Road-trip 2014

Oregon 163

 

 

 

Ironically, I grew up in a family that didn’t do much camping. I’m talking about my immediate family. Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters. And to this day, only my oldest sister does a lot of regular camping, but not without the kick ass trailer that has a tv, kitchen and a queen size bed in it. Don’t get me wrong, nice to have comfort, but my idea of cling is sleeping in the dirt… Though I’m sure that gets a bit rusty as ya get older.

 

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

 

 

 

 

 

Believe it or not, it was my Dad that instilled most of my love for the outdoors in me. Hard as he tried with Baseball, it never stuck. But the short hikes up the canyon climbed to me like a wonderful parasite. And his brothers that constantly took my brother and fishing and camping by the lake in our youth. That’s where my love for sleeping in the dirt comes into play. I remember sleeping by the lake shore with the pole cast into waters depth and one hand holding onto it.

Kemry at the Peter Iredale shipwreck in Hammond, Oregon

Kemry at the Peter Iredale shipwreck in Hammond, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

The greatest accomplishment I’ve ever achieved in my life is my two children. When I look at them, I see the best of me in them. And most times, the similarities are uncanny. Ever since their birth, I’ve desired to instill a love for Mother Earth into their souls. Teaching them my thoughts of global climate change, recycle/reuse/reduce. And just the simple beauty that this world has blessed upon us. Don’t destroy it, love it, nurture it, and respect it.

Caelan walking back from some waterfall viewing in the CRG

Caelan walking back from some waterfall viewing in the CRG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So once a year, I take my boys on a road trip. This I actually did get from my parents. Every year we took an annual road-trip, usually to SoCal or Washington. Always involved visiting family, cuz hey, a free place to crash and see loved ones. Probably why I desire my freedom and rebirth so much. But in these annual trips with my boys, I tend to throw in a visit to a National Park or two. That stems from the memory deep in my soul of how awe inspired I was when I first saw the Redwoods. I honestly have no recollection of any other national park growing up.

 

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past few years, I have shared my first experiences with my boys in some of the Wests most beloved National Parks. Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite, RMNP, Capitol Reef, Bryce and of-course Zion.  We’ve made memories, some of which have been captured in photograph.

My boys seeing the beauty of the Redwoods

My boys seeing the beauty of the Redwoods

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I decided to go visit most of Oregon’s 7 wonders. I could never have imagined this state had so many breathtaking sites. I literally fell in love with the coast, I didn’t want to leave. From the shore line covered rocky beaches, to the quaint little beach towns, and beautiful state parks covering miles coast line. Northern California to the tip of Oregon, I highly recommend driving the entire highway 101. Make the trip leisurely, take your time, make a point to hike a little, eat local. You will no doubt fall in love with the coast too.

Crater Lake Sunset

Crater Lake Sunset

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Dr. Cool Wraps Review

 

In January at the Winter Outdoor Retailer Market, I met with Kristen Bujold a PR rep for CGPR. After a few emails about possible gear reviews, she asked if I would be interested  in testing a new product called Dr. Cool Wraps. A fitness recovery product that combines cooling and compression in one flexible wrap. Great for icing injuries, as well as stabilizing sore joints.

Work great as an Ice pack, or just a brace

Work great as an Ice pack, or just a brace

After my initial preview of the product through the website link provided: http://www.drcoolrecovery.com/ I became excited. For the past 2 months, I had been battling a wrist injury I tweaked during a climbing session. And anyone who knows me, knows I am the worst at resting my injuries. I have trouble taking more than a week or two off. Not to mention my day job is quite physical, and requires a lot of joint motion.
 

 

 

So I accepted the offer to test and review the wrap. And I have to say, I have been very pleased with it. Now it’s easy to just I’ve down your wrist with a zip-lock filled with ice. But the Dr. Cool Wrap forms the ice compression around the joint. And acts as a brace at the same time. They come in a variety of colors, and 3 different sizes.

Dr. Cool Wraps come in many different colors & sizes

Dr. Cool Wraps come in many different colors & sizes

Small: 3 inch x 25, MSRP $24.99 – ankle, wrist, hand, elbow, foot, calf, arm
Medium: 4 inch x 50, MSRP $29.99 – ankle, elbow, knee, shoulder, thigh, calf, arm
Large: 6 inch x 50, MSRP $34.99 – back, hips, chest, torso
dr cool 038

 

 

 

The Wraps are made from a patented material that keeps colder longer than other fabrics. They are chemical free, and just need to add water, then freeze for 20 minutes. Wrap aching body part and let the cooling begin. Even works well in the field, so long as you can find a cool stream. Just soak it I’m cold water and wrap, will temporarily relieve aches.
Likes: Great form-fitting, works excellent for icing down. Easy to use, and they look much cooler than an ice pack.

Dislikes: When the ice wrap starts to warm up, there is a lot of water dripping. Will get your arm, leg, shirt, whatever wet. But them again, ice packs are very similar in that aspect.

Easy to use and adjust with the velcro strap

Easy to use and adjust with the velcro strap

Overall: Dr. Cool Wraps is pretty affordable. $24.99 for the small, $29.99 for the medium, and $39.99 for the large. Not bad considering the large can be wrapped around your waist. It also doubles as a brace. I think this product is worth it if you’re looking for a light weight, sturdy, compression/ice wrap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjX59WitY4Q
I am not currently an ambassador for Dr. Cool Wraps. I was asked to review a couple of articles as an independent blogger. I received this product for free, in return I agreed to test it and review it. In no way did this offer influence my review. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.

BUSTED! Recap of how I caught the thief

A little over a month ago, I had a roommate move out of my house and steal about $2500 worth of gear.
Including a DSLR camera that was only 3 weeks old. I wrote a blog about the situation, what happened and how it had affected me and my trust in people. You can read about that here: https://experienceviaimagination.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/trustin-lads-may-be-my-downfall/

In the month that followed the theft, I contemplated having another roommate? How secure my home was? And how comfortable I was just letting this person go, not looking for her or trying to track her down.

I was certain she did this for a living. Basically, she posts an ad on Craigslist, saying she needs a place to stay month-to-month, and that her “Agency” is moving her to town, and will be bringing her stuff within the next month. That way there’s no expectations with why she has so little belongings, and how long she actually will be staying. She then will try to delay paying rent, with the expectations that she can rob you before actually giving you any money.

