Modern society has made it much easier for people to lose touch and become disconnected with nature. With the large advancements in technology, it can definitely be more appealing to stay indoors than venture and explore the outside world. However, I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to the depths of Mother Nature through the means of hiking since I was very young.
I began hiking regularly when I was six years old, trekking up mountains in Santa Monica every Friday after school with my grandfather and older brother. This early experience in my life opened my eyes up to what it is like to be in nature and experience the scenic views up on the mountains. Instead of being stuck in the urban life with the bright lights and loud noises of the smog-filled city, I could be in the peaceful setting of nature and have a sense of inner calmness as I breathed in the clean mountain air.
While the hikes in the Santa Monica mountains exposed me early on in my life to nature, hiking Mount San Antonio, or more commonly known as Mount Baldy, which is the highest peak in all of LA County, made a greater impact on my life. I first hiked this mountain to the summit at six years old. After hiking Mt. Baldy many times throughout the years, I received a greater appreciation of hiking. The valuable hiking experience is made up of trekking up the mountain all day, carrying equipment and exerting all of my energy to reach the summit, which gives me satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, all while meeting other hikers with the same goal in mind.
One particular mountain that I have hiked and value as a large accomplishment in my life is Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. My hike on this mountain, which I hiked at ten years old and took twenty straight hours to climb, made an impact on me as I realized the determination and will power I had in order to hike the mountain without giving up.
All of these hiking experiences were due to my grandfather, who introduced my brother and I to the world of hiking. My grandfather took on hiking in his later years after retirement and it ended up becoming an immense part of his life, hiking Mount Baldy, which was the main mountain that he cherished and loved to climb, over 800 times. However, a few years ago, my grandfather tragically passed away in an accident while hiking the same mountain. While my grandfather may no longer be with my family, I realized the experiences I received and what I learned from hiking, thanks to my grandfather, will always carry on and impact me for the rest of my life.
In this modern technological age, having been given the opportunity to be exposed to nature and have more experiences in the depths of the outdoor world has made me more grateful and appreciative of nature and my general living. Especially in the time of quarantine, where so many people are cooped up inside their home, I have realized the impact and importance that nature can have on people to live a fuller life.