I’ve been reluctant to share some of my memories from the last weekend, and I’m not certain as to why. Four days in the backcountry, amongst the breathtaking geologic features unique to our backyard, in the company of like-minded adventurers, with nothing more than what you can sneak into the confines of a limited weight and balance envelope, opens your eyes and your mind to the notion of being in the moment, rather than recording it. Clear skies, cool evenings, and countless stars opened up limitless horizons, endless landscapes, and infinite opportunities. The backcountry continues to push me further, mentally, physically, and spiritually, and the reprieve from the structure of the modern life could have not come at a better time. These moments, however short they may be, for some reason foreign to me, are those which my mind avoids constant replay. Perhaps that is where the reluctance comes in sharing these moments. The miles hiked, the gallons of water drank, the freeze-dried meals…they have shaped me as a man, as a husband, and a father. The hours flown, the confined approaches, the rough-runway departures have shaped me as an aviator. The backcountry serves as this classroom, a playground, a temple to what we can become. The journey towards is filled with anxiety, excitement, mystique. The journey home to the layman may be empty, but the true growth comes in those miles spent transitioning from what we once were to what we have become. And more than the sights are the sounds. The sights may drop our jaws, the vistas we will paint in our minds, but the casual meetings of fellow swashbucklers are the true gems that come from these adventures. The names I’ll try to recall. The faces I’ll never forget. The times shared I’ll always remember, for the man who originally ventured out into the backcountry continues on his journey, and the improved version of him who’s since returned home struggles to turn these thoughts into words.