Spirit Falls in Oregon’s Umpqua National Forest. Photo taken on June 14, 2017

Hiking has become pretty much a personal core value. Since I retired from a career in teaching and coaching six years ago, I have found that hiking is the key to my personal best self. It wasn’t always that way. I’ve lived in Oregon most of my life, and as a kid, despite the natural beauty around me, I rarely hiked, because I would much rather have been playing pickup basketball or baseball. When I did get out on a trail, it was a requirement on a family outing, or a Boy’s Club overnight trip. Over 34 years in education, I did other things on weekends and summer breaks than hike. But that’s changed in a big way.

I started hiking when I retired. I was not in good condition physically, and to lose 45 pounds or so, climbing nearby Mt. Pisgah became my weekly, then daily routine. After six months, I was fit. Pisgah became my training ground. It got me in shape for taking more ambitious hikes. A good friend became a reliable hiking partner, and life hasn’t been quite the same since.

At the same time, I started carrying a camera. In the early mornings, Mt. Pisgah provided some amazing natural scenes. I became hooked on finding new hikes to photograph. Over the last four years, hiking around the Pacific Northwest has provided the arena for capturing some amazing photos, and there are countless new places to discover. My hiking/photography outings became an obsession. Becoming a better photographer was my goal and I took a class. I hiked. I practiced.

I still want to improve, and when I schedule my next outing, I’ll practice some more. The hiking/photography combination is a perfect fit for me.