Mountain Running

Here are a few images that inspire me to lace up and get out there.

What motivates you?

First light. Andrew Jensen running the Alta Ridgeline at sunrise, Wasatch Range, Utah.
Andrew Jensen and Jeremy Howlett on their way down from the summit of Devils Castle while traveling the Alta Ridgeline, Wasatch Range, Utah.
Robert Hunter picks his way up the ridge on his way to the summit of Frary Peak, Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah.
Jacki Arevalo runs Big Water and Little Water Trails, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.
The view from Sunset Peak, Brighton, Utah.
Jari Hiatt negotiates a rocky ridge in Washington Gulch, Crested Butte, Colorado.
Jacki Arevalo traverses from Pole Line Pass to Flagstaff Peak, Alta, Utah.
Jacki Arevalo traverses from Pole Line Pass to Flagstaff Peak, Alta, Utah.

What are your passions?

Zach Grant exploring the wintery Wasatch Range.
Zach Grant exploring the wintery Wasatch Range.

“What are you passionate about?”

My wife asked while skinning up a winter trail in the Wasatch Mountains. As she passed through the arch of an aspen tree that bent over the track I paused. A wave of snow clung to the trunk’s upside only inches wide and at least twelve inches tall and serpentined the entire length of the arch. Its position on the tree defied gravity and the sun.

Jacki Arevalo during a post climbing yoga practice, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
Jacki Arevalo during a post climbing yoga practice, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.

I wouldn’t describe my youth as happy. In fact, looking back it was a very tumultuous time filled with angst and bad choices. My twenties were mainly a dark depression that to this day still tugs at me from the shadows. When my wife asked me that question I had an answer.

Jewell Lund takes on the crux of Fine Jade, Castle Valley.
Jewell Lund takes on the crux of Fine Jade, Castle Valley.

“You know that feeling when you’re climbing and you’re afraid but somehow you keep climbing and push through that fear? You’re still nervous, and still struggling, but for some reason you’re slightly removed from the situation? Like you’re seeing yourself from the outside? Aware of the acute nature of the situation; a small human dangling on a big cliff in the middle of a forest, in the western US, on the planet Earth, within the Milky Way, somewhere in a fold of the Universe?”

My wife shuffled ahead entering a stand of snow flocked spruce trees.

“Okay, it doesn’t have to be climbing. It can be skiing in the backcountry, hiking, running, yoga, sailing… any activity, anywhere outside. I’m talking about those moments where, while still being present, you see a bigger picture of everything and your place within it.”

Zach Grant snowboarding deep in the Wasatch Mountains.
Zach Grant snowboarding deep in the Wasatch Mountains.

One kick turn after the other we switched-backed up a ridge passing the gnarled and twisted bodies of dead limber pines.

“It doesn’t even have to be outside, but for me, during my youth and after my parents’ death I found these profound moments occurred out in the wild… It’s not necessarily about how hard, how fast, whether I was first or whatever. All that stuff is great, but it’s much more rewarding to have these moments to connect with each other, other people. What’s the point if it’s not shared?”

Jenny Powers chasing the sun along the crest of the Wasatch Range.
Jenny Powers chasing the sun along the crest of the Wasatch Range.

At the crest we quickly transitioned; skins ripped from skis, jackets, gloves and goggles on, we were ready to ski.

Hans Koomen navigates the Bay of Biscay on the Anne Margaretha.
Hans Koomen navigates the Bay of Biscay on the Anne Margaretha.

“Do you remember the bent aspen tree we walked though down below? How the snow was still hanging onto it?” I asked.

She smiled, “It was beautiful… and amazing!”

Caroline Gleich on the summit of Reids Peak, Uintah Mountains.
Caroline Gleich on the summit of Reids Peak, Uintah Mountains.

My passion is sharing the outdoor life.

 

No Worse… Thoughts on photographing people.

Yoga, City of Rocks, Idaho.
Yoga, City of Rocks, Idaho.

A few years back I attended a presentation by Dave Stoecklein. (If you are not familiar with his work you should check it out.) As a photographer of western lifestyle Dave has thousands of authentic images of people living their country ways. Wrangler jeans to handlebar mustaches he’s got images of beautiful people and full-on characters. Somewhere in the presentation the subject of model releases came up and he pulled up a slide of a “photographer agreement” that he had been asked to sign by some the folks at a ranch he was shooting. It was humorous, something about not making them look any dirtier or more ugly than they already were. Once the laughter quieted Dave explained. As a photographer you have a responsibility to represent the people you are shooting in the correct light. Most if not all of the folks he shoots are real-life ranchers, cowboys, cowgirls, horse people, etc. Being allowed into their lives he explained it would be in poor taste to show the awkward images that are part of the job. (We’re talking about the shots where their eyes are closed, mouth mid-word, weird stride, or the stuff between that makes you look off. He wasn’t talking humor.) For Dave it’s about building trust.

Mike Kaserman climbs Center Trinity, LIttle Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.
Mike Kaserman climbs Center Trinity, LIttle Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.

This is a subjective guideline, but it’s something I constantly consider in my work. From portraits to skiing I recall Dave and try not to make anyone look any worse than they really are.

Eddee Johanson, Murray, Utah.
Eddee Johanson, Murray, Utah.
Story Von Holzhausen running in Plattsburgh, NY.
Story Von Holzhausen running in Plattsburgh, NY.
WWII Vet, Ted Olson, wraps up lunch at Big Apple Pizza, Salt Lake City, Utah.
WWII Vet, Ted Olson, wraps up lunch at Big Apple Pizza, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Amanda Fox practices yoga in Chatauqua Park, Boulder, CO.
Amanda Fox practices yoga in Chatauqua Park, Boulder, CO.

Running with Asthma

Jacki Arevalo runs Big Water and Little Water Trails, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.As a child I was told not to run. Being an asthmatic it took several attacks and a couple of visits to the emergency room to get the point across that, no, really I shouldn’t run. It was a time before rescue inhalers and treatment was simple. Be sedate. As you can imagine for a kid this is fairly impossible to do, but I did my best. Anything that put distance between the uncomfortable bouts of my body trying to suffocate itself was welcomed.

When it came to athletics I had a note from my mother excusing me from running activities at school, but when I learned that in order to receive the Presidential Physical Fitness Award you had to finish one mile in a given time I made up my mind that I would run.

Andrew Jensen running the Great Western Trail in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah.After finishing my first mile I was surprised that I hadn’t struggled to pull air into inflamed lungs. The second time I ran faster. The school course was loops around the building. Each time we ran the mile I’d increase the intensity with every lap pushing myself to the point where I couldn’t feel the asphalt beneath my feet. It felt like running in the clouds. I received the award in 5th grade and have not stopped running since.

Mindy Campbell and Andrew Jensen running in the foothills above Salt Lake City.Turned out that it wasn’t the exercise that triggered the attacks, but certain substances that irritated my lungs. I haven’t outgrown the disease, but have learned how to manage it with the right treatment and knowledge of the possible triggers. Today I rarely run on clouds, but it still feels #$%? good. Anyone want to go for a run?

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