"Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

We (Bob and Laura Camp) began hiking as a way to get some exercise after years of basketball (Bob) and running (Laura) faded into the fog of middle-age and nagging injuries. Soon, however, it became more than that, as passions for the natural sciences and environmentalism combined with the exhilaration of the outdoors to ignite an interest in seeing and experiencing more - so in addition to the hiking, we camp, kayak and backpack whenever we get the chance.

Laura is active in the California Native Plant Society, and is an avid photographer and amateur naturalist with an abiding interest in plants, wildflowers and insects. Bob has a degree in biology and spends a lot of time cursing the invention of digital cameras under his breath (Laura always has the time and capacity for "just one more" photo), but is actually grateful for having photographic documentation of some truly beautiful places and things.

The name of this site is adapted from William Shakespeare's "As You Like It," in which the character (Duke Senior) who utters the words quoted above comes to understand that the freedom found in nature has something to offer beyond that of "public haunt." Of course there are always layers of meaning in Shakespeare, but in this case we see no need to look further than the honesty of trees, stones, and running brooks for anything deeper. The duality of sweetness and adversity characterizes much about any trip into the wilderness, but as our expectations for this site have grown so has the sweep of meaning we've found in its name. Protection of the natural environment, action against acceleration of climate change, and persuasion to a perspective that values long-term thinking; these are all goals that will be made sweeter for the difficulty their achievement entails. Our hope for Sweet Adversity is to, in some small way, help to propagate such attitudes. 

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.” - Wendell Berry

So we intend this site to be a place to share our passions for outdoor activity, photography and appreciation of the natural world. Along the way we'll probably indulge in some science, environmentalism, and even a little personal philosophy. Please linger as long as you like, and come back often.

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”  ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer