The four winds converged on us that week, uncovering & rediscovering parts of ourselves that are, to a degree, entirely ineffable.
Often only manifested in tears, laughter, & visceral human connection, as men, these pieces of us are now more powerful than ever.
Our crew of 7 (5 of which had never embarked on a multi-day backpacking trip) set off from the Big Sandy trailhead near Boulder, WY, a popular jumping-off point for the acclaimed Wind River Range.
And, although several of us were new to backpacking, it would be no stretch to say that all of us have carried the world on our backs at differing times of life.
You know the feeling…that weighty-ness of life that, for some reason, you’ve chosen to carry all alone; the incessant hustle and bustle of the city, the inner anxiousness of the mind, and the unmet expectations of unbridled ambition.
And so, we were reminded that teamwork truly does make the dream work and that no one deserves to carry that weight alone.
Map and compass work can be an excellent metaphor for life.
With all the wisdom and intellect of the world available at our fingertips, and with no shortage of opportunities/options, we often find our lives meticulously engineered like a well built compass, but lacking a sense of direction. A life that was never oriented, or that has lost its bearing.
And so, we re-aligned ourselves with our own North Star, finding our bearing, and moving confidently from waypoint to waypoint.
We were reminded that it’s often the quiet, soft moments of life that prove most valuable, and most insightful.
And so, we grew to build in these meditative moments each day, allowing our minds to release tension and find balance.
We were reminded that life is just better when you smile.
So, we built in moments of levity whenever we could.
On the last evening of our trip, we set up camp at Big Sandy Lake, rounding out the loop we traveled, and something unexpected happened.
A large and in-charge black bear made its way into camp, coming within 20 yards of us and commandeering one of our packs, reminding us of our true vulnerability in this life.
Our decision to break down camp and move to the other side of the large alpine lake was unanimous and executed in a hurry.
So we gathered for dinner that night (strategically with our backs to the water) while we watched three separate curious black bears tromp in and around our new camp.
Nerves around nightly bear activity were high, but really, nothing could distract us from the transformative beauty we had encountered that week & the camaraderie that is spurred on by deep wilderness experiences.
**Essay and Photos by: Travis Perkins**