It’s been a week since I came home from my Quest. I’ve had time to process everything and get back into the swing of the workplace and the modern world. Looking back, I’m not sure I would really call it a Vision Quest as much as a Spirit Quest. It was not so much a search for a vision to my life as it was a large reset button and a reminder of what I’ve learned and where I am in life as a veteran of what I practice. Most importantly, I was reminded of myself. I did have some powerful experiences however but I think you’ll understand if I keep the bulk of those private.
My first day began quietly enough and I spent it packing and preparing myself with meditation and a final few card readings. I’d taken the extra day off for just this reason and even though I was not in the woods proper, I considered this day as part of the quest.
However, it did hold one final test.
I was unable to get on the road until my wife was done with work. I picked her up and we drove out to the State Forest I had chosen for my camp. With about 4 hours left before sundown I had this gnawing feeling of dread that I could not place. I was twitchy and nervous. I felt that something was going to go wrong but I could not imagine what it might be. Driving into the State Forest I was greeted with a sign I did not know existed for this park. ~~ Camping In Designated Areas Only ~~
I had done all the research I needed except for the most simple part. I had not called the forestry office to confirm that off trail camping was permitted. In my internet research I must have found an old website or perhaps it had not been updated. I had based my entire trip and my pack on going off trail about two miles and disappearing into those particular woods as designated by multiple dowsings. “Camping in designated areas” which translated to camping next to other people in a campground setting was NOT part of the plan.
Of course, there was the thought of simply sliding into the woods. The park was deserted. There was no one else around on a Thursday afternoon. Who would know? It would have been easy. Well, it looked like a plan but there were a few problems. I was not packed for a quick “slide into the woods” type of hike. I had a big pack with a bedroll which screamed “someone not following the rules!” It was literally written all over me by my outfit that I was going into the woods for a few days. Secondly, and more subtly, this trip was to be about meditation, peace and connection. I would not have that if I was looking over my shoulder every five minutes while trying to be sneaky or flinching every time I broke a piece a firewood or watched a thick stream of smoke come off my campfire. The final straw was knowing that if I was caught the least that could happen would be I was asked to leave and my entire weekend which I had been working on for months would be ruined. The worst would be that I was arrested, my things confiscated and I would be thrown in jail for a day.
It just wasn’t worth it.
I was thrown for a complete loop and my window for getting to a decent spot was closing with the sun. Time was running out. If I didn’t go tonight then I would be forced to wait for my wife to be done with work the following day and I would lose another day. It would turn into a simple overnighter. The only other place that allowed backpacking was the national forest a bit more than thirty minutes away. Oh, and I forgot to mention, budget-wise we were strapped for cash and only had a set amount of gas in the car. I was very aware of all the multiples to the equation. Multiples that were beginning to stack up very very quickly. It forced me (and I do mean FORCED me) to make a hasty decision in a very chaotic situation. My wife was willing to drive me anywhere I needed and to quote her, “The decision is up to you. Just tell me.”
So, right then and there, we pulled over into one of the “Designated Camp Spots” and stopped the car. I turned off the car to save on gas and I dropped into trance. It took me a moment to settle my confused self down but I did it. I did it quicker than I expected. I closed my eyes, settled my breath and stilled myself. After I was done, I simply asked for advice and waited in the silence. It came fast.
A – I could not stay here. No sneaking. “Maybe another day,” it said, “but not now, not for this. Go.”
I asked, “Where?”
B – Go south. Go to where you know.
So I started the car and started driving. “Where are we going?” my wife asked. “South,” I replied.
By the time we had hit the main road out of the State Forest, I knew where I was going. It hit me like a thunderbolt.
A friend had introduced me to a little known section of National Forest land back in the early Spring. I had actually considered it for the Quest at one time and then had been led to the current spot by dowsing. (As an aside – Spirit REALLY wants me to go into that original spot at some point. The number of times it took me to the area I had picked for the Quest was a bit nutty. But, it was not to be this trip. Perhaps a future blog feature?) The new spot was close, real close, and I could be in the woods within the hour. It was also big enough for me to “disappear” into with little worries of having to deal with other campers and hikers. Most importantly, it was National Forest which meant off trail camping was allowed. Why I had not just gone with it in the first place back in the Early Spring was a mystery to me.
I said a very loud thank you, told my wife where we were going and I drove. The minute I set myself on that course the nagging feeling of disaster lifted and I felt lighter. I felt back on track. At the same moment I felt that lift, my wife commented, “I am really glad you decided not to go into that other spot. I really didn’t like you going into that place.” (Another blog post, indeed!)
I made the location in no time with no problems. I parked at the trailhead, grabbed my weighty backpack and smooched my wife. I looked at the map posted at the beginning of the trail, marked where I wanted to go mentally and snapped a picture of it with my phone. That combined with my GPS and my compass insured me I’d get where I was going. My wife took a quick picture of me and made the simple request, “Don’t have a heart attack, old man.”
And then, I was off into the woods!
(To Be Continued!)