The air outside is full of the aroma of agriculture, and Johnny Cash classics are being played softly throughout an empty brewery. It's 11:00 am and the rain has just spoiled any plans of being outside. Ten Sleep, Wyoming, a small town with a population sign of 260. It's the morning after a rowdy night of July 4th celebrations, and I'm sitting by myself as a man named Steve sweeps up the previous evening's festivities. He places before me a paper bowl of pretzel sticks and stale popcorn. Perhaps it's not having anything to do in the moment, or the fact that the last photo shoot was less than perfection, but something unsettling is vibrating in my mind.
Last night, Aaron Huey, a National Geographic photographer, gave me his time and spoke to me about how to realize my dreams as a NatGeo staffer. His advice was interesting and his demeanor seemed genuine, but the conversation made me realize how much further I have to push my limits in order to self-actualize my goals of becoming the adventure photographer and alpinist I wish to be.
Ten Sleep, however has proven to be awesome. Even in the heat, the shaded areas are completely climbable and the the majority of people in the town have proven to be friendly. For the most part, anyone who doesn't look like a local is most likely a climber. The Ten Sleep Brewery offers hot showers for two dollars as well as camping at three dollars a night. Ben and I opted out to camp alongside the Old Road near the fish hatchery. Each evening, we wind down the night a campfire at our friend, Cole's campsite alongside the creek, and each morning we wake up slowly and make plans for the day.
June has come as fast as it went, and with the International Climber's Festival approaching, I find myself welcoming every opportunity that comes my way. Because I've always been superstitious and it's my belief that every time I've ever let a sliver of my pride peek through, my opportunities are lost or quickly dissipated. Staying humble has been the theme and I'm doing my best to downplay any connotation that comes along with the declaration of being a photographer.
Being on the road for nearly five and a half months, I'm beginning to get a strong grapple on how to exist efficiently. One thing's for certain, I never plan on coming off the road.