She’s a low-level con artist, a Petty thief. Takes what she can grab of value and moves on. Gives you a false name, and disappears. Most people just give up, claim it on their insurance and pretty much accept the loss. She goes on, tips off another person and probably skips town when she starts feeling heat or has drained as much as she can.

I wasn’t willing to just her go. Maybe it was because my insurance wouldn’t cover the loss. Or maybe it was because I just care for thieves. That I’m not going to allow someone to enter my home out of the goodness of my heart, and walk out with my hard earned belongings. So Gina and I monitored Craigslist for another ad, scanning for the items stolen. Low and behold, she was actually stupid enough to post another ad, same name, same thief number.

So I texted her regarding the room for rent. She had my personal number, so I had to use a secondary phone I have. This phone is an older phone, a flip phone. Do you know how hard it is to text on a flip phone? Maybe 10 years ago I could’ve done it fast and accurately. But now..? I’ve become spoiled apparently. “Long is the road and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.” -Dante

I waited and waited. And her initial reply, stated that she had found a place but thanks anyways. I felt like, at this point, I knew how to her mind worked. So I told her I was a single guy, who worked two jobs and was hardly ever home. Someone that desperately needed a roommate to help pay the mortgage. And if she knew anyone else who needed a place to stay, to please send them my way. About a week later, she responded saying she had a friend who is looking for a place to live. So we bantered back-and-forth for about three weeks. I was trying to give her the feeling of security, the feeling that I was trying to get to know her. Basically dating her into learning about who she thought she was going to be moving in with. Giving her the thought she had opportunity. An easy target, someone who could easily be taken advantage of and ripped off. She took it… Hook, line and sinker.

She asked the normal questions. How much is rent? Where are you located? Is the room furnished? My answered were simple. Mostly because I knew exactly what she wanted to hear. Cheap rent, under $300. In the Sugarhouse/Liberty Park area. And yes, it’s furnished. And so she pursued. When can we meet up? I told her I wanted to meet for coffee before bringing her back to see my place. “As I don’t know you, I want to make sure you’re ok.”

A few days later my good friend Shawn Parry from Tetonsports met her at a coffee shop. I was parked across the street casing out the situation. And it took everything I had not to walk into the coffee bar and confront her. The plan was to follow her home, then decide what to do.? I knew she would be without a ride, so Shawn and I discussed it and he agreed to give her a ride if she needed one. She took it, but had him drop her off downtown at an office high rise. Said she worked there and needed to finish up a few things for work.

I met Shawn back at Teton HQ, and he told me what he had learned. She filled out a background check form. And told him she was really into photography. So he asked, “Do you have a Nikon or a Canon?” She replied “A Canon”. I still had hope of getting my camera back. And she wrote down an address on the background form. So I immediately went to the neighborhood, parked down the road, sat in the backseat of my vehicle and began casing the house.

With nothing to do but wait, I got onto my iPhone and began searching the name, SSN #, address and DL # she gave… Nothing. I was certain everything she wrote down was BS. Including the house I was waiting near. It was raining in SLC, so I exited my vehicle, placed my jacket and hood on, and walked the street. Carefully, I passed the house a few times and noticed that the street address she have didn’t exist. Now what? How could I bait her again? She thought Shawn was doing a background check and everything she gave him was BS. What can I do to make her still be interested and believe I was ok with her moving in?

Shawn and I discussed it again. We decided to tell her that the background check would take 2-3 weeks to go through. That I needed someone to move in before I left for china at the end of the week. And that if she worked for the CIA, then I’m certain they did their homework on her background. Plus, “you seem like a nice enough person, I got a good vibe about you when we met” I told her. Once again, she took the bait. I knew her greed would overcome her suspicion. The fact that Shawn would be leaving for China at the end of the week, and would be gone for two weeks was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I told her she could come by and look at the place, and if she was still interested it was hers. And she agreed.

I had another friend from work named Arie, who said we could do the set up at his house. He was gung ho, ready to take some revenge on this lady. But after a conversation, we decided to ask his cousin who is on the SWAT team what the best course of action would be? He told us to contact the Taylorsville police department, and asked to talk with the detective in charge of the case. He should be able to meet you at the house and make the arrest if possible. So that is what I did. Upon talking to the detective, I learned that the black-and-white officers had only reported that she stole $100 from me. WHAT THE HELL!?!? I was extremely upset, I informed him of all the other items that were taken. He told me I needed to stall her, spread it out and make her wait another day or two. In the meantime send him an email with all the information of everything she took. He did his own background search on her, nothing came up. When I told him about how she says she works for the CIA, he was really intrigued to meet her, to interview her, to find out who she was. so we set up the stain for the next day at 5 PM. He informed me for the third time, that “this is only based upon what she has on her. If she has nothing on her or does not admit to this, there is nothing he can do that justifies warrant.”

The night before the stain, I was texting her back-and-forth to give her the sense of comfort. And casually brought up how my work was looking for a new DSLR camera to take shots of product. Hoping she would bring the camera with and be willing to sell it to me. That’s when she dropped the bomb. She informed me she had just sold her DSLR camera that weekend for $450. I was unsure if I even wanted to contact the detective now? Because really what could he do? He would question her, he would have no proof, and she would get off Scott free. Probably skip town because she knew, at that point the heat was on her and once again she would get away. And I absolutely did not want that to happen.

So I debated in my own head, what kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want to be? Should I handle this on my own? At least that way I could get some sort of “vigilante justice”. Do I have it in me to take my own revenge? Or should I trust in the justice system and hope for the best? Now some might think that I’m angry? And yes I’ll admit, that immediately following the incident I was extremely irate. If I had found her then, I wouldn’t have called the police I would have handled it my own way…

I opted on contacting the detective. Letting him know it was going to go down at 5 PM on Wednesday. When he arrived at the house he told me to have his number on speed dial, as soon as I saw her out of the window to call him he would grab her before she even got to the door. And that’s exactly the way went down. The look on her face was priceless when he pulled up and started to question her. She realized she had finally been the one who’d gotten screwed. Unfortunately, he did not find any of my belongings on her. But he did find other items that I’m sure were stolen, probably from the person who’s house you just skipped out of. Plus he found prescription drug paraphernalia on her, with no prescriptions.

