It has now been over two months on the road, backpacking and camping through the West. So far I’ve come all the way from Colorado, trekked in over a dozen National Parks and Monuments, and many more national forests beyond.
Through it all I have learned one key lesson: in the backcountry one has no choice but to cooperate with nature. Often being a day's walk or more from the nearest man made structure one must accept whatever comes down; rain, snow, sleet, sun – blistering sun, and through all terrain; uphill, downhill, rocky, smooth, cactus, sans-cactus, forced to pull through the scrapes and blisters. Having survived all these things, so far, I have to ask myself… are the tribulations worth it? I can now say for certain they are, even as the poison oak blisters weep down my shin.
One of my favorite parts of this trip so far is the simple living. One might say I have down graded my life from a large comfy house, amenities and all, to live outdoors in a tent. I of course see it differently. I have shed all the useless clutter and distractions to focus on living a real life. My life has become more tangible and each day has greater meaning.
Living in this greater degree of austerity requires a different mindset. One must regard many comfort items as inessential. It’s quite interesting to see things I previously considered to be ‘essential’ become irrelevant. So far I miss none of these material processions as I have acquired many things of greater value in their absence; the skills, the inner peace, the renewed sense of wonder, and the Knowledge. It is these things that cannot be taken from you, and it is these things that will not wear down.
"Although I sleep in a tent, I live in a mansion.
The sky is my roof and the mountains are the pillars of my home..."