I always get excited when the new Patagonia catalog comes in the mail. Not so much for the things I plan to purchase – it's been quite awhile since I have purchased any new item of clothing – but because the images within provide inspiration. Be it a wide-open powder shot on some face in the Teton Range, or a cultural scene from some sort of spiritual center in Pakistan or a climber taking a sip from the bombilla on a wall bivvy at 12,000 feet in the Andes, Patagonia catalog images make you think bigger and dream outside the box.
In the latest Patagonia catalog there is an image on the next-to-back page of a girl sending up a huge plume of powder while wearing a massive grin. Pigtails flowing, it's the image of stoke. Alta, Utah of course. And the caption is even better: "While others dog it after a big nght at the Alta Gala fundraiser, Caroline Gleich reaps the benefits of a foot of overnight fresh powder." Indeed. Getting after it, while the others let the weariness of life hold them down.
Certain things provide us with stoke. A great hike up a ridgetop, creative people, a caption in a magazine. I'm blessed right now to be surrounded by this type of energy. A great relationship and an amazing wife is the start of it all. Call it the base, like a ski area lays down to make sure the skiing is solid, only she is way more than a base, because while the love we have is essential for really living life to the fullest, being with her is as sweet as floating through an aspen grove on the finest powder day. She is the essential delight.
There is more. I work in a ski/mountaineering shop, and I have to say it's the best career move I've made…well…ever. Too bad I wasted all that money on graduate degrees and teaching certificates because I have found more personal daily satisfaction and happiness simply working in an outdoor shop. But there is more to it than that. How can you not be stoked when every single day you see people who are planning adventures, living the dream. Be it purchasing new gear for a weekend climbing trip to Vedavoo, a rain jacket for a through-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail or simply some new light hikers to cruise around the trails of Boulder, people who come into the shop are getting after it. I remember when I used to teach I used to dread staff meetings, as nothing was ever said and it didn't interest me. Well, at Neptune we are starting these morning meetings, but I'm stoked for these. It's ski reps, coming in to tell us the 411 on the models. For me, a chance to absorb as much as possible, what works and what doesn't, because we have a dream to start making skis. With Elaine's amazing artisitc skills and my desire to learn the craft- plus the fact that skiing is an essential heart component of our lives – I think we can, after we figure out what the hell we are doing, make something bad ass.
So there is your stoke for the morning. For me, a 39° ride up to Caribou as the sun rose and dreams of crafting something with the person I love that makes people smile and feel alive. The ride was one of those rides where your core is sweating, your fingers frozen and your soul soaring. Now a little art – my writing – sipping on the bombilla and drinking a morning matte next to Elaine as the morning sun creeps through the picture window of the caboose raising the morning chill a degree at a time. And then off to work for my job that undeniably pays less than yours yet makes me happy and feel a creativity I have not felt in a decade.
That's my Patagonia catalog image for the day. I emplore you to make yours.