Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting excerpts from the journal I kept during and after my recent Vision Quest. I initially had not planned to take anything to write with. On a traditional Vision Quest you would not have any writing materials to minimize distrations. But at the last minute I decided to bring one sheet of paper for each day of my journey. I’m glad I did as there were insights that I was able to record while the experience was fresh.
My journal notes are an interesting mix of practical details, straight forward descriptions of events, observations of the wilderness, attempts at unraveling inner mysteries, descriptions of dreams and recordings of insights that came to me during the quest.
My hope is that these journal notes will be of use to those of you who may decide to do your own Vision Quest. And, hopefully some of these observations and insights will be of use to you even if you have no intention of going on a Vision Quest.
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And with all that, here is the first Vision Quest Journal entry:
Friday, September 18th.
Just remembered it’s my b-day today. Happy bday to me! Made it to Maud Lake yesterday… Barely! Altitude sickness kicked in Big Time. Worse than I’ve ever experienced. I literally did not think I was going to make it to the lake. But I knew I had to since I was running out of water and the creeks were all dry. I just kept saying, “I know I can. I know I can,” like I do with Ella when she’s really tired. For the last mile and a half or so, my head was pounding and I felt like I was going to throw up. At one point I had to stop because my stomach started heaving but nothing came up. I kept thinking I would see the lake any minute. And kept being disappointed.
After climbing over what I hoped would be the last ridge I was sure I would see the lake in the valley. But no. So I kept walking. At one point I almost stopped to get out the map to try and figure out how far I was. But I realized that would just make the journey longer and the map wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know… I wasn’t where I wanted to be so that meant I needed to keep going.
And, as soon as I let go of the need to figure out where I was, I came around a bend and saw the lake!
I stopped at the first site I found, got my pack off and immediately threw up! After that, all my body wanted was to lay down and sleep… or die, not sure which! But I wasn’t quite ready to die, and that meant doing a few more things.
Had to purify some water, set up my tent and hang the food. Still not sure how I managed to get that one done with my brain barely functioning.
Threw up again before getting into my tent. My head was still pounding and I realized I left the Ibuprofen in the food bag. There was no way I was getting out to get it. So most of the night I kept waking up with my head pounding. Some time around 3:00am it started settling down and I got a few good hours of sleep.
Feeling better today. My body is tired and in recuperation mode. But no headache. And no nausea. I’m taking it really slow this morning. No rush. I’ve lowered my expectations about how far I’ll get today. And even if I just go find a site up the mountain from the lake, that will be fine!
Just walked up the hill a bit to eat breakfast in the morning sun. Feels great. My body doesn’t want a lot of food. I’m hoping it will be more receptive to food as the day goes on. Since I’d like to be fueled up when I start the fast tonight.
As I walked yesterday, I started wondering why I was reacting so strongly to the altitude this time. I had almost no reaction in Utah last month and that was about 2000 feet higher than here! And I’ve never actually thrown up before. So what was up?
It feels as if there is a very strong energetic component. When I come out to the wilderness it is with the intention of reconnecting with the earth in a deep way. In order for that to happen, all the stuff that keeps me disconnected from the earth has to be released. The energy of cell phones and computers and cars and other people. Beliefs about what is important. Perceptions of time. All of this needs to be released in order to truly reconnect with the earth. And whether I’m at altitude or not, the way my body deals with a major release of energy is with a headache and nausea. And when the release is very intense I have thrown up in the past. My energy systems are letting go of toxins and my body had to do the same. And it does it in the only way it knows how. No coincidence that my headache last night was focused mainly in my right temple and at the base of my neck on the right side. Telepathics and TMs. Two systems that are notoriously open for me and prone to taking on other people’s energy.
I tried to facilitate a clearing last night but the pain was so intense I couldn’t stay focused.
I also got a glimpse of a net of energy that seemed to connect TPs, TMs and drop down to a node of energy at the joint of my jaw.
I tried to explore it but again, the pain kept me from focusing for long.
When I look at it now, it seems to be an energetic information capture net. Sort of like a satellite dish. But it gathers info from different sources – TMs, TPs, physical ears – and seems to channel that info into the node at my jaw.
Doesn’t make sense to me that my jaw would be the central hub of that system. But that’s what it looks like. I’ll explore some more later.
I’m very clear that I’m not doing any extensive hiking today. Just packing up my tent left my body feeling weak. Earlier this morning I climbed the hill to the west and found a nice spot for my quest.
The problem is I’m not sure if I can make it up the scree field with my pack and 4-days of water given how I’m feeling.
I don’t want to quest down here by the lake. Too many people come by. (And by too many I mean about 2 or 3 a day at most!) I think I’ll just start climbing and see how far I get. There were a couple of nice spots about halfway up. If it feels like I can’t make it all the way I’ll stop at one of those. That feels good! But first I’ve got to go fill up my big water jug.
You can read all of the posts in the Vision Quest Journal Series here.