Always Say Yes

For a second, think about your best fishing/hunting/running/skiing/climbing buddies.  What is it that first brought you together? Chances are you probably met in passing at first, but what was it that really solidified the friendship? When it comes to the people that I routinely find myself in the mountains or on a river with, it almost certainly started with one of us having an undeniably wild idea and the other person enthusiastically responding "hell yes...when do we leave?"  

Kyle Smith and I met in law school.  While we had most of our classes together and attended the same social events (this is law school, remember, where "social" endeavors lacked normal constructs and instead reverted to a middle school dance-like vibe), Kyle was almost a complete stranger when I suggested to him that we spend our spring break biking down the Oregon Coast to California.  Despite my complete lack of an actual plan ("ummm, head south?"), Kyle agreed to come along.  

How could you possibly say no to five days of this?

So sometime in March, we filled a Burley trailer with more than 100 lbs of gear (10 of which was beef jerky), put bottles of Scotch in our water bottle cages, and started rolling southbound with two others along the Pacific Coast Highway.  To say that the trip was an unmitigated disaster would discount the amazing scenery, great food, and countless laughs had along the way, but it wouldn't be totally inaccurate given the seemingly endless blunders.  Along the way, we realized in a rain storm that my tent polls were not among the 100 lbs of gear we were pulling; Kyle decided it would be a good idea to leave his cycling shoes in a bar and have to ride several days in moccasins; and there was an unmentionable incident involving Gatorade, M&Ms and Kyle's eye.  

Proper hydration along the Pacific Coast Highway

In the end, our other two adventurers never said yes to another one of my inane ideas, but Kyle has maintained a commendable streak of never saying no.  From 4 days of floating the classic steelhead waters of the Lower Deschutes in a shitty 1980's raft despite having never rowed a boat in whitewater to dropping everything to drive up to Steven's Pass to chase a big snow storm, amazing times have been had.  Saying yes to each other's ideas has taken us everywhere from down the road to the middle of nowhere- from the upland fields of Oregon to the bonefish flats of Xcalak.  

Chasing bonefish, tarpon and permit at the end of the earth

As I've settled into life as a corporate attorney in Denver, my well of wild ideas has only grown more profound.  Maybe (read: certainly), I'm compensating for the fact that, for most of my day, I sit in a glass and concrete cell staring at the mountains that I would much rather be playing in.  While I sit here, I often find myself distracted by thoughts of running the 13,000' foot knife-edge ridgeline I saw last weekend or of being the first person to sneak across Crater Lake on a packraft and ski the Cone in the darkness of night.   So I'm thankful for the people who say yes and go on these journeys with me and for those who know that, even if it is going to be 100% pure Type 2  "fun"  or higher , it's highly likely that I'm going to say yes to it.

She will be skied. Oh yes, she will be skied.

I look forward to sharing some of these trips with you here and hope that along the way you get inspired to get out there as well.  Just be sure to invite me along.