The last year has been a rough one, I’m not going to lie. Job, relationships of all types, general health and happiness…all seemed to be a huge struggle. A rut is what I was in, as one might say. A stupid, huge, unhappy RUT.
Since the start of this year, something has shifted.
I’m not sure what has happened. I don’t know if Neptune’s moon cycles have changed, the stars aligned or if someone rubbed some magic gemstones together and threw paprika over their shoulder for me…but everything took a 180 degree turn and it all feels like I’m headed back to where I should be again.
With all of this it had me thinking about finding your people. When life becomes challenging, more often than not you may find yourself needing the support of someone. Your people, whether they be friends or family, are there to help you out at a moments notice. They listen, commiserate, laugh, understand, and if they really are the right kind of people…will tell you straight up if you’re gloriously fucking up or not. Throughout the last year, I have found that I have a lovely spectrum of supportive counterparts from many stages of my life. Old friends I’ve known since grade school that have never changed and know me like the back of their own hand. Friends made later in life that were instantly of the same mind. And of course, my family.
Patagoonies. Yellow Aster Meadows, Mt. Shuksan WA
But the part of the spectrum that I keep thinking about is the friends that I have made later in life. Over the past 6 or 7 years I’ve started to find myself a part of a ‘tribe.’ This tribe has become stronger over the years by being one that spends it’s time together outside. There is a certain bond and intimacy that comes with being in the woods and wilderness with a group of people. For example, let’s say you find yourself on a backpacking trip with friends. At the beginning, there may be a few people you know well and a few you don’t. But as the trip goes on, the group starts to form a bond around itself. The hardship and challenge of the hike in is the first thing that seals the deal. You start to see how people deal with adversity, it’s the first layer that gets peeled back. Personality types start to emerge and a group dynamic starts to reveal itself. The leaders, the navigators, the slow rollers, the complainers, the increasingly upbeat, the mountain goats, the silent sufferers. But everyone sticks together. You check-in with each other, you take breaks when you need to…and you laugh at the stupid-hard mountain pass you have all chosen to climb together.
Our new album cover. Aasgard Pass, WA
Don’t let the smiles fool you. Top of Aasgard Pass, WA
Who run da world? Obvious answer. Tatoosh Range, WA
From there, you get to camp. And here, your village is built. Like people have done thousands of years before us, you find your water source, establish a central kitchen area and homesites are chosen. Together, you build your homestead. The most essential part of the homestead being the camp kitchen. Everyone gathers within the cooking space or around the fire and starts the communal process of sharing and making food. Its been said that the food you share with others announces your relationship with them. From a young age, we learn that who we share a meal with is who you trust. You are able to relax, recharge and converse over a meal. The tribe dynamic starts to find its settling point through shared stories over freeze dried food and often times, the passing of the whiskey flask at the end of the night. I’ve found very little beats that end-of-the-evening feeling.
Camp-a-pillars. The Enchantments, WA | Photo: Camille Crisafi
Other hardships can come along during time or trips spent outdoors that make you realize how important it is to have your people. A twisted ankle, a busted knee. Lost gear or sickness can all play a part in bringing a group together. Having this experience myself in a rather large way in Utah, really made me so thankful for the friends I had on that trip. Team work and perseverance aside, it’s also where like-mindedness can really go a long way. But even simple and positive adventures can have the same effect. Trying a hike you’ve never done or taking a spur of the moment trip can just add to the collective experiences you’ve all had together. New adventures peel back new layers. I have loved being the quiet observer, watching how friendships and individuals have grown and changed throughout the years.
Goons. Peak 1 of 3 for the day. Unicorn Peak, Tatoosh Range, WA
Goons. Peak 2 of 3 for the day. Castle Peak, Tatoosh Range, WA
Some people have said that it’s hard to make new friends as you get older. But I have yet to find this to be true. Having turned 30, I find myself to be more settled in who I am and know what type of people are going to be part of my spectrum fairly quickly. I will be the first one to say that the more you leave yourself open to new people and places, the more tribe members you find. Some will come for a short while, other people you know right off the bat will be there for good, and will be watching mountain sunsets with you for years to come. The tribe may shift and change, but it will always be there in some shape or form. I, for one, am thankful for those I have had in my life as my people, and will continue to keep them close to my heart for as long as I can.
Climbing rocks. Index Town Walls, WA