3 years ago I got lost in the desert. I mean wandering -I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of this- lost in the desert. I had tagged along with some photographer friends to a photo conference in Las Vegas because I had some extra lieu time stored up at work and I love to travel. There was room in the hotel and I had a plane ticket. Little did I know that the spur of the moment decision to travel with a friend would lead to such adventure. Quickly I discovered what an amazing people photographers are. Generous of spirit, fun, inclusive and willing to let a new friend tag along on fun desert shoots.
I had my little Olympus camera and the group of us set off for the Red Rock Canyon. We all split up and wandered in the gorgeous shadows of the red mountains. The sun began to set and I looked around realizing that the rest of the group was out of eyesight. So, I went back to the car. Except that the car wasn’t there. At first I thought it was a funny joke, but then as no one came out laughing after 15 minutes, I figured I had to do something to try to find them. I tried to ‘think like a photographer’ and decided to follow the light to the next scenic spot up the road. While hiking up the mountain in my flip flops (I know, great desert attire) the sun began to set and I started to get nervous. What if they left? What if I’m stuck here all night? What if I step on a scorpion? Wait, are there scorpions here?
I finally reached the scenic lookout and realized to my stomach’s sinking dismay that no one was there. With a big sigh and armed with my camera flash as a source of light, I began the long descent back down towards the guard station at the entrance of the park. By this time it was dark and I was cold. I continued hiking – thirsty, blistered and cold until, out of nowhere, I heard my name being called. It was the sweetest thing. To hear your name rise through the darkness and to know that someone is seeking you is such a comforting confirmation that you are, in fact, not alone. The group had in actuality gone on to the next scenic point, but didn’t realize that were now stuck on a one way mountain road that took a circuitous route back to the entrance and so could not loop back to pick me up as they originally thought. The embraces that followed were some of the most raw and honest emotional connections I’ve experienced. The moments of worry, fear, anger and confusion as I wandered through the Joshua trees were definitely worth it though for the experience and connection of being found. Also, I got this pretty neat picture out of the deal too.