How do you escape? Depending on who or where you are, this concept might be called something different. People refer to it as meditation, escaping reality, day dreaming, relaxing and so on. From my perspective, this process is intended to escape conscious thought, to focus and reflect on your inner self. For me, I can't sit in some uncomfortable and escape reality. Wearing sexy yoga pants and doings yoga doesn't take me their either. I have to get outside and get lost in the wilderness. I've got to explore and wander aimlessly to get in that state of mind. However you do it, do it often. It's how we keep ourselves balanced and give ourselves perspective on what really matters to us.
So why am I starting my blog out with this? Well one of the reasons has to do with the whole reason I'm starting this business in the first place, because it's something I love to do and backpacking is my favorite way of escaping reality. Win win as far as I see. The other reason; Monday I just got back from a work related trip to San Antonio. Work related as in my day job in the utilities industry. To make it a bit more interesting I decided to take a couple vacation days on each side of it and drive down to San Antonio, about 2200 miles one way from where I live on the Oregon Coast. I figured this to be a great opportunity to explore some areas of the southwest that I haven't had a chance to, get in to the wilderness, do some hiking and of course, escape reality. So, with that said, here are the tales of my journey.
October 16 - Day 1
I started work early and left early so I could get on the road. My friend and business partner Kyle Lee was joining me for this journey. We packed up and headed off to Bend, OR to stay at my brothers for the night. I love Central Oregon; I spent 9 years living there and wish I could make it back more often. We arrived around 11 PM. Before heading over to my brothers I had to meet up with a friend to pick up a luggage rack because the next morning I was picking up a different friend who was going to tag along with us to Moab, UT. Well the rack didn't quite fit my car, so after some makeshift ingenuity and a few beers we got it to stay in place, or so we hoped. Then we were off to my brother house, and after some conversation and a few beers we hit the hay pretty late.
We woke up at 5 AM and drove to Redmond, OR to pick up my friend Daniel Suelo. Some of you may know him since there was a popular book written about him a year or so ago called 'The Man Who Quit Money'. He has lived moneyless since the year 2000. He is a great man with a great story and great wisdom, check out his website https://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/ and/or his blog http://zerocurrency.blogspot.com/ if you're interested in what he's doing or what he's about. Anyway, he happened to be in Redmond visiting a long time friend and his home base is in Moab Utah, since I was going through there he joined the journey.
We departed Redmond around 6:30 AM. 14 hours later, after a ton of caffeine, sugar and good conversation we made it to Moab. A lot of beautiful country between Oregon and SE Utah but a lot of boring desert as well. We dropped Suelo off and proceeded to find a camp up in the slick rock hills above Moab. If you've never been, Moab is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Check it out. After a couple of beers to put us to sleep we were out.
Another early morning. Our goal was to make it down to Northern New Mexico to camp and scout some future hikes. I had never been there so I was excited to see what it had to offer. We set off, crossing through SE Utah into SW Colorado passing by Mesa Verde, Chimney Rock and down into New Mexico. From Cuba, New Mexico we ended up taking an old highway (mostly gravel) through the Mountains to our destination. An amazing drive through snow and mud in my little 95 Honda Civic. It was quite the adventure and the scenery was awesome. Steep colorful canyons, aspens, cottonwoods, and birch forests. As we trekked more towards the eastern slope of these mountains it turned primarily to ponderosa pine forests along with red rock canyons and tent rock formations.
We arrived early afternoon at our camp destination. We had picked up some whisky along the way to make sure we wouldn't get too cold up in the mountains. We explored some awesome waterfalls and then set up camp. Then built a nice fire, had a few drinks and went to bed.
This was yet another early morning, and quite frankly we were exhausted. On our drive out of the mountains we stopped at a little cafe in Jemez Springs, NM. It was spectacular to say the least. We walk in and in the corner an old cowboy (looked like Willy Nelsons younger brother (if he had/has one) playing guitar and singing with his dog lying next to him. This young native girl comes to seat us and takes our order. We get our food, which was awesome by the way, and proceed to eat and admire all the decorations around us. We look out the window and to our surprise, chickens just hanging out on the patio and picnic tables looking for food and just hanging out.
