Yesterday I went on a hike with three friends from Asheville. It’s crazy to think that five weeks ago I didn’t even know of their existence, yet now I have grown to know them, care for them, and make memories with them.

IMG_2117We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway to a trailhead (actually two) and started on our way. I talked with one of the girls about our past hiking experiences and whether or not we had done a lot of outdoor activities when we were younger. Thinking back, I really hadn’t. I occasionally visited my uncle’s cabin at the lake and attempted fishing a few times as a very young girl. However, my main source of “outdoor activity” was running. Hiking, rock climbing, and camping were not really accessible and present in my childhood or even teenage years.

It wasn’t until college when I met my boyfriend that I realized there was a vast opportunity for outdoor activities all over the country. He often shared stories from Colorado and also wanted to share his passion for the outdoors with me. I went on some of my first hikes, attempted bouldering, and even camped. However, when living in the city, we had to drive about two hours to a campsite. These so-called common outdoor activities were still not that accessible.

This made me wonder: Why was it I had such a craving to go on adventures once I moved? Because they are available, and accessible in excess. I can drive an hour in any direction and hike, tube, fish, camp, and do many other things I haven’t even discovered yet. It is this presence of opportunity that birthed an appreciation for the beauty of nature, the feeling of burning calves on a hike, the drives along a winding parkway, and the earth that God so carefully designed.

I have a new way of looking at the outdoors. I see it as an opportunity, not only scenery. 12004854_10153688513195972_5379277470264197231_n

As I hiked yesterday, I was grateful for the abundance of life–the foliage, the animals. I was thankful for the
mountains that extended so far that they blended in with the clouds. I was in awe of the adventure.

And I also had an extra appreciation for the people by my side. I have been blessed with new friendships, and with those friendships come even more opportunities. I laughed. I joked. I smiled. I danced. I hiked.

I like to think of yesterday as an arrow–an arrow pointing to a new appreciation. Life is short, and we are designed to take hold of each opportunity placed in front of us. Ever since I have moved, I have sensed more opportunity and more adventure.

And I love it.