Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stoking in Progress!

The bins of all my belongings were in; the duffle bags of miscellaneous gear, too. I guess this meant the van was packed; but, I couldn't decide. Where were my thoughts at?

My nerves were as settled as they could be; nothing like the anxiousness I was feeling the night before. That weird combination of tired but wired - even without ingesting caffeine. "Okay, what did I forget?" Nothing registered in my mind, so I guess that meant it was time to forge-off into the early morning of a March in late winter. As the sunlight slowly warmed the cold, damp chill of a near-zero degree night, I smiled at the imperceptible motion of its loving arc into the sky, towards the zenith: its brightest moment, still hours away.

Again; where were my thoughts at? The van: this would be Freedom's first long trip. From the post-storm scene of late winter in the Vail Valley to a bit warmer Durango destination, in the southwest corner of Colorado. How would Freedom incarnate - named in honor of my dear friend Luke's last car, Freedom original - fare? A number of wintery mountain passes lay between Edwards and Durango; would passage be permitted up, over and down the other side without incidence?

Thoughts, so consuming when, like a garden in its productive season, they are ripening with untraceable fervor. In this, though, there was the voice of intuition. That soft, almost subconscious stream of certainty that comes to a wondering and racing mind. "Thank you for this!" I knew, then, that I would be fine because of the trust I would place in the process.

A quick breakfast at a locally delicious breakfast place - the Northside Kitchen - with a friend and coworker Jeremy, saw me exiting the Vail Valley with all my belongings packed semi-neatly in the van. With a warm smile on my face and in my heart, I glanced at the familiar scene I was leaving behind; the last image of yesterday's memory being the flag of our country, flowing vibrantly in the gentle wind of morning high above a shopping center parking lot - proudly displaying her sun-soaked colors of red, white, and blue abreast to my appreciative eyes and persona. What a great notion: freedom!

As the mountains passes came and went, the undulating terrain accompanying the many ups and downs were no less as spectacular as the last. Surely, Colorado is a beautiful state! Evidence enough to me that something far greater than we humans created such amazement. The mountains, standing strong in their post-storm state; begging for nothing, yet standing tall for everything beautiful in nature. How the wild white edges of their uneven tops sawed nonviolently at the vivid blue sky above; their stark contrast a loving shock to my happiness and level of stoke (see this article for more on stoke). Easily, I went from substantially stoked to stiked! Again: "thank you for this."

Arriving finally to Durango, nearly 6 hours later, I was greeted with warmer temperatures, and a scene familiar to me from my last visit in the Fall. My dear friend Luke, in wanting to keep up with his habits of health and leisure, invited me for a run along the Animas river near the heart of town. After a joyful and anticipated greeting, Luke and I set-off. Finding conversation topics easily, we chatted as we ran about work, about women in our lives, and of course about plans for the Climbing Zine's volume 5 release. Amidst the laughter and lightheartedness of the afternoon, I couldn't help but think how grateful I was for my journey here. Surely, that power that is was watching over me - knowing I'd make it to where I needed to be once I arrived. This notion of care was complemented when, post-run Luke and I went to Yoga class.

Practicing Yoga is like riding a bike: once you've mastered the basics, it all comes back, regardless of the downtime between your last practice. I appreciate that about this holistic activity. When I close my eyes today, I can remember the feeling of contentment, of happiness that I felt in class yesterday; again, coming back to my gratefulness for the clandestine guidance to this point in my life.


I am set to begin working sometime in April for Open Sky Wilderness Therapy as a driving escort. I am excited about this part time gig, as it will afford me time to let my adventurous and active lifestyle fly. Furthermore, the possibility for something bigger and career-like is predicted with a organization like Open Sky; not to mention the ability for Luke and I to take the Climbing Zine places it can go.

So, to you in your day, sitting here, now, reading this - or even looking at the pictures alone. I hope you are finding the subtle whisper of guidance from intuition - or that metaphysical sense that guides you outside of your self-created reasons - all while enjoying something that is wild and wonderful.

Ha, smiles to you in this!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Honnold Speaks Honestly

If you have the time, or choose to make the time, please take a few drawn-out moments to watch the following video short from world-renowned climber Alex Honnold:

This, to me, captures the essence many dirtbag climbers strive for: a life of simpleness. I've known, personally, people like this, and they tend to be generally understanding of this way of life. As climbing grows in popularity, it warms me to know that Alex is bringing his take, his gained knowledge about environmental responsibility to the mainstream society. So, kick-back and enjoy this short diddy.

Smiles to you on your Monday,

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Way of a Dirtbag

The dirtbag moves from place to place, often attracted by light or heat, food or restroom; a familiar and known face, or the opportunity to meet anew. Sure, there is a home space that the dirtbag returns to sometime before bed, but in the time and space between, the dirtbag finds comfort in the prominent and abundant around her or him. This is not free-loading as some may seek to to title-strap, but more a way of full expression. Take for example my current situation: I'm sitting at the coffee/book cafe in Edwards. here is a hot cup of Jasmine tea issuing steam to my left; a large collection of other customers to my right, and a computer using complimentary WIFI to my forefront. I, like the others gathered in this space, am a paying customer. In this cash-for-service agreement, I am taking full advantage as my privilege as a dirtbag to live-up in the prominent and abundant.

