We just returned from a short camping trip on Palomar Mountain. The whole weekend was a break, no cell phones, no Disney Channel for the kids, no checking Instagram or Facebook every couple minutes to see what was going on with everyone I know and many I don't. Maybe there was someone posting something silly about Obama or Romney and I missed it, but it really wasn't that painful. My 10 year old daughter probably wouldn't agree, but I'm sure she'll remember sitting with her mom by the fire late into the night, just talking, and bonding, and sitting in silence staring at the stars.

I meant to run in the mountains over the weekend. I had every intention of waking up early, blowing the fire-smoked black contents out of my nose, grabbing some water and hitting the trail, at least for a short run. The intentions slipped with every glass of wine, and when I went to bed, neglecting to set the alarm, I was resigned to the fact that a break would do me well.

So, instead of running in the morning, I ate bacon and eggs cooked over a fire and hot, hot coffee. Instead of checking email throughout the day, I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, my own version of checking out. The book details a young woman's quest to heal herself by solo hiking the PCT. Reading this book surrounded by the luxuries of car camping felt a little like cheating, but it also spoke to the powers of being outdoors, connected only to family and friends.

We didn't talk about the shooting in Colorado or what has become bumper-sticker, 140 character, political debate. We did talk about fishing, and my son learned why sometimes it's better to throw fish back.

It was a simple weekend spent outside under the trees, and while it doesn't take much to get outside, many simply don't have that opportunity, and I can't help but think that if the Colorado shooter spent more time outside, unconnected, things would be different, or maybe he was too far gone.

I received an email before I went camping, and it's something I want to promote. I first heard of Outdoor Outreach when Toby was raising money for them. Then, I heard about them again when Paul Jesse, organizer of the Lake Hodges Trail races, choose them as the beneficiary of the trail races. I'll be doing the 5K, running with Sharlie, and I am so excited for this race. Outdoor Outreach "utilizes outdoor physical experiences to provide youth with the support, relationships, resources and opportunities they need to become successful adults." I don't ask for much on this blog, there is no "support my running habit" link (yet), but if you do have the means, this would be a good way to share your passion for the outdoors with those who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to experience the transformative power of nature. If you donate before July 31st, North Face will match your donation, 100%. I see so much complaining about corporate greed (and I'm sure I do my share of complaining), that I feel it necessary to recognize companies like The North Face and Patagonia, among others, when they do good.

I remember fishing with my Grandpa in Montana, catching rainbow trout in a lake in Big Sky. My grandparents had a cabin and I have many memories of my Grandma, the games she would play with us to make the drive through Montana go by faster, the box of toys in her house, her caring for me while I was sick for a week, giving me money to skateboard down the cracked Great Falls sidewalk to buy some ice cream, and taking me to the three forks of the Missouri River and telling me stories about Lewis and Clark. I don't have many childhood memories of my Grandpa. He was, and is, a quiet man, a doctor who I don't remember seeing too much when I stayed in Great Falls, but I do remember catching my first fish as he stood by my side, helping me reel it in, but not taking over, just guiding my hand as the line jumped and pulled. Memory is a strange thing, I forget important things, monumental events fade slowly away, but something that seems insignificant at the time, a scene on a lake, can linger forever.

Thanks for reading. I'm off to post this on Facebook.


  1. I was pleased to find how beautiful Palomar is recently. I didn't even realize it was a series of peaks. Seemed like our own miniature Shangri La.

    1. It is beautiful, and close. Hopefully they can keep the campgrounds open up there.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more Dax! It's amazing what a little time outdoors can do for a person. Outdoor Outreach sounds like a great organization. Just to note, anyone that doesn't want to donate money to the organization can donate their time and volunteer for some of their adventures.

  3. I remember fishing with my uncle as a child, sitting quietly watching pike jump out of the river - magical. Thanks for bringing back the memory! Good luck with the fund-raising, couldn't agree more - everyone should have the opportunity to get outdoors and experience nature :)


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