Mountain Loop Highway and Earth Day.

On a warm sunny Saturday this past weekend, my friend and I took a day trip along Mountain Loop Highway in the Cascades. With plenty of roadside stops of moss covered forests and the Sauk River, it’s a perfect drive to escape the big city. Many of my favorite hikes and trails are along that highway and during the summer, I can easily call it home. 

As I type this, it’s Earth Day, 2016. I’m sitting here watching a documentary on Vice about the negatives of fracking and earlier in the day I was reading various articles on climate change. I absolutely love nature and our wild places, it’s crazy to read and learn about how humanity is exploiting its finite resources and impacting the world. In September 2015, I went to Alaska with three good friends. We visited Kenai Fjords National Park and hiked up to Exit Glacier on the way to the Harding Icefield. I remember the hike up to the snout of the glacier; it was paved with benches along the way and placards saying “This is where the terminus of the glacier was in 1899” and so on. What blew my mind was the year got closer to the present with more distance in between the signs at a shorter interval; indicating the glacier had been melting faster in recent years. It was a pretty crazy experience to realize not too long ago, during my lifetime, I would have been under ice where I was hiking. It makes me think about a study done on Glacier National Park in Montana, which in 1850, had 150 glaciers and now only has 25 active glaciers. By 2030, if the current warming trend continues, the park will most likely lose all of its glaciers and that is terrifying. 

There’s a thought that always crosses my mind when I look at photographs I’ve taken of landscapes after I’ve been there. My thought is, I took this photograph with the impression that it was there for me, frozen in time at that exact moment. But, when you think hard about it, it is always that beautiful regardless if a human is there or not. That landscape doesn’t care what job you have, what car you drive, how big your house is, or even if you exist. It was there millions of years before you and will be there millions of years after you just as beautiful and pristine. It’s a crazy thought that boils down to a quote I heard in a documentary, “Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature”. 

Appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.