If you were to give me a choice between a vacation on the beach, lounging on surf and sand, or a vacation in the mountains, hiking hill and dale, I would chose the mountains, hands down, without question, every single time. It’s not that I hate the beach. I love the ocean, the surf, and the birds. But there is something about the majestic beauty of the mountains that calls to my soul. Perhaps it is the way they change in shape and form with every angle. It might be the way they hide in a mist of cloud and fog one moment yet suddenly tower above you in the bright light of day a moment later.
A mountain is visible from hundreds of miles away and appears to be so close you can touch it, but the harder you try to find it, the further away it feels. And, while climbing a mountain gives me the sensation of a slight heart attack, it also fills my heart with joy: Flora and fauna surround. Ice and snow turn into babbling brooks and gurgling streams. There is no sound but that of the mountain, its inhabitants, and the wind blowing through the pines. Ah, be still my heart.
Over the years we’ve found ourselves in the mountains all across this great country. We’ve poked along the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ve traversed the Rockies, scaling the Flatirons on Green Mountain and cogging our way up to the top of Pike’s Peak. We’ve lounged in the Adirondacks, lost our breath in the Tetons and celebrated beauty in the Cascades. Even with these adventures, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the possible heights we can explore.
You can keep your theme parks and big cities. You can have the waves on the beach. You can forget fancy hotels and high-end boutiques. I’ll stand on a granite peak every time. Sure, the air is thin and the climb takes effort; but isn’t that the truth about everything worthwhile? We have to work to get there and in the end, when we take a moment to look down from the summit, it takes our breath away.