Like many who are probably considering embarking on a vision quest, I was an absolute neophyte. I had a rough idea of what the process was about and maybe a slight inkling of what it might entail, but that was it. I stumbled upon David watching a video about him on Bob Well’s YouTube channel (CheapRVliving); for those who haven’t watched the video I would wholeheartedly recommend having a peek (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKePlAEgjps&t=631s). I found both the process and the potential guide intriguing.
Shortly after watching the video, I decided to see if I could locate him on the web and shortly thereafter gave him a call. He returned my call within hours, and we ended up chatting for probably 90 minutes. He couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. We talked at length about our respective backgrounds and what ultimately led us to the place that we were each at. In addition to his ecclesiastical background, he has had extensive training and experience in backcountry exploration and camping. He was a wealth of information and recommended three separate books and another website to educate me further on the process. He was in no way pushy and suggested that I ponder the decision further for a week or two (perhaps after I had had a chance to look at the books he recommended) before deciding whether or not this journey was right for me.
After a lot of reading and soul searching I contacted David again to let him know that I was indeed interested in embarking on this journey. Again, we probably talked for about an hour or so with him filling me in further regarding the process and what is required as well as discussing some books that might be of great use prior to the quest itself.
As far as location, David was fairly flexible. He recommended a few places that he has worked out of to perform the vision quest and, based on the time of year, potential adverse weather and his expertise in these areas, we decided to meet up in the Weminuche Wilderness outside of Durango. He had referred me to a website to look at some photos of the area, but I’m afraid that the photos do not do justice to the majesty of the area. I fell in love with the place.
Because I was doing a solo vision quest, we only needed to meet for two days prior to the actual vision quest to discuss in greater detail the process, my intentions behind the quest itself as well as to conduct a few preparatory ceremonies and to discuss logistics and safety issues. This seemed like an appropriate amount of time and never felt rushed. We explored and discussed the relative merits of various sites in the Wilderness that would be appropriate for the actual vision quest (chief among them isolation from others and proximity to a source of water).
Regarding the vision quest itself, it is probably pointless to talk about the experience itself as it is a deeply private and individual pursuit, but I would like to point out that I felt as well prepared as I could have been for the experience (given David’s guidance) as well as the rigors of both the fasting and the isolation. Safety was never an issue. We had a system in which we communicated to each other via rocks (at different times to preserve the isolation) twice daily and could indicate if I needed any assistance.
I believe that many envision the fasting to be the most difficult barrier that they will encounter during the vision quest, and indeed for many that may very well be the case. I would wholeheartedly recommend performing an extended fast prior to embarking on this journey in order to be best prepared. Like many things in life, it seems much more ominous than what it really ends up being. I do believe that the fasting, the isolation, and the sleep deprivation of the final night are critical factors in getting into the right frame of mind to optimize the potential of the vision quest itself.
Upon exiting the Wilderness on my final morning of the vision quest, David was there to greet me and to welcome me back to society (with a lovely spread of food as well!). There was a ceremony as well as a lengthy discussion afterward of the details of the vision quest, potential insights, breakthroughs, and epiphanies. Again, the process was very relaxed, and David offered his very helpful insights regarding my journey.
I am only 6 weeks out from the vision quest at the moment, but I believe that I can say with utter certainty that this was one of the most meaningful and insightful periods of my life. I believe that I was in good hands with David, his expertise and guidance, and would wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone interested in pursuing this amazing journey.