Walkabout Story

Here’s the story of the Walkabout I led in March. I didn’t edit this I made a few spelling fixes. I just wrote it once in an email to a friend, and here it is:

Ah yes, here’s the story!!!! – also going to post this on my blog :)

So the Walkabout was a success, though didn’t go according to plan. Which is, perhaps, more like a survival. It started raining on us as soon as we got out of the truck. There was a total of 5 people including me. We crossed a bridge called “Sheep’s Bridge” and started hiding up a creek called “Sycamore”. It was very busy, and so we were bending and dancing around all these cactus and trees and bushes and tall grasses. Plus, the rain was beginning to make all the plants wet, so we were getting more wet from walking through plants than the drizzle. Little dog Molly came with us, and the poor thing doesn’t have fur (just hair) so once she got wet, she also got cold. She was shivering, but still hiking like a champ.

We finally found a spot that opened up a little, to a meadow surrounded by trees, and tall green grass (which would eventually turn brown as the season changes, and be pokey, but luckily for now it was soft green grass about 2 feet high). The sun had also just began to set, so our daylight was really limited. By the time we gathered firewood and figured out where to camp, it was dark. I used an emergency fire set – just a spindle, fireboard and tinder. I made a bow out of a wet branch, and made a socket out of a wet stick. I originally wanted to have everyone try to make fire, but since there was no moon, and it was pitch black, and still raining, I decided to just make the fire myself since nobody could see what I was doing anyways. However, I did instruct people to look for dry twigs under large logs, and large trees – so some people went out looking for those. They did an excellent job, and came back with just the right amount of dry twigs and leaves.

As I placed the fire set together, it took a few starts. I had to cut the chimney in the dark – really happy that I’ve done this before! Instead of getting to look at it, I had to feel it with my hands to know if I had cut it correctly. With a little prayer in my heart, I started again, and moved that bow back and forth until my stomach muscles cramped. It took a good 30+ seconds. I sat up in pain, rubbing my stomach, and while I was doing that, a subtle red glow came from my coal catcher – I made fire!!!! In the rain, and in the dark!!! Thank you prayers! Well, that was just the first step. Now we had to put it into the tinder bundle, and blow that into flames, all while rain drops were falling. By this time everyone had gathered around and were keeping me dry with their bodies blocking the rain. I asked for the small dry twigs – which random hands in the darkness handed to me. We all carefully took turns adding twigs to the fire – for each twig was still slightly damp, so we had to go slowly.

I don’t know how much time went by, but it didn’t feel long. We were all so focused on this fire, that time didn’t matter. It was a marvelous group effort to keeping this small flame alive! We added tiny toothpick-sized twigs at first, then moved up to pencil sized ones, and finally finger, wrist and leg sized ones. It must have been 30 minutes, but we finally had a roaring fire, and everybody was holding their hands up to it to get warm.

During this time, Molly (our cute tiny white dog) was freezing, and her instincts must have told her to dig a hole and huddle in it – which she did until the fire was ready. She didn’t want to come next to the fire, until we brought her to it – and she felt the warmth. Then she loved it and stayed close by.

Next, using the light of the fire, we walked around and harvested some of that tall green grass that surrounded us, to use as bedding. Luckily it was green – which made it softer, and fire-resistant, so I felt safe using it as a bed within a few feet of the fire.

That night we didn’t sleep much, but we were happy, and the rain stopped for little while, but then came back through the night. With out a planned schedule, some of us woke up randomly to keep the fire going through the night.

The next day, we went on a short “nature hike” and I showed everybody Papago Lilies and wild mustard leaves. We went hunting for crawdads in the stream – which we only found a carcass of one – but found no living ones. We also ate Globe Mallow flowers. Everybody seemed to like those. They have a nice subtle sweet flavor.

So far things were going well. The rain stopped, the sun was drying up the grass, and our clothes as well. Molly, however, was not doing so well. She began throwing up, and having diarrhea. She was also sleeping all the time, and shivering even though the sun was out. We were getting worried, and wondering if she should stay another day with us.

