By Erin Sullivan.
This adventure starts with a backstory, but I’ll make it quick. Promise.
Every August, folks from every corner of the outdoor industry gather in Salt Lake City for a week of meetings, demos, talking about gear and making plans for the year ahead. It’s a lot of time inside.
This year I attended my first Outdoor Retailer– and I had a pretty great time. Yeah, it was a lot of shmoozing, but I happen to love shmoozing, and it was so cool to meet game-changers in the industry that I have, until now, just admired from afar.
But as much as I love meeting people, and as much as I love to talk, after a few intense days of it I was ready to get outside again. My friends and fellow Oru ambassadors, Brianna and Keith Madia, live in Salt Lake City, and we had this brilliant idea to paddle on the Great Salt Lake. We hadn’t really seen many folks doing it and wondered why.
We pulled up to the visitor’s center and were welcomed to the the Great Salt Lake with that permanent low-tide smell. It was to be expected. It didn’t really bother me. We set up our boats and headed down to the water.
I had to laugh– a ridiculous amount of flies greeted us on the beach. Keith voted we ditch, turn around and opt for a bar, but we know better than to give up on a sunset. I felt like we were going to be treated to some epic colors– so yes, having thousands of unwanted pet flies was a minor annoyance, but we stayed, and we were so glad we did.
The wind picked up to a breeze for the next hour. We floated around on mercury-like water as the sun dipped into and below the clouds. Sun rays came out like a painting I learned about in college and can’t remember the name of. But it was freaking beautiful.
We started paddling back to shore against the wind, and ate more than a few bugs in the process. Not on purpose. But we laughed about it.
The whole adventure only lasted a few hours, but it got me thinking about the nature of spontaneous decisions to do something that may or may not turn out to be fun. We decided to do something because we thought it had the potential to be interesting. We could have turned around at any point, but we stayed, because we continued to carry that belief.
We could have focused on the flies, but we focused on the sunset instead. I can’t help but think that’s a pretty good way to look at life, too.