The question of where are you, is a common occurrence in our life. Whether that be friends, family, clients, new acquaintances through our various online outlets it seems this thread of thought commonly arises. It is a question that we have been able to answer quite simply and easily with our physical location, because 99% of the time, this is the polite response as this is the type of answer most people seek. The polite response to a few seconds of conversation instead of trying to define the philosophical thought of where we currently are intangibly. Where are we emotionally? Where are we mindfully? Where are we within our relationships? Where are we when our physical body remains in one place and our mind is far far away?
Our pack may be resting now...
Soon we shall heed the arrow, picking it up, and continuing forward.
Where are we? Well, currently we are sitting behind an old pine desk, that our partner's grandparents handcrafted years ago. As our gaze drifts above the computer that rests upon this table, and our fingers continue their steady crawl across the keyboard, we look at the wall in front of us. Soon, this wall will take upon a new look, as we soon will be installing a butcherblock countertop underneath our windows, to open up our space. As our mind once again drifts through this momentary thought, our gaze continues to consume the physical surroundings in which we find ourselves in. A vase, or more accurately a make-shift vase from a tacky "I am Canadian" glass drinking boot we found at a thrift store, holds an array of beautiful flowers that are slowly starting to wilt from Valentine's Day. Our coffee mug from the movie "Elf" screams at us "son of a nutcracker!" as Will Ferrell exclaims surprised as we take a sip of multi-hour old coffee. Our work board that holds our schedule broken into each day of the week, is smudged, with marker and eraser marks, color coded to different days, and reminds us even as we are writing what other obligations we need to complete today.
Our gaze shifts outwards now, towards the ice and snow piles we see directly outside of our window. The snow that has fallen months ago remain, fluctuating in size, but never disappearing completely. A constant reminder of the far north winter we have found ourselves in. Our gaze drifts upwards to the neighbor's house that we have "semi-adopted" their dog named Kiah. She is not currently outside doing her rounds, but soon we shall see her silhouette pass in front of our window, knowing she is coming to claim our front porch as her own for a few hours. Upwards our gaze continues until we are looking at the horizon dotted with beautiful mountain peaks. We feel a tad embarrassed and guilty that we have not had the opportunity nor time to stand upon the top of them, viewing our valley, and our winter home from above. Then our gaze crests above the mountains and all we see is a blue beautiful light sky tempting us with the promise of warmth, that we know from our previous outings today is in fact a lie. The temperature remains in the negatives, but yet as we continue to look at the sky, our hopes continue to override our knowledge, and we once again are tempted to put on a t-shirt and get some wonderful sun upon our exposed wintery white skin.
Our "semi-adopted" dog Kiah.
Did we adopt her, or did she adopt us?
No matter we love this weird, weird, dog.
Weird recognizes weird.
Where are we? We are enveloped within the physical realm that we have just described, enveloped in writing this post, yet our mind drifts in the universe of seconds in between. Our mind drifts as we look upon the tacky vase, and we see the physical shape and color, but we feel the story of how it came to be. We feel the moments it has shared with us as it has floated around our work space. We feel the ticking clock, that reminds us that soon it will no longer be a part of our day, soon it shall only be a part of our memory. As we take another sip of our iced coffee that began steaming hot, and the grinds filter upon our tongue, we smile as we taste the terrible coffee that we once again made. We smile as we look upon Will Ferrell's face and remember the long work days as he was our constant companion getting us through the late hours. We smile knowing we soon shall "hide" the coffee mug in a place that our partner sees everyday, for her playful disgust at the tackiness gives us just as much fuel as the coffee inside.
