There’s something about being a father to a little girl that can’t be explained without regurgitating some sappy line of a bad book. It’s a default, because that bond hits you in a tongue you normally don’t speak. Yet you try to speak it.
If I’m anything it’s not shy of emotion, but I also appreciate the marination of thought when it comes to describing a relationship. I’d much rather create an experience or plant the seed of exploration than try to recap what that means to either of us. It’s probably why photography is at the core of everything I do. It’s why Cru has had a camera in her hand since she was 1 year young.Capturing moments. Creating experiences. Making memories… all so that when everything else is stripped away or clawed at, it becomes the one constant you can’t escape. You won’t want to, because you’ll want to relive those moments as if they never left. I have no idea how long I’m on this earth so I refuse to miss anything while I am.
And that’s not easy. I catch myself daily saying things like: “I really want to, but I’m slammed.”Or “I have a crazy week this week.” There’s no shortage of lines like that. When I say any of them out loud, there’s a piece of me that dies inside, but I still say them. Whatever version I repeat, it’s because it’s grounded in reality, yet no less absurd to say.
Life, especially one you want to live, has a way of eating at the edges so you stay put. the problem is, I’m not the best at staying put. I’m not the best at being taken over, yet I say these things a lot. We all do.
I want to make my dent in the world and that means I have to stretch myself thin to get there. As a husband and a father it’s also my job to make sure the lasting memory is greater than the sum of its parts. Being “too busy” doesn’t play in that scenario.
So… before the words hit my tongue yet again, I took off. Sammy was away for the weekend, and while we usually tackle these trips as a team, I couldn’t resist fueling the fire of spontaneous exploration in Cru that I had as a kid. I wanted to prime her for what might become her own addiction to the wilds of life. And from what I can poorly describe, I think it worked.
Trust me, I’m not one for sweltering heat or a dependence on forced air just to make it through the day, but there’s something about this little oasis in the Sonoran desert that keeps us coming back.
Maybe it’s the fact that its close to Mt. San Jacinto, where u can climb 10,000 feet up to a cooler, pine tree-laden eden–a place far more recognizable to my desires. Maybe it’s the mid-century overkill that I’m a sucker for. Perhaps its the reliance on a pool and the elated reaction of our little nugget gets splashing the day away. Or maybe it’s simply a place that transports us into another time and place; one that feels like a far away land we can get lost in.
This time I scooped up my rambunctious little adventurer and my wife–battling a pesky sinus infection–and journeyed south with our long time friends and their little one. Here are a few snaps from the trip.
A lot can be said for solo adventuring even if you aren’t technically a solo adventurer. The solitude of silence is a deafening rhythm welcomed by all those who set out to undress from society’s hammer and nails. The road is that escape.
My mom taught me that exploration has no wrong turns. For me it’s oxygen. Solo travel is essential to staying grounded, open and interested in life. It’s the vehicle to inflection and expansion. I used to do this a lot. I’d get the urge to see the sea, climb a mountain or get lost in the desert and each time I’d simply head out and hit the road.
I remember the wildness of spontaneity; the intrigue of the unknown that lie ahead with each trip. I remember feeling free and open as if I too could pen a great American novel solely from that which crossed my eye-line. But I also remember feeling lost. You set out to brave the world alone and all the while you’re wishing you had someone to share it with; the conflict of yearning perhaps leading to more exploration.
That dueling narrative within every traveler doesn’t go away when you fall in love or become a parent. For me, these feelings exist not out of yearning for what I don’t have, but instead for what I do.
The solo trip is still wild; it’s still spontaneous and it’s still life-changing. But the anchor of companionship settles the soul allowing for more meaningful adventures.
A little late, but never too late to post about one of the world’s most iconic scenic drives. I’ve been traveling to Big Sur since I was 22 and I’ve made the trip nearly every year since. If you haven’t been… you need to.
Unlimited face shots in 4 feet of fresh at Mt. Baker. Riding with best buds. Camping with the most hardcore ski bums in the country. No phones. No computers. No outside world. We need more of this in our lives. Honestly one of the best weekends of my life. Thanks to Pat for pulling this together.
Arches National Park — where arid wilds run with the wind.
If you’ve never been to Arches National Park, then it might be hard to imagine the scope of such a place. Its massive sandstone arches tower above the horizon–a horizon that seemingly melts into infinity across the desert landscape. The winds slither through the red and carmel rock walls while scarce vegetation dots the ground beneath. It’s as if a sorcerer, armed with geological witchcraft, transformed the spiraling arches and red rock sand overnight as you look on in complete perplexity. And it never gets old.
I’ve been here before… several times, yet each visit brings with it a new perspective. This was my perspective during a recent journey into one of America’s best National Parks.
Arches National Park. Photographs & Words by Aaron Lyles