It’s just a hashtag. It’s very popular on Instagram. We tag a lot of our own photos with it. It’s just a hashtag, right?
Not really. This hashtag has become a bit of a motto for us. We are rookies. We are new to the big outside world around us. But still, we strive to get out there and try it out.
Sometimes it’s amazing – you see mountains in the distance that take your breath away, you catch the sun perfectly silhouetting a Joshua Tree, you smell the delightful burn of a campfire. Other times, it’s not so amazing – you are surrounded by so many bugs that if you take a deep breath, you’ll probably inhale a couple. You feel exhausted and hot and so depleted of energy, yet you still have miles to go. Sometimes the trail has nothing to offer but sore feet, sunburns, and a view not worth the film you brought in your camera. Every single trail has something to teach you, though. With every little adventure to the outdoors, we are learning.
It all started with walks around city parks in Saint Louis. Sculpture and fall color and paved trails. We loved it. It was close to home and safe. Gradually, we started looking further from home. From hikes in the woods, to cliffs overlooking grand rivers, to grand staircases made of rocks and trees. Suddenly, we found ourselves packing our lives into a small box and two cars, and headed across the country to the great west called California. We were fairly caught up with the beach for a while, but it got chilly out, and we grabbed a map and looked at what surrounded us. Joshua Tree National Park was the most easily accessed National Park, therefore it became our first.
On our first trip, on January 17th, 2015, we barely left the car. We took a few steps off of the road, away from our trunk full of cameras, but never ventured too far away. We were in awe of this totally new landscape. Logically, we went back the next chance we got – six days later. We scrambled a small pile of rocks and felt like we had climbed to the top of the world. A new perspective that was so exciting! We went back again, each time growing more adventurous and more willing to leave the car behind. We learned that tennis shoes are better left to the city streets, and hiking boots actually do have a purpose. We learned that coyotes howling in the distance is a strangely inspiring sound, not something to be terrified of. We learned quickly that snacks and water (and sometimes, bug spray) were more important than having five (heavy) cameras along for the hike.
(Side note, we are film photographers, as well as digital photographers. This often means a variety of cameras are along for our journeys – from digital, to 35mm, to instant, to medium format. Our spines are grateful that large format has stayed at bay to this point!)
We, by no means, think we have it even slightly figured out. We see the “serious” outdoorsy people and can become somewhat intimidated. We may not spend a month in the desert, or weeks trekking through snow, but we are doing one new thing at a time, and it’s still something to be proud of.
Here is the point: the outside is worth the time to learn and grow and explore. Making it to the top of a summit or peak, to the end of a trail, to the burger joint at the end of a day of hiking… there is nothing like it. So start now, get outside. Take a walk in a park. Put on some comfy shoes, grab some water. Go for a stroll down your street. Find parks and places and trails. Enjoy the silence, or the sounds of others on the trail. Start exploring. See things for the first time. Learn along the way. It’s worth it.
Join us, #getoutside.