I though she just needed to warm up more, but the day was now warm, and she wasn’t looking any better. We made a decision that one of us would go back to the vehicle with Molly and that way they would be warm in the truck. But while escorting them back, I realized we needed to get Molly HOME, not just to the truck. So I went back and told everyone else that we were going home. It was a little hard to leave early, because we were just getting into things – and they had built really nice grass beds in preparation for the 2nd night out there. But Molly’s life was far more important to us, than one more night. So we all hiked back to the truck together, back through the thicket of bushes and trees and rocky creek bottoms, over Sheep’s Bridge and finally to our truck, loyally waiting for us.

As we drove away, lightening lit up the sky, and some rain began to come again. We were all a little glad not to be out there for another night of rain.

Back in town we decided to go to a Steak house and feast. Apparently a diet of Papago Lilies and Globe Mallow just doesn’t satisfy like a rack of ribs does. So we ate and enjoyed.

One day was enough to realize a lot of important things. And the main goal of this trip was to expand our minds and our spirits whilst being among nature.

Mission: accomplished.

P.S. Molly (who is now better) was taken to an emergency vet the next day, and was diagnosed with a parasite they think she got from a dog park she visited earlier that week. I guess her symptoms were just a coincidence. After a diet of chicken and rice for a few days, she made a full recovery and is back to her old self again!

Here she is watching the sunset with us @ Fools Hallow last week:


edited: some spelling and grammar

Quote by Edward Snowden during a Reddit AMA

“At the same time, we should remember that governments don’t often reform themselves. One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, “Data and Goliath”), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case. The end of crime sounds pretty compelling, right, so how can that be?

Well, when we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews.

But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana?

Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers?

Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren’t just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determing thour futures.

How does this relate to politics? Well, I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens’ discontent.

How do we make that work for us? We can devise means, through the application and sophistication of science, to remind governments that if they will not be responsible stewards of our rights, we the people will implement systems that provide for a means of not just enforcing our rights, but removing from governments the ability to interfere with those rights.

You can see the beginnings of this dynamic today in the statements of government officials complaining about the adoption of encryption by major technology providers. The idea here isn’t to fling ourselves into anarchy and do away with government, but to remind the government that there must always be a balance of power between the governing and the governed, and that as the progress of science increasingly empowers communities and individuals, there will be more and more areas of our lives where — if government insists on behaving poorly and with a callous disregard for the citizen — we can find ways to reduce or remove their powers on a new — and permanent — basis.
Our rights are not granted by governments. They are inherent to our nature. But it’s entirely the opposite for governments: their privileges are precisely equal to only those which we suffer them to enjoy.

We haven’t had to think about that much in the last few decades because quality of life has been increasing across almost all measures in a significant way, and that has led to a comfortable complacency. But here and there throughout history, we’ll occasionally come across these periods where governments think more about what they “can” do rather than what they “should” do, and what is lawful will become increasingly distinct from what is moral.
In such times, we’d do well to remember that at the end of the day, the law doesn’t defend us; we defend the law. And when it becomes contrary to our morals, we have both the right and the responsibility to rebalance it toward just ends. ”

– Edward Snowden, Reddit AMA

Link to full discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2wwdep/we_are_edward_snowden_laura_poitras_and_glenn/


That urge to write is coming back again. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been writing consistently. Sometimes we only have time to live our lives and not reflect on them through writing (I consider writing to be my favorite form of reflection; and meditation/prayer is my other favorite way to reflect on life). 
Having time to reflect seems a luxury, but really I think it’s a necessity. I must take time to reflect on life or else my mind feels backed up and cluttered. Like an old pipe that needs to be cleaned out. Reflection is a form of relaxation and mental nourishment. Without it, I’m stuck.
When we sleep and are dreaming, our brains are actively processing information, internalizing events, and drawing upon our emotions to create and store memories. It’s the same with reflection while we are awake. It’s as if our conscious mind also needs this type of “dreaming” which I’m calling “reflection” right now.
It’s much better to write down your thoughts, and not just let them float around in your head. If you haven’t done this before then I highly recommend it. Start right now. It doesn’t matter what you write or even if you like it. You can always edit later. Just start reflecting and if you don’t know what to write about then write that you don’t know what to write about! 
I hope we all take the time necessary to reflect on our lives and what we are doing with them. 


