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  • Peggy Simonsen

The Mountains are calling and I must go

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

This quote from John Muir in the 19th century captures my feeling exactly. It has been 17 months since I was in the mountains- on a ski trip to Big Sky, Montana, a month before the world shut down. But I am about to head out to Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My son has a mountain house near Truckee, where we stay when we ski Squaw Valley. I don’t get to the Rocky Mountains in the summer as often as I do in the winter, but they are glorious! I love weather that is cool enough to enjoy being in the sun without being hot, and the Bluebird skies are intense. (That is how Big Sky Montana got its name.) Plus the Alpine wildflowers make you think of the Sound of Music!

Last fall with California on fire, Mike cleared out the pine needles that carpeted his yard under the Jeffrey pines, and dug out the manzanita and tobacco bush shrubs that are particularly flammable. My other son who was a smoke jumper with the US Forest Service while in college, says when they were fighting forest fires, they wouldn’t even try to fight blazes overtaking homes with wood piled up against them, shake roofs, and flammable shrubs all around. They would put their attention to something they had a hope of saving. Mike’s house was never in danger, but he was being abundantly cautious.

The drought continues in spite of the winter snowfall, or because there was less snow than usual. So no need to take rain gear- just good hiking boots!

Research shows that 120 minutes a week in nature greatly reduces stress levels. I spend time out in nature at home too, but my endorphins increase substantially in the mountains!

Squaw Valley in summer

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