Evan Tanner’s Final Treasure Hunt

9 Sep

This morning, I learned that Evan Tanner, a former Ultimate Fighting champ, was found dead in the deserts of southern California. I have to say that I am absolutely intrigued by Evan’s story. Just a few weeks ago, he wrote this on his blog…

It’s Saturday night. I’m not out on the town socializing, not hanging out with friends, not chillin, watchin movies. I’m sitting on my couch beside a stack of books, listening to some Eddie Vedder, reading about the Southern California desert.

I’m hoping that very soon I’ll be sitting out in the quiet of the desert beneath a deep blue midnight sky, listening to the calm desert breeze. The idea going into the desert came to me soon after I moved to Oceanside. It was motivated by my friend Sara’s talk of treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration. I began to imagine what might be found in the deep reaches of the untracked desert. It became an obsession of sorts.

“Treasure” doesn’t necessarily refer to something material.

Today, I ran to the store to pick up a few things, and with the lonesome, quiet desert thoughts on my mind, I couldn’t help but be struck with their brutally stark contrast to my current surroundings, the amazing congestion in which we exist day to day. The landscape as far as I could see, crowded, choked, with me and the rest of the species, an almost writhing mass of organisms, fighting over space and resources,….on the highways, in the parking lots, on the sidewalks, and in the ailse of the stores. And to think, there are still places in the world where man has not been, where he has left no footprints, where the mysteries stand secure, untouched by human eyes. I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers.

I’ve been gathering my gear for this adventure for over a month, not a long time by most standards, but far too long for my impatient nature. Being a minimalist by nature, wanting to carry only the essentials, and being extremely particular, it has been a little difficult to find just the right equipment. I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life. I’ve been doing a great deal of research and study. I want to know all I can about where I’m going, and I want to make sure I have the best equipment.

One more week. I think one more week, and I’ll be ready to go.

I had been waiting on some parts I ordered for the bike. Aluminum luggage panniers, crash bars, and other necessities for a real adventure.

It’s always like Christmas when the Wells Fargo wagon comes to town. UPS, I know.

My friend Jorge getting to work reading the instructions. I stay away from them as much as possible.

Got to work with plenty of daylight left.

It seems that aftermarket parts never seem to fit quite right. Slowed things down a bit. Got caught finishing up in the dark.

The next day. The apartments are being painted, so I had to park both bikes out front on the street. The salt air is eating up my Harley. Not liking that.

A few more small things, and the KLR will be ready for the great desert adventure.

Just this past Sunday, I spoke at church on the need to get away from it all so that we can have a chance to hear the “still, small voice” of God. A few months ago, I was completely enthralled with the movie, “Into the Wild,” which was a true story that documented the life of a man searching for meaning.

These stories capture our hearts, because the deepest parts of man long for a spiritual connection that we cannot find in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of our lives. We soak in all of the action of our lives, and we are left wanting…still.

Evan, I hope you found peace in the desert place. I pray that Jesus penetrated your heart so deeply in your time in the desert that you quietly drifted into eternity.

There is no peace without Christ. Hold onto Him.

Peace,

Neil

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