Truth Behind the Lens
Audrey is a good friend of mine who lives for a good
adventure, preferably miles from anything, inside of a narrow slot canyon. Over beers the other night we discussed the lack of authenticity that can be found in a lot of photography and story-telling that is portrayedin social media. We are drawn to the raw, honest accounts of life experiences, so why do
many of us try so hard to veil the truth?
Audrey tells it like it is.
I always enjoy reading about her adventures because
her words are to the point and very real, and usually can be
applied not just to her experience, but to life in general.
Here is a selection of her photography and
captions that we curated together.
Down here you become powerless and vulnerable.
The moment you enter, human laws become extinct;
the canyon makes the rules and sets the boundaries.
Everything is earned, nothing is given.
But, when you least expect it, the canyon finally rewards you for your efforts and you stand there, paralyzed in awe, observing the rare masterpiece that unfolds.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
These past couple of days were some of the most
physically and mentally strenuous days that I have ever experienced. Navigating long, brutal miles through
the remote terrain of the Robbers Roost Region in 100 degree heat, no sign of any other humans for three days,
90 foot+ technical rappels into pitch black, tight slots
filled with nests of spiders, and encounters with
rattle snakes pushed me to my limits.
But all of the pain was worth all of the beauty.
Out here you truly are alone!
Patience at dusk.
Backpacking to quiet lakes in the mountains to
remind myself to slow down.
It is so easy to take the place that you live for granted.
But, what I am finding is that these mountains I
call home always have something new to teach me.
Step outside; there is a lot to learn.
When I am here I don't want to be anywhere else
besides here. I want to experience feeling scared,
wet, uncomfortable, tired, hungry, and to be as far from
human civilization as I can get. Free yourself from
all the ridiculous man-made safety nets and rules.
Be an animal. Release natural instinct and the laws of nature.
Once you commit, you are committed. There is no turning back. The only place to go is down deeper into the canyon
so you better put your big girl pants on.
I struggle so much with coming back and functioning in
"society" after even just a few days out here. Out here you feel
true purpose. There are no advertisements blasting in your ear. No political agendas being shoved down your throat.
No slaving away to the corporate assholes. It's the raw and pure form of living which society has stripped away from us.
"We are caught in the iron treads of a
A mindless machine. With a breeder reactor for a heart."
-- Edward Abbey
That magical moment when you are swimming through
stagnant slot water and the canyon decides to put
on a rare light show. I felt pretty damn lucky to be a
spectator for that short moment that it lasted.
Spent six months earning and building this dream machine
part by part, just the way I wanted it. Not the easiest way
to get a new bike, but the most rewarding.
Maybe not the most inspirational, but certainly the
most honest words of wisdom: take a poo prior to entering.
It gets tight.
My fascination with this landscape has taken me on a wild
journey to some amazing places. Here I have scared the shit out of myself, learned to be comfortable with being isolated and alone, built friendships, tested my patience and endurance, acquired skills to become more self-sufficient, and have most importantly been humbled by what this place teaches me every time I drop human expectations and boundaries and simply walk off the grid. This wilderness will always hold a special place in my heart.
This hurts. This is what it looks like when you wreck on your mountain bike and your face takes the full impact. This is the less glamorous side of the sport that doesn't get advertised.
My selfies are never pretty.
Recent thoughts while on the trail: social media has
turned people and places into advertisements.
The age of accessible information has made it more difficult to find true wilderness anymore.
Places untouched and untainted by humans are
increasingly more difficult to find. It requires miles
of questionable back roads on top of many brutal miles of navigation by foot. But when you finally find yourself
alone, it makes the entire painful process worth it.
That's what drives me to explore.