Still here, still blogging!

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Just busy I guess. Well, currently in AZ and working a lot. Seems like everybody’s personal life is online now thanks to FaceBook and other social networks, so it’s not much of a novelty to be blogging about my life, lol. I’m keeping this blog up though, and one day I want to have an archive of all the sites I’ve made since 1999. Anyways, hope y’all are having a great time. Whatever you do, do it well. There’s always challenges, just keep your eye on the positive and be willing to adjust to make it there. I’m sure I’ll post something here again before too much time goes by.


Crunch Time

It’s crunch time. And not just because the snow outside is getting crunchy on the sidewalk. I’m talking about learning how to do MORE with LESS.

I’m faced with a lot to do in front of me. A lot because I’m choosing it. Choosing to get a Master’s Degree, choosing to run a business, and choosing to consider getting a job (putting the business on hold will give me more free time, but that also means making applications and resumes and more work in the beginning). 
The Master’s degree is a job in an of itself. Taking the GRE, getting letters of referral, writing a letter of intent, etc. Deadline to apply is Dec. 15th. But that’s for next year’s program. Which means I have to do a lot starting now. I must prepare for the GRE really fast. Not exactly how I wanted to be spending the next 4 weeks, but in the long run it will pay off.
I’m going to cancel my road trip to Arizona this week as well. I don’t want to do that, but I know that AZ will be there when the next road trip comes along.
The next 30 days are going to be busy. I’m going to have to balance my time better, do more in less time, and deal with the stress of it all. I lost sleep last night just thinking about it. But it can be done. I’m pretty laid back most of the time, so learning to work fast and efficient should be a healthy challenge.


A Life Direction

Hello World! Welcome back to the World of Brian – ongoing blog since 2004 and beyond. In the past I considered moving my blog to WordPress, but alas, here is The World Of Brian, and here it shall stay.

At Bear Lake, Utah
So in reent news, I’ve moved to Utah. Surprise surprise. Well, yeah I am the youngest snowbird alive, but I’ll tell you why this time is a bit more significant than the others:
First of all I stayed in Arizona for the Summer, and now I’m in Utah for the Winter – the complete opposite of what a proper snowbird should do. Hey I didn’t plan it like this – it just happened. I was working the trail at Anasazi when in June I kept having these epiphanies about my life and the direction I was going in. I realized where some of my passions were, and probably most importantly, realized I wanted to be closer to my siblings. So, I made the move. 
What else is different? Well, this requires a small story: 2 years ago I was happily living and working in Salt Lake City. I had a jeep, nice job, and even a hot girlfriend. But sometime April all those things went away. I spent a month fighting depression and confusion. In a spur-of-the-moment decision I packed all my belongings into storage except for some clothes and on June 6th I hitched a ride to Jackson Wyoming. Found a job at Dave Hansen Whitewater (running the kitchen) and lived in a tent by the river (almost like in a van down by the river). The rest is another interesting story, but I remained mostly transient since then. Now, 2 years later I find myself living in my own room in a house, pulling things out of storage, and building my business making websites. In effect, I’m regaining what I lost. But that’s not the big story.
The big story is that I am finally know what I’ll be going to graduate school for (and yes, I’ve “decided” upon things before and then switched. But oh well.)
I want to become a therapist. 

Yeah, really! Maybe even continue on to a PHD in Psychology. You might be thinking 2 things right now: 1″Totally makes sense, cuz you’ve been working in the therapeutic industry for over 6 years now” or 2 “Huh? I thought you said you would never be a therapist because you hated doing paperwork, etc.” — well, what can I say! I’ve been thinking long and hard about these things. It’s been five years since graduating with a B.S. in Communications and Recreation Management. It’s about time I move on to what comes next.

