A Rumble Through the Aspens
As John Davis and I rolled down the East Kaibab Monocline in September 2015, powered by Springsteen’s latest, the brilliant Vermilion Cliffs swung into view, presiding over the immensity of the Marble Platform, with the unmistakeable winding chasm of the Colorado River slicing across it. We were still buzzing from last year’s PaseoWild and Fall for the Kaibab campout, a magic feeling we think all of you now know. Our Danny G. had planted this little seed the day before, with a sparkle in his eye, that we were at a special edge, a vantage point from where this annual event could and should go big, maybe not so much in numbers as in impact. It prickled.
Danny and John had hiked across Grand Canyon in awe of the collared female mountain lion, whose route they had paralleled to reach the 2015 event, with the cougar ever-present in their awareness. For Danny, the big cat transformed one of a multitude of Canyon adventures into a new way of seeing, one he wanted to share. And I, ever-intrigued with the way John on his conservation treks embodied these ultimate athletes and their innate search for room to roam, mulled over the inspired heartfelt words and images shared by the extreme wilderness adventure athletes sponsored by outdoor brands.
Now, John was speaking nostalgically of the old Round River Rendezvous’s of his Earth First days and the community we need to rebirth in this new era of conservation. At once, it all clicked together: a Conservation Athlete Rendezvous built around the effort to conserve movement, adventure, wildlife and the landscape connections we all need at a continental scale. It would be outside, it would be expansive, and it would be fun. The RumbleX!
We find that at the heart of conservation is a connection to landscapes and nature that requires another kind of athleticism, a movement. We are determined to move forward the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument by bringing together a vocal community that spends their lives exploring wild places in a diversity of inspiring forms. This year’s event exceeded our wilder expectations and it was all because of the vibrancy of each and every voice present, and of course his yetiness Stacy Bare, and Rob Krar and other friends who jumped in to light the fire.
Thank you all.
- Vice President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, moved us with his dedication to protecting the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage region for health and well-being;
- Legendary ultrarunner Scott Jurek spoke on his personal experiences with wilderness, the Grand Canyon, and the power these have had in his own life;
- We got out into the landscape and got to experience it firsthand, #screenfree, while learning from one another;
- Dianna Sue Uqualla moved us with her beautiful prayer and guidance in protecting the sacred watersheds that sustain her people and the village of Supai;
- With Larry Stevens and Kim Crumbo, we marveled at, listened to, saw the rich biodiversity of the region and learned the ways in which the monument designation would help protect it. As Glenn Rink of Far Out Botany said after the bushwacktastic hike he led: ‘You don’t really know a landscape until it’s poked you!’
- Creative genius RAEchel Running and Laura Franke cooked up southwest heritage fare with criollo beef - Copper Canyon to Grand Canyon - thanks to Cindy Tolle, another conservation athlete you’ll have to meet next year;
- and John Davis placed the Grand Canyon within the whole story of continental conservation, trophic cascades, carnivores, cores, corridors and community.
We’re taking what we learned this year to RumbleX 2017, Sept. 8-10 in the Gila/Blue near Alpine, Arizona: Mexican gray wolf country, land of Aldo Leopold and his Green Fire epiphany and our first Primitive Area. Save the date and updates to follow on the website.
Stay wild and rumble on,
Kelly and the Wildlands crew