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By George Ballenger

In a world of endless news, technology overload, and the all around busyness of life, I have to take a step back and observe the world for how it was and how, some places, still are. I am a camera technician based in Los Angeles and absolutely love what I do. My job and my hobbies revolve around cameras. I cannot escape it. It may be the one thing I can never escape. Although I know one thing I must do is escape my daily life style and what my revolving world has become.

 

The day after I finished my most recent show, I jumped in my car with my pack and headed north. Collectively I had only planned this trip for a few hours. I sat at my place with the Sequoias National Park map, a cup of coffee, and doubled checked the latest fire updates. I picked my route and packed my bear cage. Every time I arrive in nature’s beauty I lose my breath. I am completely in awe and at the mercy of the land that lays under and before me.

 

I have been on multiple hikes and it’s the same feeling every time I enter the vast new landscape that I, a man just a speck on this earth, have dared to take on and breathe the air that it produces and it takes life with out hesitation. The first thing that took my breath away in the Sequoias was the valley of trees and the mountains of boulders that protrude through this wooded landscape.

 

Quiet is the first word that comes to mind as I walk through this wooded area. Not one person in site, no cellular phone service, I am alone. I can't be reached. I can't send for help. It’s just me and this land that I get to call home for the week. I am completely at the mercy of the land I stand. As the land changes from the glorious mystical red wood trees to a woodless rock towering boulder land, I pass the tree line, I start to feel the atmosphere become light and with each breath I feel more and more unwanted. 

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As I hike, my mind begins its aimless wonder. I wonder about my life and what state of mind I am in. I question the reality that I am living in, question what am I being fed and what I am feeding my spirit. What I have thought is important and what is actually important?  This leads me to question all the stuff I have accumulated through out the years and then begin to think what the hell is in my backpack that is weighing me down right now.

 

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"I can't send for help. It’s just me and this land that I get to call home for the week."

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I make basecamp as I am finally able to catch my breath. As I gain my strength back with dinner and stare at the mountains and glassed over lake that is before me, I begin to think that this is it, there is nothing clouding my mind. The life I live out here is dictated by me with no news or social media telling me which way is up or down. Out here I know, I know what needs to be done.

 

I am home, I am finally where I was meant to be all along.

 

For more adventures please follow: @georgeballenger