Tag Archives: adventure

Avalanche Retrospect

March 26, 2011: the day the love of my life dealt me a hostile, heartbreaking blow.  I have spent the past 25 years searching for a way to satisfy an endless hunger; a hunger that many of us share, one that occupies our thoughts often: the perfect run, in perfect conditions, with the perfect group of friends. I thought the hunger would never be satisfied and every season, I prioritized the pursuit of it; I expected it with every venture out. Until a year ago – when all priorities and expectations I had about skiing were lost.  I have spent the last twelve months trying to find them again.  

On March 26th, I was involved in a class 3-4 avalanche in the Manti/La Sal Mountains of Utah.  The slide was about 400 feet wide. The crown measured 6-8 feet deep in most places and was caused by a cornice collapsing beneath me. Two friends, both 200 feet away from me, and I were all caught and trapped in the avalanche as it ran 1000 vertical feet. I came away partially buried while my friends were completely submerged.  Two of us survived; one did not. Our friend slipped away the following day from his injuries.

When the cornice fractured, I was instantly thrown into a free-fall. I can’t remember having any visibility until the slide came to a stop. I don’t know if I had my eyes closed or if the powder cloud prevented me from seeing and from having any sense of where I was. I’m sure it was a combination of the two. My other senses seemed heightened at the time. The large chunk of cornice, carrying me with it, slammed into the slope. A shock wave of sound shot across the cirque echoing – deafening and fracturing.  It was like a starting pistol that initiated instant acceleration down the mountain.

Avalanche training rushed through my head, and I started flapping my arms. “Swim. Stay on top!” were the words that kept running through my brain, when all of a sudden the outside world rushed in as I heard the snapping of logs and trees all around me.  With those sounds, my mind shifted to other thoughts, questions, and doubts. “This is big! I’m going under any minute… I may not live through this! I have to see my wife and son again!”   Finally, the noise stopped though I felt like I was still moving.  The powder cloud began to settle, and I looked down to see my legs buried up to my knees. The rest of my body was above the snow and uninjured. I looked to the ridge to signal to my partners that I was okay, and in complete shock, stumbled my way over to a safe zone. The rescue that followed and its outcomes had its triumphs and heartaches, all of which are difficult to retell and relive still to this day.

The avalanche ended my ski season for the year. Even though it continued to snow and there were many perfect powder days left in Utah, I was not able to even entertain the idea of sliding on snow again that season. As the winter continued on for what seemed like forever, each day I found myself not skiing – just battling with my thoughts and doubts and a confused state of mind.  Primary thoughts were of my fallen friend and what we should have done differently to prevent the tragic accident. Secondly, I kept thinking about how I came away from such a large avalanche unscathed.  And thirdly, I kept questioning, “How will this affect my future?” Up to this point in my life, everything I had done or wanted to accomplish had been based around enjoying the outdoors and spending as much time as possible in the mountains, on rivers, and in the ocean. What if I’m too scared to get my life back on track? What if passions become consumed by fear?

The loss of a loved one while doing what you love

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The friend I lost was a person who truly inspired me every time our lives brushed, whether that time was spent in conversation or outside pursuing life.  He had a way of making me feel that I could do anything – and if by chance I tried something and couldn’t do it, he would convince me that simply trying would make me ten times stronger.  It was impossible to say no to an adventure with him. He was a person who was very aware of the risks he would take while seeking out adventure.  He always knew that something unfavorable could happen or that there was a chance for failure, but this awareness did not deter him from giving 110% to every undertaking.  He was firm and self-disciplined when he needed to be, but he also recognized when levity and comfort were the best tactics for success. 

I thought about all of this when we were able to locate him and started digging him out of the debris pile with downed trees and large chunks of avalanche debris all around him. Finally, we uncovered his face.  It was blue, and he was lifeless. At that moment, the first thought racing through my mind was that if any person could recover from a situation like this, it would be him. His strength and tenacity could will him away from death.  Back to life. Back to us.  After we performed CPR for almost an hour, his heart was beating again, and he was breathing on his own.  We knew our friend could do it, always giving 110% even though he’d left us for a short time.

