Five Types of Crying You’ll Do in Nature


—By Laura Van Antwerp—

letterNNature has a funny way of seducing us into unfamiliar emotional and spiritual territory.

There’s something about our experiences in wilderness that enables us to tap into areas of our psyche that typically lie dormant, like a dusty treadmill purchased at a yard sale ten years ago.

It’s not just about pioneering new landscapes in the world, but also about pioneering new landscapes within ourselves.

It’s not just about pioneering new landscapes in the world, but also about pioneering new landscapes within ourselves.

Maybe it’s a single tear drop down the cheek. Or perhaps it’s the Kim Kardashian ugly cry. It could feel awkward. Or it might be cathartic.

What we know for sure is when there’s waterworks involved it’s an experience that won’t be soon forgotten.

The following five cries are fundamental to time well spent in nature.

Bring on the boo-hoos!

*It important to note that these forms of crying are only healthy when taking calculated risks, the kind where you’re pushing yourself outside your physical and mental comfort zones, not chancing injury or death. 

1. The “IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL” cry

Expressed with: sniffling and misty eyes

This cry occurs when you see something so profoundly beautiful that all your thoughts and emotions are reduced to pure, unadulterated love and appreciation. This form of crying is often exacerbated by an acute awareness of the fleeting nature of the moment.

Take, for instance, a striking sunset over in the Eastern Sierras. Or an unexpected waterfall deep in the woods.

Expressing teary reverence for such visions of beauty is totally normal, and even healthy. According to scientific studies, tears of joy helps restore a person’s emotional equilibrium and enables them to moderate intense emotions more quickly.

So let those tears roll and know you’ll always have the memory to embrace.

 2.  The ‘F* THIS’ cry

Expressed with: throat tightening, heavy breathing,


Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.50.31 PM

Fueled primarily by frustration, the ‘F* THIS’ cry comes barreling out when you find yourself face-to-face with a situation you did NOT sign up for.

How is this trail so much snowier than you expected? Who the hell constructed these supposed ‘waterproof’ hiking boots? Why did you take that wrong turn when you did?

You want out, but it’s not an option. So you flip off the sky and kick something. Then you dig deep for strength you didn’t know you had and trudge forward.

3. The ‘I DID IT’ cry

Expressed with: short gasps sucked in through a half-smile

You’ve been hiking for hours in unrelenting sun. You’re mentally exhausted, emotionally spent, and physically depleted. You’re wondering what exactly the point of it all is.

Then, it happens. You finally reach the summit of that peak. Your destination comes into view. You made it. Nobody did it for you. Nobody can take it away from you. This is YOUR moment.

Suddenly, your throat tightens. Your lip begins to quiver. A joyous sob rolls out. You’ve now experienced the ‘I DID IT’ cry. Enjoy it.


Expressed with: minor hyperventilating sobs

Overwhelming self-doubt or some form of physical pain (soreness, exhaustion, etc) is sure to bring on the emotional waterworks.

Maybe you’re halfway up a climb you’ve been wanting to conquer for years. Perhaps you’re on the final leg of a 30 mile stretch. You begin to feel yourself crumbling under the weight of your emotional and physical exhaustion. As doubt and fear take hold, it happens. The soft sobs of a classic ‘I DON’T KNOW IF I GOT THS’ cry.

That is, until you make it. Then it’s time to transition over to the ‘I DID IT’ cry.


Expressed with: Sobbing.

At one point, while you’re out meandering through sticks and twigs, you’ll confront an existential crisis that will leave you wondering “WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS!”

Why am I hiking? Why am I still in my crappy relationship? Why do I continue to show up for a job I hate? Why am I even walking around trees in the middle of nowhere talking to myself like a fool?

Spending time outdoors helps us to confront the most raw version of ourselves and get honest about what we really want in life. Nature has a funny way of bringing clarity to our lives, and seems to always offer up the most effective therapy!


What’s your most memorable nature cry? Tell us your story in the comments section below!

More on this topic



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular stories

Tindering in Tahoe.

By Laura Van Antwerp— The candles are lit. There's smooth jazz playing in the background. I'm wearing my finest pair of oversized, coffee-stained sweatpants. And the...

12 Truths Only a Tahoe Local Would Understand.

—By Jangles and Meech— 1. It's all about living a big life on a low budget! We don't make a ton of money, but we live...

Tahoe Through the Years! Celebrating 50 Years of Greatness!

The City of South Lake Tahoe is 50 years old! This year's anniversary theme is “Past, Present, and Future”. The Past Fifty years ago, community members throughout...