Love the outdoors?

I do. Oh, how I do! And my hope is that more people would come to love the outdoors, too.

I love to go for long runs along the water’s edge or lovely mountainside trail, losing myself in my thoughts. I love journeying through long bicycling rides, alone or with friends, along less-traveled roads that twist and turn through shaded groves and open trailways. There’s nothing better than catching the smell of eucalyptus trees while hiking or the magic of kayaking in a quiet estuary or bay and discovering new pockets of life hidden in forgotten coves. Even a simple walk in the hills around my neighborhood, feeling the fresh breeze of air and marveling at the colors of every flower patch I encounter, can be life-giving.

view from Skyline

Lately, as I’ve come to see myself as one who spends a fair chunk of time each day moving about outside, I willingly accept the moniker of “outdoor enthusiast” and embrace the beauty and the ethereal quality of nature within a stone’s throw of my home in Oakland, California. The air, the interplay of sunshine and fog, bold blue sky and green or golden hills (depending on the season), all of it fills my soul.

So, it was a real treat for me to get asked to help with the design and launch of a trail challenge to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

If you’re not familiar with the Bay Area Ridge Trail, it is a fascinating creation — a 550-mile network of ridgeline trails that encircles the entire San Francisco Bay Area, linking National, State, and Regional parks and protected open space areas that stretch North/South from Gilroy to Calistoga and East/West from Benecia to the Pacific Ocean. Check out this map to see what I’m talking about.

The idea for such a trail network was conceived more than three decades ago by William Penn Mott, Jr., a landscape architect and long-time public park manager. Thanks to his advocacy and vision, and that of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, the Ridge Trail currently stands at 375 miles of dedicated and protected trail, much of which is open to runners, walkers, and hikers as well as bicyclers and horseback riders. The entire loop is likely to be completed within my lifetime.

view from Sweeney RidgeI’ve walked, run, or biked parts of the Ridge Trail long before I realized the Ridge Trail even existed. Some of the Bay Area’s most panoramic views are part of this majestic trail loop. So, I was really delighted to be able to support the organization that is responsible for helping to build this gem of the Bay Area.

The Ridge Trail Challenge is easy and free. It involves registering for and completing 5 of 30 hand-picked adventures along the Bay Area Ridge Trail from now through December 15, 2019. And you can get entered into a series of drawings for some really cool prizes. Think of it as simply a really great excuse to get out and explore the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In case it isn’t apparent from my website, I am a communications gal who admittedly spends an inordinate amount of my day working behind a computer screen cranking out stories, designs, websites, strategies, messaging, and a myriad of other communications. I love my work tremendously. But it does make for a lot of screen time, and I know I’m not alone.

So, this Earth Day, and as many days afterwards as you can muster, I invite you to join me. If you live in the Bay Area, get outdoors with a friend or with the quiet solitude of your soul, and discover life outside the computer screen by taking an adventure along the Ridge Trail. Maybe 5 adventures. Maybe a few more!

And if you live elsewhere in the world, seek out your local wilderness and spend some time there. You never know what you might discover. I honestly believe that by leading each other to discover the beauty and bounty of the world outside our computers, homes, and office buildings, we can take one small step towards growing a humanity more bent towards the care, appreciation, and restoration of this amazing planet.