Why we Love the Mountains

Perhaps it’s the fresh, cool air or the adventures you can have, maybe it is just a great place to get away from the noise and chaos of everyday life. For me it is all of the above and more. I come alive in the mountains and energize from simply being there. I love the ever-changing environment, the contrast of forested lowlands versus the open views from a mountaintop and the unknown you find in the mountains. No matter which mountain, I always get the same feeling when I’m there; I am complete and I belong.

A study by the University of Virginia suggests that introverts love the mountains. An introvert is described as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than external things.” I think there’s some merit to that. I’m not a total introvert. I love a good social gathering; the odd party and can talk the hind leg off a donkey. But a busy beach full of people bearing all and a million things going on? Not top of my list of places to relax. A beach as far as the eye can see, without another anyone else in sight and only the gentle crashing of waves – that's more my style.

My go-to place, when I need quiet reflection time to recharge, think and simply get some perspective on life, is in the mountains. I love the peace you get in the mountains, and the connection to nature, and dare I say it, myself. I find I can think more clearly, focus on the priorities and have some of my most innovative and creative ideas when out in the wilderness. Its’ a place where I feel calm in a way that nothing else can match.

I love the contrast of being challenged mentally and physically. Whether hiking, walking or skiing – I’m outside where I can enjoy the elements, uncertainty and adventure that being in the mountains brings. Above all, I love that Mother Nature often provides the biggest challenge, and you’ve got to adapt and be able to tough it out. I have a inner sense of pride that I know how to carry on regardless of whether it is snowing, raining or fog, I maybe just change my activity or how long I’m going to be out. If I’m being 100% honest, I love that not everyone can hack it being in the mountains.

My favourite things to do in the mountains

  1. Skiing down a freshly groomed piste.
  2. Hiking on a day that starts cloudy and clears when you reach the top.
  3. Walking through a forest and discovering a sculpture trail or something somebody has crafted.
  4. Swimming in a river.
  5. Drinking fresh water from a stream.
  6. Going to a small pub with an open fire and dogs sleeping in front of it.
  7. Staying in a cosy wood cabin designed just for 2.
  8. Waking up to a day that’s totally different from the one before - snowing/fog/windy/brilliant sunshine.
  9. Smelling trees after it’s rained and hearing seeds crack in the sun.
  10. Sitting on a warm rock, feeling the sun, just gazing out across the mountains and wondering.

So why do I love the mountains? Probably because it is where I grew up. I spent a childhood running around in the countryside, with dogs, cats and chickens as much my friends as my schoolmates who lived down the road. In the Grampians we had the freedom to make our own entertainment in the woods were we lived. It is tradition in my life to walk through whatever weather nature throws at you to get to a New Year’s party, Christmas Eve drinks at the local pub or walk off a hearty family Sunday lunch. A bracing hike up a mountain is also the best cure when you wake up a little dusty after the night before! So a walk or hike ensued almost every weekend!

I now live in Melbourne, so things are – to say the least – a little different. This is the first time I’ve lived in a city, and am learning new things about myself every day. My biggest learning is that I have neglected my need to be in the mountains and it has changed me. I realised I am a Mountain Being and I live in one of the World’s Most Liveable Cities. And its’ at sea level! I absolutely love it, there’s always exciting to do, sometimes 4 seasons in 1 day, but there is a distinct lack of altitude! Thankfully, I have more mountain ranges within 4 hours of where I live than I have ever had in my whole life. And, rather naive of me, I only discovered you can ski in Victoria when I moved here. I am on the biggest adventure of my life, and am surrounded by more adrenalin sports than ever before. One weekend at a time!