May 9, 2017

By John Rezell

Photo by John “Raz” Rezell

The crunch of wet snow beneath each step of my hiking boots surrenders to squishy sloshing when the trail transforms into a stream of runoff tumbling down the hillside in my direction.

As the trail plateaus, a small pond appears with a pair of Mallards floating as still as decoys on the glassy edge that reflects an amazing image of their colorful feathers against snow-capped trees ringing the shoreline.

My black lab Ridgely bounds forward on the trail, ignoring the ducks and charging forward as we have for so many years when we considered hiking as a workout more than anything else.

She either forgets or refuses to acknowledge our new philosophy in the woods, which we hatched last year.

We no longer hurry to rack up miles.

We slow down.

We savor.

I pause and spend the next 10 minutes just soaking in the scene, as the ducks decide to glide across the pond and put a greater distance between us. They begin to flutter and splash and peck at their wings.

I enjoy their show for me, even though I realize their comfort and ease means they’ve decided to ignore us.

I’m reminded of hiking Yosemite years ago when my daughters were young. How I wanted to push the pace up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls while my youngest, just six at the time, stopped dead in her tracks to watch every squirrel in our path, of which there were nearly too many to count.

That’s when I came to remember — and once again appreciate — the easy pace and wonder of nature through the eyes of a child. That’s my outdoor philosophy today.

Personal preference and style really don’t matter. What matters is getting outdoors.

I’m thrilled to join OutdoorsNW as editor, and continue the celebration of nature in our outdoor paradise known as the Great Northwest.

aka, John Rezell, Editor
email Raz

EDITOR’S NOTE: ONWard is the name of our blog that debuts this month on the new website. ONWard will share insights and adventures of our writers that go behind the scenes and beyond the stories in our print editions. Check out some online blog posts on Raz’s favorite spots along the Oregon Coast as an added bonus for our Special Section this month.