Phantom Lake in Wyoming—a secluded gem in Medicine Bow National Forest—requires you to trek some 10,000 feet above sea level to fully experience its beauty. This premise—that great success often requires great challenge—is what’s behind the new Amazon Prime reality adventure series aptly named Phantom Lake.
In seven episodes, nine inexperienced motorcycle riders, led by ride captain and prominent pastor Brian Tome, ride through Colorado and Wyoming to get to their destination. Spoiler alert: not everyone makes it.
The journey becomes a form of church with Tome, who leads Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, becoming a mentor figure. The diverse riders—ranging from a college student and photographer to a finance executive and jazz singer—are forced to face their fears together. As the riders are pushed to their physical and emotional limits, the conversation naturally goes spiritual.
One rider shares that when he focuses on God, his life no longer feels like a roller coaster but a plateau. Another opens up about his fear of heights and his desire to be a positive role model for his kids. These faith-centric musings made some producers uneasy. On the flipside, some of the Christian producers were uncomfortable with the raw elements involved—language, tobacco, alcohol.
But amidst the authenticity, tight trails, grueling switchbacks and high water, Tome says he hopes the show shares an aspect of God many haven’t considered as well as what being a Christian in the real world looks like.
“We are drawn to physical adventures, but those physical adventures should really set us up for real day-to-day adventures,” he explains. “The most important adventures people face are real things: kicking an addiction, having your first kid, recovering from a divorce, hanging in there when you’re Stage 3 cancer. Those are the adventures that really matter.”
And those challenges when faced alongside God and community are worth the trek. There’s beauty and personal growth at the end.