I've heard from others in my past that to be happy the basic needs of survival in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs must be met: air, water, and food; clothing and shelter; sex, sleep, and homeostasis. While in current reality my sex life does not exist, the love and attention from females does, so perhaps that allows me to move through for the time being. Anyways, tangents bent on explaining misplaced knowns aside, I am in a content place.

I am continually amazed by how comfortable I have become in a relative short amount of time. I've been living outside in a tent for 6 nights, counting tonight. I am well-fed, employed, and relatively cleanly; though, not always timely in the later. My four months spent outside on the Appalachian Trail, plus the 2 months of couch surfing post AT, have trained me well. I am not an original; no, only a unique replication of a living and breathing formula being applied countlessly across this nation and world. Though, I would throw in a disclaiming word: I live ample and in robust wellness; not all dirtbags can be as fortunate. Though, choice is a a large precursor to the lifestyle any individual dirtbag chooses to live. I am a well-kempt, uniformed and nameplated Bellmen for the Ritz-Carlton by day, and a full-fledged dirtbag by night or non-working hours. I take pride in my lifestyle. Perhaps, I am out to prove something to myself: that it takes very little to enjoy life fully. That we, in our current society's trendings, are over-consumed with things, when what we truly need boils down to very few things.

I like to think that the essence of what life is about is in the fringes of our popular society; that the essential ingredients to a happy and full life aren't going to be created by some Silicone Valley tycoon, or in a scientific lab. But, created or re-created inside of ourselves once we re-synthesize the synthesized: meaning, take what you've learned all your life, divide all the things you've added to complicate it, subtract that sum by the additional 2 to 3 things that you've held deeply onto, then add back in the things we've had since we were young that were relatively free, easy, and commonplace. You should be blessed to discover a simple sum of happiness in the robust essentials remaining.


I don't have an ownership to a gym, I ride a bike or ski up and over mountains to work; I don't own a car anymore, I snowshoe to my bike and ride it to and fro. I used to own a smart phone until I felt dumb for owning one,  barely using it to it's fullest. I place a minor faith in technology to provide me with entertainment and a means to communicate and connect with those I know and love, but I don't depend on it solely. I enjoy writing letters and reading the written word, and a visit with a friend or loved one is sure bliss! I like to think I am at peace with not having health insurance or a 401k to retire upon one day. To me, the act of daily living is substance enough for what I need now, or possibly in the future. My daily actions are my investment, barring the intervention of a higher power to guide me through its teachings. I have a faith in said unknown processes leading and guiding us in life. All my belongings fit into a car, should I require one to move-on from this current location. But, that is me.

I am grateful that I am a unique person, much like all of you possibly reading this are! I realize my life is not something desired by many, yet, there is something deep, perhaps primal or egotistical that you desire in the way of a dirtbag. I understand that; that's why I became one. To push through the sand castle walls to a seashore of pure imagination. So, how to become more steeped in the robust essentials brewing?

Well, that is something that you'll have to explore. I know that it is sometimes easier to continue on around the circle, easing into the spot you want to be in on the next rotation around, rather than backing-up through your previously placed paces. Yes? Ha, well you can answer that for yourself.

Lots of love to you in your travels through this crazy spectrum of life and living. I hope that you discover something simple and beautiful that doesn't cost a thing; well, maybe just the cost of a cup of hot tea or two.


inspiration to me: the former Freedomobile of a dear friend and indeed, our American freedom. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Inside, just for a song

I've found my first few nights outside to be pleasant. The sound when I lay down to sleep after journaling is bliss. The far sounds of a mechanical society rolling over crushed, lifeless asphalt drone in the distance down the mountain from me; the lights, in their bizarre yellowish tinge, like an unhealthy mouth of teeth, thankfully displaced from me, too. Today, as I sit in my former apartment drinking a cup of coffee and gathering the last of my frozen or cold food items for transport to my tent home, I appreciate a song by Jethro Tull that came on my music shuffle:

All the places I've been make it hard to begin
to enjoy life again on the inside,
but I mean to.
Take a walk around the block
and be glad that I've got me some time
to be in from the outside,
and inside with you.

I'm sitting on the corner feeling glad.
Got no money coming in but I can't be sad.
That was the best cup of coffee I ever had.
And I won't worry about a thing
because we've got it made,
here on the inside, outside so far away.

And we'll laugh and we'll sing
get someone to bring our friends here
for tea in the evening --
Old Jeffrey makes three.
Take a walk in the park,
does the wind in the dark
sound like music to you?
Well I'm thinking it does to me.

Can you cook, can you sew --
well, I don't want to know.
That is not what you need on the inside,
to make the time go.

Counting lambs, counting sheep
we will fall into sleep
and we awake to a new day of living
and loving you so.

Happy Saturday to you in your own enjoyment of life,

a tent home amongst the Aspens and scrub brush of the high Rockies after a fresh overnight snow