The Unknown…

You cannot truly grow unless you step into the unknown…

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A few weeks ago I packed my Jeep up and headed to Arches and Canyonlands National Park. It was a trip I’ve been wanting to do for some years but always put on the back burner. I decided to go solo, not so much to find myself (I figured that out a while ago), but to put myself through a backcountry trip where the only person I could depend on was myself.

I was going to document my trip day by day but instead I’ll go ahead and write what I thought about during my time out there.

A loss for words…

Being alone for 4 days in the wilderness was quiet, really quiet. After Day 2 I realized I hadn’t spoken a single word since I started my trip. The only thing I heard was the wild and the thoughts in my head. In the evening I could hear packs of Coyotes in the distance. The only sound to come out of my mouth for the duration of the trip was a few howls back in response. And respond they did!

It was kind of nice actually. When you don’t speak your mind it kicks into high gear and your thoughts become incredibly clear. Usually my mind is a quick fire race track of thoughts. There are a few things that I have always worried about, and these things will always occupy my mind. However, through the silence I realized that I just have to accept that they will always be with me. I’ve managed them pretty damn successfully over my 34 years. I got this far, so the reality is those worries haven’t really held me back at all.

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A Thunderstorm…

I started my trip a day ahead of schedule in hopes of avoiding a thunderstorm that was going to pass through. Whelp…didn’t really time it right and I drove straight into it. Not only that but I drove straight into it on a particularly rocky and steep section of the trail. I don’t often engage my lockers but for a few hours I was locked front and rear going up and down slippery slopes, lightning all around, with white knuckles and a puckered butthole. It was the only time during the trip that I was concerned that I was alone and help might be days away.

See, I tried to avoid something and drove straight into it. The lesson here is that if you see something unavoidable coming towards you, it’s best to keep your head up and face it with everything you have. Push through that shit and the sky will eventually clear.

That evening, when I finally arrived at my campsite, I poured myself a glass of whiskey and watched the stars come out through the clearing storm.

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Slow time down…

9 years ago I started exploring the desert in an effort to find myself. Since then I found what I was looking for. It’s become that constant that grounds me to what really matters in life.

Every now and then you have to test yourself. You have to go through something unknown. It’s different for everyone. For me it’s a new trail. It’s taking a risk in the great wide open and having enough confidence in yourself to face whatever happens.

Time passes by more quickly as we get older because we tend to experience less. When we were young time passed by more slowly because we experienced so many firsts. Elementary school, Jr. High, High School, dances, first dates, driving, band, sports, college, travel.

And then, as time goes by we fall into a routine…work then home, work then home, work then home. Time speeds up, and before long you are asking yourself where did all of that time go?

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If you want to slow time down, if you want to enjoy those special moments in life, try stepping into the unknown.

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2 Responses to “The Unknown…”

  1. So well put Joe! There’s just something about the quiet open space that brings a sense of calm and renewal…. I’m thinking of taking off alone for a few days myself to the desert. Still think of that trip you invited me and Ryan along. Can’t stop thinking about all of that open space!!! So thankful for the invite…

    • thedesertfiles Says:

      Thanks Buddy! We need to head out again. I’m thinking of another Mojave Road Trip…or maybe something in Utah again. Fall perhaps?

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