A few days ago we reached the end of our 85 + mile migration following Deer 139 through some of the most challenging terrain of Wyoming. I would describe the women I had the fortune tackling this traverse with as brilliant, willing, strong, but those words wouldn’t come close to their actual description so I will just leave them ineffable. Packs breaching with avalanche gear, rope, ice axes, packrafts, film equipment (and extra rounds of toilet paper with those who still had giardia) we set out with the intention of understanding something seemingly simple. Why does one deer cross raging rivers, ascend mountain passes and basically blow past most of the other mule deer in this area to reach her summer range. Of course there are theories on human development, climate change, generational legacy, but we wanted to see if for ourselves. In this pursuit our bodies became thinner, rougher, but stronger and more capable.
We crossed rivers half naked with skis on our backs lusting for the snowy hillsides in the distance. We become empowered by our self-maintenance. We sacrificed our gear, bodies, independent pace for each other…and my god we were somehow empowered by that extreme altruism as well.
We found ourselves hilarious, constantly laughing about things that probably wouldn’t be funny anywhere else.
In replacing our human obsession of time with spaces, we started to finally see our footprint and acknowledge our responsibility.
Sometimes we decided we were going to do it better than her. Each time we were quickly greeted with humility. “Step aside,” Deer 139 seemed to constantly say. “Acknowledge that there are intelligences and ways of being that you haven’t even started to comprehend.” As with most truth-seeking journeys, in the end we were left with more questions than answers. I think one of our most overbearing - how do you balance fidelity to your path while remaining adaptable? For now, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous search for meaning, and just keep saying thank you, sincerely, Deer 139, and to all of our believers, sponsors and supporters for making it possible to tell this story.