enough out, you lose connection. And this, by far, is one of the greatest gifts. Even if for a few hours, focusing on the trees instead of your iPhone screen is better than any anti-anxiety medication.

“I like the mountains, Mommy,” said my daughter on our drive back.

“We will return soon, “ I told her. 

Get outside. Go to the mountains. Heal your soul. Make a better world.

“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”-John Muir

John Muir
Mommy and Vivi, Truckee, CA
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