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.