The time in Squamish was too short. I left in such a hurry, I felt cheated of a full experience; but when destiny calls, it's wisest not to hold onto what feels safe. Both Jamie and myself made our way for the airport at 6:00 am. The previous night, we agreed that Jamie would pick me up from the camp site.
Morning came too soon, and the sun was already beginning to peer over the Chief. I took a last recount of all that I could bring with me and felt satisfied. A photography bag, a duffle for clothing, and a backpack for climbing. I didn't know what to expect, other than I was about to hop on a flight back to the states to go to a city I didn't necessarily knew anything about, save for Park City and the Winter Olympic Games.
The airport in Vancouver was bustling with people, more people than I had seen in the last two weeks. Crowds can be unsettling, perhaps nerve racking, and all I could see were people hurried off to something one deemed "professional," while I was simply moving along. Honestly, I had no reason to really be going to Salt Lake, other than a last minute invitation on the courtesy of PETZL's team manager, Dave Burleson. I decided to go. He texted me one morning asking if I wanted to come to Outdoor Retailer, and I said, "Why not? That sounds interesting." Jamie was headed there to meet his new team manager and discuss his future as a PETZL athlete; while I was there simply to hang out with my new friend I first met in Ten Sleep, Wyoming just one month prior.
Four hours, two flights, and a lost baggage later, I had arrived with Jamie in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mormon Country. Also home to Zion, the Utah Jazz, and parts of Yellowstone National Park. Other than that, I had no idea what this city had going for it. Nothing other than eagerness to show Dave my work with Jamie from Squamish, I realized it was going to be a busy week for the both of us and it would be best to make the photos available after his business.
During the week of OR, between walking around and viewing booths, I was able to reunite with some friends I had made on the road. Meetings were taking place between buyers and sellers across the convention center and my time spent there turned out productive. Between shaking Alex Honnold's and Chris Sharma's hand, getting to do a test-day shoot with Alex Puccio, previewing the new Reel Rock 10 movie, hanging out with my good friend Dave, getting to go to PscioBloc, and having J. Star ride in my car... Yeah, it was a pretty great week.
Salt Lake City has so much to offer. When it's summer or fall, you can go climbing in Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood Canyon in the mornings and evenings. There's a wealth of quality ski resorts and backcountry snow minutes from downtown and theres enough good food even the pickiest of eaters can make due. Perceptions of a place can change if you simply let go. My thoughts of Utah being Mormon country were seriously misplaced once I realized how much Salt Lake has to offer in terms of the outdoors.