Febuary 12, 2003
Austin, Texas, USA

9:28pm. Monday was sunny and warm -- summer temperature at home. We got to Enchanted Rock late in the day, so I put on long pants and a shirt, which caused a bit of heavy breathing and a little sweat. On a plateau between two mountain-size solid pink granite dome-shaped monoliths, Paul and I played Frisbee and I ran over a bunch of cactus, lodging a few dozen spines in my toes.

Thirty minutes of hiking brought us to the edge of Moss Lake, where we dropped our packs in a cleared camping area covered by a circular canopy of trees, and then we sat in silence gazing at fading rays of pinkish-purple and reddish-orange solar-flame on clouds reflecting off the mirror-like surface of the man-made reservoir.

After a sharing a mug of special tea, Seed crawled into her sleeping bag to enjoy warmth and quiet while Paul and I walked toward the largest of domes across a barren, cratered, moonlit landscape that seemed alien, as if on another planet. Perfectly clear, nothing separated us from outer space. Satellites, spaceships, UFO's and shooting stars flew and flashed overhead. Long-haired, bearded, tall and broad in the shoulders, Paul reminded me of Chuy from Star Wars. The moon, 3/4 full, more awesome than I've ever seen, was an enormous jewel set among a billion sparkling diamonds.

Approaching the cliff, we ascended a winding stone staircase that appeared ancient. The experience felt timeless, as though I could have been a Native American doing what had been done for generations.

After chillin' on a ledge at the base for a half-hour, looking out over the desert at the lights dancing on the horizon and admiring the glowing cliff, I thought "I'm a climber. I can do this," then frictioned up a slab, cranked on an overhang, and walked with ease up a 5.6 fist crack to find an ideal perch on a tree protruding from the vertical face 50ft above. I called for Paul to join me. He laughed as if I was a mad man. Moments later we were together laughing and howling in awe of everything as lunatics do.

Why are not more people here to experience this?, I wondered. This is what life is all about!!! Why do people stay inside watching TV when there is so much outside to experience? Don't they know how amazing it is out here... and how good it feels? I don't think they do.

A finger-crack lead to the top, but Paul didn't want to try it. With climbing shoes and rope, sure, but we were both just wearing sandals: him in Chakos and me in 100% hemp Eco-Dragons. I had doubts myself, and for a moment my perception changed and I realized the seriously dangerous situation we were in. I actually feared going down more than climbing up. The choice was easy for Paul, so he down-climbed. I continued up, sketching on the 5.9 crux, but eventually completing the moves easily with the confidence of experience. Risk is relative to competence. I just needed to assure myself that the territory was familiar and that moments like these are what I live for.

The top was flat the size of a football field. For an hour I explored and shot long-exposures and video, yet my mind was focused more on loved ones at home and all over. I enjoyed the solitude, but I also wanted to share this special time and the magic of it all. Comfortable pleasures and "pretending to own things" as Paul puts it, pale to such summit moments.

Back at the camp we ate dinner in bed, then attempted to sleep as bold masked bandits visited us repeatedly until all our food and garbage was securely stored in packs and hanging in a tree.

Morning images: 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

We spent most of yesterday on rock, ate supper at sunset on top, then walked down in the moonlight.

Now we're at Justin's apartment which is buzzing with creative activity manifesting Urbanscape Magazine. Seed's contribution to this issue is a couple images of her conceptual sculpture. I gave an image of the falls and overhang at Hamilton pool, which looked cool upside down. We also wrote a short column giving a heads-up for the next issue:

Art supplies donated by local graphic designers Shad Chancey and Justin Granade are currently being used by villagers on Mexico s central Pacific coast to document their ascent up Cerro de Muerto, The Mountain of Death named due to its profile, which resembles a man on his back. Feared by many and climbed by few, the mountain, fortified by steep cliffs and thorny plants, is home to wild cats and venomous snakes.

Directed by MAX and Seed of The FAR OUT School, the project explores overcoming obstacles and discovering different perspectives. Artwork from the expedition will be featured in the next issue of URBANSCAPE. Photos and progress reports can be viewed at: www.solomax.com.

Max, Hi! My name is Andy and I met you in DUMBO Brooklyn at my photo opening at 66 Water Street Bar. I just checked out your website....Congratulations! Great Freakin Job. I praise you for following your dreams and creating a great project. Your camera wasn't included in your equipment list..What are you using? I am currently doing research regarding Coverting a school bus or RV and traveling Around North/Central america powered by Homemade BioDiesel this summer.

Wanted to compliment your site... You look like you get a lot out of the days that go by.. I live in South Carolina.. Have been wanting to ramble in the south west for a while. I got to know a Mexican family a few years ago.. I used to BS whith those guys about life in Mexico etc.. Damn I miss those days! I'm always looking for an adventure... glad that you've shared some of yours.

Here's to a traveler!,
Don Bowen

i have no idea on what to do for a social studies project. we have to a project very similar to the on the movie PAY IT FORWORD. I need a good topic but nothing comes to mind. my name is Deedee iam in grade 9 if you can help please wright me back.

Thank you

I told Deedee to check out Henry David Thoreau, or J. Krishnamurti-- who I'd just read about in Unknown Man - The Mysterious birth of a new species by Yatri. The below is from the book:

Of all the spiritual geniuses of our century Jiddhu Krishnamurti is perhaps the best known and yet the most enigmatic. Proclaimed by a huge esoteric organization as the vehicle for the "maitreya," or a reincarnation of the Buddha, he disbanded the organization, declaring that organizations destroy truth. Surrounded by followers who saw in him the promised World Teacher he continually admonished them against focusing on the container and not the content, advising the to look within themselves for the answers to their continual questioning.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of his teaching, however is that even fifty years later those same followers were still listening to him.

Krishnaji's message was clear, uncompromising and amazingly consistent through the seventy years of his teaching. In 1929 he disbanded the Order of the Star which had been created around him.

"I maintain that Truth is a pathless Land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path."

This is plain enough. He then states that he wants no followers. "The moment you follow someone, you cease to follow Truth."

And his message? "I have only one purpose: to make men free, to urge him towards freedom; to help him break away from all limitations, for that alone will give him eternal happiness, will give him unconditional realization of Self."

"Because I am free, unconditioned, whole -- not the part, not the relative but the whole Truth that is eternal -- I desire those who seek to understand me to be free, not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will be come a religion, a sect. Rather should they be free from all fears -- from the fear of religion, from the fear of starvation, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself. My purpose is to make man unconditionally free, for I maintain that the only spiritually is the incorruptibly of the Self which is eternal, is the harmony between reason and love. This is the absolute, unconditional Truth which is life itself. I want to therefore set man free, rejoicing as the bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in the freedom."

Seed just added a journal to the site from January 28, when we attended a war protest on the Congress Bridge.