The early adopters of the Endgame narrative of adventure travel were people I trusted explicitly -- Dan Dougherty, Chris Eterno, Andrew Datko. They were significant leaders on a football team that won a state title after losing three in a row. I was one of their coaches who had this idea about adventure travel but I had no experience. This was the Summer before their freshman year of college. We all leaned on that football bond that been developed over years -- none of us had ever hiked, camped, or been in the desert before.
In that first journey we discovered that the desert doesn't care about you or anyone for that matter. The beauty is that it simply exists -- just like you. Alone in the desert when the wind dies down, you can actually hear silence. It's a paradox but if you have experienced it you know what I am writing about. If you hold your breath, your heartbeat sounds like a hammer. It's difficult to describe this heightened sense of being alive. Once you experience a moment like this, it's impossible not to search for it again. We discovered something else that was awesome. Connections and trust matter. We were all suffering in some way -- swollen ankles, thirsty, a tight hamstring.-- Surrounded by nature, challenged, together - We became a Team on another level.
Why was I doing this? The Endgame vision began to take shape. There was something about the way nature revealed itself in the desert. It's the combination of being a part of something bigger than yourself and the connections created through that experience. Endgame Adventures found its recipe of transformation developed through the fusion of wilderness, exertion, accomplishment, connection and fatigue. In the endgame moment you discover how connected you are with yourself, nature and others. Over the last decade when we get together, those moments in Havasu dominate our conversation.