Across the US, each state is full of natural beauty. From the jagged snow covered peaks of the Rockies, to the rolling hills of the Appalachian, along the river deltas of the great Mississippi, and through the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, we live in a diverse, beautiful outdoor playground. But of all the amazing scenery around the United States, we all have a special place that we love to recreate in the outdoors. Last week we challenged our community on Instagram to write a love note to their state. Since @REI is headquartered in the state of Washington, here is our letter:
Dear #Washington, thank you for being you. We love to play in your lush green forests, we love to climb your noble peaks and we love to explore your inlets, coves and waterways. There are so many wonderful states and places to explore, but none other we call home. #OptOutside
Photo by Instagram’s @nan_vs_wild.
Here is a selection of our favorites from the project.
“Dear Oregon, I was raised by your woods, calmed by your lakes, inspired by your mountains, and healed by your ocean ?. For giving me these things I’ll do my part to pack out what I pack in, leave no trace, and tread lightly. Thank you Oregon and thank you @rei for reminding us to #optoutside” – @frederickalbertiv
“Dearest #Florida, although California is my true home, you’ve been home for the past 3 years. I love to #optoutside when the weather is perfect outside like it has recently been and for some of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen. Love, me.” – @hungryjewlz
“Dear #California, I’ve climbed your peaks, swam in your lakes and trudged through your deserts. From Joshua Trees Yucca’s to Yosemite’s Half Dome I stand in awe at all you give us. Even as I explore state after state, summit other mountains, descend through canyons and dive into rivers I never forget, there’s no place like home. ❤️ Cresting the sub-dome for that first magnificent view of Yosemite’s world famous Half Dome. Yosemite. CA.” – @tyfo2_0
Dear #colorado, I may not be from here, but I’m already madly in love with your dreamy mountains, piercing alpine lakes, friendly folks, and golden aspens. You make my heart full, my lungs burn, and my legs ache. I’m so wildly happy, thank you. – @alice.da.malice
Dear New York, Thank you for letting me experience the beauty of every season. You have so many great things to offer for all different types of adventurous souls. I hope each New Yorker has a chance to #optoutside and see you for all of your beauty. Thanks for always having plenty of dirt trails to roam! – @melissabrooke11
“Dear #Ohio, you dearly complicated state, you. I #OptOutside with you because that’s where we’re all equal. No blue banners, no red hats in sight. No political party lines or pocketbooks to be had. Just the sounds of tire treads on dirt and winds whistling through hair. That’s why I still love you, little Ohio. You give me wondrous autumn leaves and sunshine streams, winter snowfalls and spring showers for flowers. You’re as eclectic as me, and I’ve learned lots from your many seasons. So thank you for raising me, and always surrounding me with trees.” – @bethanynbella
Dear #oregon With the water so blue in the lake so wide,
The adventure that comes,
With nature as our guide…
You make us dream madly,
Of mountains and seaside…
Here is a shout out to you!
‘Cos you inspire us to #OptOutside – @tikkatandoori
You’ve made the beaches a puppy paradise to #optoutside. The historic Beach Bill, prompted by this very spot in Cannon Beach, declared all 363 miles of the Oregon coastline open to the public. Could there be a better state to be a dog?
Daisy – @doggoneoregon
Dear California, thanks for the ability to hike, bike, surf and snowboard all in the same weekend. The possibilities for adventure are limitless. Your rolling hills, high mountains and vast oceans make you absolute perfection. Thanks for letting us in. – @sgagnon55
We love to #optoutside in your beautiful state. I love to explore your deserts, climb your rocks, swim in your seas, and hike your forests. I feel like my possibilities are endless and I feel forever blessed to call this place my home. – @tracoyyy
“Dear #california, I love to #optoutside amongst your endless blue skies, towering mountain tops, and sandy beaches. You are my gateway to the world. There is no other state I’d rather call home.” – @mattman1138
Dearest #Washington, I couldn’t choose just one photo to represent your ability to provide an endless amount of opportunities to #OptOutside. From the magical San Juans and the Sound, to the dramatically scenic glacier-strewn North Cascades, you always knew exactly how to capture my heart with your wild yet accessible ways. Since the beginning, your fresh, crisp air has filled my lungs and soul with the reminder of the most important, most simple rule of life: go outside. I may live in Oregon now (which is pretty neat too), but there’s no other state like you, Washington. I will always feel your pull on my heart, and I know I’ll find a way back to you in the end.
All my love, Mac. – @mcdoodle3
Dear #newmexico, I love to #optoutside. While others from different parts of the U.S. may actually forget that you are in fact a state…… What they don’t realize is that you’re not just a state, you’re a state of mind. Hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, skiing, dog friendly trails, picture perfect scenery, …. Beautiful sunrises & sunsets, white sands in the middle of nowhere, hot air ballooning, hidden lakes, cool crisp air in the winter and hot dry desert heat in the summer…. You’ve got it all. I decided to #optoutside a couple years ago after a bad break up. And I definitely found peace, serenity, and inspiration on your lovely trails. Standing at the top of a trail looking down at the scenery and the world around you… It’s inspiring. Or even just pulling over to take a picture of hundreds of hot air balloons in the sunrisen sky …. Really makes you appreciate the little things in life.. Let’s hear it for New Mexico, New Mexico, New Mexico. The scenery is inspiring and the trails will make you feel brand new. New Mexico State of Mind. – @gregorita_pohl
Dear Michigan, I love to #optoutside in your many campgrounds, and backpack on your many trails. No matter the season, you have so much to offer. And most of all, I love your Great Lakes, whose initials spell HOMES, and there is no place I’d rather be. – @samdigiulio
Thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend project and shared the love! To participate in future projects, be sure to follow REI on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.