The detective informing he was taking “this person” to jail, and to be by my phone with my line open. He would call me later with the details. A few hours later the phone rang, and he began to tell me what would become of the thief. He said she was being charged with four felonies, one for theft and three for possession. The only thing she admitted to stealing from me was Gina’s hard drive, probably because it was only $130 and she knew it had to be over $500 to be considered grand theft. Which makes it a felony. What she didn’t know, is that since she had two prior theft charges in Oklahoma, this stuff chard automatically becomes a felony charge. He informed me that her name was not Kiera Tretiakova, that her name was Chalon Miller. When they did a search on that name, it came up empty as well. He went back to her and told her that he knew she still was not being honest with him. And he needed to know who true identity. That’s when she told him that she was actually born Jeffrey Miller. She had her sex, and name legally changed a few years back. Upon hearing this news, Gina’s eyes immediately became the size of silver dollars. She said I just thought she was a lesbian? And I replied to the officer “I’m not surprised.” You see, she always seemed very manly. Honestly I didn’t think that she was just a lesbian. But she did seem a very manly lesbian.

The other unfortunate part about the whole story is that her partner will get away Scott free. There is nothing they can pin on the partner, because the partner never lived with me so they don’t know if she was ever involved in anything. But we all know they work as a team and they both do this to other people. I only wish I knew the partner’s name, or whereabouts so I can inform whomever they are currently scamming at this moment.

In the follow up on the entire situation is this. Yes I should be more careful with who I allow into my phone. Yes I should be more careful with who I decided to roommate with. But the reality is, most times are roommates are people we’ve never met, or a friend of a friend. And in most cases, it’s usually someone you know who cheats you. But I am getting a new roommate. It is a friend I have known for over 10 years, and she’s a trustworthy person. So no worries there.

After hearing the news of my loss, I received many condolences from many people. Mostly telling me how good of a heart I had, and how wonderful person I was to allow someone into my home. And that I did not deserve what happened. And though I appreciate them all, and thank everyone for the kind words. None was more kinder than what I received two weeks ago. A card came in the mail from my good friend Jon Bausman. With a long letter in the card explaining how sad he was to hear about what Gina and I had gone through. He told me what a big heart I had, and how he hope the situation didn’t change me and that he wanted to let me know there were still good people in the world. Inside the card was a check written out to me for $200. He explained that I could spend it on whatever I wanted, put it back towards another camera? Or just use it to do some good. Jon has a bigger heart than most anyone I know, what a great guy. And though I know the gesture never needed to be paid back, or even think. I informed Jon that I could not take his money. He insisted, but I insisted back. The fact that he thought so much of me to do such a kind thing was enough. Jon is the definition of a true friend. Thanks buddy…

TerramarSports Climasense Ecolator TR Review:

TerramarSports Climasense Ecolator TR Review:

omnigames 1 013
Last September, I was approached by TerramarSports to be part of their #terramartribe. As I had no previous experience with their product, but had heard good things from fellow members Kristie and Steve, I was excited for the invite. The opportunity to test new product is always welcome.

I accepted the invitation and received a welcome package soon thereafter. There were a few different styles of Terramar base layers that I received. But I decided to review the Climasense Ecolator TR, because those who know me well, or have stayed with me, know how much I love waffles.

 

The Waffle print, and thumb holes definitely encompassed my style. Super comfortable and stylish, the 1/2 zip can be used as more than just a layer. No doubt, it’s trendy enough to be worn as casual dress.
They are extremely comfortable with odor control as well as moisture management.

Early February Snowshoe in the Wasatch. Warm enough to to remove the jacket

Early February Snowshoe in the Wasatch. Warm enough to to remove the jacket

The Climasense 3.0 Ecolator TR 1/2 zip and crew styles come in 3 fashionable colors: Black/Olive/Burgundy for men. And Black/Pink/Purple in ladies. The Baselayer Pants only come in Black. The sizing mostly fits true, plus longer sleeves, making it nice for added warmth and range of motion.

black terramar crewgreen terramar half zippink ladies terramar half zip

Climasense is a 4 level product line. 1.0 Trailhead. 2.0 Thermolator. 3.0 Ecolator. 4.0 Glacier Fleece. Adding warmth with each raising level. The TR provides a warm effect when you are cold and vice versa, a cooling effect if you are warm.

terramar pants

Likes: SUPER comfortable. Warm, and fast drying and totally breathable. I’m absolutely infatuated with the stylish look. I like any clothing article with thumb-holes, and the mock turtle neck 1/2 zip is a great look. Well worth the price of $50 for the 1/2 zip and $40 for the crew top or pants. A great buy that you will not be disappointed with.

Dislikes: the pants seem to be the one article that sizing is a little iffy? The waist did seem to ride a little low, and after a wash they were a little bit smaller. Would recommend going with a size larger maybe. As we all know, sizing can be tricky when ordering on line and not trying on.

Overall: I am more than happy with the Terramar Climasense Ecolator TR series. And will definitely be investing further in the other levels of Climasense and you should as well. I am truly that impressed with these Baselayers.

For more info on the great products by TerramarSports please visit their website at: http://terramarsports.com/

Another awesome weekend snowshoe Photo by Shawn Parry

Another awesome weekend snowshoe
Photo by Shawn Parry

I am currently an ambassador for Terramar. I was asked to review a couple of products with an invitation to be part of their #terramartribe. In no way did their offer influence my review. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.

Pushing the Limits

I’ve recently read a few blog posts, tweets and actually talked with other climbers in person about a subject I find rather familiar in the climbing world. Whether or not to push your limits.?

Sending Kelly's Arete V5 in Joes Valley Photo cred: Haley Dahle

Sending Kelly’s Arete V5 in Joes Valley
Photo cred: Haley Dahle

Let’s face it, when your rock climbing, your either pushing your limits, or static. When you first started climbing, you were pushing your limits weren’t you? Most people don’t send the introductory route. How did it go? A friend asked you if you wanted to go rock climbing, you agreed, and off you went. When you got to the crag, you were like “we’re going to climb THAT?” You probably struggled, maybe even gave up and threw in the towel after 20′? Walked away thinking ‘rock climbing is really too hard?’

Uber Classic 'The Angler'

Uber Classic ‘The Angler’

Most likely you were Syked no matter how you did. Isn’t that what led you back to the rock? Again and again? The  desire to divide and conquer. You worked harder, you figured it out, eventually you crushed that beginner route that first told you to “come back when your ready”. And you moved on…

Took this photo from the bottom of the crack

Took this photo from the bottom of the crack

Why? If you were happy just being outdoors, why not just go to same crag? Why not just Crush… Crush… Crush… Why challenge yourself with new, interesting and unfamiliar routes? What’s the point? Grades aren’t your thing anyways right?

