"Spirit Of The Wild" - Foreword

4/20/2021



"The land retains an identity of its own, still deeper and more subtle than we can know. Our obligation towards it then becomes simple: to approach with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of regard. To try to sense the range and variety of its expression–its weather and colors and animals. To intend from the beginning to preserve some of the mystery within it as a kind of wisdom to be experienced, not questioned. And to be alert for its openings, for that moment when something sacred reveals itself within the mundane, and you know the land knows you are there."


- Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams


"Deep Light"

     Ever since I was little, I've always enjoyed being outside, under the sun, able to run free and move about. It's never felt good to me to sit around all day at home. To say the quarantine and restrictions from the pandemic made last year difficult for me would be an understatement. I was used to being outside nearly every day, taking multi day trips whenever possible, and constantly planning my future adventures, much of which I had been greatly taking for granted.

     After being stuck at home for nearly 6 months, I once again felt the call of the wild. I desperately needed space, to breathe fresh air, to swim in crystal clear, cold water, and walk winding rocky trails where I could stretch out my stiff legs. Unfortunately, the kinds of places that offer these kinds of pure joys are becoming harder and harder to find, as we leave less and less land alone, unsupervised, and untamed.

     I've been fortunate to have a few wild places not too far from home. Places I can always count on for solitude, silence, and adventure. Over the years I have built deep personal relationships with these places as if they were longtime friends, by returning time and time again, and experiencing them in many different conditions, both internally and externally. I return to them not in hopes of reliving my initial experience, but because I know there are still endless opportunities for exploration and discovery–as the place and myself will be different every time–and I will continue to have new meaningful experiences. 

"Roundup"

     One of these places is an incredible mountain range, deep within the heart of the Rockies. I have now made a dozen trips–both alone and with close friends–into different basins, and have hiked hundreds of miles along faint narrow trails, endless boulder fields, year round patches of icy snow, and summited many peaks and high passes. But the more I see, the more I know there is yet to be seen, as each new place I reach becomes a gateway into a whole other wild world. The time I allot for these adventures never seems to be enough, as I always find myself reaching my destination and only wanting to continue further.

     My natural curiosity, and my appreciation for rugged, wild places, keeps me up at night as I can't help but be carried away back into this range, wondering what familiar peaks would look like from new vantage points, or what other glaciers, high alpine lakes, flower fields, and jagged mountain faces remain that I have still yet to discover. I dream up new trips, routes, and compositions all year long in anticipation for the short window during summer and fall months that this place becomes accessible. 

     Knowing that I was soon going to be a father to a new baby and would want to stick around more once he was born, I decided it was the perfect time to do one of the longer trips I'd had in mind for the past few years, deep into the heart of the range, into basins and valleys that I had only seen through the limited view of satellite images and clumps of squiggly lines of my many topo maps.

     Not only did I feel a need for plenty of time to reach and photograph these places, but at the time I felt I just needed a longer adventure for my personal wellbeing. I was experiencing stress from the pandemic, anxiety about my book project that was going horribly wrong, and the typical worries about bringing a small child into this turbulent world. I needed space, silence, and stillness to prepare myself for such a life changing event, to reset my priorities, and feel confident that I could be the father, role model, and provider that my son would need.             

"Floodlight"
"Renegade"
"Spirit Of The Wild"

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