Origin of The Man-Trip
Just over five years ago at exactly midnight, Stephen and I took off from a trailhead in the mountains of south-western Montana. Headlamps were unnecessary due to the super moon that night. Super moons are a rare occurrence of a full moon which occurs when the moon is at it’s closest position to the Earth. For nights like this one, it creates a strange glow that blankets the entire mountain range. We had both driven several hundred miles to meet halfway for a self-proclaimed “man-trip” in the wilderness. For months we planed our backpacking trip through the Tobacco Root Mountains near Bozeman, Montana. Sure we could’ve camped at the car that first night and hit the trail first thing in morning, but Stephen and I tend to do things unconventionally. Especially when we are together in the mountains. So hiking into the wee hours of the morning seemed completely acceptable to us.
Stephen and I were college roommates, teammates on a college golf team, and he was the best-man at my wedding. This man-trip was a reunion after life had taken us in different directions the year prior. We vowed to make the trip an annual tradition with the goal of getting several guys together for a weekend in the mountains. Since both of us are competitive, adventurous, and a bit crazy, we established a requirement of climbing one or two rugged mountains each trip.
Our 2nd year, six of us met in Montana’s Glacier National Park and climbed Mt. Siyeh, one of only six 10,000 foot peaks in the park. This was the largest group we’ve had and the trip featured thick fog and a momma grizzly and her cubs confronting us on the trail. We all are spread across the map now— Stephen lives Austin, I’m in Phoenix, Tom is in Salt Lake, Garrett lives in Seattle, David is in Sheridan, Wyoming, and Duncan is on active military duty in the middle-eastern country of Qatar.
This September was our sixth consecutive trip and even though Stephen was unable to join this year, he made me promise that I recount all of the experiences we had. Tom and I met in the beautiful San Juan Mountains to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, or 14ers as their called. Not surprisingly, each year we have difficulty getting more than two guys together for the trip as we have finished college and are starting careers and families. Still, the process of attempting to convince one another is a way of staying and ultimately, allows the man-trip tradition to stay alive!
I remember sitting in our college apartment, attempting to come up with the most ridiculous weekend adventures. Whether it was sleeping in a snow cave all weekend or climbing one of the neighborhood trails before Chemistry class, these trips fostered my love for exploring the outdoors. I can’t believe that something so ingrained in me now took until I was 18 years old to realize this passion. Some of my favorite things about venturing into the wilderness are the challenge of pushing my body to the limit up the face of a mountain, a peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for conversing with friends, and a beauty that provides just a glimpse of the glory of the God of all creation. No matter where you live, how long it’s been, or if you never have, it’s not too late to grab a friend and head out into the wonderful outdoors!