A weekend adventure of rock hounding in the Northwest.
A weekend adventure of rock hounding in the Northwest.
I was deep in the heart of the Cascades. On an alone backpacking mission to find myself once again. For some reason I always think I’m going to come out a renewed and refreshed individual; this time was no different. It was no different than any other trip, same ultralight backpacking gear, same ultraheavy camera gear.
I gave no fucks about my gear besides my camera. I would carry multiple lenses, tripods, iPads, you name it I had six of them. At one time in my life I carried over 30lbs of camera gear for a single night.
It was 10pm. My fire had finally subsided, I had drank all the beer I brought, and I had gathered most of the fallen wood in the nearby area, so it wouldn’t have been quite a hassle to retrieve it. I decided to setup my camera to take some photos of the stars.
Next thing I knew it was 2 in the morning. I was shivering with every pound of muscle in my body. I am a skinny guy, at around 130 I wasn’t shivering much around. I woke from the sound of the shutter on my camera going off. What was happening I thought to myself. What was that noise?! I shook with every once of my tiny frame to the point that I knocked over my tripod.
I was completely disorientated from the lack of O2 at the elevation I was at and the slight onset of a mild hypothermia. I reached over to my left wrist wear I clicked the light on my watch and clicked to the temp settings. It was reading in the 20s. What the fuck was I doing getting drunk and fucked up in the middle of the woods by myself? Then it hit me as I calmed my shakes and layed back onto the ice cold rock I had been perched on all night.
That was the moment it hit me like a fuck ton of bricks. What the hell am I doing with my life?! I have some of the most beautiful photography in the world. I live in the most gorgeous place in the entire world.
This is my life goal I have realized lately. No matter where I go. I have this nagging stabbing pain to persue photography. Hell I know there is no money in it but do I care?! No I don’t. It’s worth more to me knowing that the person I just sold my photography print to for cheap can go home and enjoy my moment for the rest of their lives.
Recently I have been giving my photography away. I have also realized this feeling has been with me for years. This feeling to persue my dreams. What’re your dreams? Are you going to make them happen?
Have you ever been in a situation where you just felt really weird, it wasn’t you, it wasn’t what you were use to, or you just felt like you didn’t fit in? That to me is being out of your comfort zone. Ever heard someone say they hate to do something because it’s out of your comfort zone… Is it fear that is holding them back?
Friends and I have been discussing the necessity for stepping out of your comfort zone in order to grow as a person. I feel I grow the most when I’m uncomfortable. It really made me think about how I need to step out of those zones and learn to do different things.
Just some food for thought.
It was 10am, 36 degrees out, but the skies were blue and the sun was out. I stood upon the edge of what was called the “Cat Walk.” A left handed corner deep in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Northern Washington along the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012. One wrong move and I could be tumbling thousands of feet into the forest below. The uncertainty around the corner is what I strived for the most. As I took each step my heart raced with excitement. I was living on the edge of death, and I loved it.
In our lives we should plan out each step to a degree just like walking the “Cat Walk.” Realizing that one step could stray us away from the goal ahead. The past few months I have been struggling with motivation in life. Struggling to even take those steps and move forward towards the goals that I have. The fear of falling was holding me back.
When I got to the edge of the cat walk I sat down dangled my feet over the edge, laughed, embraced the experience of being inches away from death. I overcame the fear, I embraced the uncertainty, and realized I had planned out every step to get me to that point. Each step before that day brought me to that moment. It was by my own choice that I had walked from Mexico to that point in Northern Washington. It was not by accident but by taking the steps to get there.
Dont let the fear of the unknown hold you back from reaching the heights you want to. If you don’t like where you are at, get out of it, make changes, change with a purpose. Take those steps to get you there and realize that you are there for a reason, you didn’t take those steps for no reason.
The choices in life determine your destiny..
That decision to take that new job, to move to that new town, or to climb that mountain were not by accident. Take control of your life but also do it methodically so you can reach the goals in front of you and not fall to the forests below.
If you never take the steps how will you know what it feels like to dangled your feet on the cliff of life?
Get out today and take a step in the direction you want your life to go!
The nerves of the approaching rock face are shallow in my mind. I can see the crag infront of me. The walk aka the approach is daunting but the pure beauty of the yellow rock take away from the burning sensation in my quads and calves. I can barely look down and watch my steps because I’m so enthralled by the size of the Cliff infront of me. At this point my nerves start to set in. Not because of the difficulty of the technical rock face ahead but at the unknown. I know I have the skills to do it, but to do what? Not knowing what is actually up there is what makes me the most nervous.
What am I going to encounter?
