The Great Outdoors

COMO Editor Kim Ambra Publisher Erica Pefferman and friends before the trek to Emerald Bay

I absolutely love the outdoors. I love to grow things. Pruning trees and plants or weeding my garden is meditative for me. I truly enjoy the peace that I find while observing the beauty in the mountains or around any body of water. I’m even one of those weird people that loves winter.

However, I do have my limitations. I can’t do a lot of direct sunlight. I’m just one step away from vampire status. One of my favorite vacations was a trip to Lake Tahoe with my best gal pals. I truly have never seen anything more beautiful than Lake Tahoe. I had no idea such natural splendor could be found without a passport. One of our favorite memories from this trip is the constant search of shade for my pasty white body. I can’t be in the sun (even with SPF 70) for more than 10 minutes without burning. Among the many places I was able to find shade  were under the boardwalk of a dock and in the shadow of a large trash can at the pool. What can I say? Sometimes, necessity is bigger than my pride. 

I’m also not the most athletic. On this same trip to Lake Tahoe, I made the very unfortunate decision to wear flip flops on a day when we were going to hike (I heard walk) down to Emerald Bay. This was one of the most painful experiences of my life! The 5 to 6-mile trip felt like triple that, and the elevation change of 500 feet felt like ten times that. I was passed on the left by a family with toddlers. While I gasped for what I was sure was going to be my last breath on the way back up the mountain to our car carrying far too much gear for a leisurely beach visit, I heard one of the sassy little toddlers ask their mom if I was ok. “You worry about yourself, kid,” I thought to myself as I contemplated actually dying right there on the trail. The only thing that made me feel better was knowing that I had the keys to the vehicle with the cooler of cold Busch Lights in it, and the few friends that had left me behind were going to have to wait in the blazing sun for me. (Insert villainous laugh here.)

I have learned a lot from my limitations in nature. Some people may see these as reasons to stay inside in the cool AC away from any discomfort, but I see them as ways to prepare and strengthen myself to continue to explore. If I hadn’t made the trek down the mountain, I would have missed seeing the gold flecks dance in the clear, cold water of Lake Tahoe, which was nothing short of magical. 

This issue is packed with new things to try for you and your family. Let’s not let our limitations hold us back in any way. Arm yourself with what will make you stronger and go out. Pack the sunscreen and bug spray. Wear the right shoes. Explore. Find ways to connect with others that aren’t behind a keyboard and screen. And most importantly, have fun! 

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