Colder temperatures, Black Friday craziness, and pumpkin-spice-everything is here. Whether you’re into the holidays or not, we like to think of it as a time to be grateful for what we have and to appreciate what brings many of us so much joy in life: the outdoors. To explore this idea further, we got in touch with some of our favorite bloggers and adventurers in the outdoor community and asked, How are you giving thanks for the outdoors this Thanksgiving?
I give thanks for so many things, each and every month, although it is certainly highlighted around this time of year. I am so thankful to live and to have grown up in Central Oregon, where the access to and diversity of outdoor activities is truly endless. I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for, two wonderful loving pups and an amazing family.
This last year was a rough one for me in almost every way possible. I turned the big 3-0, my boyfriend left me along with our puppy, and I lost an incredible friend who I grew up with as a father figure in my life. It all happened at about the same time and it felt like my life had been turned upside down. I have to say, through all the negative, I'm finding the positive and I'm thankful for all the new opportunities that have come my way--many of which involve the outdoors. I am doing everything I want right now and making tons of travel plans with new friends. I got myself another puppy and she's the best little snuggle friend!
With the loss of my family friend, it was sudden and completely unexpected. It makes you realize how quickly life can be taken from you. At his wake, it was breathtaking, and inspiring to hear the stories from his friends and seeing how many people loved him. I want to make this a priority in my life. Spend time with new friends, old friends, and family. Be a positive light and not take anything for granted. I seek the outdoors often and find it as a place of refreshment and gratitude. I give thanks for every day I’m here. I am thankful for everything and everyone that lets me into their lives.
I'm grateful for how many opportunities I've had to test my limits outdoors. Between rock climbing, downhill mountain biking, a brief stint in mountaineering, skiing, even hiking and backpacking, I've had more than my fair share of life-changing experiences outdoors.
I've been in situations where some of my fears and knowledge limitations are put to the test. These experiences would be impossible to recreate or have anywhere but outdoors, and the lessons have real-life implications. Through those experiences, I've learned things and grown in ways for which I'm forever grateful.
I'm also grateful for how being outdoors forces me to be present. When you're on a backpacking trip, life's generally distilled down to simple tasks like waking up, making food, breaking camp, walking a while, setting up camp, making food, and going to sleep. When you're hiking, it's glancing at maps, taking in the scenery, and putting one foot in front of the other until you get to where you're going. When you're climbing, focusing on anything other than what you're doing can spell disaster.
Being outdoors forces me to be completely present and focused on the task at hand, and in the connected world we're a part of, sometimes that's a serious challenge! But when you're outdoors, out of range, and immersed in nature, being present is all you can do.
Read the rest of her blog here.
Every Thanksgiving since 2006, I've headed out to the desert with a group of friends, and it's an opportunity for me to start winding down my year, mentally. At Thanksgiving, there's only eight hours of daylight in southern Utah, and when it's dark, it's cold, so it's a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time in my sleeping bag catching up on the sleep I've been shorting myself on all year. The trip is a pilgrimage to a place I'm grateful for—a place away from light pollution, roads, cell phone signals, and my computer, and a chance to accept a natural rhythm of that place.
Gratitude is the secret superpower of attitudes. People who practice it regularly are more joyful, happier, satisfied, and humble. They have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. They sleep better and suffer depression less. (And, it’s rumored, their three-point shooting percentages go up, their bagels rarely land cream cheese-side down, and they more often find themselves in the right line at the grocery store.)
Two years ago, after reading about the powerful and tangible effects of regularly writing down your thankfulness, I added a weekly “gratitude list” to my regular journaling. Since then, I’ve noticed that my lows aren’t nearly as low or last as long, I have much less “want” and a lot more contentment, and I feel like I have a much more accurate context when good and bad things happen in my life. Even dealing with the emotions of a nasty leg injury has been smoother. I’m convinced.
Read the rest of his blog here.
Our co-founder, Rob, remembers one of his favorite outdoor experiences hiking at the Grand Canyon. Plus, Roberto and Bella of The Expeditioners will be telling us a story about what they’re grateful for this Thanksgiving--and they’ve got some very exciting news to share!
How do you give thanks for the outdoors? Share your answer with us in the comments. #CairnRocks