The approach ends and I’m standing at the base of a sheer vertical cliff of one of the most beautiful routes I had ever laid eyes on. Tucked away so majestically in a canyon in the middle of the desert my heart started to race. I started to talk to myself.
I told myself things like “you got this” and “this is why you are here
I knew I could do it. I was just scared. I didn’t know this route. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know the moves, what the holds were going to be like, or how my body was going to react at an elevation above 3500′. I lived at 170′. 3500′ seemed like I was atop mount Everest. I started in on the climb. Life is like a new climb. We are nervous about the unknown ahead. If we can do it, if it will be painful, if it will be fun, or if we will completely fail. I couldn’t think of that right now. I needed to do work. I needed to buckle down and do my thing. With every uncertain hold I had to keep my mind in a positive state. If I didn’t and I thought oh this hold is absolute shit then my next move would probably be me taking a fall. Life is full of those situations. We get to a point and think okay if I do this wrong am I going to fall on my face? That hold has been there since the rock was first around hundreds of thousands of years. You can’t change the hold. You can’t make it better. The only thing you can do is use it for what it is and keep your mind positive. After you get past the really shitty hold you come to a nice rest. If you would have been negative on the previous hold you would have most likely fallen but through a strong mind you were able to accept the situation, think positively, and make it through it. We all have tough situations in life that are just like those shitty holds and sometimes we can’t do anything about it. Except, think positively and move forward with the optimism that there will be something better to come. ~Scarecrow
Have you ever been going through the motions of life and suddenly an event happens that completely awakens you ?
You realize that the life you are living is not making you happy, you are not getting anywhere, and it’s time for change?
The end of December this happened to me. Having a 9-5 was what the world wanted me to do. Having a 9-5 is what the world expects. Is that really what life is about?
For the past 4 years I worked for a small company with the idealogy that I was there to help, the money meant nothing, the experience meant nothing, and all I wanted to do was help take stress off of other individuals. When you work like that does it really benefit your life? For 4 years I went into a stressful situation, an emotional situation, and a constant battle of am I even important to these people…
I would come home daily, grab my bong and smoke weed until I drowned out the sorrows and frustrations of the day to day work life. Not feeling important in a work situation is like not feeling wanted by your significant other in my eyes. I felt like I was just someone’s bitch.
Taking only a single vacation a year down to San Diego, California. The rest of the time, putting in my time so others could go enjoy their lives. October of 2017 rolled around and an opening became available for a position in which I should have been the man for the job. Instead someone with zero experience was put into my place. To me this was a giant slap in the face and an affirmation that I was infact nothing to them, I was the grunt, the low, scooping poop, and doing the dirty work.
I was frustrated by this move, frustrated that me being the guy that’s been scooping the poop for many years didn’t get into this position. December rolled around, the disrespect, constant frustration, continual drug use, and overall depression had not subsided. I was looking for harder, stronger, drugs to help cope with the ever growing stress that was bottling up inside of me.
I’m not a religious person but I think that Christmas should be a happy time. 2 days before the Christian holiday, the disrespect, the feeling of the poop scooper, and the depression came to the point of suicidal thoughts.
Was this life worth it? Was I doing what I wanted? Was I happy?
The answer to all of those questions was absolutely not. Something had to change. 9am. I couldn’t take it anymore, I couldn’t take the feeling of putting in years with a company and still being treated like I’m not important. I ended up walking away. I wasn’t happy with my life.
I was happier when I had zero money and all I had was a backpack and no direction on where to go next.
I stood broad shouldered, tears flowing from my eyes on the edge of a massive bridge. One I had walked across many many times. This time it was different. This time I was alone.. The rush of the cold air flowing through my massively grown beard, I stood, ready at any moment to take the leap into the underworld. As I was standing upon deaths door, I realized something.
I chose to come out here, I chose to climb up the bridge, I chose to leave the company, I chose to be depressed. Now I have the choice to make my life the way I want it.
I was finally free from the tormoil of working with those that I cared about on a much deeper level.
So why would I end it now? Why? Was that my destiny? After almost dying at 23 and traveling the country inspiring others to travel and live their lives? Was that the spirit of the great Scarecrow?
My answer was engraved on me. Set in ink. Tattooed across my back in the old chiller font from Microsoft word:
LIFE IS MINE
As I came down that day, crying the entire way home, I made a commitment to myself, to my friends, and to all those individuals who meet me and get inspired to travel.
That commitment was to take my life back. After I returned home from the Cascades, the drug use stopped, the depressions stopped, and I started to feel like SCARECROW again. I have started making goals and plan to crush them all in 2018.
Look at your life, is it the way you want it? Are you doing something that makes you happy? If the answer is no, then for fuck sake stop wasting time, get up, wake up, stand up and make your life your own.