After breakfast we were back on the road. Trekking through less exciting parts of New Mexico. Through Roswell there was a old van on the side of the road with a sign out front offering foot massages. As tempted as I was to stop and check it out, we elected to proceed, on through the oil fields of Southern New Mexico and West Texas, probably the most boring part of the trip.
We arrived in San Antonio around 11 PM and checked into the hotel. It was late but the town was crazy busy. We cleaned up real quick and hit the town for a couple drinks. After a couple hours of drinking and meeting some interesting people, we called it a night.
Not much to report here, it was mostly conference work stuff. We did get to check out the Alamo, the River Walk and a few local bars. San Antonio is a pretty cool place, as far as big cities go.
We were excited to get back on the road and spend a few days in New Mexico really exploring the mountains and escape reality. We departed our hotel just before noon and set out for Carlsbad Caverns NP in Southern New Mexico. We arrived about an hour before dark and took a drive through the desert mountains. Pretty amazing place, we didn't end up having time to check out the caverns themselves but it is on my places to backpack list for the near future. We camped just outside the National Park. It was so dark out there the start viewing was some of the best I've ever seen. Its times like that I wish I had a professional camera, but for now the cell phone will do.
We drove back up into the Santa Fe National forest of Northern New Mexico. We arrived early afternoon and checked out some of the local historic sites and terrain. Then we set up camp and retired early to get ready for a long day of hiking and exploring.
We woke up early after a long cold night of thunderstorms. The temps dipped into the mid 30's and it poured all night. It was kind of exciting but we were hoping it would stay relatively dry for our adventures.
After breakfast at camp we set out for a hike into the canyons below. We hiked for several miles to some warm springs which were pretty cool. A long the way there are some ancient ruins that have yet to be excavated, those were pretty cool. Not sure on the history, we couldn't find any literature about them.
After that trek we hiked back to camp and had some lunch. Then we set off in the car to check out a bunch more land and water features. And here's the best part of the day, and possibly of the trip. So after checking out some more cool stuff we decide to hike to some hot springs and possibly partake in some good ol' fashion heterosexual hot spring lounging. We hike and hike climbing hire and hire until we can finally see the rock outcropping of what looks like the hot springs. As we near the ledge and can see the steam rising out of it, we get kind of excited, it looks awesome. We get to the edge and look down into the beautiful clear hot spring pool, and to our surprise, an old cowboy with a mustache and cowboy hat, lounging in the spring buck naked. "Howdy boys, beautiful day isn't it? Y'all can join if you'd like." Haha, it was hilarious. We elected not to, although I think he may have been able to teach us the meaning of life, or something like that. As we start our hike down, we look back up; there he is standing on the edge of the spring, superman pose looking across the valley. It's etched in my brain forever.And sorry, no pictures for you ladies out there.
After that, we hiked a few more places and retreated to camp for our last night in New Mexico. There was yet another chance of thunderstorms but it stayed clear and dropped down into the 20's instead. Since there was some moisture left in our sleeping bags from the rain the previous night it froze and made the sleeping a little colder than expected.
We set off in the morning with Moab in our sites. We took a little different path this time. We drove down through Los Alamos and the National Laboratory, which is kind of a sketchy place. Then we drove up into South Central Colorado and then over to Utah from there. Beautiful drive through the mountains. We set up camp again in the slick rock hills outside of Moab. It was an awesome evening just relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
It was another really cold morning, into the 20's. The outside of my sleeping bag was frozen again from the moisture in it, stayed warm enough to sleep through the night, though some adult beverages may have helped with that.
We hit the road early and drove all the way through to Bend, OR. Got there late, had some good conversation at my brothers and the off to bed.
We finished the drive back to the coast, safe and sound. Beautiful day on the coast, low 60's and sunny, not bad for late October for the Oregon Coast. As exhausted as we were, It was a great trip that allowed me the opportunity to escape reality, lose my mind and thoughts in the wild and regain my perspective on life. Now back to the real world.
What should you take from this? Get the hell away from your hectic life any chance you can. The more you escape your reality the more balance you will find in your life. You don't have to go on epic journeys like I prefer, but whatever it is that helps you get out of your head, do it and do it often. I promise you your day to day life will be much better. Cheers!