Hey all, my name is Adam Kay and I am a 20 year old outdoor lover and environmental enthusiast from Northern California. I am currently a student and am studying environmental sustainability, so naturally, I have deep and never ending opinions regarding our planet and how we treat it. As with any environmental enthusiast, I also spend the majority of my free time outdoors! Whether it be hiking, climbing, or landscape photography, there is a 93.7% chance you’ll find me in the mountains.
This blog will serve as a creative outlet for me, whether it be posting pictures of the people and places I cherish or diving deep into the nitty-gritty of sustainability, I intend to update whomever is interested on a weekly basis, if not more often. Living the life I do, I tend to surround myself with people who share similar lifestyles and values, therefore, I will be having guest articles from friends and acquaintances!
If you would like to get in touch with me, Instagram: @akay_otw
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Let’s talk about the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically, Bend Oregon.
Up until recently I had only traveled to the great PNW a couple of times, but as a young teenager whom hadn’t found out the enjoyment and fulfillment which the mountains (and nature in general) produce for me. Within the past six months I have visited the PNW twice, and let me just say, it has to be my favorite area in the United States. I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and frequently make trips to areas such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite and the surrounding National Forests and wilderness areas. Whilst the Sierra Nevada is beautiful and seemingly never-ending, The Cascades are just special to me, and I can’t necessarily put my finger on why this is so. Part of this infatuation may be the gateway to the southern Cascades being the towering Mt. Shasta, which seems to force me to pull over to take pictures no matter how many times I’ve seen it.
About 3 hours from Mt. Shasta, you reach my favorite town in Oregon, Bend. Bend Oregon is the Outdoor enthusiast’s Valhalla. In the Summer there are hundreds of trails which propel you into the nearby Mountains, which are literally a five minute drive from Bend. These mountains contain some of the best hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking in all of the Cascades. From Bend itself, you can see a wide variety of Stratovolcanoes including Mt. Hood and “Bend’s mountain”, Mt. Bachelor. Whilst the summer activities are phenomenal, the winter activities parallel them. Snowsports? check. Climbing? check. Hiking? Check. For anyone who is in the least bit into outdoor recreation, beautiful views, and a wild road trip, please hit up Bend on your next trip to Oregon.
A quick bit of advice,
No matter where you go, make sure to enjoy the moment. In the past, I’ve been more focused on the destination than the journey itself and as cliche as it sounds, this is a mistake that many of us make. Being in the moment means appreciating the beauty of where you are and not just looking forward to the beauty of where you’re going. This can be achieved in many ways, but I’ve come to find out that it’s the little things that count. Roll down your windows when you’re driving even if its crisp and chilly outside, take a few extra minutes in the morning to relax (off of your phone), go out of your way to talk to people along the way, and when there’s something worth taking a picture of, make sure you look at it with just your eyes for a couple of minutes before taking those pictures. There are obviously many more ways to be in the moment, but however you can do it, make sure you do!
The importance of Solitude on Trail
Hitting the trail with a loved one or a group of buddies is something which is comfortable, fun, and extremely rewarding, however, most don’t experience the most rewarding type of adventure of them all: Solo hiking. Hiking alone is not for everyone because most don’t embrace the fear which is associated with it, which is very fair due to the escalated risks and anxieties associated with it, however if you’re able to push past these mental blocks, you may just experience the most surreal aspects of nature. It is not uncommon for me to go on 15-20 mile excursions by myself in very remote areas such as desolation wilderness, Tahoe National forest, and Yosemite when I visit. These long excursions definitely took some getting used to, but I much prefer them to hiking with others. The pros and cons of solo hiking are fairly balanced depending on the person, so let’s check some of those out real quick.
Pros: The ability to set your own pace, deeper connection to your surroundings, no time crunches other than your own, And the exploration of your own conscious (being left alone with your own thoughts for a long period of time).
Cons: Risk of injury becomes more real when you’re alone, predatory animals (much smaller risk than most think), Getting lost, Boredom, and mid-hike depression.
If you are willing to sacrifice a small bit of mental safety and peace of mind, you will gain mental clarity and obtain peace in your mind. If you have any questions regarding this topic or anything else outdoor related, feel free to shoot me a DM on instagram or email me (both of which are in my intro post).