There are powerful, crystallized feelings that are experienced when skiing and snowboarding the backcountry of Arizona. They are mysterious, fantastic, gigantic, fleeting, and always require attention. Most backcountry photographs capture a thin cross-section or single layer of these feelings. This project was born as an attempt to explore new ways to convey those feelings.
More info on my new project with Abe at abesnider.com.
For Sale: 2012 Pivot Mach 429 Mountain bike Medium, 29″ wheels. This bike is ready for a fun tour right now! Pivot Cycles
This bike is one of the few USA produced Pivots. This bike was built right before the first oversea production run of the 2012 model, and came off the 2011 interbike show floor to me, the original owner. It has been a great fun bike but I can only allow myself one full suspension bike.
I have used it for fun rides and singletrack touring, aka bikepacking.
Aluminum frame, fox float shock 100mm travel. Frame bearings are tight and smooth!
Fox Talas fork 100-120mm travel – rebuilt in spring, with new uppers
Pivot Sealed bearing headset
xtr shadow rear derailleur
xt front derailleur
xt 10×2 shifting
xt 11×36 cassette
xlr carbon bar and seatpost
dt swiss wheels xr4000 rims with 350 hubs – less than 500 miles on wheels, with 36 tooth freewheel upgrade.
WTB vigilante 2.3 tires – front in very good shape, rear in fair shape, setup tubeless with Stans.
Comes with the handlebar bags, and red frame bag by Nuclear Sunrise.
$2200 $1800 or best offer. Contact email@example.com
Located in Flagstaff.
To be human is to be born with a kind of emptiness. We might fill that emptiness with a thing, an idea, an action, a goal, a drug…. The glass is not half full, nor half empty, rather it may be utterly void and incapable of being filled.
Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. – Eric Hoffer
But somewhere in that void is our essence looking for us from within.
At an early age we start “filling the glass” with real and imagined things until we have defined ourselves. Eventually the glass becomes a facebook page or an about page that we believe is the real us. But is it? Do we want to be known or do we really just want to know ourselves? The current consensus is: it’s complicated.
There are many possible responses to discovering the emptiness we’re born with, but they generally fall into two categories: denying it and trying desperately to fill it, or sitting quietly and watching what develops. Addiction is a good example of the former, since it’s the high-speed, high-intensity version of socially acceptable consumption. Instead of living with ourselves – moments of confusion and all – we abdicate the responsibility, relying on both the subject of addiction and the trappings surrounding it to make up the sum of our lives. That’s part of why recovery can be so difficult; take all of that away, and there’s still the same emptiness we began with. We can go through cocaine detox, throw away our paraphernalia and let go of friends, but if we don’t make peace with the root of the problem it’s unlikely that we’ll stay clean. The same goes for other temporary solutions: they only work as long as we don’t look too closely, and nobody can keep their eyes averted forever.
So how do we make peace with our emptiness, and how do we give ourselves room to find and become an authentic person inside that space? Accepting it is one of the stepping stones of Buddhism, and various religions have called it a “God-shaped hole”, but other people find different ways to have their moment of peace. Some find it through sheer movement: Helen Thompson said that “in riding a horse, we borrow freedom”. That moment of floating on skis, wheels or feet, when the internal chatter quiets, and what we’re left with is our body and the world around.
No fear, no worry about what others think about us or what our purpose in life is – just the realization that being alone with our heartbeat can be enough. There we find the capital T in truth, where the same forces sling planets around suns, and pump blood through our hearts.
I had a great time helping my friend Brian Siebert with his kickstarter project:
The Press-Bot – Turn your nalgene bottle into a high quality French press! Use for coffee, tea, and yerba mate.
We hit our goal within 2 days! This was my first work on a kickstarter campaign and I don’t think it will be my last…
Wow, 100 Kickstarter projects are launched every day…
About 3 years ago something inside craved more connection with food, with the the forest and with the world. I read up on mushrooms, imploring my senses, I ate mushrooms that I judged safe. A couple of guide books helped too!
Now during the summer rains, I lay awake at night dreaming of the mushroom hunt, and the wonderful aromas and flavors that dance in the mountain air.
Mushrooms may sometimes be difficult to identify, but they do not run or fight! I wanted meat. So how to get my meat? For me it was obvious – I was raised around guns and taught how to use them. However I was never taught the ways of a hunter. As a kid I shot birds, squirrels, cicadas and plastic army men for fun – for “sport”. It would seem that killing and taking of another life is a vibration, a frequency that humans are quite tuned into. It was something I needed to explore.
By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I rarely shot a gun and did not own one again until my (step) father died, and I inherited a couple of guns.
Shooting a gun is easy and fun, but understanding the Arizona hunting regulations and the big game permit draw may be only slightly easier than obtaining a degree in accounting. I applied for the draw, then during the spring of 2012 I received a bull tag for unit 7E – an area that includes the San Francisco Peaks, an area I have become familiar with during mountain-bike and split-board adventures.
