Why Being in the Mountains is Like Falling in Love
I had a curious realization the other week while hiking with my author Mindy Sink as she conducted research for her upcoming book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver & Boulder. We were hiking to the summit of Twin Sisters in Rocky Mountain National Park and I was overcome with this feeling. I was happy. No, more than happy. I was jumping-out-of-my-skin-with-excitement happy. Can’t-stop-smiling happy.
Maybe it was the epic scenery that made me feel this way. Or maybe the noticeably-thin air. Or the promise of climbing to 11,427 feet—not an insignificant elevation for this flatlander. Whatever the reason, my heart was fluttering and I got all warm and mushy inside and I felt as happy as a teenager in puppy love. And then it came to me—being in the mountains feels like falling in love.
Realizing you’re in love may not be as obvious as reaching a summit, but the feelings are similar and just as powerful.
Hiking is a lot of effort! You need to get out of your comfortable bed and climate-controlled house. You have to put forth effort and risk being uncomfortable and vulnerable. Is it even worth it? Or is it better to stay home alone and watch Netflix?
Dating is a lot of effort! You need to get out of your comfortable bed that you share with your dog instead of another human and go out and socialize. You have to put forth effort and risk being uncomfortable and vulnerable. Will the person be cool? Or is it better to stay home alone and watch Netflix? With your dog, of course.
It can happen at any moment. On your first steep climb. At the trailhead, gazing up at the mountain. Even selecting the hike to begin with. You get nervous. You wonder if hiking is a good idea. You wonder if you’re good enough to complete this route.
New love is nerve-wracking, too. Heading to your first date. Trying to decide what to talk about. You wonder if the other person will like you. You wonder if you’re good enough to be their partner.
Shortness of breath
It’s a scientific fact—mountains take your breath away. It could be the altitude, but it’s more likely that the scenery is causing you to gasp. Prepare for lots of shallow breaths, especially when you turn corners or climb high.
It’s also a scientific fact that seeing someone you’re attracted to can take your breath away. They may look handsome or beautiful, or they may do something charming to knock the wind right out of your lungs.
Is it the difficulty of the trail? The excitement of being out in the mountains? The anticipation of reaching the summit? No matter the reason, your blood will be pounding in your ears.
Will they say yes to a date? Will she kiss me? Will he make a good climbing partner? All heart rate-inducing questions that will leave you weak in the knees.
Being in the mountains is exhilarating! You may squeal with excitement. Offer compliments freely to the trees and animals. Skip down the trail.
Falling in love is exhilarating! You may giggle a lot. Blush unexpectedly.
All the smiles
Being in the mountains is the best.
Being in love is the best.