A Muddy Thanksgiving

When many people were at home with their families for Thanksgiving, watching football, eating turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and pie, I was camping amidst the red rocks of Utah. I was working for ten straight days in the wilderness. I was already disappointed to be working over Thanksgiving, but what made it worse was that a massive storm walloped us for three days. This was a doozy of a storm too. With air temperatures around 38 degrees, the wind was howling, blowing rain sideways and destroying our tarp shelters. Trying to staying dry, or warm for that matter, was futile. Not only were we cold and wet, but the loose red earth quickly turned into a muddy soup. Anywhere I stepped my boots sank deep into the mud. I was miserable.

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In Between

I’m having one of those deep mornings. The kind where all I’ve been doing is sitting by my fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, going back and forth between reading and thinking. I’m reading Jeff Goins latest book, The In-Between, and all I can say is that it is resonating with me. It’s a quiet, simple book. But it’s beautiful. It’s like sitting in a meadow, watching the leaves on an aspen tree shake in the breeze. The book has me thinking about all sorts of things. It has stirred the desire to travel again and got me inspired to write more. But more importantly, the book is resetting my contentment. And, halfway through the book (in the middle as it would have it), I think that sense of contentment, peace, and appreciation, is really what the book is about. I work a funky schedule; eight days on, six days off. I work eight days straight, backpacking in the wilderness with young adults. Then I’m back in the front country for six days, where I continue to work more as a writer and photographer. I love the schedule, but I often feel like it’s never enough as I struggle to cram […]

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It’s Gonna Cost You

“Dammit.” I thought as I shivered. “Why is this kid being so stubborn. Why won’t he just help himself?” The dull light of my headlamp cast a weak light on our camp. A half moon shone above providing enough light for me to turn off my headlamp altogether. I was waiting. Waiting for this kid to do the simplest of tasks, something that could be done in less than ten seconds. Yet here he sat in the darkness, unwilling to help himself even in the most basic of ways. This was his thing, to wait people out until they couldn’t take it anymore. Then they’d give up on him and he’d “win” by not having to do the thing he didn’t want to do. Yet every one of his “wins” reinforced his destructive habits, and reinforced why he was now in wilderness therapy.

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The Importance of Struggle

I hate conflict. I hate when life is hard. As a culture we spend a lot of energy trying to make life easier, daydreaming of the times when we won’t have to go to work, yearning for all of life to fall into fairytale ease. Yet life doesn’t work like that. And for good reason. We need conflict. We need difficulty in our lives. We need to go through challenges. We don’t change when life is easy. We change through conflict.

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After the Flood

The last week and a half have been a wild ride. What began as a normal day of canyoneering, nearly turned lethal. If descending the canyon had taken five more minutes, people would have died.  I could have been responsible for the loss of three other’s lives, and potentially putting at risk a Search and Rescue team as well. The weight of that responsibility, even though everyone is safe, has been heavy on me.

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