Ten years ago, high above the clouds on the mountain summit of Haleakala, a beautiful thing occurred. All of the stress and daily noise of modern life quickly dissolved into the fresh mountain air. I felt alive, connected, and most of all, happy.The only sound was a crisp breeze and the visual was breathtaking. A vivid blue sky with massive white clouds rolling beneath my fee. The landscape was a vibrantly colored, deeply sculpted, cinder desert landscape that almost felt like a different planet. The feeling was a moment of clarity. Life started to make sense. Everything that mattered became effortlessly transparent. If you have ever been to a summit, you most likely are familiar with the feeling. There is something magical about being up there, and I have been captivated by it ever since.
That was my first National Park experience, and it changed my life. Since then, we have camped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon under the vast desert stars. Hiked through the enchanting forests of the Olympic National Park. Wandered down the Wonderland Trail where the massive white capped Mt. Rainier stands against a palette of pine green, bright yellow, and deep red rolling landscapes. We have watched herds of massive elk rumbling through the woodlands of the Great Smoky Mountains, and ascended the heart pounding Bright Angel Trail to a mesmerizing view of Zion National.
So why The Wilder Minds? This blog is a passion project. Two things that we genuinely love are photography and adventure. When Chad was six years old, his grandpa gave him a Swiss army knife (his mom was less than pleased about this) and began taking him on adventures through the woods. At age 18, he received his first camera and photography became a major part of his life. Since then, we have visited 13 National, countless state parks, and taken thousands of photographs. This blog will be a travel journal, for us and readers, to journey off the beaten path and explore the great outdoors. An expansive how-to guide for practical and amusing tidbits. Last but not least, to provide honest gear reviews of equipment that we actually use in the field. We truly hope you enjoy the journey and being a part of the community.
-Chad and Gina.