Being outdoors, immersed in nature is truly the best medicine. For the past couple of years I have slowly devolved into an angry, somewhat depressed, marginally sedentary person. While I once spent the majority of my time outdoors, I now work in an office building surrounded by people who are even more angry, depressed, and sedentary than I. I have come to realize that this type of environment is toxic. Toxic to humanity. Toxic to our physiques, our emotions, and even our souls. I have spent the past few nights sleeping under the stars in Val Ferret; a beautiful green valley that stems from Val d’Aosta . My camp is right at the base of Mont Blanc (I know right!?). Yesterday, my guide Alessandro Bosio, and I climbed Aiguille d‘Entreves, and summited a respectable 3,604 meters. The fresh mountain air, the views, and the experience were nothing short of incredible. The following day, we had planned to ascend another 3,500+ meter peak; however, morning thunderstorms compelled us to cancel the trip. Once the rain passed, I mounted my two-wheeled steed, Margo. From the saddle, I ventured randomly through the mountains, forests, and meadows of Val Ferret. After only about five minutes of riding, my worries and stresses about work and all of the petty things began to vanish. I must have take a wrong turn along the trail, because at one point I came upon a trail sign that read “Azienda Faunistico Venatoria” (Wildlife Hunting Company). I assumed this meant that I was not supposed to be there, and contemplated the best way to make egress from this restricted area. I could go back down the trail in hopes of finding a bridge across the Dora di Ferret (a beautiful, super-cold, mountain stream)…. Or I could hoist Margo on my shoulder and ford the frigid stream in waist deep water. I chose the latter. Typically, when driving down the autostrada (Italian highway), if I make a wrong turn I am immediately furious. Not today. Today those wrong turns (yes, there ended up being many) were all part of the marvelous adventure. I spent hours exploring the expansive trail system, and indiscriminately taking “wrong” turns….getting lost on purpose. While I am sure there are exceptions…but isn’t this how we should be living our lives? We should LIVE, not thirst for fatter bank accounts and new “things.” We should EXPLORE, not keep ourselves confined to four walls, a television, computer, or —insert vice here—. We should get LOST, from time-to-time. In life, we make mistakes and we encounter obstacles. Instead of dwelling on these mistakes, how about we relish in the lessons learned once we overcome and persevere. I put this brief realization into text while sitting on a fallen log in the middle of Dora di Ferret. I doubt I would have relaxed enough to have experienced this epiphany had I not spent this time outdoors, exploring God’s creation. The only thing that would have made it better, is if my beautiful wife and son been able to join me (they were stateside visiting family). Nature truly is the best medicine.

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