Terrifying topout....YIKES!!!

Terrifying topout….YIKES!!!

The truth is, the human spirit desires challenge. That’s why we strive to learn, to move forward to promote at out jobs. That why we have all competed at some point in our lives, whether it be rock climbing or spelling bees. We yearn to see how far we can go, how much we can take… We reach to better ourselves. It’s in our nature, it is why we live. Complacency is death. Boredom. We fear it… At least I do.

Fire Side... We had the BIGGEST Blaze in the campsite

Fire Side… We had the BIGGEST Blaze in the campsite

How does this pertain to rock climbing you ask? Well I ask you, why not push your limits? Why not improve, move on, expand your array of climbing? Why not try harder, work harder? If  you’re climbing 5.9 right now, sending… You should be trying 5.10. End of discussion. Sorry, it’s how I feel. Move forward. Move up. I’m not accusing you of being weak, but I am accusing you of not pushing your potential. Not trying to your ability.

Crimpin' HARD in Joes

Crimpin’ HARD in Joes

When you do this, you will find that not only have you expanded the amount of routes you are capable of trying. You have more than doubled them most likely. You will find you have the goods to achieve far more than you ever dreamed possible.

Blue feet means climbed hard

Blue feet means climbed hard

For years, climbing plateaued at 5.14D, until someone dreamed big. Now 5.15 seems to be the norm. Are these rating legit? Well they must be, because only a handful of people can conquer them. And I say thank you! You have given the future something to shoot for, something to desire, something to accomplish… Then move on, move forward. NOTHING is impossible.

Shirt off means serious Biznas... Still got my Arse kicked

Shirt off means serious Biznas… Still got my Arse kicked

If you disagree, I want you to ask yourself one thing. ‘How Syked  was I when I first started climbing?’ Remember when the challenge was so hard, you didn’t defeated the first try? Everybody loves climbing a classic route, yes we love to do that multiple times. But remember, there are more classic routes at every grade. And Until you push yourself you will never know

Exhaustion has set in... Just soakin' up the sun

Exhaustion has set in… Just soakin’ up the sun

 

 

 

 

 

Trustin’ Lads may be my downfall

One of the first pics I took with my now stolen DSLR

One of the first pics I took with my now stolen DSLR

 

I like to believe in the notion that people are mostly good. That if in need, our fellow-man is there to help out. That not everyone is out to get some in life… I’m not sure I can honestly say this is still my thoughts.

Throughout my 36 years, I’ve learned one thing that does ring true. You can only ever count on one person, YOURSELF! Now I may seem bitter, and come off a bit angry. But really I’m not that angry. Yes I’m mad that I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, that I opened up opportunity, and people have seized it.Joes valley 062

The truth is, my one major fault is Trustin’ Lads… Because I’ve opened my heart up to so many, the odds will eventually kick in. It will undoubtably backfire on me one way or another. I’ve been let down, dropped by the ones I thought loved me the most, in a time when I needed them the most. I’ve pushed aside, while watching others move forward in their career goals, and I’m left doing the leg work. And though I know in these situations, I did have some control over the outcome. And being “too nice” has left me regretting. I’ve always live under the motto that I’d rather be a good person with integrity, then step on others on my way to the top.

Since I purchased my home, I’ve invited multiple people into it. Free place to stay… People I barely knew anything about, but just had a good vibe with them. And it’s always worked out alright. I’ve made friends, roommates, even adventure buddies. Hopefully for life. But recently, I answered an ad on Craigslist. Someone that needed a place to live, needed a bed, and needed it soon and cheap. I thought, ‘Hey, it will help me out financially, and I’m helping someone else.’ Win-Win! Maybe I gain another adventure partner out of this at very least.? Boy was I wrong.Joes valley 029

After the rent was late and I had to get after her for it, the vibe was not so good. She promptly paid me, and I just gave her the benefit of the doubt. She said she came from out-of-state, had an agency moving her belonging here for her. Seemed plausible. But then I began noticing little things. She called and complained EVERYTIME she ordered dinner. Got a free meal credited. I started thinking ‘your just taking advantage of these companies’. She was still eating the meals they sent out. But getting a second one on the house. She was a cheat, a scam artist. And still, I didn’t listen to my heart. I had half a mind to kick her out. I knew I wasn’t going to keep her around at the end of the month. Mostly because I didn’t trust her, but I had a sneaking feeling something was amiss.Joes valley 013

Then 1 week before her month was up, my other roommate Gina told me she was missing her Percocet she had just gotten from her surgery. I was furious, I knew exactly who took it. But Gina pleaded with me not to confront her. Gina was scared to be alone with her. Scared she would try to retaliate when I was not around. And Gina being helpless, I understood. So we came up with a white lie to get her to move out. Told her my sister bedded a place to go, that she had been kicked out by her BF. But not to seem to obvious, I still didn’t kick her out ASAP. I still ignored the warning in my heart. And after contacting the police when I found Gina’s pills in her belongings. The police said there was nothing they could do. No proof they said… He said she said they told us… So I made the decision to play out the lie. And boy did it cost me big time.

After she left, I noticed $120 missing from my wallet. Gina said she was missing an external hard drive. Then 2 separate cameras were gone. Yes, including my brand new Canon DSLR that I just purchased. It was being stored in my vehicle, she must’ve removed it when I was sleeping, or in the shower.? I’ve also noticed my vehicles spare keys are gone? Did I misplace them? I doubt it… And I’m sure in time, I will notice more things here and there.

It seems I was EXTREMELY naïve? Trustin’ Lads has always been my downfall. No, it doesn’t make me a bad person, but an easy target? Yes! Vulnerable? Yes! Stupid? YES!Joes valley 020

I’d like to sit here and say that it won’t affect my outlook on life… But that would be a lie. I was once the guy that pulled over and gave a young lady a ride 10 miles to a phone. Just because she had nowhere else to go. I had believed in good karma, but the reality is if you leave yourself open someone, somewhere will see opportunity and they will seize it. I’ve since changed the locks in my house, reprogram the garage door opener and change the code. Cut wood blocks to keep all the windows closed. And yes, I pulled my 9 mm out of the lock box and loaded the clip it now sleeps right next to me.Joes valley 065
I’m even considering a security system, getting a dog. Or maybe just selling my house altogether? I feel violated, someone came into my home invited and I let them take advantage of me and my friend. I don’t even feel like I can leave my house alone without wondering if someone trying to get into it? I shouldn’t have to feel unsecure in my own home, my roommate should not have to feel unsafe staying in my home.