If I had my dream, I would be living in a group of about fifty people and using draft horses and growing all our food. I want to live in a community where neighbors are constantly interacting around food.
-S. Brian Willson
With six months until the December Hunt listed on my permit, I contrarily stopped eating meat on the 2012 summer solstice. I vowed to only eat meat I killed. I became a “vegiTerrible”.
Mount Elden grey-squirrels are little zen monkeys, sitting for hours swaying on the tip-tops of trees. I’ve only killed one and I’ll be very hungry before I kill another. That said, the above squirrel tasted like a lean flying pig. Delicious! In November, a 13 mile hike in the Grand Canyon got me down to Tapeats Creek. I was the happiest vegiTerrible in the world, eating fresh fish sandwiches!
By November I did a little scouting, research and target practice. Some hunters would scoff at the idea of me heading into the mountains hunting Elk with a Texas deer rifle, but my father’s old lever action 30-30 Marlin was the strongest gun I owned.
My investigations revealed that 30-30’s do take down Elk from “short” distances, and newer ammunition helps. I was also confident in my abilities as a marksman.
Refreshed, and loaded with 3 more days of supplies, I drove up to Lockett Meadow where there was melting snow and green grass. There I met Jake, a younger more experienced hunter who gave me some solid advice.
I felt great and packed my mountain-bike with enough gear to stay the night, but figured I would ride back down to the truck for a warmer night of sleep. Hard-packed snow made the start difficult but ride-able. Higher above Lockett Meadow on good dirt, I stepped into a familiar cycling groove. The warm sunshine, and steep climb was exhilarating.
Elk are often nocturnal, feeding at night and bedding down during the day. My strategy was to find a spot where they might exit early from their mountain slumber into a meadow full of green grass. With eyes peeled, I found a main braided elk trail that exited from steep, thick mixed-tree forests into a ponderosa pine meadow. And just above the trail I worked with a patch of snags and fallen dead trees. In short time, I had a great hunting-blind in the middle of an elk trail system. As the sun lowered, I slipped my legs into a sleeping bag, layered my upper body in camouflage clothes, and found an absolutely comfortable position leaning against a dead tree, legs stretched out and tailbone snug to the Earth. Within about a 30 minutes I found myself in a most accepting and happy place. Peace. Awareness.
…be present with what is, and feel it feeling you: the state of mutual awareness.
Time stood still and the waves of protons reflected and refracted into my existence as the sun sunk near the horizon. Tingling sensations stood my hairs on end as my body turned its head with a peaceful precision that I almost did not recognize. There, here, was a bull elk not more than sixty feet away. My heart beat. Loud. The grazing elk snapped his head up to meet my eyes. Louder beat my heart. I closed my eyes, fearing I might be recognized. He did not seem to understand what he saw – closed eyes behind eye-glasses on a camouflaged head sticking up from behind a downed tree. I could feel the magnificent creature silently move. I opened my eyes to see him disappear from view. He was within fifty feet, but now a large snag and boulder separated us. In one smooth motion I grabbed the the 30-30, cocked the lever and leveled the gun where I thought the Elk may reemerge back into view. After a year long minute, he came back into view about 50 yards away and on the move. I grabbed a calling diaphragm and gave out a poorly executed baby-elk cry. The bull jumped and stopped. I gave a better call and he seemed to relax, tilting his head with curiosity. The bull, about 50 yards away, broadside and head turned, stared directly at me. He did not seem to understand what he saw – a bunch of dead sticks and limbs containing the business end of a 30-30 with iron sights leveled at his heart.
The heart’s electrical field is almost 60 times greater in amplitude than that of the brain and is more than 5000 times greater in strength than the brain’s electrical field
– McCraty, Tiller, & Atkinson, 1996
I lost myself in the infinite possibility of the moment…
The bull jumped and bolted out of sight into the meadow. Doubt and fear crept in. Did I mess, or worse, wound him? Panic. I waited then slowly crawled towards the elk. I did not see him. Panic. Then I found him.
A phone call and less than an hour later, John was there to help me quarter out the meat. I ate fresh rare meat and drank heart blood.
Want to take a trip down a worm hole? Then isolate yourself for a few days in a cold, below ground garage and butcher a large animal that ya killed. Holy Mother, of god.
The following month I found a meat grinder on Craig’s List. When I went to purchase the grinder, Jake the younger hunter that I met in Locket Meadow answered the door. Small. World.
Do you think that I do not love you
If I scream while I die.
Antler and thin black hoof
smashed against dark rock—
the struggle is the ritual
shining teeth tangled in
sinew and flesh.
You see, I will go with you.
Because you call softly
because you are my brother and my sister
Because the mountain is our mother.
I will go with you
because you love me
while I die.
– Leslie Marmon Silko