It was the summer of 94 when I took a Wilderness Leadership Semester from the Colorado Outward Bound School. Needless to say that it was the most emotional, challenging, and rewarding experience that I have had in all of my 19 ears of existence. One week spent running the Upper Green River inwesternColorado and northern Utah. Through The Gates of the Labour Canyon and Dinosaur National Monument, we floated to end where the Green meets the Colorado River just beyond Echo Canyon.
The high desert canyons echoed with rapids o various classes; Hells Half Mile and Disaster Falls were the most memorable. Upon completion we headed to climbing camp in Wyoming at a place calledVedauwoo (va-da-vu). Two weeks of vigorous climbing these granite towers left many scars both physically and emotionally for this rock was indeed as sharp as knives. Somehow no matter hard climbed; even if successful, this rock always seemed to have the last say. By this time a month had passed and I was very grateful to have that one shower on the way to the Gore Range in Colorado. This section of the course was by far the most demanding, the mountaineering section.
Stepping off the bus in Frisco, Colorado we looked back knowing that we were not to see civilization for at least a month. There were 8 men and women in my group from all over the country. Each one had a unique personality not knowing that we would all become closer to each other than family, possibly being dependent during life threatening situations which we experienced on many occasions. This in itself could be another long story. By the end of this section we were required to do what they call a solo.
In addition to rest up for the 15 mile marathon and finals, (a week of travel) this was also used for reflecting on our experiences. The solo was for three days. During these three days we were all to be separated about a quarter to half mile apart, alone. Allow our flashlights, candles, and watches were taken away along with any books which were left at base camp. All we were allowed to take was our clothes, a tarp (not a tent) which wasn't but 5 ft by 2 ft, a water bottle, a pencil, paper, and our iodine to purify the water. I also want to note that we had the choice to fast or take a survival pack which consisted of a few crackers and raisins.
I wanted the full experience so I chose to fast. This was a trip in itself, no food for three days. My spot on this solo was at around 12000 ft, the highest of my group. the only water I had was from an alpine stream which dried up on me the first day, after searching for a while I did find another stream. The first day it rained all day, the next was clear, I didn't do much... just thought allot.
I have never been this long without seeing or talking to another person, not even pictures... everything I had was in my mind. No toys... no material possessions... no problems... just me... at this time felt the true essence of the wilderness and everything that is so sacred to me, It is much too difficult to explain, Ididn't feel human in some respect, truly a wild creature... possibly like a wolf... this is where I thought of Of the Wolf, every goal I stated on this solo has come true so far. There is much, much more to the story but due to time I will condense it. On the second day it was rather warm so I decided to wash my clothes in the stream, yes Is pent the whole day naked, clothes... as natural as one can get... of course I didn't think much of it because I was far from any other living creature. Not much lives that high. While my clothes were drying I sat naked on a rock... the view was incredible... absolutely stunning... and I wrote...
A crack in the glass and I'm thinking... Alone in the field and I'm sinking, Soaking in breeze on a rock andI'm hypnotized, the world inside me Cranking the weight off of my mind... testing the strength of a fine line Relative thoughts... no control... become justified, the world defied me Tasting the sweat off of my lips... feeding my soul with the suns kiss laughing out loud I'm remembering everything... foolishly sighing Now I'm lost inside these words that speak so loudly in my head Honestly I'll take the vow to cut these chains off of my wrist This freedom feels just like a bird soaring onto a higher plain Overcome my fear of falling... standing on my feet again.