We all affect the outcome of the world, whether it be for good or bad, we all play apart. I choose to play the good part.Joes valley 039

Top 10 Bad Climbing Experiences:

Sean Kenny crushin' the cave portion of SPROUT 5.13A Maple Canyon

Sean Kenny crushin’ the cave portion of SPROUT 5.13A Maple Canyon

It’s February 12th, I’ve been home sick from work for the past few days, and unable to completely concentrate on just about anything. Random thoughts keep passing through my mind, climbing, ORshow, gear reviews… Not to mention my day job and the pending skills review test I have up coming.

Climbing is the way I choose to clear my mind normally, but with the current Black Lung of Death cough and my wrist injury, I haven’t been able to climb in almost 2 weeks. When I suddenly realize, it was 20 years ago that I started climbing. Flash back to winter 1994 – A young, skinny wrestler embarks on a relatively new sport called Rock Climbing. A love was born. I quit wrestling, and began climbing as much as possible. Though life became more important at times, I’ve climbed an accumulation of many routes, in many different places. But not nearly as much as I would have liked. Here is a list of my 10 worst climbing experiences.

10- Jump starting the car all the way home – In the summer 1994, my friends and I wanted to go climbing so bad, we drove a car to the canyon that had a bad battery. Once the car was started, we were able to get to the crag. But then needed to get jump started in the parking area, again at the red light we got stopped at getting onto the freeway and getting off the freeway. About a 4 blocks from my house, the car died one more time, Sean and I just pushed it home while Daniel steered. This was an act of desperation from some young, stupid climbers.

9- A friend quits climbing after frustration – During the same summer, my friend Tom quit climbing pretty much all together after being upset, or should I say really pissed off. His inability to send a route and another friend releasing frustration that he would now “have to clean the route in the dark”, led directly to him quitting climbing. Sean came pretty unglued that Tommy chose to give the route a go in the dimming day light hours and failed to succeed. After we descended the trail back to the car, Tom offered to sell his climbing gear to our friend Jason, and has never since really resumed climbing. Kind of a bummer considering he is like a brother to me.

8- Falling clipping the Anchors on 5.12A – On my second trip to Mount Charleston near Las Vegas, Nevada. I was going for a send on my 3rd 5.12A Short Dog. A smooth bulging face with that flows from crimps to deep pockets to a series of shallow 2 and 3 finger pocket and a pinch that you clip the anchors from. After a few goes, I had the moves dialed and decided this was my time to send. I sail through the start crux V4 boulder problem, stopping to rest on the JUGS.  A few good shakes, catch my breath and onward I go, powering through the shallow pockets and the tenuous hand foot match and bump hard to the final pinch. I drag the slack up and reach for the anchors, the death shake protruding through my ankles. My grip loosens as I struggle to secure the rope in the through anchor hooks… TAAAAAKE!!!! I hurl towards the ground and the slack tightens as I begin to swing, spinning like a top. And Sean says “That counts”.

7- Food poisoning at Wild Iris – A few summers ago in 2009, my friend Sean and I went on a climbing trip to Wild Iris. On the way up there, we stopped at the Taco Time in Rock Springs, Wyoming for food and I got poisoned. It must have been the “meat” product I ate, as Sean doesn’t eat meat and did not get sick. Needless to say, I had to visit the Port-o-John before taking the long hike out to W.I. Seemingly ok, I began climbing. But between routes, I ran back and forth from the crag to the woods, doing my best to bury the traceable evidence. After my last go, and sending my first 5.12A, it hit me and my gut plunged. I darted back to woods, getting out of sight just in time as I lowered my shorts and unintentionally “sprayed” the boulder I was hiding behind. I returned flush and a bit dehydrated, Sean asked if I was ok? My send had been a little over-shadowed by my situation. The worst part was that the International Climbing Festival was happening that weekend. Flash attempt Nine Horse Johnson 5.11C Wild Iris

 
Flash attempt Nine Horse Johnson 5.11C Wild Iris

6- Infected zombie toe at Moes – Last February, I made a trip down to Moes Valley in StG to do some bouldering with Sean. Meeting up with now friends Cody, Bryan (the Professor) & Danielle, the trip started well. We began working on Underwhelmed, a steep roof problem rated V6. Doing almost every move under the roof, I was feeling pretty good about the next few days. That night, I removed an ingrown toe-nail and by morning, it was oozing pus and to painful to put weight on. I tried warming up, but could not even stand on my right foot, not too mention wearing my 1 size smaller climbing shoes. Hitting a low when my foot popped on a V3 slab and my toe kicked forward smacking the hard sandstone. I had to spot all day and watch everyone else send. Hard thing to do for a climber. I did however send a V4 the following day and 2 V5’s two weeks later.

5- Falling and nearly decking on right pile – Two summers ago in 2012, I started climbing with a new partner. Steve and I did quite a bit of climbing that summer, sending a lot and getting know one anothers climbing abilities. Late in August, I took him up to the Dog Pile to give my long time nemesis route a go. After 2 warm-up goes on Dog Pile (I swear, the worlds hardest 5.10b), I felt good to get on Right Pile 5.11D. I had climbed this route more than any other route ever. I powered through the first 2 bolts trying to climb quickly to the JUG rest at the 4th clip. As I reached down to grab a length of rope and make a smooth 3rd clip, I missed the biner and draw began to swing. With a handful of rope in my left hand, my right hand popped off the hold. Being only 20′-25′ up my immediate thought was “DON’T DECK! DON’T DECK!” Luckily my belayer did an awesome job reading the mishap and the rope tightened with me landing around his shoulder height. Clearly I was shaken, and still had to make my way backup the route to finish and clean it. I had never felt so nervous on a climb before, but was able to finish after hanging on pretty much every clip ground to top. I still haven’t sent Right Pile.

4- Dropping Kale Berg in the gym – I started climbing in the winter time, so we were limited with the weather how much we could get out. One day we decided to check out a brand new climbing gym in the valley ‘The Wasatch Front Rock Gym’. I was relatively new to the sport, and still a little intimidated. I just met Kale Berg that day, he was the responsible for starting Sean in the sport. Kale roped up and handed me the belay and told me to belay him on lead in the cave. I had never lead belayed before, and should have said so at this point. But not wanting to feel stupid, I accepted the challenge. As he made his way up the wall, each tugging for slack at each clip. He tore off at the anchors yelling yeeehaaw as he took a 20′ whipper in the gym. I caught him about 5′ from the deck, clearly surprised by what had just happened. I stood there in awe, Kale just smiling and laughing. When Dan (the guy who was working the gym that night) said “WHOA! What? Are you the shittiest belayer in the world?” That really stuck with me.

