outdoors awesome

anonymous asked:

Hey Chris! Can you tell us about each year of college and the struggles you faced as well as the great things that happened? I'm a first year facing some struggles and just need some reassurance

Hey anon! Absolutely!

My freshman year I had the XC season of my life, followed by an injury that kept me out for about a year! I also met Victor, who I was with for a few years! It was a lot of change, a lot of learning and growth, being away from home, making new friends. 

Sophomore year was really tough– I was in a very bad place mentally and took it out on my friends, family, and Victor. I almost lost a lot of solid relationships. It was another year of a lot of growth and learning.

Junior year, I was competing again and I had a really, really disappointing XC season, followed by an awesome outdoor track season! I also went through a break-up and learned A LOT about myself and found so many wonderful things that came out of what I thought was “falling apart.”

I have learned over the years to…TRUST YOURSELF. Try not to be too influenced by others. Trust your gut, that little voice inside of you. You know what is best for your body and your mental health. People will come and go…let it happen. Do not force things. What is meant to be will be. Work hard, be kind, be patient, trust yourself, have fun, keep an open mind, and remember that the universe has a funny way of working things out, even if they are not how you thought they would turn out!!! Keep the faith :)

There are skies and then there are Blue Ridge Parkway skies. The southern end of the parkway in North Carolina winds through the highest elevations, offering dramatic mountain top views. When photographer Robert Stephens chanced upon this scene at Bear Trap Gap, he said “It almost felt like an out of body experience. You can’t believe what you’re seeing, but it’s there! I was so in awe of the light filtering over the ridges I had to remember to snap my shutter!” Photo courtesy of Robert Stephens.

If not for the foresight of a few individuals including Theodore Roosevelt, the American bison could have become extinct. Hunted to the edge of annihilation, by the early 20th century only a few small herds remained. In 1956, 29 bison were brought from Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska and released in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Here they roam freely on 46,000 acres and number in the hundreds. Photo by National Park Service.

The desert at sunrise seems so peaceful and still, but if you look closer, the sights and sounds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona reveal a remarkable community of plants and animals. Human stories echo throughout this desert preserve, chronicling thousands of years of desert living. A scenic drive, wilderness hike or a night of camping will expose you to a living desert that beautiful and thriving. Photo by National Park Service.