I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents who instilled in me a love of the outdoors. I grew up camping, hiking, and going on family vacations centered around those things, the first of which I remember is a trip to the Rockies when I was almost 5 years old.
I don't remember much from the trip, but I do remember a couple things. First, I recall losing a little toy airplane (and being very, very upset about it) -- which my Dad reminds me of at least once a year.
Secondly, I remember how excited I was when I was told we'd be "Hiking up a mountain." While I'm sure we walked about a mile, in my young mind I was wandering the peaks in complete awe of my surroundings.
Since that day, I've traveled all over the US with my family, from the Black Hills in South Dakota, the Bighorns in Wyoming, Yellowstone in Montana and the beautiful red rocks of southern Utah and northern Arizona.
It wasn't until almost 20 years later that I finally made it back to the Rockies again. A friend called me up, asking if we wanted to spend a week in Breckenridge in August. I went, hiked a bunch, slept a bunch, and fell in love with the mountains again.
I went back 2 years later.... and 4 years after that.... and 2 years after that... and again last summer. To say I'm hooked on Colorado would be an understatement.
The trip in 2012, I dragged my poor sister up the second day we were there, and we hiked towards Pawnee Pass.
She got altitude sickness fairly badly and ended up bailing back to the car (insisting I continue on, despite my protests -- I didn't know how bad she was until I got back to the car).
I made it up to the pass, and sat for a half hour, in awe.
Three days later, I picked another hike, this time my 62 year old father joined me and my sister.
We decided to go find Lost Lake.
Wandering a bit off trail, we followed the stream up, up and up some more. Passing beautiful waterfalls, and over an amazing old log bridge. Not far after the bridge, we got to the lake. It was the first time in a long time I was proud of the old man.
He made it up the mountain with me.
I'm 6 weeks out from my first trip to California. My 230 mile backpacking trip. I'm excited, and freaked out at the same time.
Kid A is an avid hiker, backpacker and outdoors enthusiast located in Milwaukee