At this point in the summer, I'd figured I'd have 15 days on snow. The plan was to go back to New Zealand for a third summer; get back to work at Small Planet and crush days in the Chutes at the Remarkables. Heading into May, things looked like they were going to stack up just as planned; until, quickly it became apparent that time was running out, I was still lacking a work-visa and air fare was rising fast. In a matter of a week my optimism had been crushed and I was being forced to look at new options. I was pretty upset for a while, all the friends I have made in Queenstown, paired with the extraordinary peaks that comprise the Southern Alps has made NZ feel like one of my homes--part of my soul will always belong there. But, one of the most important things my time on the South Island has taught me is to never expect and always be prepared for plans to fail.
So, in the spirit of living in the moment and taking things as they come, I began to shift my focus to a few summer scenarios that were possible. All options pointed to a trip in the truck back across the country, after just making the journey east from Montana. Alaska, Colorado and Washington all jumped out at me as likely options for a new adventure. As May cycled into June, a job building skis in Colorado came my way, I was beyond excited about the opportunity, but something about being in a factory all summer didn't sit quite right with me. I went back and forth for days until a large St. Michael's College crew, now residents of Park City, drew me to think about a move to the Utah high dessert.
Now, I'm sitting in bed, jobless, on a Monday morning, recanting all the fun I've had in the last two weeks. Having such a large group of friends around, is something I'm no longer accustomed to; I haven't lived close to so many friends in almost four years and I couldn't have asked for a better way to be introduced to a new town.
The biking in Park City has been blowing my mind. The accessibility and the variety are unparalleled, while the, beautifully, hard-packed dirt inspires new levels of speed, I've never experienced. As my own lust for adrenaline comes back to a controllable realm, I'll break out the camera and give you all a glimpse at how hard the riders around me are pushing it.
While the trails are being ripped, the rivers surrounding Park City are being waded. The Provo and the Weber provide options and, relatively, easy access for locals looking to wet their flies. The trout are thriving in these rivers and their is no place I rather be as the sun goes down each night.
As I spend more time with a stiff current wrapped around my calves, I've gained a better appreciation for patience and a love for a sport that doesn't send adrenaline coursing through my veins. Fishing definitely seems to be the thing to do these days; hoards of dirt bags have taken to the rivers in the past few summers and as I am usually turned off by trends, there is no resisting the draw of the river.
As Utah's beauty continues to unveil itself, the only thing I find myself yearning for is an opportunity to blend all these activities together. After spending part of this past weekend camping in the Uintas, I am itching to wake up in my tent, bike leaning up against the nearest tree and fly rod protruding from my day pack.
New Zealand has been off to one of the best winter starts in recent history and I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that it's not killing me that I'm missing out, but I also couldn't be more grateful for the new opportunity I've been given and the crew around me to lead the way.
This snafu, turned exciting move back west, stands as another reminder as to how important it is to be present and willing to let you're expectations go, in order to pave the way for new opportunities. This is something most of us could use a lot of practice with. It can be excruciatingly stressful to watch you're plans go down the drain; but, in everyday life and even more importantly, in the mountains, being able to let go and readapt is what allows us to have some of the most successful experiences in our lives.