“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” - John Muir
You will never regret the choice to spend time outside. Back in high school I worked my first job bagging groceries at Albertsons. At the beginning of each summer I would give my boss a list of requested time off. It was about 4-6 weeks worth. 😬😀 They complained a little but always gave me the time off. I spent it backpacking with friends, going on hiking trips with my dad, and scouting for hunting season. During college I still spent an inordinate amount of time outside because I skipped a ‘few’ classes to hunt, fish, and ski on powder days (there are lots of those in Bozeman). Plus, I was fortunate enough to work summers on a fisheries crew for the Forest Service. We tramped lots of trail miles to survey streams between Bozeman and YNP.
After college, I moved to Seattle for work. I still spent time outside but work and life started to take it’s toll. I took more paved routes in life and less dirt ones. My trips were fewer and farther between and my backpacking gear started gathering a lot of dust. I moved back to Bozeman, married up, got a mortgage, and started a family. One summer I went on a backpacking trip with a 72 year old ex-forester who was as excited to be outside as I was back when I was 15. Since that trip, I have tried to push myself a little more each year. To learn new skills and go a little further back. A little more wild. I don’t regret that decision and each time I come back from a trip (even if it’s two hours) my wife comments how much better of a mood I am in. Who knows, maybe even when I am 72 I will still be able to get after it! Get out. It’s worth it. You don’t need a lot of time and money to make it happen! This year - learn a new skill, hike a new trail, go with somebody who is more knowledgeable than you are. 🐾🏔🏕