In My Mouth, A Desert

I just returned from a weeklong trip to Moab, UT, where my friend Mike and I spent the final three days hiking over 25 miles of back country high desert trails inside the 330,000 acre Canyonlands National Park. We were at the mercy of a place that is simultaneously fragile and viscous, a place whose vastness and beauty are beyond the justice of words and pictures. We were simply voyeurists to this million-year-old geological orgy.

Below are some images from our adventure, but I wasn't there to make photographs. I was there to push myself mentally and physically out of my comfort zone. I didn't want to simply unplug and reset, I wanted to survive and learn something about myself. Prior to this trip, the daily grind of life had eroded my spirits, much like millions of years of wind and rain has eroded the sandstone cliffs in Canyonlands Park. I wanted to understand how erosion could create something so beautiful, I wanted to get to the bare bones of existence and find the bedrock needed to sustain it.

Backpacking in the desert simplifies your needs to two: water and food (in that order). You need enough of both to survive and get your planned mileage in each day. In the midst of that simplification I noticed something. Time began to slow down and pass as it's suppose to, slowly, like the summers of childhood. This is something we all forget in the hustle and bustle of modern life. The desert doesn't make this mistake. It is patient, deliberate. There, efficiency isn't getting more done quicker, it's balancing needs with available resources. I hope to remember this lesson and apply it when I'm back in civilization and the daily grind begins it's inevitable erosion.