Here’s to the “dirt baggers” (Chouinard, 2006), who spend countless evenings on ground tarps under moonlit skies and who live for conversations by open fires. Here’s to the first ones, the outliers, who put in their 10,000 hours to run big rivers and climb rugged peaks. Here’s to the headlamp wearers, the compass bearers, and the lead climbers. May you always have places to become, to connect, to lead, and to go when the light goes out (Roosevelt, 1884).
Here’s to the wild places. Here’s to the landscapes that raised me: The San Bernardinos with Jeffrey and Ponderosa Pines that smell like root beer, the Grand where I stood with my father on the edge in 1986, the Smokies that showed me southern graces and deep roots, to J-Tree and the Great Death who remind me that “necessary undulations” (Lewis, 1942) are part of life, to Yosemite and Yellowstone that taught me that firsts are worth fighting for, and to the small islands like the Channel and Virgin who teach me life on a tiny scale. May you always be wild. May we always be connected. May you ever stay diverse.