Personal Growth

Three Days in the Desert

March 8, 2024

“I am exhausted. This is exactly what I needed.” These are the words Andrew said at the end of the second day of our traverse through the Superstition Mountains outside of Phoenix, AZ. As the sunset over the desert, painting the towering Weaver’s Needle in a bath of pink light, over a gentle warm evening […]

“I am exhausted. This is exactly what I needed.”

These are the words Andrew said at the end of the second day of our traverse through the Superstition Mountains outside of Phoenix, AZ. As the sunset over the desert, painting the towering Weaver’s Needle in a bath of pink light, over a gentle warm evening you could hear crickets, frogs in the creek, water cascading over rocks, all while Andrew sat next to the campfire – soaking in the day and in reflection. 

I tinkered with camp, getting gear sorted, beginning to make dinner, gathering additional firewood, and relaxing into the evening; grateful to not have a pack on and to have my feet out of hiking boots.

Andrew had come to me exhausted and feeling redlined from a non-stop work schedule, travel demands, and overwhelmed from holding a never-ending list of responsibilities (chosen) and a sense of burden that was neither accurate nor was he able to shake. He was reaching a breaking point and knew he needed to take a pause, figure some things out, and recommit himself with honesty and integrity – in his own words ‘he was way off course and things were not looking good at home or at work’.

So what did we do? We took a look at his situation, honed in on the top priorities, carved out a few days of his schedule to go offline, and then created an adventure that offered solitude, wilderness, and physical challenge. We removed all non-essentials (carrying a backpack in the wilderness forces that), literally and metaphorically, and set out on a three day 28-mile traverse through the stunning and running Superstition Wilderness. 

We worked together to create a custom solution that matched his needs and unique situation: challenging work schedule, family calendar and kid’s events, his wife’s work schedule, his fitness and experience level, and his desired goals and experience. For the time-crunched man, there is no turn-key out of the box solution – a custom offering is the answer.

As we watched the stars emerge, as twilight shifted to darkness, Andrew simply shared: it’s time for me to get right on a few things, I need to have some difficult conversations, I need to be clearer with my ‘no’ with clients, I need to carve out more time for myself to create art, I need to…as he continued talking I sat back and took a long list of notes, while he reflected: I need to…

The next day we while traveling and making our way back to the trailhead we continued working on his list of ‘I need to…’ while also cataloging that which needed to be let go of. From here we took the top ‘I need to…’ items and began to make a timeline and follow-up action steps to execute: a strategy with dates and next steps emerged.

Andrew had created a series of actionable next steps – they were his, not mine. And he was clear as to his ‘why’ behind them.

The beauty of this metamorphosis is that he did all the work: adventure provided the opportunity and space. Adventure has a way of doing that; in a way critical thinking and talking simply cannot. The combination of minimalism, discomfort, challenge, physical effort, and the natural world combine in such a way that clarity emerges; sometimes it’s a quick reveal and sometimes it takes some time, but it emerges. 

After showering at the hotel, a quick lunch, and sorting through our gear; we parted ways. Our feet were a little sore, Andrew had more than a few ‘Arizona Pinstripes’ on his arms and legs (long scratches from spiky bushes and plants), and just sunburned enough to show that we had a story to share. 

His work isn’t done, it’s just started. The transition back into the real world offers an easy out: go back the way you came, repeat the same patterns, get the same solutions. Or, re-enter the world with the awareness that you are unwilling to return the way you came, create accountability to stay true to your new commitments and your new course, and dig into the resistance and work.

I’ll be sending him a framed photo of the fading sunset over Weaver’s Needle with a cactus silhouette against the sky. Now he has a visual reminder to go with the feeling he has already embodied: his freedom to choose and lead into the next phase of his life. 

I can say, without hyperbole, that the work this man committed to and initiated in the Superstion Wilderness will alter the trajectory of his life and saved his marriage, his business, and his relationship with his children: full stop.

And it all transpired over three days in the desert.


Reach out directly to me via text or email and let’s talk about adventure: I want to learn about your unique situation, your specific challenges, and help you shift and move forward with adventure as the catalyst.

Personal Growth

Unlock Peak Fatherhood

Download The Free Guide:

Epic global mountain expeditions for high-achieving men.

© MATT WALKER ADVENTURE   |   TERMS   |   PRIVACY POLICY   |   TEMPLATE BY TONIC   |   CUSTOMIZATION BY LIBERTY TYPE