June is National Great Outdoors Month!  I thought I would do a new writing prompt blog focused around that topic.  To celebrate, the PPL A/V Department set up their main display sections with outdoor related movies featuring titles across both fiction and non-fiction.  Choose from many options, such as “classics” like the 80’s smash-hit comedy “The Great Outdoors,” and critically acclaimed recent releases like the survival story “The Mountain Between Us.”  For non-fiction, there are many documentaries related to our beautiful planet Earth and Mother Nature herself.

Despite personally being a mosquito magnet, I am a big fan of the outdoors!  Other than watching movies/sports, spending time outside is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  Whether it is relaxing at home by kicking my feet up in a lawn chair with a book and playing some music on my phone, or hiking for miles, I tend to feel the happiest when I am outdoors.  I know that the main reason why I dislike winter so much is because the cold and snow traps me inside for months.  I need fresh air and sunshine to feel refreshed and alive!

In the past few years I have discovered a new true love in life: hiking.  I need to specify that I am not a “park my car on the side of a random road and walk into the woods” style of hiker.  I admire those that are, but I prefer designated trails that lead to something beautiful or cool to look at.  Western Michigan has become my hiking Mecca, and I have spent more time traversing trails along the Lake Michigan coast than anywhere else.  While I always enjoy discovering new places to hike, I really enjoy retracing my steps in places that I have already covered.  Pyramid Point, located north of Glen Arbor, Michigan, has become my favorite spot in Earth (not an exaggeration) and I have hiked there a half dozen times now!

While I have taken solo hiking trips, I have found that time spent with company makes the experience more enjoyable.  My cousin is not only my best friend, but as close to me as a brother.  He and I have probably covered more ground together than some of the more famous nomads in history!  We have hiked all over Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula, to Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky.  The more we hike together the more we get the itch to keep going.  We both want to go hiking somewhere out west one day, like in the wilds of Montana, or at Yellowstone.  I also have a personal goal of not only visiting the Grand Canyon, but putting in some mileage there too!

I know it will all happen in due time.  Until we can get a major trek like one out west planned we will continue to stay “local,” which is just fine with us!  There’s still so much to see and do so close to home, along with revisiting old favorites if and when the mood strikes us.

I encourage you to not only get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun during National Great Outdoors month, but to do so whenever you can year round!  Don’t limit yourself just to the month of June because of its title.  Nothing can beat fresh air and exercise, no matter what time of year it may be!

Happy trails!

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