My siblings and I were campers before we could walk. We've been canoeing, hiking and backpacking as long as I can remember. Dad was a huge fan of outdoor sports of all kinds and wanted to make sure that the rest of the family had the opportunity to experience those things as early as possible. Some of my earliest childhood memories are camping with family. Just about every summer early on, we'd pack up the car, driving west as a family. I've been lucky enough to visit many, many national parks. Despite being packed in the back seat of the car with two girls for painfully long drives, it's the parks that I remember most.
At the age of eight, I started spending my summers at Camp Horseshoe for Boys. Eight weeks of living in cabins without electricity in the north woods of Wisconsin. Other than the psychological damage of living in close quarters with other boys for eight weeks (they'll gang up to find the weakest target and do their best to make that person's life miserable), it left me with some amazing memories and unbelievable experiences. The seven-day canoeing trip down the Namekagon River (affectionately known as the "Marathon". I think that I still have the voyageur hat that all who completed the trip received), hiking through the Porcupine Mountains, and taking a two-week canoeing trip through the boundary waters are all experiences that I'll never forget.
As I've gotten older and out on my own, I've found myself getting a bit more settled in suburban life. It's good--I enjoy it for the most part. Everything is convenient and easy to get to. I can fall into a comfortable routine. As easy as it was, I still found myself a little bit....unsettled.
The last few years, my summers have gotten significantly busier with my
theater opportunities. I'm immensely grateful for doing these shows as
it's completely energizing in a completely different way. But I missed
out on my summer camping trips. Last fall, I decided to do more poking
around a little bit closer to home, looking for ways to reconnect with
nature on my own in a way that's a little susceptible to loneliness.
I've been amazed at just how many beautiful places there are so close to
suburbia. Last fall, I visited ten regional or state parks. Just
hiking for a couple hours, enjoying the sights and sounds (and silences)
of getting away for a little while, then appreciating coming back
home. I stayed home for the winter, but this week I started my spring
exploration of new and interesting places to commune with the great