Last Saturday I finished guiding this year’s first Renewal in the Wilderness backpacking trip through the Paria Canyon. On day one we walked through the Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the southwest United States (possibly the longest in the world). With authoritative walls that reach hundreds of feet above the trail, the Buckskin tightens in places to the point of brushing against both shoulders as we squeezed through the narrows one at a time.
Wilderness is one of those words, one of those things, that shrugs an easy definition. When I trained for my Wilderness First Responder certification we defined wilderness asany context that is at least two hours removed from definitive medical care. In sacred literature wilderness often connotes images of waste and void, yet just as often wilderness is cast in sacred contexts as a place of retreat and clarity.