The rescue team evacuated him and transported him to the hospital where he would continue to battle for his life. It was calming to me to know that we didn’t have to leave a friend on the mountain. I was also comforted in seeing that he was continuing to work hard to succeed in his fight to see another day and another adventure.  The calm and comfort were short-lived as the following day; he passed away due to the trauma of the accident. His brain had swollen to the point that it was causing irreparable damage to his brain functions.  This was the first time in my life that someone this close to me had passed. The grief of this loss, along with the knowledge that I had been a part of the accident that caused it, weighed heavily on me then and has continued to sit in the background of my life today.

A funeral followed six days later.  The gathering of people who came to pay their respects was astounding. The power that my friend had to motivate me to push on and to succeed obviously was not limited to our circle of skiing and climbing friends. He had touched the lives of literally thousands.  I am sure each had experienced his influence in a different way and my friend probably never even realized it. The way he chose to live his life was at a level that shined high above the standard of an average acquaintance or friend. The power of that passion was recognized while he was with us and even now continues to fuel others to live feverishly, to try, to fail, and to learn.

Weeks turned into months and each day I continued to be inspired by my friend and his example of how to make the most out of life with the opportunities given.  Everyone is dealt a different hand here on earth, but no one is forced to give up. We retain the choice to continue to give 110% in all that we do.  Every day we can choose to push on and to become stronger despite the challenges that unplanned events and situations press upon us.

Chance, luck or destiny?

On the day of the avalanche, there were a total of seven of us in our ski party. Three of us were involved in the slide:  Mark, Garrett, and I. All three of us ran the entire length of the slide path. I came out on top and unscathed. Mark was fully buried except for one exposed hand. We were able to dig him out quickly, and he never lost consciousness. Garrett was fully buried except for the heel of his boot; his head was buried three feet under the snow.  By the time we uncovered him he was unconscious and not breathing.  How was it that I was only partially buried? Did I do something right?  Was I in the best spot possible? Why did I stay on top?  Why? Why? Why? How? How? How?  These are the questions that plagued my thoughts continuously in the months following the avalanche. Even today, when I let my mind wander on this subject, it causes many sleepless nights and moments of panic and worry.  The scenarios and possibilities of outcomes replay in my head and lead to endless “what ifs” that I will never know the answers to.

Is it healthy to ask questions, especially when I know I will never have an answer to them?  I often find answers that I justify in my head as truth.  But as time moves on, I find my conviction of this truthfulness slipping away and becoming just another void that cannot be filled. I often wonder how others deal with tragedy and grief. Should I categorize my experience as a lesson? One that I can pull valuable bits of knowledge and experience from for the rest of my life? Or do I work towards forgetting about all the pain and agony it has caused me so I can return to my passion of skiing with less fear and inhibition? I feel there are endless possibilities of how to deal with the memories and that a happy healthy medium must exist somewhere between these two extremes. The true challenge, one I believe I’ll be overcoming for the rest of my life, will be to find that medium and hold to it.  

Garrett was a very honest and blunt individual with only one fear: the fear of someday being trapped in a position where he would not be able to seek out adventures and share them with the world through his artistic talents as a photographer.  It was important to him to live and learn and share – with passion.  I often imagine the conversation we would have had if he had pulled through. I am sure he would have been very grateful that we helped him get out alive. But – he would be more concerned about what went wrong. Where did we cross the line? What can we learn from this experience? He would tell me that this experience has made us stronger and that we would be safer as we continue to explore all the possibilities in the mountains as they continue to teach us valuable life lessons.  Perhaps this is what makes the experience such a great tragedy. The man, the friend we lost, is the one who could have taught us the most about how to grow from a loss like this.

Skiing: the grace of the season

The 2011-2012 ski season in Utah has been called the worst in 30 years.  We waited and waited, but the snow never came. We had to make do with a rotten 3-inch base until the end of February. And when a little flurry of snow finally came, our base was so shoddy that no one dared to step onto a slope over 30 degrees. It was almost eerie to look up at all the great peaks and lines of the Wasatch and not see a single track on them or any sign of ski life anywhere near them. We were all happily skipping meadows and cruising low-angle treed runs. 

In a way, this was a blessing for me and my attitude entering the season. I hadn’t skied since the accident, and I wanted to put my game face on and approach the season like any other. To use a combination of metaphors, I wanted to “get the monkey off my back and get back on the horse again.”  And though I was trying to have a positive attitude and get my stoke level up, inside I feared that I would never be as excited as I was before the avalanche. I feared that my anxiety and worry would drown my joy of being in the mountains with friends – with skis on my feet and looking out at the beautiful panoramas that surrounded me.  I have always enjoyed a challenge; exploring new areas and getting a little out of my comfort zone. But now, would that sense of being challenged turn into being uncomfortable with big mental blocks that paralyzed me? I knew this season would be an interesting one and that I could not enter it trying in any way to predict the outcome. 

Due to the snow and the terrible snowpack, I was easily convinced to stay home for the majority of the season. I would get out when I felt I needed exercise and fresh air. I was definitely not going out for the skiing itself. Having been raised in Utah and always having the best skiing in the world within 30 minutes of where I was residing, I admit I’m a powder snob; I don’t even try to pretend that 4-6 inches of new snow or less is enough to get me super excited about putting in a big day on skis.  I take quality over quantity any day, which is probably why I stay in Utah and love it so much.  In a typical season, I don’t have to sacrifice quantity for quality; we normally have an abundance of both.   

My first day back on skis was on Thanksgiving, and actually, it was one of the best days of the season for me. The snow was good, I was with good company, and I was skiing in a familiar location which was safe and comforting.  It was similar to the feeling of returning home and indulging in a big cheeseburger and fries after traveling abroad for a while and eating lots of food that I can’t even pronounce, let alone recognize. It just felt good.    

I let everyone on the first run drop in before me: I was nervous with the anticipation of how it would feel. I was also thinking about Garrett; how the light was good for a photo op and how he would want me to ski to get the best shot. I planted my poles and pushed away and began to turn through the condensed, creamy powder.  A tear formed as I remember why I do what I do.  Skiing brings a strong, healthy sensation that puts a smile on my face no matter what the conditions are.  That feeling is elevated when I’m with good friends, sharing the experience of what I love with those I love.  After only three turns, I knew that my love for skiing was still inside me. It may have matured or changed, but it was still there. I turned into where the group was gathered with a huge smile on my face. It just felt good.

Mid-season, I was feeling like the actual ski season had not really started. I hadn’t skied nearly as much as I usually do by mid-January. I knew I needed exercise and to get out and wander a little bit in the mountains. I left work early one afternoon and headed up for a mellow tour to check out what was going on in the backcountry.  I needed to clear my mind of all the other distractions of everyday life:  work, commitments, and general junk that no one really wants to think about.  I cruised to a location I knew was safe with plenty of options to get down no matter what the conditions were.  After about an hour and a half, I found myself with a friend – cruising along a divide boasting a great panoramic. To the west was the area we were going to ski, a mellow slope of meadows and aspen glades. To the east of the ridge was an infamous slope in the Wasatch. It’s famous not only for the great skiing but also for the regular, large slides it produces. It’s very similar in size and shape to the bowl where Garrett was buried. As soon as I looked over the edge, peering at the avalanche debris below, my heart sank. I instantly had to back away and sit down on the wind-scoured ridgeline. A rush of nervousness and panic filled my mind and caused a slight sensation of vertigo. I thought I had progressed a long way in managing the post-traumatic effects of the avalanche, but it had only taken one small glance to cause me to relapse. Will I ever ski an open slope over 35 degrees again?  Definitely not this season and possibly not for a while. It took a minute or two to calm my nerves and focus on what I was there to do; ski some mellow terrain.

Nearing the end of the ski season in Utah, we were finally graced with what this great state is famous for POWDER.  Almost three feet of fluffy white stuff fell in just three days. It was almost too late as most people had already put their skis away for the season and started pedaling bikes. The best part about the storm was that the snowpack had settled substantially, and the new snow was staying put and was safe to ride.  It was a Monday morning, and I could not believe I was sitting at work. I could focus on work-related things for about 3 seconds at a time before my mind would wander, thinking about what conditions were like up Little Cottonwood Canyon. I finally convinced a friend to bail from work early and head up the canyon with me. We skied a slope that was around 32 degrees. Each turn, I was greeted with another face full of snow. My teeth were hurting at the bottom of each run like I had just bitten into a thick Popsicle. This was due to the huge smile plastered on my face and the snow continually rising up off my tips and blowing past my chin and cheeks.

The day grew late and the sun set on our glorious runs. We came prepared because we knew we were experiencing what could be the only truly good day of the season. We pulled out our Ultra headlamps and made two more laps by starlight with a little help from our friends at Petzl. Each lap became a little slower. We could tell we had not had a day that really merited multiple laps yet this season. It was the end of March and I was having my first powder day of 2012. We weren’t skiing anything scary or risky. We were only concerned with a slope angle steep enough to keep our momentum up and the ability to turn around and make another quick lap. No big bowl, steep chute, or committing line was present. Only great snow and a good friend, and the day quickly became the best skiing of the season. Maybe my priorities have changed, but if a day like this one in late-March becomes my focus, I am okay with that. It just felt good.

Will this day become the theme of my ski passion for the rest of my life? I don’t believe it will. I know that there will be a day when avalanche conditions, snow conditions, partners and confidence levels will all align again, and I’ll have the opportunity to ski a steeper slope without anxiety. I believe the search is still on, and it may require more patience, a new search method, or perhaps a shift in the ultimate goal. No matter what changes, the means to that goal will remain the same. I need to get out, explore my options, learn from my experiences and keep my mind open to new opportunities. I still believe this will lead me to the perfect run, in perfect conditions, with the perfect group of friends.

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Thoughts in the Wind

Late last August Becky and I spent the night in a tent at 11,700 feet. We left the trailhead at 1pm when it was 75 degrees and gorgeous. When we arrived at out campsite, there was a standard alpine breeze and it was refreshing after our 4,500 vertical foot climb. I was tired but invigorated by the view of our objective for the next day. I thought it might be hard to sleep because i was so excited. But I figured I was tired enough that it would not take me long to fall asleep.

Bek saddle

Shortly before sunset, the wind picked up. It was as if all of a sudden it discovered that it was driving well below the speed limit so it stepped on the gas to over compensate for how slow it had been going earlier. It quickly became a steady  30 mph wind with gusts  up to 65mph. With each shake of the tent, I could feel my chances of sleep quickly blow off the side of the mountain and into the sky.

So there I laid at 8:30pm. trying to figure out how to fall asleep. I thought I would share the thoughts that ran through my head for the next 8 hours before my 4:34am alarm went off.
8:36pm – I bet I will be asleep by 9.
8:38pm – Do I have to pee? I just peed. No way I have to pee. Stop thinking about peeing. The more I think about it, the more I will have to pee. I don’t want to go pee in the wind again.
8:45pm – I can’t believe Becky is already asleep. I want to talk to someone. Should I wake her up? She would be so mad at me.
9:00pm – I wonder how many people camping around me are actually sleeping. It is so windy! I wonder how much wind it takes to blow away a tent with 2 humans in it?
9:45pm – I just heard Eliza giggle. I wonder if I can go sit it their tent and chat. I am bored.
10:08pm – Yeah I have to pee. Dammit. I am going to hold it until morning. I can hold it for 6 more hours right?
10:17pm – These earplugs are not doing anything. Who makes these things anyway? I know I just got a box of 20 for $3 but my fingers do a way better job at this.
10:32pm – Is the wind stopping? Nope. Not at all. Pretty sure this tent is going to rip in half!
10:46pm – Yep I have to pee. And If I hold it, I will never get to sleep. But I don’t want to pee in this wind again. It just vaporizes as soon as it hits the air. I feel like the risk of a mess is to high.
11:01pm – Fine I’ll go pee! Just stop thinking about pee!
11:03pm – (Now outside my tent in my underwear in the wind) Ahhh! it is so windy!
11:18pm – Maybe these earplugs are keeping me awake. I am going to take them out
11:21pm – (Now without earplugs) What is happening?!! I feel like I am going deaf! It is so loud!
12:03am- My mother in law would disapprove of this whole situation
12:37am- Is Becky faking sleep? No way she is really asleep.
1:05am – Did I just fall asleep? Nope. Guess not.
1:40am – “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too, I’d wanna be me too” THIS SONG
2:30am – WIND!!! YOU ARE THE WORST!!! QUIT BEING A JERK!!
3:11am- You think Becky has slept enough that she wouldn’t be mad if I woke her up to make out? I am super bored!
3:43am – DAMN YOU PEE! I am not getting out of the tent again!
4:34am – Snoring.
I finally ripped myself out of the tent around 5:30 and enjoyed one of the windiest, but most incredible sunrises of my life. With hesitation we finally started climbing. And on about 1 hour of sleep, we summited, descended, and I drove the back to Utah. Finally getting to sleep around midnight the next night. Now that I am sitting here in my quiet bedroom,  I have to say that it was probably my favorite night of the summer.
-Pitt
summit GT

Summit Selfie


Weekend Warrior or Adventurer?

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I have an office job. I have a wife with a job that she loves. I have a son about to start kindergarten. I have a daughter that has more control over my heart then Cupid himself. I have an unquenchable desire to explore and be on an adventure. Where do I find a balance to fulfill all my roles and pursue my desires?   Work and my career are necessary to participate in society but it also is the biggest hurdle. Modern society has put many of us in quite the predicament. Most people complain about how out of whack they feel when they get off schedule. Routine is seen as a savior and not a hinderance. At an early age we get the habit of making excuses because we do not have time. Or that we cannot do something because it does not line up with our normal routine.

The past few years there has been a huge increase of people that are quitting their 9-5, selling all their non essential belongings and hitting the road all in the name of adventure. #vanlife. They cannot handle the daily routine anymore. I understand this. I have thoughts of walking out the door of my office job and never looking back. I would love my life to be one big endless adventure. But I also want my wife and kids to be happy, have a social life, school experiences, a chance to have some roots if they want. It is hard to balance the drive for adventure and the desire to be home with my family.

A few years ago a guy named Alastair Humphreys introduced the idea of micro adventures #microadventure. Asking the question “What do you do with your 5-9?” In modern life, we are all sucked into the idea that the most important part of our day happens between 9-5. 40 hours a week we are required to be at work, school, or giving our time to someone else. That leaves 128 hours a week for us to accomplish other things in life. Yes we have to sleep, but most of us are willing to sacrifice some sleep every week to binge on a Netflix series. Yes we have to run errands, grocery shop, attend to responsibilities, But again most of this falls into the hours close to that 9-5 block.  With a little planning and creativity you have a lot of hours each week to accomplish so many things. How do you break out of the mold of being a working stiff and be an adventurer while still being a working stiff?

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I remember many years ago. I thought the title of “weekend warrior” was a derogatory term. I thought  adventures were not meant to be confined to just weekends. I always wanted to maintain the ability to drop everything mid week and chase a dream. Limited vacation days were something so corporate! My view changed once I landed my first 9-5 job. I came to realize the value of those 2 precious days at the end of the work week and the few weeks each year. They are greater then any paycheck, bonus, stock option or 401k. They are a saving grace, a therapist, a recovery sponsor.  I could not do it without them. Like a kid that has just stepped out of the candy shop with a bag full of loot, there is strategy and planning that goes into ensuring not one drop of sugar is wasted or left unappreciated. I have learned to plan and cherish every moment with my sweet time away from work. Whether that is with the family, or in the woods, or dreaming and creating schemes that I know no one will see the vision of except me. Luckily we all have the ability to find our own way to create adventure. It is quite easy for me. I live in a place where adventure is closer then my office. I do not need to load a van and drive across 6 states to get to where I want to be. I can find six lifetimes of adventures within a half days drive.

So here is my challenge to myself and anyone else that wants to join. I am going to accomplish 12 adventures before Halloween. Most will be micro. Some may be solo. A few may be total failures. Some may be with kids on my back. One will include roller blades.  And all of them hopefully will be unique and inspire you to think up an adventure for yourself. I will describe the pros and cons, the cost, my expectations and my lessons learned from each one.  Documenting the process on this blog each week I will prove to myself, a dad, 9-5er, weekend warrior, partial slave to the corporate world, that my adventurous spirit is alive and well and can be satisfied in-between my daily responsibilities.  Join me as I help to change your definition of adventure and help to recognize the many adventures waiting right outside your door.

-Pitt

@pittoman

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation”  – Yann Martel

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My plunge into the cycling world

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The Team-Libby’s in the middle. I would ride 100 miles for these girls.

So there I was, sitting with my group of girlfriends enjoying eggs benedict for brunch on the weekend. Libby looked at me and said, “you have to join my team.” I really like Libby. She could have told me to join her team to wrestle rabid wild boars and I would have said, yes! sign me up. “Little Red” she said, “We’re all doing it” she motioned to the rest of that gals at the table, all nodding their heads at me. “It’s the best” “So easy” “They have men driving the route begging to change your flat tire” “Diet Coke on tap” “Peanut butter sandwiched with Oreos at the rest stops” “no hills” My head was spinning…and I get to hang out with you girls too?! Sweet, I’m in! I thought I might be saved by not winning the lottery to get in, but Libby assured me that she’s really lucky and ALWAYS gets in. We did and now I’m committed.

Slow ha ha. why didn’t I think about the fact that I have never ridden a bike longer that 20 minutes my entire adult life. or the fact that I don’t even own a bike helmet. No, I didn’t stop and think I may not have time to train for a 100 mile bike race . Nope, I’m on LIbby’s team, The team, and I’m still very excited about the thought of doing a bike ride with my friends.

I’ve always been good at things I’ve tried. Roller skating, stilts…what have you… Road biking, sure, I can do that. Let’s try. Slower ha ha. This is kinda hard. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Sometime in 2006 I went to a spinning class. After 60 minutes of the hardest workout my heart has ever managed. I fainted into the instructor’s arms while asking her some questions after class. Mortified after I woke up on the floor with her looking over me, I reassured her that, no, she didn’t have to call my mom to drive me home. I have not stepped into a spin class since. Well, until now. I’m killing it in the spin class. I totally pretend to crank up that resistance and pretend I know WTH she’s talking about when she asks “how my base building is going?” But, hey I get there, I sweat and I smile and I sing to the music only going “breathless” when she instructs us to. Five classes in and I’m an expert.

So I’m borrowing a road bike from my super cool sister-in-law. I’ve got the clips, the shoes, the gloves, and yes the helmet. I hop on the bike to ride to work. First time on a road bike EVER. First turn on a road bike EVER. *WHABAMM* I hit the pavement. Turned too sharp, too fast, not concentrating, gravel, I don’t know what happened except that the yard worker at the post office saw everything. But, I’m fine. A little road rash makes me feel young again and I saved my chin from stitches with my thumb that feels broken most days now. But I rode away unscathed. The adrenaline actually helped me up that darn hill to Huntsman. And I’ve successfully ridden to work 3 times since then without falling, so I’m getting my confidence back.

I live on Sunnyside Ave-one of the most popular biking routes in the city-my training ground. So far I’ve made it 30 minutes up. I am still learning how to ride and the downhill makes me so nervous I’m hear myself Lamaze breathing while I go. But hey, I’m on Libby’s Team and I’m super excited about that! I’ll keep you updated.

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How do I look? (Pre road bike)


#Asawesomeasitcanbe

Do you ever think you have it figured it out? You have your routines. You have your standard trips you go on every year. You know what to expect and what you are getting into. That maybe it is not as special because you have done it before. Well sometimes you need a reminder to show you how special every moment can be. Don’t take for granted the moments that seem routine just because you are in your comfort zone.