3- Watching my youngest son struggle with heights on a descent – I took my boys climbing in Maple Canyon about 2 years ago, and both of them were natural at ascending up the rock. They were just on a 5.6, but Kemry literally crushed it, and Caelan was doing really good. I told him to just go up as far as he wanted and then he could come back down. He got about 20′ and said “Ok, I’m ready to come back down”. When I told him to let go of the rock and I would lower him, he had a death grip on the cobbles. Poor kid wouldn’t let go, he was scared to trust the rope to hold his 65lbs. It took me, Jeremy and my other son Kemry about 20 minutes to get him talked into coming all the way to the ground. It was really sad watching my child suffer because of his fear. And he hasn’t been climbing since… But he has let me lower him on a rappel.

2- Seeing Kale Berg fall and hit a tree – The first summer that I was climbing, we advanced rather quickly through the grades. In just 6 months time, we were already pushing 5.12’s. Young kids with nothing better to do than hit the crag 4-5 days a week. One day while climbing in American Fork Canyon, Kale decided to lead a route called The Premise 5.11C. I wanted to try to get a good pic of him sending, so I chose to hike around the back and take some top shots. When suddenly, I heard a loud thump. And I thought to myself, ‘Did he just hit that tree?’ I ran back to the base of the crag to find Kale screaming, and his leg covered in blood. A tree branch had protruded his calf when he came off the rock. We loaded him into the car and Eric drove him to the hospital as Sean and I recovered the gear. I asked Sean what had happened? He told me Kale was clipping the 5th bolt, had a lot of slack pulled up and was super pumped. When suddenly the hold he was clutching to broke off. Rope in one hand, rock in the other, he came crashing down into the tree full force. When brought firmly to the ground, he was still clutching the rock. Kale was ok, but was never the same climber again. Sean and I went back and sent that route years later after shock had worn off. In the new guide-book it is now rated 5.11C/D… I wonder why?

I think my belayer has fallen asleep..?

 
I think my belayer has fallen asleep..?

1- Get A Grip – I had only been climbing about 7 months. Our group within the group decided to do some climbing at the upper S-curve area that day. After a few quick warm up routes, we thought we would do some laps on the areas best 5.11A’s. First one we got on was Get a Grip, a short 3 bolt bulgy slope session. After clipping the 3rd bolt, I had the long run out to the chains. Long enough were you could deck if you fell at the anchors. As I began to move upward, I froze… Down climbed. Rested. continued up, couldn’t work my way past the slopers. Down climbed. Rested. Shook, tried to regain my composer. I started my final try, my arms were done. Still I couldn’t make it through. I released my grip and the rope didn’t tighten… I looked to the ground as I fell, my mind flooding with thoughts. I’m going to hit the F*CKING ground. It was like slow motion. Suddenly, I was spinning like a top, my feet dangling 3′ from the deck, my blood boiling, heart pounding. I had just fallen over 20′, and my belayers eyes were as wide as two $.50 cent pieces. His break hand holding firmly on the down side of the rope. Not understanding what just happened.? After my feet touched firmly to the ground, I removed my harness and learned that I had hit a boulder when I fell. My favorite 5.10 shirt was shredded and I had blood coming from a large cut on my left rib. Sean and Jeremy asked me if I wanted to go home? I decided to stay and watch them climb another route and just relax. A few things went wrong that day. I should have communicated better with my belayer. And he should have noticed my discomfort. Not to mention having control of his break hand. We were lucky that day, I was lucky that day. I didn’t break any bones, but was left with a permanent scar and ruined shirt. The following year I went back and crushed Get a Grip… Though I’ve had some bad experiences climbing rocks, I’ve had so many more amazingly awesome experiences. I’ve dodged some bullets, both mentally and physically. But one thing has always been a constant… I love climbing.

Mountain Khakis Review

Erika Wiggins and I getting ready to ride the Mountain Coaster

Erika Wiggins and I getting ready to ride the Mountain Coaster

Mountain Khakis:

My initial thought when I opened the Mountain Khakis postal package, was what a wonderful smell.. It had the scent of a freshly opened pack of gum. I’m not sure why? It just smelled wonderful. Upon inspecting the clothing articles sent to me, I noticed that I had ordered the MK Rendezvous Hoodie and the Original Mountain Pants that I had seen at this years summer #ORshow.

You see, I made this connection with a PR rep for MK, at OR. I was browsing around the tent section at OR by myself and I stopped to grab one of their awesome MK beer coozies (it sports the Wyoming flag on it). Laura and I began talking and she agreed to show me their line. We exchanged information, and she informed me of their ambassador program. I’ve always liked the appearance of their clothing line, a sleek casual look for the outdoor industry. But until now, I didn’t know how comfortable they were.Striking a pose at the Zion NP sign wearing the MK Rendezvous Hoodie

 
Striking a pose at the Zion NP sign wearing the MK Rendezvous Hoodie

     After a quick back and forth through email, Laura gave me the info on the ambassador program, and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a couple of articles? I was thrilled at the opportunity, but being that these items were more cold weather based. I wanted to be sure to out them to an accurate test.Rendezvous Hoodie keeping me warm and dry in The Donut Falls Cave

 
Rendezvous Hoodie keeping me warm and dry in The Donut Falls Cave

So here is what I thought of the MK Rendezvous Hoodie, and Original Mountain Pants:

MK Rendezvous Hoodie

A sleek, classy looking hoodie. Stylish, with thumb holes and a comfortable hood. A zip up collar with rollover chin guard. It’s 100% Merino Wool, easily washable and comes in 3 colors – Black, Clear Blue and Rooster Red.  With 3 pockets that zip up, two for your hands and a 3rd Napoleon pocket at chest level. Wonderful for day hiking in cooler temps, keeping you comfortable at the crag, or just casual wear around the town.

Likes: Looks great, stylish and comfortable. Light weight, yet warm. And did I mention thumb holes. Fits excellent, exposing your personal physique.

Dislikes: The Price. Retails at $159.95. Definitely not for the dirtbag on a budget.

