Mike's Love of the Outdoors

What a task! I have to tell you all the reasons I love being in the outdoors. Where to start? Well in the beginning there was my mother. She always seemed to enjoy anything that had to do with nature. She belonged to several organizations along those lines and often volunteered over at the small museum in our hometown. So as kids my brother, sister, and I were brought along on all these trips. The museum was a great place. We got to play with the snakes and otters and racoons. Having real contact like that makes a big difference. We also lived outside of the city limits with lots of woods to play in as kids. They're probably smaller now, but when you're young those woods seem like a vast wilderness. Our days were spent exploring, climbing trees, watching tadpols, and just being outside. During the summer the windows would always stay open and I would have crickets, tree frogs, and a wippoorwill sing me to sleep every night. Unfortunately my father is alergic to pretty much everything outside, so after we moved, the windows remained shut. It also meant that he and I never got to go camping or fishing, but he's done so many other things for me that I don't mind.
My first camping experience was when my older brother and I slept outside in our back yard. I don't think I got alot of sleep that night, listening for anything that might be trying to sneak up and eat me. My brother then joined the Boy Scouts but I still had to wait another 4 years untill I could do the same. The day finally came, and on the very day that I turned 11, the minimum age for scouts, I joined the same troop as my brother. My first campout with them was a quick introduction, it got down to 16 degrees that night. The camping turned out to be the main thing that kept me in scouts when I became a senior patrol leader at the age of 13 and accepted more responsibility than I was ready for. But I survived and gained some of the most important outdoor and life skills.
Beyond scouts, my family began going out to the mountains in Oregon for family vacations every couple of summers. While we never camped on account of my father's alergies, we had some of the most beautiful day hikes I can imagine through glades, moss covered forests, lava flows, and up to snow covered cinder cones. You will be able to see some pictures of these hikes soon on my Picture Page. I have also gone on canoe camping trips with my school's outdoor club. My school also had outdoor trips once a year.
I really got into backpacking after going with my scout troop on a short Appalachian Trail hike. I realized that this activity combined both the beautiful scenery of day hikes with the adventure and peacefulness that came with being outside for extended amounts of time. My senior year in highschool was the first year that my brother and I went on the Appalachian Trail. Every year since then he and I have gone once a year on a hike along the AT. You can read about these and other trips I have been on by going to my Trips Page.
Yeah, it a little scary at first to be "in the elements", but over time and experience it becomes such of part of you that you think about hiking, camping, and canoeing several times a day. Sometimes I find that I know better what to do and how to react in the outdoors than I do when I'm at home or in school. I have an easier time being myself when I'm outdoors.
I could go on and on, but that would keep you at your computer instead of on the trail. So get out there and enjoy!!!!!