Each year my kayaking buddies and I make the pilgrimage to what we consider the promised land. You see living in Utah and being a kayaker has it’s challenges. It is kind of like being a skier and living in Wisconsin. Not ideal.  We have sparse water, not many large rivers and the creeks that do run during run off teach you to not flip over or you will lose your face!  Luckily Utah is situated just south of what is known as the whitewater state, the land of water and wilderness, the great state of Idaho.  If you live in Utah and you paddle, you either spend a lot of time in Idaho or you spend a lot of time staring at dry creek beds thinking about Idaho.  For this reason we have the annual trip to the Payette drainage. 4 days of endless whitewater, hot springs, great camping, and very minimal phone reception.  Paradise for paddlers if you ask me.
We always go in June when water levels are great and temperatures are high. This year I offered to give my sweet wife a break from taking on the kids alone while I run off on another adventure. I set it up so I would drop off my 4 year old at my sisters house in Boise on the way up. He would stay and play with his cousins for a few days and I would pick him up on the way home.  Amazingly enough, it all worked out.  So on Wednesday night we loaded the truck with all our gear to keep us entertained in paradise for 4 days and we left Salt Lake City. 4 kayaks, 2 surfboards, 4 grown men and one 4 year old named Emmett.
A couple of hours into the journey we made a pit stop. We loaded up on some snacks and drinks, made sure Emmett used the facilities and jumped right back on the road. Up to this point I had been pumping Emmett up and trying to get him stoked for the long late night drive.  Telling him how he is on a “dudes road trip”.  Or how we are so cool because he is on his first kayak trip. Every song that came on the radio with a good beat, Emmett would bounce his head or play a little air guitar. I could tell he felt pride in being on a legit road trip. It was at this moment that 4 grown men were blown away by the simplicity and stoke of a little dude having a brand new experience.  One of the passengers looked over at Emmett and asked “How awesome is this Emmett?” Emmett keeps jamming to the tunes and replies from his car seat “As awesome as it can be.”
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All four of us sat there slightly dumb founded by the simplicity of the statement. Emmett was completely right.  What seemed routine to me because I had made that drive a billion times was as awesome as it could be.  It didn’t matter where we were really going. We were getting after it and not letting the days go to waste. We were chasing passions and finding time in our busy lives to do something that we hold precious. It was as awesome as it can be at that moment.
The trip went off without a hitch. Emmett had a great time in Boise. We paddled as much as we could in 4 days and we all returned home to families, jobs and our busy lives. But one thing was different this time. We all appreciated the moments a little more.  Thanks Emmett for sharing your 4 years of wisdom. Every high five after a rapid or smile after a soak in a hot spring or greeting each other in the morning after sleeping through a rainstorm, the question was posed “how is it going?” The reply is now always the same.  “As awesome as it can be”.

Media dump. AKA I am not feeling creative.

I thought I would spare you from my ramblings this week. I want to take this opportunity to dump some pictures and videos of what adventures I have been having this summer. Besides a picture is worth a thousand words so consider this a novel about the first half of the summer. Needless to say, It has been a good one so far!

Memorial day kayak trip! Triple crown tradition! Three Wyoming rivers in one day and back home. Late night driving and a lot of paddling

Memorial day kayak trip! Triple crown tradition! Three Wyoming rivers in one day and back home. Late night driving and a lot of paddling

If I surfed in Newport everyday, It still wouldn't be enough. Surfing is a mistress that could easily steal my heart. You better behave yourself mountains.

If I surfed everyday, It still wouldn’t be enough. Surfing is a mistress that could easily steal my heart. You better behave yourself mountains.

I got  GoPro for my birthday and used a family pool party to figure it out.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/71482931″>GOPR0244</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4067792″>Pitt Grewe</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My partner got tired from riding on my shoulders as we hiked along the green river and slayed the fish. If you have to take a nap, make it in a great place!

My partner got tired from riding on my shoulders as we hiked along the green river and slayed the fish. If you have to take a nap, make it in a great place!

Had to go to Oregon for work so i thought I should call my brother who lives there. Ended up being the best part of the trip since we rallied an indoor bike track for hours. www.lumberyardmtb.com

Had to go to Oregon for work so i thought I should call my brother who lives there. Ended up being the best part of the trip since we rallied an indoor bike track for hours. http://www.lumberyardmtb.com

When the city is full of punks blowing off fireworks, head for the Uintas. Family camping trip and exploration.

When the city is full of punks blowing off fireworks, head for the Uintas. Family camping trip and exploration.

I was model for a fly fishing photo shoot. Autographs by request.

I was model for a fly fishing photo shoot. Autographs by request.

Perhaps the greatest thing in the world is kayaking class 4 whitewater in Idaho with the coolest dudes on the planet.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/71482930″>S. Fork Payette- Staircase</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4067792″>Pitt Grewe</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>