MK Original Mountain Pants

The other item I receive to do a review on is the Original Mountain Pants – Broadway Fit. A durable pant, that’s comfortable and fashionable for any outdoors enthusiast. 100% cotton canvas , with reinforced heel cuffs and triple stitched seams. Making them extra strong. With plenty of pocket space and easy to wash because they are cotton. The fit is natural and flawless to size and you can also get them Flannel Lined for just a little bit more. Great for work and outdoor play. And they come in 5 different colors. But the price can be a bit steep at $79.95, they are worth it considering the durability.

Likes: Comfortable, strong and extremely sharp-looking. The reinforced heels work great since I prefer my pants a little longer at the inseam. And the cotton makes it breathable.

Dislikes: Because it is cotton canvas, they are not as stretchable. Until they are well-worn in, they can be a little stiff. Harder to rock climb in, but they will soften up after a few washes.

Overall: Worth the money spent if you have it. Great products.

Erika Wiggins and I enjoying Oktoberfest at Snowbird

 
Erika Wiggins and I enjoying Oktoberfest at Snowbird

I am not currently an ambassador for MK. I was asked to review a couple of articles as an independent blogger. In no way did Mountain Khakis offer anything or influence my review. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.

#TryingStuff

What is #TryingStuff to you?

I threw out the idea to @K8tlevy that we should do a joint post on what #TryingStuff meant to use. We decided to write our own definitions of what we think #TryingStuff is, and put them together in a joint blog to sum up what our lives are about and how the entire #Omniten program has altered them forever. Here is what we came up with:

Being completely open to new experiences

When I got a mysterious box in the mail with an #OmniTen label on it back in the spring of 2012, I had no idea what to expect. Heck, I didn’t even know what “#OmniTen meant. All I knew was I’d been chosen to be a part of a team of ten passionate outdoors folk who are influential about adventure in the social media realm, and that I’d have the inside scoop on some of Columbia’s newest gear.

I didn’t know being part of the #OmniTen would send me into the mountains around Sedona, deep into the Grand Canyon, along trails to stunning waterfalls, or to Utah to take Columbia’s phrase “#TryingStuff” to a whole new level in the #OmniGames. I didn’t know I’d meet a group of the most adventurous, inspiring people who had the potential to become lifelong friends.

To me, a big part of #TryingStuff means opening yourself up to the possibility of finding adventure, inspiration, friendship, and meaning in new and unexpected places.

Experience

To me, #TryingStuff is taking your experience to a whole new level. Breaking out of the cookie cutter mold your life has so long since been apart of, and getting outside, getting anywhere and experiencing life. See new places, explore something you never would’ve thought you would do before. Step outside the box, even if for just a minute, you will never regret #TryingStuff, even if it doen’t always have the results you were hoping for, just begin Trying more. Life is an adventure, experience it.

Being willing to put it all on the line

#TryingStuff means taking risks. It’s walking a tightrope 55 feet off the ground when you’re terrified. It’s flying thousands of miles from home and not sleeping for 36 hours to spend four days with a big group of people you’ve never met. It’s sharing incredibly personal struggles and stories with the world. It’s being inspired to travel the world. It’s moving to a new state to chase your dreams. It’s being willing to grow, even when you’re not sure what that growth looks like. #TryingStuff is a lifestyle, and that lifestyle is a big part of what made the #OmniTen and the #OmniGames such a success.

Unique

Everything about #TryingStuff is being unique. That means being yourself, even if you’re not accepted, your respected. There’s nothing worse than being ordinary. An ordinary life is a boring life. If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not living. Life has chains, society has chains, break the chains, go beyond the limits and begin #TryingStuff. Try taking a hike alone, Living in your car to find adventure. Heck, just try writing down how you feel on a daily basis, discover yourself. Test your boundaries. That’s the definition of #TryingStuff. No matter what you do, always be willing to try again. Nothing can ever be bad if your #TryingStuff

Remember “If you don’t challenge yourself, who will?”

Breaking the mold with innovation

“Innovation” is defined as “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods,” and Columbia’s been innovating for nearly a century. Originally dubbed the Columbia Hat Company, The Columbia Sportswear we know today is what it is as a result of a #TryingStuff mentality. From being the first to introduce the Gore-Tex™ parka in 1975 to creating a technology that makes it possible for clothing to cool you off, Columbia continues to push the envelope with respect to innovation in gear and apparel. Not all of the gear is perfect, but some of what I’ve seen over the past two years has absolutely blown me away.

And innovation, #TryingStuff, goes beyond outdoor products. To me, the creation of the #OmniTen program – a completely unique grassroots approach to getting gear in the hands of real people willing to test it, retest it, and share honest opinions in a variety of public forums – is the epitome of Trying Stu

Connections

The best part of #TryingStuff is the connections you make doing it. Since I’ve really put myself out in the open #TryingStuff, I’ve met a whole range of new life long friends. Someone who designs tents and packs, a single mom who climbs off-widths… with her kids. A girl who lives in her car traveling North America and writing about it. Someone who moved all the way across the country to a remote town in Wyoming. And now a Canadian with a love for life beyond anyone I’ve met. I’ve seen new and interesting places, and experienced life… Even if it’s just been in small doses thus far.

Through out my experiences of #TryingStuff, the one constant is my love for #IntroducingStuff to new people. I love sharing my experiences with others, and bringing them along for the ride. I wouldn’t trade this for anything. Through #TryingStuff I found my people, I found my place in this world and I live to experience. I Experience via my Imagination, and I’m Adventure Inspired… I have dreams, I love my new Omni-family… I am #Omniten!

#RoadtoJordan – A friendship born

I’d like to say that it was silently snowing outside that morning, like it had been the previous day. But the truth was, the wind was violent. So violent, that we thought the whole might be canceled and the resort would be closed. As Daniel and Tori worked vigorously to figure out what challenges we could still do, we all waited impatiently in anticipation on how the rope course would be, if we got to do it at all. I for one was really excited. It was my time to shine. This was the closest thing to rock climbing, and I wanted to show off my mad skillz. My teammate on the other hand was kind of dreading the whole thing. Katie has a deathly crazy fear of heights. And she was terrified that she was going to have to do the 60′ jump.

