Today was FANNNNTAAAASSSTTIIIIICCCCCCC!!!!! I kind of flew by the seat of my pants all day and it worked out very well haha. The day started off early at 6:45 because Ian and I had to move our cars out of the student parking lot by 7:30. We grabbed breakfast and then I headed off to Denver to meet up with my friends Jimmy and Delaney for the “OR” (Outdoor Retailer) trade show downtown. Denver traffic was epic, but I made it to a decently priced parking spot not too far away from the Convention center. I had not be completely certain if I was going to even be able to get into the building, because it’s required that you have a pass, which are usually purchased by large companies looking to buy things from the booths. Luckily Delaney is a professional climber for the Adidas Terrex team, and was able to sneak me in using someone else’s pass.
Inside OR is insane. Huge booths from Northface, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, you name any outdoor brand and they have a magnificent booth filled with their gear. I was a kid in a candy shop while Jimmy and I walked around the booths. We made our way to the Black Diamond booth because they had free coffee and loads of cool new gear. As we stood there waiting for his coffee, a man in a red jacket and large black backpack appeared in the middle of the booth floor, and I thought to myself “That looks like Alex Honnold”. Sure enough he turned around and it was friggin’ Alex FRIGGIN Honnold standing 5 feet away from me. I don’t think i’ve fan-girl’d so hardcore in my life. My face instantly flushed and I knew I had to find a way to shake his hand and get a picture with him. I waited patiently as he talked with some other folks and then finally he walked towards me. I said “Hey, would you mind if I shook your hand?” with an extremely flush face I followed that up with “Can I get a picture as well if it’s not too much?” and he was very nice and took a photo with me. Such an amazing experience that I never expected would happen. A random tid-bit about Alex, his hands are fairly large, and his fingers are fatter than “normal” ones would be, I don’t know if you care or not, but it struck me as interesting.
It took me a while to come down from that high, but we walked around to the other booths in the building. We found our way into the Patagonia booth, and started to check out the jackets and their clothing repair station. I have some strong opinions already about my Patagonia Micro-Puff jacket, and if I hadn’t already replaced my original jacket that had ripped, I would’ve given them an ear full about their jacket’s weaknesses. We concluded our Patagonia experience and began to walk out, but as I turned around my eyes stopped when they recognized TOMMY CALDWELL standing straight in front of us. I flipped out instantly as I saw him and proclaimed out loud “THATS TOMMY CALDWELL DUDE” and as I said that Tommy witnessed my freakout sesh 10 feet away from him. I casually walked over to him and asked if I could shake his hand and grab a photo, and he very kindly agreed. I really wanted to ask if I could see his finger that had been cut off when he was a kid, but I figured I’d settle for a handshake and a pic. The day was completely and totally made in my opinion at that point. Not only had I met my two climbing heroes, I was hanging out with other professional climbers all day. It really felt awesome to be around so many strong and passionate people all day.
Not only were Delaney and Jimmy in town for “OR”, but my mentor and friend Mario and his wife as well. I really wanted to see Mario before I got to Wyoming, he kind of feels like a little slice of home, since I’ve spend so much time with him. Luckily I got to spend my night with him and his wife at the new Brooklyn Boulder’s HQ in Denver. The opening was a celebration of diversity in the outdoor and climbing community and had a super positive atmosphere the moment you walked in the door. It was a really amazing way to round out the day, I’m so glad I was able to hang with Mario before I went off into the wilderness of Wyoming.
It was such an amazing day that kind of just fell into place piece by piece and turned into one of the best days of my trip. Tomorrow I drive to Wyoming and start my journey as a Wilderness EMT / Mountain man / Person who can drive on ice (hopefully). Tomorrow will be filled with reading my Emergency Care book for hours and filling in the gaps of my blog from the past few days that I didn’t have Wifi. Thank you all for following along this far!