In the trip that would lead to the creation of The Outing Guide, the desert awaited us as we traveled halfway across Texas to reach the secluded Big Bend National Park.
The desert. A place where you go to find yourself within the silence of the land. A place where the wind and sand mingle with the alien ocotillo to create a world in which you feel but a stranger. A place that brought us together within it's majesty. Big Bend is a place that will forever have a special place in the hearts of those who visit. No where we have been before or since has come close to the feeling gained from standing alone in the middle of the desert night looking up at an endless sea of stars and recognizing your place within this land, and ultimately, the universe. The desert can do that to you. It's an environment that tests you. It's a place you can't help but be changed by.
We spent 5 days and 4 nights inside the park with a group of close friends and fellow creators. While we all came together under the unified goal of "creating something amazing" (I know, super precise, right?) we each had our individual 'intentions' that we shared with each other at the beginning of the trip. Some were there to learn, some were there to create new music, new visuals, and new art, while others were there simply to have a good time with their fiends. One intention that was common throughout was the desire to reconnect with nature. The man who organized the trip, Paul, said it beautifully: "I want to be re-enchanted with nature", and I feel that became an accurate summary of everyone's experience. From wanting an hour to soak in the hot springs, to spending sunrise in silent self-reflection, we ventured into this foreign land ready to become something more. This, of course, didn't come easy.
From extreme temperature changes to a night spent in the worst wind storm I think we've ever encountered, we came together and stood firm against the rawness of this place. I think the worst and quite frankly, the funniest, moment came when one of our crew, Derrick, took 2 steps out of his tent one morning to turn around and find it blowing away into the distance. Oh, how they scrambled after it. They come back to yet another...much larger tent beginning the same process.
Our base camp was located within the Chisos Basin, the crown jewel of Big Bend. From there we took hikes to The Window as well as Lost Mine Trail, which was the group favorite. Almost every step of the Lost Mine revealed an even more beautiful view than that which preceded it. At the apex of the climb, we felt like kings.
We we climbed the crown of the mountain like children in natures play-place. Some conquered their fear of heights while others sat in silence upon boulders clinging to the mountains edge, peering into the distance as if to catch a glimpse of a dream.
As the sun crept closer to the horizon, we began our trek back home, reaching our starting point with only moments of sunlight to spare. We returned to our campsite to spend our last night together.
As we huddled around our camp kitchen preparing our final meal, the bond between us all was glowing. Evidence of the connective power of nature was ever present and true. We reflected on the memories created while sharing what we desired from our next visit to Big Bend, because a return trip was inevitable. We had been captured by this place. We had been changed by this place. We had been shown inner peace through this land, and our relationship with it's beauty had just begun.
We thank the National Park system for preserving Big Bend as a desert sanctuary for those like us who seek nature in it's purest form.
We will see you again soon.