Belle Pepper – my lil’ friend in Utah
I’m very excited about this decision. After hours upon hours of pondering, writing things down and just talking to people and praying. (yes, I pray and I’m not afraid to admit that. Nothing wrong with speaking out to the man upstairs). Now the process is to gather information and decide which school to go to.
So have I left computer programming behind? Nope. I am currently taking a Python class from the University of Toronto online. I really like the class. Even though I already know programming, this class does and excellent job of covering the basics, and I’m catching onto things I haven’t realized before in programming (being self-taught I missed some basics). 
I believe I can do both. Why not? I like both programming, and working to help people.
Looong post eh? Well if you’re still reading, then cool. Here’s something for your refinement:

Until next time!!!

P.S. Here’s my other blog (mostly non-personal stuff gets posted there)


Summer Dreams

Antler’s Cafe – coming off the trail

Tim, Alicia, Cait, Lina, Steve, and me

Last week I finally started updating my new porfolio site www.BigWilliam.com. Head over and check it out. Of course, it’s not designed yet or anything, but I just wanted to get some content up for the time being.

I’ve also finished working there trial here at Anasazi, for a little while (you and I don’t know when I’ll come back). Let me just say that I’ve LOVED working on the trail. I love being in nature especially, all the TrailWalker friends I get to meet here, and getting to know the YoungWalkers. I started a blog about TrailWalker life here http://trailwalkerjournal.blogspot.com but I haven’t been updating it enough. But I have some stories I may be adding to it one day.

I have been surviving the summer heat here by purchasing large quantities of ice cream. It really helps! Oh yeah, and sometime A&W Rootbeer too. Can’t go wrong with a Rootbeer float every now and then.

Since finishing walking the trail I have put my efforts into re-starting my freelance programming business (currently called “Vendo” but I might be changing that name). I’m working on my personal site www.herbalnoni.com (new design isn’t finished yet, but it’s there), and I’m starting a new one for a new client (which I’ll announce once it’s finished).

I’ve been focusing on my personal schedule as well. I’ve found that when you work for yourself, you have to keep a strict work schedule. There’s no “boss” or “office” to keep me accountable, so I have to write out my own schedule and stick to it. One thing that helps me is this creative work place called GangPlank which allows anybody to come and work and collaborate. Themed in pirate flags and lots of computers, it’s my favorite place to get work done. Frankly, I LOVE it.

I also love the new ward I’m in. Nice people.

Alas, all this love, but I am heading out. Why you ask? Because I’m freaking awesome that’s why! Oh, so you think I just float around and do whatever comes my way and keep no stability in my life… well… okay you win. Expect the unexpected. But really, I do have a direction, and I’m testing out a few ideas before I go for it all the way.

I’ve been doing some soul searching and I’ve found that I have a recurring passion in my life: to create fun situations and learning environments. That’s a fancy way for saying I want to become a teacher. So I tried it out: I set up my own free class for the public and taught an HTML class. I also signed up to be a Substitute Teacher for the Mesa Schools District (although I didn’t get to do it because of a long story about my hands being too calloused for the fingerprint card and it taking too long to process, etc. whatever). So I’m trying things out in other ways. I’ve tutored a few people about how to make websites. And don’t forget what we do as TrailWalkers: teach wilderness skills baby! So yeah, I’ve been trying this out for a while. I’m going to consider a few other options first, but then if those don’t stick and this one does, I’m going back to school for a Master’s Degree in Education. (Horray for more student loans!) Well, hopefully I don’t have to incur more student loans. I’m (fingers crossed) hoping that I can create a successful freelance business to pay my way through college. Pray for me on this one, please.

I’ll be looking for a job in Utah when I head up there.

Okay that’s all I have time for. If you’ve read all the way here then GREAT. Have a splendid freaking fantastic day.



Snow at the park in American Fork, Utah
I just returned from a week in Utah. Surprisingly there wasn’t any snow except in the mountains. But yesterday when I flew back to Arizona, Utah was having a blizzard. 
It was good to see my family and take care of a few errands up there. I’m glad to be back in Arizona.
Today I picked up my Substitute Teaching Certificate. So the next time I come off the trail I will spend my off-weeks doing some teaching. My purpose for this is to identify if I like being in a classroom setting.  And if I do, then next year I will start a MS in Education – specifically Experiential Education. (go ahead and click that link to learn what it’s all about!)
I also started reading “The Power of Now” which is a great book. 
Well that’s all I have time for. Have a wonderful life everybody.