It came. It went. The event we've been waiting and planning for these many many months. I first heard about the EMS Nor'easter Festival around May of this year from the @EasternMntn twitter account, dutifully manned by Jim Darroch. It sounded like a blast: Music, sports, conservation themed - all green with TONS of vendors. A blast it was - made doubly so by the willingness of EMS to allow us to arrange a small tweetup the first night.
If there ever was an example of social media being used effectively by brands this is it. @Easternmntn has been talking (and I mean actually interacting) with me since January when Katie and I took their Three Day Mountaineering Course. I've been a loyal REI buyer for years, and a huge fan of Marmot, but ever since I started using twitter my image of the two has slipped a tad. It's not that there is anything wrong with their products or service - it's that they aren't "real." They don't talk back - they blast. They don't connect, they advertise. More and more of my money has been going to EMS this year, simply because I feel like they hear me when I speak.
What was just a festival became an investment for me. So here's how it went...
Our trip out to Wyoming began with some hesitation. Patrick had a rather unsettling lead in Boulder Canyon which shook his confidence (and my nerve), and I wasn’t sure I could change my flight home. Bill brought it into perspective though: “I came out here with the intention of climbing the Tower, and that’s what I think we should do.” I moved my flight and off we went, flying into the Wyoming-ness encased in a shell of fiberglass and chrome, watching the sun set for what seemed like hours. We arrived at the KOA campground outside the park at 11pm. Up went our tents and off went our lights. When darkness closed in around our eyes we were treated to the black outline of the tower, engulfed in the most stunning sky I’ve ever seen. The milky way was perfectly visible, banding the sky with millions of stars. We saw three shooting stars while we stood, gaping in awe. I didn’t want to go to bed.
I’ve driven through the mountains a few times, flown over them a few more, but I haven’t gotten the chance to stop moving and play in them in a very long time. I asked for peace on this trip, and that’s exactly what I got. I needed those days outside like I need air. I breathed in the sky and the hills and the people like someone come back from drowning. Rather than a blow by blow account of the trip, I’m going to post a few of my favorite stories, the photos that go with them, and let my heart spill onto the page.