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After Bruce realized he wanted to spend his life outside instead of inside a kitchen, he began to make plans. It took all winter for him to close out his life in Denver, including selling his house and nearly all of his possessions. In fact, he kept only what would fit on the smallest trailer U-Haul offered. The bankers didn’t understand Bruce’s free spirit and “it’ll all work out” attitude, but that didn’t matter. Bruce was excited about his new adventure and in 1990, he finally left Denver and went camping.

Thankfully, Bruce wasn’t visited by any bears.

Bruce returned to Moab, Utah and ended up bringing an absurd amount of gear. He’d visited a camping store and purchased everything from tents to sleeping bags and aerodynamic socks. If the salesman had had a bridge to sell him, Bruce probably would’ve bought that, too. On the plus side, at least he was prepared for the month he spent alone in the Utah desert. After that time, he took his camp down, put everything non-essential in storage, and lived out of his Jeep in order to be more mobile. He’d spend about 4-5 days out car camping before coming back into town to refuel and do laundry before heading back out. It was a simple life and Bruce had never been happier.

At one point, Bruce made his way over to Pack Creek Ranch in the foothills of the La Sal Mountains. He met a lot of interesting people there, including the owners, Ken and Jane, who had been close friends of Edward Abbey. Abbey had passed away in March of the previous year and his friends gathered on the porch of the ranch restaurant to reminisce over whiskey and regale Bruce with their stories.

Environmental groups still cite Abbey’s 1975 novel as inspiration to this day.

As summer drew to a close, Bruce knew he had to figure out his next move. To help him decide, Bruce and his dog headed to the southern area of Canyonlands National Park.


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