Making my way across the high wires Photo by Katie Levy

 
Making my way across the high wires
Photo by Katie Levy

Secretly, little Katie Boue and I had been trying to feed Daniel and Tori with the idea that there was an indoor rock climbing gym near by. We could all go there, they don’t close do to weather. But it was all for not. Daniel got our attention and explained to us that the jump was off. It was too windy to make the jump, the Leap of Faith challenge had been canceled and we would finish out the #Omnigames with the remaining events. I turned to Katie and saw the awesome glow in her eyes that her worst fear was gone. And almost immediately she started to focus on the 50′ ropes course.

Photo cred the Omnipotent David Creech

 
Photo cred the Omnipotent David Creech

We road in the shuttle bus side by side as teammates do, and she told me that she was now really nervous for the ropes courses. As I tried to convince her that she would be ok, I realized I needed to put my own selfish reasons for wanting her to do it aside. She was truly scared. So I looked at her and told her, you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. If your scared, just stay on the ground and we will see what happens. As much as I wanted to get our best chance to go to Jordan, I absolutely didn’t want to see her terrified up there, or freeze up, or cry. And I could tell, she didn’t want to let me down. Although, I don’t think she knew it wouldn’t be letting me down, I understand the fear of heights more than most. Just because I climb, I had a deathly fear of heights growing up, and it still lingers. In high school I froze on a climbing route and took a 20′ fall landing my side on a huge boulder. I still have a scar. But I also know there is only one way to face those fears.

That's me taking center stage on the high wires.  Photo from Ed Zebrowski

 
That’s me taking center stage on the high wires.
Photo from Ed Zebrowski

Now Katie is one tough girl, she’s a cross-fit champion, super muscular, strong and athletic. But underneath that physique, I can tell she is all lady. She has no problem telling you when she feels uncomfortable. Not like us guys, how if we are scared or nervous we try to act cool. Play it off with jokes and such. She’s honest with her feelings. It was inside that one task in particular, I felt like I was absolutely needed. As we approached the high ropes, I agreed to stay behind her and go last so I could help talk her through it. Each obstacle (there were like 25) I did my best to calm her down, tell her to focus on her foot work, keep the weight on her feet and breath… Most importantly, breath. And her very dear friend Heather stayed just in front of hr and talked her through it as well. One fall, and the team was out 100 points, so this was a huge event for us.

Nothing like a little liquid courage on the mountain top

 
Nothing like a little liquid courage on the mountain top

When she finally made it across the last obstacle, she hugged the final log post with a death grip. So happy that she had made it alive, and more happy that she did it without even a flinch of a fall. She ABSOLUTELY crushed that course. Childs play! I felt proud of our team effort in making it across the high ropes course. I knew this girl totally had the strength and ability to do the course, she just needed a little guidance to feel the flow. Sometimes it helps to have someone else show belief in you. It becomes all you need to achieve. And as proud as I was of myself, I felt more pride in how she faced her fears and absolutely destroyed them. Crushing both the high and the low courses with ease. Giving our team some much-needed points to stay in the hunt. The Lookout Below event of the ropes course was really hard, less than half the people who got on the ropes made it through without falling. It played as a key challenge to help many team close the gap. I believe most everybody made it through the Bridge the Gap course.

Katie's Game Face Photo cred David Creech

 
Katie’s Game Face
Photo cred David Creech

Katie didn’t know this, but the entire time she maneuvered the course, Scott Trepanier was behind me, he wanted to give the course his best go as well. He kept telling me how strong she was, how she could easily crush this thing over all the guys in the group, if she just got out of her head and trusted it. It was in those moments, that I saw what a truly great and family oriented company Columbia was. His encouragement, his motivation, I’ll never forget the way he wanted to see her succeed. Not only was he the man who helped put this entire #Omniten program together, but he is actually a friend to everyone involved.

The new USA Bobsled team

 
The new USA Bobsled team

After lunch, the entire group bound up for the final event. I knew we were still not sitting in one of the top 5 spots, and we needed another epic performance by both of us on the Downhill Derby. We were in a race to gain the most vertical elevation in an hour and a half. Basically find a line and a lift that will get you up the mountain and down quickly to burn another run. I felt we had a good chance at gaining more ground. As most the experienced skiers/boarders had beginner partners, Katie and I were both at the intermediate level. And I figured we could both stay within 1-2 runs of most the fastest powder hounds. This is my kind of boarding. I like to get on the toe edge, and ride it to the bottom. I love speed. What I don’t love, is catching the toe edge while flying 40-50mph downhill. Which I actually did. About 200 yards from the lift on my 4th run, I caught the toe edge and went face down. Had my own theme music going and everything. I took a split second to make sure nothing was broken, jumped back up and continued to the lift. It wasn’t until I climbed onto the lift that I realized my snow pants were at my knees. I had completely BLEW UP the snap and the zipper came down. I felt like such a clown.

Jon Bausman & I on the ski lift Photo cred David Creech

 
Jon Bausman & I on the ski lift
Photo cred David Creech

We finished the downhill with somewhere between 8-9 runs each. On my last run, I decided to take it easy and carve a bit. No hurry now, the lifts were closed, the elevation was tracked, all we had to do was wait for the scores to be tallied. We grew as a team in just 2 days, we became closer friends, and I had an enormous amount of respect for all my competitors. We left the winter on the ground that day. No matter what the results, we were part of the inaugural #Omnigames.
Photo cred Heidi Henry

 
Photo cred Heidi Henry

And though when all is said and done, Katie and I might still be on the outside looking in. We might be sitting at #8 like we were before the Charles Dickens event started. But that would be ok. Don’t get me wrong, I want to go to Jordan extremely bad. But I can say this, we gave it our best shot, we left everything out on those courses and we gained a friend for life. I am so proud I was able to compete alongside such an awesome competitor. I really couldn’t have asked for a better teammate, and the truth is, without her we wouldn’t even had been in contention… Thank you Katie for being such an awesome teammate and friend. And thank you Jon and Heather for helping talk Katie through the ropes. You guys are the truth of what friendship is.

At the fashion show Photo by Heidi Henry

 
At the fashion show
Photo by Heidi Henry

I didn’t take a lot of photos, and I somewhat regret that now. I tried to live in the moment, and now I live with nothing but the memories. Memories of people I just met, people who have left a thumbprint on my heart, people I’ll never forget. It’s amazing how Columbia Sportswear can bring together 10 strangers, or 30 strangers for that matter, and we make lifelong bonds. This week was truly epic, a time that will live in my mind as one of the best weeks of my life. I feel truly blessed to be a part of it, and to have met so many wonderful faces.

Closing Ceremonies Tequila Shotski

 
Closing Ceremonies Tequila Shotski