As we take stock of our physical surroundings, our mind is reminded of where we currently are, but sees them differently now. We see these physical surroundings as fleeting, we see them now with reverence, we see them now with a sadness knowing they soon shall be absent. The sign that says " I think my soulmate might be carbs" that hangs next to our door, we wonder how we can attach it our backpack. It by no means is lightweight, yet the joy that it gives us daily, as our partner once again scoffs and eye-rolls at its absurdity is wonderful. Yet, ultimately we know we shall leave it upon the hook, we shall shed much of what we have come to know in these past months again, to pursue the unknown, to pursue the "discomfort", to pursue what makes us the happiest version of ourselves.
Where are we? Well, we seem to be in the in-between. Our mind consumed with the questions and thoughts of being within the last week window until leaving for Hiking Season 2022. The physical surroundings that we have grown accustomed to, the physical surroundings that become so much a part of your life, that you don't "notice" them until you consciously have a reason to now are glaringly at the forefront of our vision. We are consistently grounded to the physical now, by the intangible future. The very thought of what is soon to come that takes us far away, is the very thought that makes every moment that much more vivid.
We enter the Tunnel of Time once again...
Where are we? Well, simply we are working and currently trying to complete all the "dominoes" we can before leaving. Soon, we shall be travelling down to Utah. Soon, we shall be burying food and water caches. Soon, we shall be standing at the "terminus" of the Hayduke Trail. Soon, we shall be bushwhacking, scrambling, and navigating our way through the southwest deserts. Soon, we shall be hiking in New Mexico once again. Soon, we shall experience a road trip intermixed with trail magic and smaller hikes. Soon, we shall stand at the northern terminus of the PCT with intentions of reaching Mexico, soon we shall navigate the high deserts of Oregon, soon we shall possibly be overseas, soon, so soon it now all begins...again.
Where are we?
To quote one of our favorite writers:
"Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.
-Dan Millman, 'Way of the Peaceful Warrior'
We have asked ourselves and answered ourselves enough. The only question that remains is:
Where are you?
P:S: This may be our last post for a while on ElevenSkys Blog. Due to remote hiking and backpacking routes that we will be pursuing this year, we do not know when we will have the chance to once again write inside of the depth that these posts demand.
That being said we will resume our "Regularly Scheduled Programming" of working from trail. This company was built for the purpose of being able to function and thrive from trail, and again we shall return to its origin. For those of you who have been with us for a while, you will know what this means, but for those of you who are new to the ElevenSkys family, here is what you can expect from us:
Expect a week or two delay from our start date of March 1st, until our first or second resupply stop that we have the opportunity to set and schedule videos.
Expect a delay on the Hayduke Trail where service is very infrequent, but then as we continue our journey throughout the year, expect a update post daily.
No disruption to these, they will be released every Tuesday 6 A.M.
Subscribe and follow "Off Trail" wherever you get your podcasts.
Follow @OffTrail on Instagram to stay connected
There will be no disruption to purchasing, ordering, or shipping any of our products in our store. When you place an order, it will be shipped within the next business day.
Our backpacking/planning/ and hiking consultations will once again be suspended until the "Off-Season". If you truly need assistance however please do not hesitate to reach out to us, and we will see what we can do.
Please feel free to submit your registration for achievement or pursuit of all 11 National Scenic Trails. As the details are entered manually, we will publish your profile as soon as we are able.
If you do have questions or comments about our products or services, expect a 3-5 day delay. As soon as we are able to respond we do. Same as last year.
We truly appreciate all comments and support through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or Patreon and read every one we can. Nothing else here, besides thank you!
Expect a week or two delay similar to our YouTube Videos, then daily ScoutMaster Logs recapping our day unedited, raw, and honest feelings and thoughts that are for those that wish to see "behind-the-scenes." Thank you to all who support us here!
All Other Odds & Ends
This is how we have built our life. To live life on trail. The differences between how we operate during our time "Off Trail" and "On Trail" is minimal. If there are ever any questions about anything, we are always only a message away. That being said, please be patient, as we will get back to you, but due to lack of access to internet and cell reception, it may not be immediate. Operations "resume" March 1st, now back to our "Regularly Scheduled Programming" of life on trail!