A Look Back: Outdoor Adventure Photos that Make Me Happy

I started, then gradually stopped contributing to, a post series here called "A Look Back" a little over a year ago. It was originally meant to help me reflect on trips I'd taken in the past, relive memories of adventures I've had and laugh at some of the silly things I did as a beginning backpacker, camper and climber. Lately, with limited time spent having outdoor adventures, but with the promise of a few on the horizon, it seemed as good a time as any to take "A Look Back" through a series of pictures that always bring a smile to my face. And as with most important photos, every one has a story. Enjoy!

Denali's Moving Waterfall

It's certainly not a Digital Photography Magazine quality, but this shot I took captures a moment in Denali National Park that I'll never forget. I was on one of my first hikes in the park and after hours of bushwhacking, a friend and I popped up on top of Mount Margaret to see this incredible wall of rain headed our way. It was a dismal, wet hike down, but I'll never forget what it was like to watch the wall of water move toward us. This photo makes me happy because it's a reminder of the true power and beauty of nature.

Morning at Banff's Glacier Lake

My partner in crime and I drove from Alaska to Pennsylvania in 2007, stopping in places like Banff National Park along the way to explore and hike. I wish I could say I took this one, but alas, it's his. After a long hike, we woke up to this the following morning, an absolutely stunning Glacier Lake. I'd never had a morning view like this before. The reflection in the still lake was almost an exact mirror of the sky. This photo makes me happy because sometimes, what you see out the tent door really is too good to be true.

Autumnal Tidings in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah is a particularly unique national park because it's such a large expanse of protected land with an incredibly storied history nestled among some of the biggest cities on the East Coast. The beautiful mountains, stunning fall foliage and miles of hiking trails earned Shenandoah a special place in my heart on my first trip there in 2007. I've been back twice and can't wait for a fourth visit. This photo makes me happy because it's a reminder of how close beautiful, wild places really are.

Woman On Top in Joshua Tree National Park

I snapped this photo of then new friend Tiffany during the first-ever #jtreetweetup, a gathering of climbers from across the country, many of whom had never met. We all just wanted to climb, explore, learn and have a good time. I'd never been to JTree before, or climbed anywhere like it before. But I'll never forget that trip. This photo makes me happy because I'm finding more and more that it's the people as much as the places that make trips memorable.

Spring at Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, New York

My apologies to everyone not from Ithaca, New York, but my hometown is as beautiful as they come. One of the easiest natural areas to access, and one of the most visually stunning, is Buttermilk Falls State Park. Buttermilk Creek cascades down the Park's shale to Cayuga Lake, as it has for centuries, and the area's rich geologic history is revealed along trails that border both edges of the creek.

The Park's ten waterfalls drop nearly 600 feet. It's one of my favorite hiking spots, both because of childhood memories I have and because the twisting, winding creek and rock formations almost look unnatural. The rock doesn't lend itself to good climbing, but I'm content just to look at the formations and think about what's happened to make them look that way.

I took this shot on a spring hike with my favorite cousin several years ago. This photo makes me happy because it captures a place near and dear to my heart. 

Have you been to any of the places listed in my favorite photos?What moments have you captured that, no matter what state of mind you're in, make you happy as happy can be? Leave a comment and a link to a photo, if you're able!


Gretchen B said…
Beautiful pictures, Katie! Love the moving waterfall. I can completely imagine the feeling of watching it come closer!
Katie Levy said…
It was beautiful, Greatchen. I'd never seen anything like it. Glad you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for the comment!
Haley Dahle said…
Great pictures :) I love looking back at pictures and enjoying the awesome memories that go along with them too.
Katie Levy said…
Thanks Hayley! It can certainly be amazing how photos can bring up awesome memories.