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Respect the mountain

When you're out in the world, you've got things that need respecting. The world isn't about any one individual. It's not about a single location, a common belief, or a best way. Each person has their own journey, and each person has their own relationships with others, and with nature.

Being outdoors is a great gift for us to interact with everyday. It teaches, challenges, and checks our development through life. It reminds us that the world is much bigger than us, and we need to keep that perspective. Give it the respect it deserves.

When we're out in nature, we find ourselves free from the distractions, obstacles, and stress of our daily lives. It's a change of pace that is welcomed and refreshing. It adds balance to our energy and soothes our mind. Nature is really a wonderful medicine.

To keep ourselves with access to these benefits, we need to respect what nature is, and where our place is in relation to the environment we're in.

On the side of a mountain, we are visitors. In the forest, we're guests. In the ocean, we're barely even notable.

While nature can provide and build us up, it can also be dangerous. It can be misused, misunderstood, and misstepped. Sometimes these can turn into bad experiences, so being aware of what you're involved in will help you avoid the bad days.

When you're out in the wild world, you need to keep aware of your surroundings at all times. You need to understand where you are headed, what you may encounter, and what can change your plans. Keeping an eye on the terrain, the weather, and your partner(s) will keep you ready to react if needed.

Taking different views will help understand how all the forces in the world interact. Take a close look at those things in your immediate surroundings. Keep an eye on where you are stepping, turning, or riding. Be able to predict how the terrain will move your body and how you can use it to your advantage. Sometimes the low road is better than the high road. Sometimes the smaller steps are better than the big step. Sometimes you need to turn around and find a better route. Keeping engaged with your immediate path will spare you twisting an ankle or taking a fall.

Also, take a 30,000 foot view. Look around and imagine what the big picture around you is. Does this route head where you want? Does it bring you through woods, water, or exposed terrain? Paying attention to the landscape will help you predict where you are going. The more you know about the surroundings, the better navigating you can maintain.

Keep your footprint minimal. Nature has it's own way of dealing with all the things it has. When we bring our foreign substances, that affects how nature lives. This isn't only cleaning up after ourselves. It's also responsibly using the environment. Not over clearing areas. Not influencing natural waterways, forests, and animals. Not irresponsibles fires, trailblazing, hunting, trapping, or fishing.

There is a story about Zion National Park from when it first opened. The story goes, that soon after Zion National Park opened, the butterfly population had decreased. Now they tried to solve this by introducing more butterflies into the park, but that didn't work. The problem wasn't with the butterflies. The lack of butterflies was the reaction. The cause was several steps before.

When the park opened, all the tourists scared off the mountain lions. Ok, but what do mountain lions have to do with butterflies?

As the mountain lions left, the mule deer population grew. Ok still no butterflies.

As the mule deer population grew, the brush along the river edges was eaten away. No correlation yet.

As the brush along the river thinned, the river banks washed out. Is that where the butterflies were?

That is where the butterflies food source was. Without stable river banks, the flowers the butterflies ate couldn't grow, and the food shortage killed off the butterflies.

This all came from tourists scarring off mountain lions. A seemingly small event, that was likely enjoyed by humans, lead to an overgrowth in herd population, a decline in water regulating vegetation, a disruption in river bank stability, a decline in flower growth, and the lack of food resulting in an unsurvivable environment for the butterflies.

The cascade of things that happen from our interaction with nature can lead to many changes, and some of them may not be correctable. Keep that in mind when you are out there enjoying what nature offers. #snowbeastperformance

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