I am reminded over and over again about the beauty of living in the Inland Empire (even as the temperature is currently soaring over 100 degrees).

The past few weekends have been spent transversing the diverse terrain of this beautiful land. I cherish the privilege to be within a 60-90 minute drive from the beaches, mountains and desert.

There are too many weekends when I think of going for a hike or a spontaneous camping trip, but I stop myself with thoughts of what I “have” or “should” do instead….laundry, meal prep for the week, nap or clean. However, when I actually get myself out into nature, I never regret it. It’s much more restorative than a nap on my couch.

A few weeks ago we made our way to Joshua Tree National Park with friends. It’s a beautiful place to connect; with amazing people, with the earth and with the ridiculously beautiful moon we were gifted with that evening.

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photo credit: Sunset West Photography

Last weekend, I braved the 2+ mile ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the trail head to hike to the top of Mt San Jacinto. The views were amazing, but I could feel myself panic as we made the climb and descent. Here’s a very flattering picture of me contemplating my life being held up by these wires:

The hike and peak were absolutely worth the panic.

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I feel fortunate to have so have so many terrains accessible to where I live. I also feel like I take advantage of that sometimes and completely forget to put myself in the way of that beauty (one of my favorite Cheryl Strayedisms). I feel an immediate connection with the desert, it makes sense to me and feels like home. The mountains are a mystery to me, but I am completely enthralled by their wonder and always want to know more about what they have to teach me. Hopefully, I can remember to keep strengthening my connection with the world around me.