Climbing Trees, Child-Like Wonder, and Going Out West

My name is Samantha, and I have never climbed a tree. Judging from the appalled reactions I get whenever I tell this to people, I have to assume that tree-climbing is just a fundamental part of any normal childhood. Perhaps there is something about the challenge of climbing, of finding secure holds for your hands and feet. Or maybe there is something about the sheer thrill of towering over anything and everything else, of the satisfaction in realizing your new position is the product of your own strength. I never have climbed a tree, so I don’t know if that is even remotely correct. Nevertheless, surely tree-climbing must foster the innate qualities of adventure, discovery, and curiosity held in every child. Surely it establishes and strengthens the connection between humanity and nature.

My never having climbed a tree is the product of two things: one, I never really liked getting my hands dirty, and I honestly could never bring myself to do it because I was scared. Being raised in a household where being safe, tidy, and reserved was superior to being daring, messy, and outspoken, I often found myself shying away from opportunities and activities which required any speck of boldness. But as I have gotten older, have moved away for college, and have been exposed to a plethora of world views and attitudes towards life, I’ve come to adopt a renewed appreciation for adventure and child-like wonder. There is nothing quite like living life at least somewhat close to the edge. I have learned that being timid is a hindrance to learning from experience, and that sometimes falling down and failing is exponentially more valuable than staying safe and never knowing what waits around the corner.

All this to say, exploration is important! Stay fascinated. Be curious. Take chances. Discover more. Worry less. Go climb a tree.

And now enjoy some photos from our family’s trip out West, in which my desire for adventure was overwhelmingly satiated and some child-like wonder was coaxed out of all of us:

Day 1: Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

Day 2: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Day 3: Arches National Park, Utah

Day 4: Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Day 5: Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Day 6: Chinatown, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, California

Day 7: Fisherman’s Wharf, Santa Cruz, Seventeen-Mile Drive, Big Sur, California

Day 8: Yosemite National Park, California

Day 9: Point Reyes Lighthouse, California