the great adventure (prologue)
last summer i read through painted deserts by donald miller and was inspired by it to request that my 40th birthday gift from everyone be a 2 week road trip into the west. ive never been very far west of i-25 and i had a deep longing to see the ocean and everything in-between here and there. as the trip developed i decided to hone in on visiting some of the major national parks: arches, grand canyon, death valley, joshua tree, yosemite, crater lake, yellowstone, and grand teton. so as i planned the trip i mapped a course leading through each of these over the course of 15 days.
i also decided to invite a couple friends who ive known since college. thankfully, brian and jase were able to adjust their schedules and accompany me on this amazing trek. in the weeks ahead i am going to be documenting the trip here with pictures and experiences.
but this story really begins almost 20 years ago. in january of 1994 during winter break, i set off with brian, jase, and another friend named jehu on a trip to big bend national park in deep west texas. jase’s parents owned a home in marathon, tx about an hour north of the park and the plan was to drive there, then on to the park the next day for a backpacking trip hiking and camping on the south rim of the chisos mountains.
we piled into my trusty ford escort and headed west, encountering snow in junction, tx and driving into the night to make marathon. the next morning we drove down hwy 385 through a dense fog with snow on the ground around us. after making our way to the basin we shouldered our packs and headed up the pinnacles trail, eventually setting camp right on the south rim.
my experience of that journey and the night we spent there changed my life. i met god there with my legs dangling from the cliff that sloped down into a valley from which elephant tusk and dominguez mountain both rise over 5000 feet above sea level. during the night i saw the milky way for the first time in all its glory, and the following morning a sea of cloud had filled the valley below the rim from where we camped all the way to the sierra del carmen range southeast of us in mexico.
this experience was a milestone in my life, inspiring my relationship with god and the guys involved and strengthening within me a lifelong love of nature and the out-doors. this longing, coupled with millers travelogue led me to begin planning the great adventure.