Happy National Take A Hike (Birth)day!
In Partnership with Athleta
Happy Birthday To Me!
I’ve never been big on birthdays. At least not my own. I’m not really sure why. Too much attention. Too much fuss. But most likely it’s just the idea of getting older that doesn’t sit well with me. Thing is, I’m just not very good at adulting. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And commitments of any sort have never been a strong suit of mine. Even though I technically passed the legal benchmark for adulthood a long time ago, in my mind I’m forever 22 (because 21 is already taken).
In an attempt to avoid this irritating yearly reminder that time stops for no one, I generally put some effort into finding ways to be conveniently out of town, or otherwise unavailable on November 17th. I suppose my strategy is that if I don’t celebrate my birthday, then it never happens. But this year, I forgot. The months flew by, and all of a sudden it was November, and despite the fact that I’d only been home a few days over the past couple months, my calendar was inconceivably blank on my birthday. Not only would I be home, but I had nothing planned at all.
Panic stricken by this devastating oversight, I snatched my phone to double check my schedule, only to come across an unopened email from Athleta regarding an upcoming sustainability campaign. Now for a little context. Athleta has always been one of my favorite athletic apparel companies. Not only are their clothes super comfy and flattering, Athleta is all about inspiring women and girls (normal, every day ones of all shapes and sizes) to realize their limitless potential - not just the usual pro athletes and fitness models. As a teenager and young adult, their catalogues were one of the few that made me feel inspired rather than inadequate. Point is, even before I opened the email I felt some “fangirl” excitement creeping over me.
I read the opening line: “This November, in honor of National Take a Hike Day, we’re tapping you to outfit yourself in Athleta’s new, highly sustainable outerwear for a day of hiking!” In all honesty, I had never heard of National Take A Hike Day before. Maybe it’s new, or maybe it’s because when you're an outdoor adventure photographer any day might be hike day. Either way, my interest was piqued, and I wanted to know more. When was this fantastic excuse to take a hike?! And then, I saw it. NOVEMBER 17th.
Just like that, all of my problems were solved. National Take a Hike Day and my birthday were one in the same! How ironic, or should I say, coincidental? I think I know which one Alanis Morissette would say! But I digress, this isn’t about Alanis Morissette, this is about me, my day. It was perfect. I now had a plan for my birthday - FOREVER.
A day to celibrate
It was 5:00 AM and still dark outside when my alarm went off. I’m far from a morning person, but if there was any day worth waking up early for, this was it. National Take A Hike Day! To my great surprise, even at this ungodly hour my family insisted on joining me. I’d assured them it wasn’t necessary, but they wouldn’t be dissuaded. So off we went, into the darkness toward North Bend and Rattlesnake Ledge.
When we got to the trailhead there were already a number of cars parked. I wasn’t entirely surprised. It was November in Washington after all, and sunny days were far and few between this time of year. But as luck would have it, this just happened to be one of those rare clear days. Perhaps Mother Nature was also celebrating.
We cruised up the trail at a comfortable speed. The hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge consists primarily of a series of switchbacks through dense new growth forest. I was enjoying the outfit that Athleta had let me pick out just for the occasion. I couldn’t help but think back to when I was a little kid and every year on my birthday I would wear a new outfit to school. Plus, something just feels right about wearing clothes that are sustainably produced while you’re out enjoying nature.
As part of Athleta’s sustainability campaign I learned a lot about their business practices and what it really means to be a B Corporation. By becoming a benefit corporation, Athleta has legally committed to being a force for good by placing people and the planet right up there with profit. Accordingly, Athleta has been working to aggressively increase its use of sustainable materials. In fact, across their insulated outerwear line, Athleta is keeping more than 460,000 bottles out of landfills this year!
We made it to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge just in time to watch the sun crest over the Cascades, lighting up Rattlesnake Lake down below. For a few minutes the world glowed gold with the new day and everything seemed to stand still. Except my hair. That was blowing everywhere. The view was beautiful, and I was glad my family was there to share the experience. We watched as the sun changed the landscape, took photos, and enjoyed a few sleepy laughs before heading down. On the way home we stopped at the Issaquah Cafe for brunch. I ordered a hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles (for the kids, of course). Maybe birthdays at home weren’t so bad after all.
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This post was created in partnership with Athleta. I only work with brands that I personally use, and love. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed are entirely my own.