Photo: Mike Colón
Sometimes getting away to the mountains helps clear my head. It helps me see things the way they really are. Last week, I took an RV road trip with 10 guys. It started out a bit rough… 5:45am driving 100 mph in the carpool lane trying not to be the last one (thank you Edmund) to a church parking lot where we were swapping 10 cars for 2 RVs to begin our man-trip to Yosemite. We made the first turn out of the church parking lot and a lost our huevos. A case of 30 eggs flew out of the refrigerator creating a yellow river of yolk down middle of our new home. Just the beginning…
A 12 inch cut from a barb wire fence, a large rock in the front grill of some poor girls car, and a collision with a tree were all sort of expected. We were, after all, unleashed boys – no wives around to keep us out of trouble. Male bonding at it’s best! What was unexpected came later that evening while taking up Shaun (who wants me dead I think) on a dare to go out on a sketchy overhang 3,200 feet above the floor of Yosemite valley.
Photos: Derek Frenzel (left) and Gavin Wade (right)
Balanced carefully.. knees shaking.. staring death in the face… I saw God. Not like the people you see on the news who find a shadow of Mother Mary on their backyard fence… well, kinda like that but I didn’t call the networks. As I looked out into the clouds that were sweeping up the side of the cliff, it was like I was staring God in the face… and I couldn’t handle it. It was a reality check… one that sent chills down my spine. I allowed myself for a split second to think about the consequences of losing my balance or slipping. I realized that I’m in no way ready to die. I realized that I take life for granted and the clock is ticking. I realized that every day is a gift from God and that my life is fragile. I don’t want to waste another minute on the things that don’t matter.
Photos: Eric Cotter (left) and Derek Frenzel (right)
The next morning at sunrise I must have wanted another close encounter so I climbed out onto another rock at the edge of the world. This time, when I turned around to get back to safer ground, my eyes shot upward to see what looked like batman descending out of the sky towards me. It turned out to be a hawk who was hungry for some tall skinny guy. He came close but didn’t finish the job because I was too fast and hit the deck (don’t laugh, you would too). I couldn’t help but feel like I was out of balance with nature… like Matthew McConaughey in Failure To Launch.
It got me thinking about my life and how many things are out of balance. I thought about my wife and all of the sacrifices she’s made for our family. How she gets up in the morning with the babies so I can sleep. How she’s given up so many of her dreams in music so she can stay home and raise our children. Even the fact that she let me go on the trip leaving her at home with our 4 crazy kids. While I was there laying in the back of the RV on the way down the Yosemite mountains, I saw her for what she really is… an angel. Thanks baby for letting me take off and be Wild At Heart for a few days :)
A quick shout out to the guys (all of whom are talented photographers) who made this trip one for the history books. Click on their names to see more images from the trip: Austin Curtis (someone I can have a “real” talk with), Brandon Kidd (mature beyond his years.. thx for the nudge), Derek Frenzel (genuine and Godly), Edmund Prieto (fellow dare-devil, super talented), Eric Cotter (bloody mess most of the time, life of the party, smart), Gavin Wade (positive energy, giver), Gustavo Fernandez (always smiling, fun), Mike Larson (leader, cool and collected) and Shaun Austin (comedian, good heart, the man who made it happen!)
Definitely a trip I will not soon forget. Yosemite is a quick reality check as to how small we really are…and what a big God we serve! Looking forward to more rock-throwing contests, honest talks, and brushes with death. :)
P.S. My watch STILL smells like eggs…ugh. haha
Beautiful! One of our favorite places. Love the new look, your new site is perfect!
That must have been a truly amazing trip. Just looking at the photos of you on the rock, JUMPING, sent shivers down my spine. God appears in the most wonderful places, glad He knew you needed to get back to your Angel.
Ohhhh my Gawwwdddd! What an awesome experience… I love ur new site BTW… much blessings.
WOW Mike this post made me cry. What a wonderful experience, yes when we are so close to God things gets in the right perspective. It’s beautiful that you recognize your wife’s sacrifices, being a stay home mom is the hardest job of all. I love your new site. I prefer blog and site together. I’ll be visiting often.
Who got lost or was duck taped into their sleeping bag? Next time make sure to get pictures of that! Then again it might be you! HA HA Fly website!
These photos are amazing! :)
I love Yosemite. I used to go there all the time. So breathtaking!
Mike you lucky dog! I was about to buy a 1985 fleetwood tioga about two years ago and head west, but I got married instead… I did however get to go for a hike with my beautiful bride. Maybe after 4 kids I’ll get a Yosemite trip? Is that a tilt-shift or lensbaby on the picture of you jumping?
Excellent Adventure and great stories Mike!!
What a great adventure! Eric had me read Wild at Heart when we were dating and it summed him up beautifully as a man of God, and helps my understanding of why you guys just need to be in the wilderness and have death-defyling aventures to be with Him. Thanks for sharing and what stunning shots of Half Dome!
Very well written my friend – that was a blast! Gavin’s picture is INSANE! So rad!
Magical. What a magnificent trip. Those photos take my breath away. Thanks for sharing
beautiful picture at top!
Amazing trip! We can really see how big God is in a place like that. Even in its fallen state, the earth is amazing.
Thanks so much for sharing!
We are always at the right place at the right time. Everything is working out for our good and God’s glory!
Mike you are a MAJOR blessing!
Mike, super amped about this trip with you! it was awesome. I smell a repeat again sometime. Love the Half Dome shot there. sweetness.
Wish we had more time to catch up on the trip. I was in the other RV avoiding trees. Good to see some shots online. Looking forward to hanging again soon. I would love to encourage you to follow your heart of ministry. Your ministry is your wife and kids and who knows, God could have even more for you and your family.
Nothing like the greatness of nature and the wild to remind us about what really counts in life. So happy for you that you were able to take this trip. Yosemite is grandiose!
Sounds like you guys had a good & much need trip and caught up with some killer light & weather up here. It’s a beautiful world.
That first shot of the mountain top out of the cloud is truly magnificent. Canvas print and hang on the wall maybe? :-)
Nice trip and pic ssince when did you move to Cannon I see your first pic is shot by a canon :(
now that is good writing:) you should be proud of your new site, looks great!
Awesome post brotha! I had a great time hanging out with you man. I totally missed when you jumped off that rock. Are you crazy?!?! We need to make this happen again soon!
Thanks Everyone! Your comments make me happy :)
wow, bravo. you are truly inspiring. May God continue to bless you and your family!
I am entering my second year in the pro-photography industry & I’m discovering new stuff constantly, such as this posting – thanks for this site. Jen
Mikey! Your new blog is awesome!!! and these pics are so hard core. We miss you guys! Kiss team colon for us and come visit soon!
AWE.SOME. Pictures!! I’ve always loved your work.
We were just in Yosemite/Mammoth the week of the 10th through the Weekend – HOW beautiful it was! There were a lot of photographers grouped at different lakes and places of interest (Bodie – Ghost Town) the week that were there. I can understand why – it was the best weather ever.
Looking forward to following your blog! Great website makeover!
These photos are so amazing! I am heading to Yosemite next summer and can’t wait!
I really like your shop of half dome. WOW.