Meet Loveland Magazine’s newest columnist. A long-time resident of Miami Township, Stephen McClanahan is retired from P&G and now active in environmental advocacy, search/rescue and emergency medical/disaster response. The title of his column will be Love-the Land.

It’s interesting how experiences come into your life that forever alter who you are. Years ago, a group of friends backpacked the Elizabeth Pass trail in Sequoia National Park, about a 50-mile loop. One day when we decided we had found a good place for camp, John and I went for an early evening scramble up a nearby boulder-strewn hill. It was good to move without packs and we were enjoying the climb over chunks of rock the size of cars.

When we summited, we discovered that we had stumbled upon a sizeable alpine lake, completely still in the fading sunlight of the cloudless day.

We sat and tried to absorb the mirrored water that was in front of us, but the silence was overwhelming, crushing us in its utter tranquility. Nothing moved, absolutely nothing. No wind, bird in flight or ripple on the water existed, a lake as quiet as the boulders that rimmed it. The complete stillness washed over us, and we too became totally silent, trying to not to disturb the beautiful, holy moment in which we were immersed. No doubt that we were on sacred ground and were deeply blessed for being in its presence. 

Twenty years in the passing and I remember that time as if it were now. It is seared into my brain. When I read ‘be still and know I am God’, I begin to have a deeper understanding of what it means. Nature has a way of doing that to you, if you will let yourself be exposed.  

I certainly have not had every adventure that I dream of, but I cherish every one that has come my way. Each has taught me something about life and my place in it.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to share thoughts, experiences and moments with you that derive from my journeys out there.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to share thoughts, experiences and moments with you that derive from my journeys out there. I hope to paint pictures for you of what lies in store for those willing to experience what is sometimes referred to as the back country. Yes, it costs some creature comforts and demands some efforts to venture into the wilderness, but what it gives in return is priceless. 

As you can probably surmise from my words, I am at home in the wild; it is so utterly beautiful and majestic, and I cannot help but want to share it. By doing so, I hope to create and embolden your desire to immerse yourself in a bit of the world out there.  So, let’s journey together.


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