Headed West. Always headed somewhere.
On to new terrain, faces, temperatures. There is an abandon we cradle. It calls us to hold on and inch a little further. It comes in waves, like summers heat. We didn't know where we were going this winter until we knew. Immediately we contacted Eddie Bauer about our trek West, and true to form they helped us make it happen in both miles and by outfitting four of our friends in gear.
We drove from the panhandle of Florida to Austin, Texas to gather our buddies. Piled in with no room left we set off for Big Bend.
Big Bend is a sphere unto itself. The entrance to camp was a two-hour drive. Deeper and deeper into the National park we went and with it a slew of excitement surfaced. Anticipatory for our first Big Bend sunrise, hike and meal we settled in to a night of catching up and cheers. The six of us had never all been together. Some were new friends, others siblings, others might as well be family.
David, our bud and absurdly talented videographer, brought homemade tortillas from Mexico. That morning we woke and Matt cooked the finest tacos we'd ever had.
Our neighbor Jack fished green slime from the bed of his truck for my botched tire. The boy’s mountain biked along the border of the U.S. and Mexico.
Big Bend provided the dichotomy of life - allurement and the unwarranted. We got news of a brilliant friend who passed far too young. It left us sick, stunned. Right in front of us was a landscape so vast and entrancing and yet, and yet.
While I stepped foot in front of the next on Lost Mine Trail I thought of the people I love, of the land under my boots and of the dirt I’d like to stick my face in to both scream and cry.
There was only time and the movement we clung to on that today and the many days to come. There is only the love that sweet human left and our thankful hearts for knowing him that keeps us going.
We pack up a few days later and keep on West. White Sand Dunes is the next destination.
When we arrive we pack our gear on our backs. Our hike is simple but the views are a riot.
I rip off my clothes and b-line for the highest dune. Natalie follows my lead and is quick at my heels. I do this because why not and also who cares? In the desert it all goes.
No fires allowed so Mike takes our headlamps and puts on the red beams.
All three lights go in a plastic bag and like the idiots or the geniuses we are we watch as the moonsets. The temp settled in the 30s. Matt, Natalie and I snuggled in our Eddie Bauer tent and sleeping bags.
I woke to the sky screaming. Flashes of lighting crept across the dunes. I shake Matt awake and fumble, “There’s a massive storm coming. What do we do?” He says, “That’s awesome” and rolls back to sleep. I’m so angry and amused that I sit in the midnight silence, waiting out the storm, counting the seconds between flash and boom. The tune of the sky rocks me back to sleep. I don’t wake up until 7 the next morning.
We make coffee and goof off. Some of us eat, some of us don’t. David is breaking out in hives and we realize Avey (his pup a Korean Jindo) has fleas.
Next we go to Santa Fe. The goal is to camp at some hot springs for a few nights. Then we plan to head to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado and onto Steamboat Springs. Here’s the thing about being on the road. You can’t predict the weather.
When we hit New Mexico the rain is relentless. The temp drops to a beloved 15 degrees. Our plans are quickly thwarted when we learn that all of the campgrounds have been closed for the season.
Those days though, those moments with people we deeply love, who often drive us nuts but continue to teach us, have made us new. Our travels are centered in nature. We learn from the pines and the dirt and the magic of the wind. But we’ve realized as we keep traveling and going outside a keen part of “living our adventure” is living it with the people we care about.
It is experiencing the earth side them no matter their quirks, no matter their differences. Our greatest adventures have been arm in arm with those we want to know more. We are able to go deeper into the terrain and also the human condition. This is how we live our adventure.
We have immense respect for Eddie Bauer as they continue to support numerous young artists like ourselves. We were able to bring people we love into terrain that required proper warmth and gear. This opportunity has allowed us deep growth in both spirit and talent with people we care for. There is no question we are honored to be brand ambassadors for Eddie Bauer this winter season.