Acknowledging This Year’s Wilderness Quest

by David Raffelock

Yesterday with open hearts, clear visions, and empowered souls, we closed this year’s wilderness quest. As I sit here in my little camp outside of Crested Butte, listening to the gentle flow of the Slate River, my heart is filled with deep, deep gratitude to Mindy, Rollin, Nadine, and Andrew, as well as Michael and Ivy. Thank you, questers, for your courage, commitment, and vision. Thank you for going solo into the wilderness for 4 days and 4 nights, fasting, praying, introspecting, listening, noticing, engaging, resting, and so much more. You have done what human beings have been doing for thousands of years, yet seldom do in today’s world.


This was my first time assisting an EBI quest, almost 3 years after my quest that Michael and Rob guided. When I quested in 2017, I was amidst the biggest transition to date – my transition into my vision, my purpose, and my gifts to the world. Without a doubt, I would not be where I am on my path today if it weren’t for my quest.


My story and vision from my quest continues to unfold, and today I’m feeling called to share a sliver of the magic of my quest. This year, we had a visitor at base camp – a young adult black bear (who Michael named Yogi). He had a gentleness, a curiosity, and playfulness that Michael and I fell in love with. Yet, beyond his presence, I knew in my soul that he had something to teach me. I looked back at my notes from my quest. My first (and only other bear encounter) happened on my quest in 2017.


Wilderness Quest 2021

That cub, three years ago, taught me to lean into my vision, trust my intuition and my process, and stop allowing fear of failure and financial insecurity to hold me back. Not too long after that bear medicine, I took a leap of faith and left the restaurant industry to start a career as a coach and wilderness guide. Three years later, I’ve circled back to a similar place. Yet again, I hear the call. This time to leave my job as a wilderness therapy guide and take the next step in my vision. In fact, I’ve heard the call for 6 months now. I’m sure you could guess what has held me back. Thank you, Yogi, for reminding me to step fully into my vision with courage and heart.


There is no way to put into words how different my life, my work, and my relationships would be without that quest. Towards the end of our incorporation work, I heard Mindy say that the quest will bring her coaching to a new level. In a 1-on-1 conversation with Michael, he said that the quest is not only at the core of his work as a nature-connected coach and guide, but ultimately is what birthed what we now know as EBI and the NCC education.


Today’s world needs nature-connected individuals like yourself. Today’s world needs initiated humans. Today’s world needs the quest.


If you are hearing the call to quest or are just looking to learn more

Please visit the quest page or register for our live Q&A with David.

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