so this weekend i had one of the most terrifying moments of my life. in hindsight, it feels both bigger and smaller deal than it was. and even now that i start writing it out, i can tell it isn’t going to come across like it felt. but, still, the record must be made.

i was on the west coast for the past week, partly in seattle for a consulting gig and partly in the bay for working from the css office. over the weekend, i went camping with a lovely friend, jacobo. he and i have gotten closer faster than most people i know in my life. it’s definitely related to the fact that we met at the on being conference but there’s some depth there that’s just really intense.

anyways, he picks me up on friday afternoon after work and we drive five hours to mendocino national park. on the way we stop in this amazing little town called orland and get six super delicious tacos (~$1.50 each) at taqueria don sammy and sit on a stoop and look at the town. then we keep driving and get up into the mountains. we tried to go way up but the road was pretty sketchy (huge washed out middle chunk that seemed too risky drive up in the dark and risk getting stuck or worse…) so we turned back to a lower campsite (whitter? whithole?) and set up camp. we wake up and have a lovely 2+ hour breakfast our combined ritual practices. pure magic. also there was a giant pine cone bigger than jacobo’s head. jacobo kept it.

we drive to the other side of the range and debate between thomas gorge and lantz ridge (which was about another hour away). after arguing each other out of our original positions, we eventually decide to go up to lantz ridge. we drive and listen to music and see views and eventually get to the trailhead. we pull all the stuff out onto a tarp, jacobo packs the packs and we set off. we end up going down the ridge, maybe 1/2 way down the mountain. it’s beautiful.

we set up camp a little off the trail and decide to go walk a bit farther. we take headlamps, leave the packs, and set off. surely we’ll be back before dark.

we see so many amazing things. burned out tree hulls; giant ancient trees. we settle on a hillside looking out to the other side of the valley. we sit and meditate and eventually sing. jacobo invites it even though it’s also what i felt. we sing and om and sing some more. and then i feel in my body that we should head back.

as we start to walk back, i notice the pathway we took is way scarier than i thought. i’m basically on all fours stumbling back but everything is fine. we pass our landmarks and then at a certain point stop recognizing things. jacobo says hold up. we assess. we back up to a landmark we know. we walk forward again. still not right.

holy shit. we’re lost.

and the sun is setting.


my stomach is in my throat. heart is pounding. feet tight. sweating but still cold.

we move. we stop. we look at each other. it’s gonna be ok. we’re gonna be fine.




shit. is that the tree? fuck. on the way out here, i thought it was the only tree pointed in that direction. on the way back, they’re ALL pointed in that direction.

fuck fuck fuck.

are we gonna have to sleep in the woods?

no. it’s too cold for that. we’ll just walk. all night. back to the car. eventually. we’ll call for help. we’ll be fine either way.

ok. you lead for now.

walk for a bit.

ok. you’re feeling it now? you lead the way.

shit. we’re still lost. it’s getting dark.

what are we gonna do?

headlamps. is yours brighter? cool. let’s use mine til it dies.

cool. we’re gonna be fine.

actually, i know this. we’re gonna be fine. we can’t not be fine. i trust you and we’re gonna be fine.

oh my god is that bear bag?



oh my god. i can’t believe how close that was.

wow man. you did it. we did it. we made it.

oh wow. i want to sit. i want to feel my body do what it’s doing right now. 2 minutes? 5 minutes?

5 minutes.

meditating. hand on my heart. beating so fast, so hard.

funny. i completely forgot i had to pee.

can we talk about our feelings?

yea man… you first…

[insert many thoughts]

damn. this is so much better than being lost in the woods all night.


words / writing / post-processing
755w / 18min / 2min