Then, there's the nature side that pulls us all in. “Water in all three forms—solid (ice and snow), liquid (lakes and rivers), and gas (fog and mist)—provides a sensory, somatic, and psychological escape from our increasingly anxious, information-rich, screen-filled lives,” says Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., a marine biologist and the author of Blue Mind, a book about the physical and psychological benefits of water. Those snow-capped peaks will inspire their fair share of awe—an overwhelming feeling of wonder that can be brought about by nature.
“What we’re really doing when we go to the mountains, without calling it this, is searching for awe and a reminder of place in a much bigger world than ourselves,” Paul Piff, Ph.D., one of the top awe researchers in the country. “People are drawn to things that are bigger than they are—and mountains are more powerful and more omnipresent than humans are. Humans like a reminder of how the powerful Earth is.”