This off shift was the happiest I’ve felt since moving to Durango. While my peers were at senior retreat, I drove out to the desert to face parts of myself I’d been avoiding. I held myself to the same standards as our students (almost) - bow drilled for my meals and navigated in the dark without a headlamp. Yep, I “wilderness therapized” myself. I left with pride, perspective and a renewed outlook on the work I do as a field guide every other week. I’ve been here for 10 months and still feel like I’m working on mastering what the “south means to me.” So much of my 29 years on this earth have been spent in a more “west”-type place... never giving myself the chance to be in the south - to master skills and build confidence. Most years, I’ve identified with being emotional yet insecure. As I get ready to kick off my 29th year in the field, I’m happy to say I feel more confident than ever before. Something switched these past two weeks, and I’m excited to keep riding the wave - whatever it is. Here’s to wilderness, growth, acceptance, patience, humility and mans’ best friend. 29 looks bright !