A Spirit of Simplicity

A Spirit of Simplicity

"Below is a written reflection from my recent visit to Death Valley National Park. This desert park has become a refuge for me and I've been blessed to experience many of the extremes that make Death Valley so wonderful. These are just subtle observations. Have you ever just sat down and recorded what you see? What you feel? The outcome of this observation can be incredibly insightful! Anyways, if you're reading this, I hope you enjoy."

-Jack

I'm Here

I'm Here

10/30/2016 - 3:03 PM : Camp, Death Valley National Park

The wind tears through the valley. A casual walk on the desert floor has become a turbulent battle for stability. Light flickers through small openings on in the otherwise dark clouds that hover above. My spirit echoes the atmosphere.

If I Were A Bush

If I Were A Bush

An intriguing thought just entered my mind. Here I am sitting silently, watching the desert floor as the crickets chirp and the wind howls. I've been here before. I've spent time amongst the bushes that live here.

The wind manipulates their branches in a way that makes them appear to be waving, "Hello."

Denali

Denali

Below is a set of daily reflections that I recorded in July of 2016 within Denali National Park and Preserve of Alaska. Nature inspires me to jot down my thoughts and feelings in the moment. These journal entries have become a written record of this incredible journey through our national parks. I hope these simple observations and ideas accurately convey the peace that I found in Denali's backcountry. Enjoy!

-Jack

Ascension: An Introspective Journey

Ascension: An Introspective Journey

By Jack Steward

Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu once said, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”  

I’m mindful of this wisdom as I recall the events that took place within my latest adventure into the unknown - a reminder of the past, present and hope for the future. A rediscovery of values, faith, friendship and simplicity - A gateway to endless possibilities, growth and blessings. This past adventure gave me the opportunity to dive into the darkest parts of my mind - then in return discover answers to many of the questions that have troubled me. I was broken down, ashamed, and alone; but by grace was able to navigate through the darkness to a greater understanding of myself. 

Perspective

Perspective

By Jack Steward

I believe that having a positive attitude is one of the greatest tools for living an enjoyable and productive life. This attitude will guide your decisions, relationships and how you see the world. Having a positive attitude is great, but it is highly dependent on your perspective. What is important to you? Who do you want to be? These are the questions that shape your perspective and in turn your attitude. 

Perlustration

Perlustration

“This is a collections of ideas that I have about gratitude and the power of positive thinking. The title comes from a song I wrote years ago. It means to view and examine a place thoroughly. We have the power to see this earth for what it truly is - an rich mosaic of people, places and ideas. We are the artists. It’s our conception of the world that helps us navigate our walk through life. Today, I am thankful to be alive. I’m thankful for my family and friends - these incredible national parks, and all of the people that I get to meet everyday. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. God bless!”

-Jack

Sustainability: Leave No Trace from a Global Perspective

Sustainability: Leave No Trace from a Global Perspective

By Jack Steward

It was John Muir who said, "Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe." Through the course of my life, I've been blessed to spend a lot of time in the wilderness. I've explored all different kinds of ecosystems - everything from the high alpine, desert, seashore, to the rainforest. These ecosystems are so different from each other, yet one idea is shared between them all: that while we are out in the wilderness, we must Leave No Trace. This is an idea that I have done my best to learn, embrace and share, but only recently thought about on a broader scale. It is through nature that we feel a profound connection to the rest of the world, and I believe that if we can adopt the idea of leaving no trace beyond the borders of our wild places, it would have a profound, positive impact on our country and the world. 

Saying YES to Adventure

Saying YES to Adventure

By Jack Steward

Adventure can’t be reduced to an equation. Some of the greatest adventures aren't things you can plan for. It takes a willingness to listen to yourself and say YES, even when you're feeling anxious. The best adventures push our boundaries. These don't always have to be physical boundaries like climbing a mountain or running a marathon. They can be mental boundaries like putting yourself into a situation that is unfamiliar to you.

A New Generation of Park Goers

A New Generation of Park Goers

By Jack Steward

A question that I hear fairly often concerns young people and our national parks. How can we generate more interest in these places? Right now, the average visitor to a national park is middle aged or older. Why do we even need to encourage young people to experience nature in the first place? I believe that it is imperative for our culture to do so for two reasons: First and foremost, the experiences one has in nature builds confidence and impacts your life in positive and profound ways. It changes your perspective on the world and builds incredible relationships between individuals and the earth, as well as others. Secondly, we need young people to care about our national parks if we want them to survive. 

Living In The Moment

Living In The Moment

By Jack Steward

A lot of times people talk about living in the moment. This is a great mentality to embrace because it means focusing on what is happening around us right now instead of dwelling on the past or what will come to us in the future. This is a state of mind that will allow us as individuals to look at each moment as a gift that should be appreciated. The future isn't guaranteed but we always have the present. But what does it mean to truly live in the moment?

We All Have Our Mountains

We All Have Our Mountains

By Colton Smith

Nature has taught me a lot.  Its lessons aren’t singular to the realm of the remote wilderness but can be applied to most aspects of life. We’ve all heard the clichés of “climbing a mountain” or looking at a task and declaring, “this is my Everest”. They may be clichés, but I’ve learned how true they can be.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Stop and Smell the Roses

By Jack Steward

Sometimes it's best to lie down on the forest floor and listen to the sound of the wind passing through the trees. Sometimes its worth enduring a rainstorm to observe nature in its purest form. By embracing every single day, we open ourselves up to experiencing the beautiful moments that might take a little patience to uncover. Sometimes, you have to stop and smell the roses.