I skidded to a halt at the top of Big Hill, and stood there, panting. Using the back of my palm, I wiped the sweat off my glistening forehead. Before I could even turn around and whistle, I was joined by my dog Ryu, who was also panting up a storm.
For the past half an hour, we’d been running as fast as our tired legs would carry us, and scrambling up whichever random deer trail caught our fancy, steadily zig-zagging our way to the top of our little backyard “mountain” — (if a 1.5 mile, 1,200 foot climb can really be considered a mountain) — and now we’d reached the top!
Below us, the world was just waking up to a glorious spring morning. It felt like you could see forever.
I drank in the beautiful scene for a minute or two, and then, with no other human being within at least a mile, I threw my head back and let out a triumphant wolf howl.
What is it about mountaintops that just makes you feel so alive?!
My legs felt like rubber, and I was still out of breath, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much energy!
Looking behind me, I surveyed the loose, rocky trail that Ryu and I had just sprinted up. It was a decent path, certainly better than some of the winding tracks we’d been on already. But as I turned back to the East, I just couldn’t help feeling drawn to the snow covered drop-off in front of me.
It was extremely steep, extremely slick, and littered here and there with stray boulders. Definitely no good for running.
I bit my lip and glanced down at the 2-point shed antler I’d found in the sagebrush 10 minutes earlier.
The next thing I knew, I was flying down the steep hill, spraying snow in all directions as I slid feet-first down the snowpack. The wind was roaring in my ears, loud enough to drown out my own laughter. And every time I found myself sliding along too fast or careening towards an exposed boulder or sagebrush, I’d simply jam my little antler deep into the melting snow, and allow it to slow me down to a more reasonable speed.
In no time at all, I was at the bottom of the snowfield — and nearly halfway down Big Hill.
I brushed myself off, and turned around to whistle for Ryu. But, once again, he was already at my side, with a toothy grin almost as big as mine. I’m not sure how he got down the hill as fast as he did, but he evidently had a fun time doing it.
Together, we ran the last mile or so back home, leaping down rocky ledges and bounding over sage brush.
When we finally reached the dirt road, I slowed to a walk, feeling physically spent, but mentally beaming! All around me, the sun was shining, the meadow larks were singing, and life just couldn’t get any spring-ier. Sure, there was a lot of work to do at home, but I have no regrets taking an hour out of my Saturday morning to go spend some time out in nature.
Sometimes you just need a good, fresh breath of the wild!