Montana

There’s something different about being in the wilderness alone in Montana.  You are alone.  Alone with your thoughts.  Alone with your fears.  Alone with the wild.  I’m not really sure what it is about being here that makes me a little bit crazy.  But I kind of like it, like an addiction.  At the same time, I think it makes me lose my mind, and like a drug, I have to pace myself before I’m hooked and in too deep.  Every time I go into the solitary confinement of the Montana wilderness, something is pulling me in at the same time that I’m wanting out.  But mostly, there’s something that makes me want to keep upping the ante.

The first time I passed through in 2014, I was parked in a corner of the Gallatin National Forest, and quite literally didn’t see a human for days at a time.  At one point, I wasn’t really sure of the volume of my own voice when somebody finally did pass by and asked me how to get to the waterfall.  I felt stunned and stuttered all over my words.  I missed people but at the same time, was so far removed from them that I didn’t want to be around them because interacting with them sent me into a tailspin.  That far removed kind of solitude is not just far removed physically, but mentally.  And not only are you far away from everybody else, but you become far away from your own mind, too.

It’s not that I’m out in the woods in Colorado, or Wyoming, or wherever else and am seeing a lot of people.  I’m not.  I try to find the places where I won’t see anybody.  But Montana is still a whole new level.  I don’t quite know why.  One might think it’s the possibility of running into a grizzly bear, but Alaska doesn’t do this to me.  I don’t know, but I’m going to keep trying to find out.

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