John Muir once said: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” Working on a computer more often than we would like, Muir’s thoughts really resonate with us. We spend many hours in front of many screens. Stresses that, I’m certain, would have made Muir quake in his hiking boots.

When we visited the mountains, many of the tundra grasses had gone to seed; an impressive feat as the unimaginably short growing season came to a close. We spent the days hiking past moose and marmot alike, struggling to take oxygen into our badly-adapted midwestern lungs. While we took one last pause to take everything in while the daily thunderstorm loomed in the distance, I think it became clear to us what Muir really meant. This is not a luxury or a vacation to us anymore. It’s something we physically need. When we left the mountains it felt like saying goodbye to an old friend, and although we had just been introduced, it became apparent that, all this time, we had been homesick for a place we had never been.

more dramatic sky on Trail Ridge Roaddriving from Denver to the Rocky MountainsEric at the east inlet trail in Rocky Mountain State ParkEast inlet trail once it opensMoose laying down in the fieldMoose staring at us at Rocky Mountain National ParkStorm brewing in the distance at Grand LakePaddleboats on Grand Lake, ColoradoThe tip of a mountain glowing pink from sunsetpink sky sunset outside Rocky Mountain National Parkwhite horse and barbed wire fencetwo horses with the sunsetPurple sky with mountain silhouetteSunset and sundown with white horseEric and Sarah at Grand Lake, Coloradoview of the mountainsTwo photos of a tail in Rocky Mountain National ParkEric hiking down a trailtrail heading back to the car at Rocky Mountain State ParkDramatic sky at Rocky Mountain State Parkbegin the trailplants growing in the tundraSarah taking in the view of the Rocky MountainsTrail Ridge Road rocky mountain state parkA small pond and trees between the mountains in Rocky Mountain State Parkepic mountainsDownpour in the distanceThunder and rain in the distancered rocks on top of the mountainsA pika spotted sitting on a rockA bighorn sheep from behindmarmots poking above the groundA couple walking with dark storms in the distancemarmot with mountains in the foregroundLook out at the yellow and brown grass of the tundraEric walkingback of Sarah's headMountains in the distance, Sarah in the foregroundSarah jumping with excitementCold looking lake in the crooks of a mountainEric and Sarah outside their rental car