Where, when and how did your passion start?

Recently I've been so focused on fishing that I feel like I've almost lost sight of my true passion, the outdoors. In reality, fishing, and particularly, fly-fishing, is just a small sub-passion. And while I have always been "interested" in the outdoors, I can remember exactly where, when and how that interest turned into a full-fledged, obsession.

It was the summer of 1997. I was lucky enough to have been sent to NYSDEC's Environmental Education camp at Lake Colby for a week. I had no idea what to expect, but it was a turning point in my life. Too many "cool" things went on during that week for me to recall, or even count. Outdoor rec, natural resources and bio-ecology education, general fun and games, it was a great time. But there was one event that really stood out in my mind.

Pitchoff Mountain. My first mountain. Not a mountain so much as a series of tall, rocky hills. But the experience, the views, the exertion, the raw beauty of every aspect of it all. There is nothing quite like climbing above the trees and sitting on a warm (or, sometimes, ice-covered) slab of rock with a sandwich and just soaking it all in.

So many times I have been questioned on the sanity of such a passtime; why would one walk up a mountain and then back down when there are perfectly good chairlifts to bring you and your skis to the top of one? Why so much work for a few views? Just plain why? I never knew, and I'll never be able to explain it, but as anyone who enjoys it knows, the reward is in so much more than just reaching the top. And it's become a whole philosophy for me. It's more than enjoying the journey...more than "life's a journey"'s that there is no destination. Everything we do in life is just another step down the road; I don't know if that road has a terminus or not, and frankly, I couldn't care less. The road is beautiful.

Alex's partial recap of this past weekend really got to me. There's just a feeling that comes with being in the mountains that he really seemed to capture. I miss that feeling. I need that feeling. One way or another, this coming weekend, I'm going for that feeling again. Call me a copy-cat, but to me, it's just getting back to basics.

Champlain and My ADKs in the distance, from Mansfield


Day Tripper said…
there are some beautiful short hikes in the capital district you should check out if you haven't already
FoulHooked said…
Capital district shmapital district...I wanna eat some bark.

Actually, I know they're there...but it seems unless I plan something a little more substantial and further from home, I tend to get lazy and just opt for something else that's just as close (eg a couple hours of fishing...not a bad alternative...or an actual day of rest)
Flying Ties said…
Northville-Placid trail is calling your name.

One of my co-workers (I have a lot) is hiking it currently, solo, over the next 10 days... carrying his little pack rod (spinning) and a bunch of nymphs (he fly fishes too) to see what he can scare away from the rocks in the stream it follows.

go for it!
FoulHooked said…
FT, when you're right, you're right, and you sir, are, get me a week off of work.

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