A few weekends ago, I was able to take part in a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador get together in Moab, Utah.  Gossamer Gear was able to round up a bunch of us, and it was amazing the turn out that happened.  Hikers came from all over the country, going to great strides to have the opportunity to meet other hikers, making for a special Weekend.  One of the things I liked most about the weekend was the variety of people I met.  Gossamer Gears Ambassador program does a great job of including many people from the hiking and outdoors community.  The list of people included thru-hikers, ultra runners, weekend warriors, ultra-lighters, peak baggers, climbers, and outdoor photographers.  You can find a listing of the Ambassadors and their bios here.

The weekend consisted of hiking in Canyonlands, Arches, and the greater Moab area.  Will Rietveldt led hikes every day in the area, picking out his favorite 8-12 mile hikes in the area.  A majority of the hiking was off trail and on slick rock, away from the crowds.  I think I saw 3 people not from our group between the hikes in both days.

The hiking was beautiful, and the people were so great.  Get a bunch of passionate hikers together, and it’s easy to spark inspiring conversation.  Everyone was so relatable, which was refreshing after spending the past few months in Denver, not around other hikers.  For instance, Ryan “Guthook” and I went to a convenience store to pick up some drinks for the hike the next day.

“Every time I step into this place I immediately think of what I need to get me to the next town” He said as we entered the mini mart full of snacks.

“‘Where are the honey buns?’ is always my first thought, still!” I responded

We got a good laugh.  It’s hard to turn that off after spending so much of your life on trail.  Just relatable people who get it.  Unlike my life back at home, none of the weird things you think about and laugh at need to be explained.  It felt good, and I was happy to be around so many others who understood.

Later in the day, Snorkel, Bearclaw, The Real Hiking Viking and I did a second hike, after the group hike, to Delicate Arch.  It’s a classic national park hike, roughly 2 miles each way.  The trail was extremely crowded in the evening, all with day hikers in jeans and sweat pants, with converse all stars, fashion t shirts.  The girls had their makeup on.  This was an event.  We rushed by everyone, cruising at our thru-hiker pace.  When we got near the Arch, we decided to take a scenic detour and check out a small ridge to the east.  We sat down, started gorging on candy and junk food, and immediately started telling dirty jokes, laughing as we watched the hikers we passed earlier go by.

“We’re such typical thru-hikers” Snorkel said to the group as I started my second king size Kit Kat.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“We charge by, passing everyone, only to stop like hobo’s eating junk food as if we’re starving, immediately telling dirty jokes.  We’re true hiker trash!’

She was right.  We were all in our natural habitat, doing what we do.  It’s so easy to slide right back into that mode.  It’s even easier to do so when you’re with a ton of others who have those same tendencies.

Many stories were told, and plans for the coming year laid out.  So many inspiring plans from all the hikers. Every conversation revolved around upcoming hiking plans, different trail ideas, and recommendations from people who have had experiences hiking what others were setting out to do.  It was such an inspiring and insightful weekend.  Here’s a look at some photos from the weekend!

Trinity and I scrambling on some slick rock.

Trinity and I scrambling on some slick rock.

MOAR CLIFFS!

MOAR CLIFFS!

Tomo came from Japan to be with the group this weekend!  He was a pleasure to talk to.  Here he is hiking up a canyon with Guthook.

Tomo came from Japan to be with the group this weekend! He was a pleasure to talk to. Here he is hiking up a canyon with Guthook.

Yours truly in Jeep arch.

Yours truly in Jeep arch.

Snorkel & Anish.  Snorkel holds the womens unsupported speed record on the AT.  Anish holds the overall unsupported speed record on the PCT.  These women are tough as nails, and fast as all getup!

Snorkel & Anish. Snorkel holds the womens unsupported speed record on the AT. Anish holds the overall unsupported speed record on the PCT. These women are tough as nails, and fast as all getup!

Bearclaw, Anish, Will, and Snorkel exploring the cliffs.

Bearclaw, Anish, Will, and Snorkel exploring the cliffs.

Cliffs over Moab on our first day out.  The La Sal mountains to the east.

Cliffs over Moab on our first day out. The La Sal mountains to the east.

Cliffs over Moab on our first day out.  The La Sal mountains to the east.

Cliffs over Moab on our first day out. The La Sal mountains to the east.

Snorkel, Trinity, Bearclaw, and Dirtmonger under Delicate Arch.

Snorkel, Trinity, Bearclaw, and Dirtmonger under Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Dirtmonger and Bearclaw exploring some slots.

Dirtmonger and Bearclaw exploring some slots.

A window into Canyonlands

A window into Canyonlands

The Maze.  La Sal Mountains in the distance.  We scrambled all around the slick rock.  It was like a giant playground!

The Maze. La Sal Mountains in the distance. We scrambled all around the slick rock. It was like a giant playground!

Canyonlands

Canyonlands

Bearclaw trying to get the boys (Bobcat & Dirtmonger) to keep up with her

Bearclaw trying to get the boys (Bobcat & Dirtmonger) to keep up with her

Some awesome slick rock and canyon formations.

Some awesome slick rock and canyon formations.

IMG_9759

Snorkel and Glen Van Peski

Snorkel and Glen Van Peski

Christy and Trinity

Christy and Trinity

Dirtmonger back in his stomping grounds. He pioneered the 'vagabond loop', which is a primitive loop in the desert southwest.  He did a lot of hiking in this area.  He's an expert on desert hiking.

Dirtmonger back in his stomping grounds. He pioneered the ‘vagabond loop’, which is a primitive loop in the desert southwest. He did a lot of hiking in this area. He’s an expert on desert hiking.

Standing on some slick rock  - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Standing on some slick rock – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Bearclaw is so rad.  Happy to have met her on the PCT, as she's become a great friend and mentor both on and off the trail. - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Bearclaw is so rad. Happy to have met her on the PCT, as she’s become a great friend and mentor both on and off the trail. – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

We're not at the beach, Hiking Viking!

We’re not at the beach, Hiking Viking!

Now that's what I call a photo bomb!!   - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Now that’s what I call a photo bomb!! – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Just kidding, Mom ;)   - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Just kidding, Mom 😉 – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Sometimes you just have to get out there, and see if that rock is as unstable as it looks!   - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Sometimes you just have to get out there, and see if that rock is as unstable as it looks! – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Great meeting Allison.  She's hiking all of the 4,000 foot peaks in New Hampshire four times over (Summitting each peak in every season!), Now that is a rad goal.  Having a list like that will surely keep you getting out!  - Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Great meeting Allison. She’s hiking all of the 4,000 foot peaks in New Hampshire four times over (Summitting each peak in every season!), Now that is a rad goal. Having a list like that will surely keep you getting out! – Photo credit to The Real Hiking Viking

Checking out the views on the Peekaboo canyon loop. I got to test out the new Kumo while on this trip, and loved the pack!  I'll be using it on my CDT hike this coming year! - Photo credit to Ryan "Guthook" Linn.

Checking out the views on the Peekaboo canyon loop. I got to test out the new Kumo while on this trip, and loved the pack! I’ll be using it on my CDT hike this coming year! – Photo credit to Ryan “Guthook” Linn.