This picture here is one of, if not the oldest picture on my camera roll. It dates back to the first time I had climbed a decent hike to the top of Mt. St. Regis, up in Paul Smiths NY. By now this gorgeous view is but a tiny hill amongst the landscape that is the monstrosity of the Adirondack State Park. With 46 "high peaks", one can get quite swept away by the gargantuan task of climbing each and every peak to reach that "fortysixers" club.
In doing so, one can get taken away from the awe inspiring views that are but a car ride away from my current home. A picture like mine only shows one distinct angle sitting atop one lowly peak, and not even a peak belonging to the prestigious club that I mentioned earlier. No, this small, one and a half hour round-trip hike can supply one with enough beauty to last a lifetime. That is, if one is willing to achieve such a goal. The hike, like I said, is an hour and half long. If you're not in the best of shape, which if we're being honest, is most of us, then odds are that you don't know what an hour and a half straight of walking uphill is like. I can attest to you that I do, and this short hike is not it.
To put it in perspective, a cousin of mine made it a challenge to see how quickly he could complete this climb, up and down. The goal was not beauty, as each and every one of my family members that goes on this annual trip has already seen the top of this peak and "all" of its views that it has to offer. He ran up the mountain, and sprinted back down it. This hike actually offers a good enough path that someone of above-average physical fitness, who has at least some hiking experience, will be able to do it at a light jog, given the necessary fact that the participant needs a certain baseline of cardiovascular stamina. All that said, my cousin ripped though the climb and descent, and finished the entire thing in 40 minutes.
For an average person, this is not me calling on you to sprint through this mountain, or any mountain for that matter. As a matter of fact this is not me calling on anybody to really do anything. But I do look for a purpose in laying out the groundwork quickly, but as efficiently as I can so that you now have the context for my greater point in writing this short blog today. Natural beauty is something to be sought after by every human being, no matter what your physical abilities or limitations are. When you shut yourself in your office, or in your home, or a combination of both for such a long time without any connection to nature, a part of your body actually becomes hungry. Starving and wanting to be fed, and not to be satisfied by greasy hamburgers or cheap cigarettes.
No, this deeper, more important hunger is something only to be undertaken by you, yourself only. Whether that means taking your dog out on that walk, taking that car out on a drive with the windows down, or steamrolling through a hike as fast as humanly possible just to prove to yourself and others that you can do it. Nobody can tell you how exactly it is you interact with nature. It's possible that your interaction with nature is walking through the city amongst thousands of strangers, but the only way you'll find out is by going and giving it a chance.
With all of the National Parks, National Monuments, and State Parks that I've seen, I can confidently tell you that it's not a requirement to go and see those before you pass on to whatever it is God has in store for you. I don't need a special name or designation to tell me that my local community park is just as beautiful when looked at with an open mind and an open heart. It may be nice of me to say these things, having had more experiences in my short time here than most will over their entire lives. But I can promise you that even if I do get to see each and every National Park there is, and see every Natural Wonder the world has to offer, nothing will convince me away from the notion that the Adirondack State Park is as deserving as any other candidate to be a National Park, and I will die on that hill:)