I’ve been looking forward to writing about last weekend since before it happened. Time tends to prove the strength of ties that bind.

Bryce and I, deep in the Alaska range- June 2007. (Photo: David Kahn)

Me, Bryce, and Laura, deep in the Alaska range on our NOLS course in June 2007. (Photo: David Kahn)

Friday afternoon I finished my hours at work early and met Bryce and Brad who were fresh into Missoula on a little motorcycle tour as part of their new big thing. They came partially for the beer and music festival put on by New Belgium brewing, but I’d like to think I had something to do with it. Bryce and I met on my NOLS course in 2007, and quickly became close friends. Since then, our paths have crossed in Bozeman, Flagstaff, and Salt Lake City as our lives have wandered in pursuit of the adventure.  Every time, the conversation seems to pick up just where it left off.

Doin' my thang. It's fun to realize that I've learned things that other people want to know about.

Doin’ my thang. It’s fun to realize that I’ve learned things that other people want to know about.

I said goodbye late Friday night, because Brian and I were headed to Butte early on Saturday morning. I was invited to give a talk on Energy Conservation as it relates to renewable energy at the Montana Renewable Energy Association‘s annual Clean Energy Affair event. Getting to share some of what I’ve learned in the past few years reminds me why I’ve chosen to spend my time as I have.  Plus, rubbing elbows with the Governor is never a bad thing. Brian came along to get some climbing in on the incredible granite just outside of town. Even better, he got to do it with an awesome lady that I haven’t seen in far too long.

Brian and Ren, ready to rap off.

Brian and Ren, ready to rap off.

I spent most of 2010 commuting from Portland to Los Angeles to see someone special. At the end of that year, our lives were headed in different directions.  It hurt, as the end of things always do, but there were never curse words. Earlier this year, Ren emailed and said she was leaving LA with a camper and some climbing gear. I mentioned the quality of adventures here in Montana, and she promised to make a point of visiting. She and her guy Jesse were driving up from Yellowstone, en route to Glacier National Park, so climbing in Butte fit perfectly. Brian provided some local knowledge on Saturday while I gave my talk, and Sunday found us as two teams of two climbing at Spire Rock. I couldn’t have been more psyched to see Ren and meet Jesse.

This always seems to happen when Ren is around.

Beef roast, avocado, cheese, and bread- this always seems to happen when Ren is around.

While at the conference on Saturday though, I got a last minute call from my dear friends Jordan and Cari, who were also passing through Missoula on Sunday night and hoping for a place to crash. The new house provided ample space, and Missoula offered a gorgeous evening to meet old friends. Monday afternoon we all floated the Clark Fork and ate the grass-fed Montana beef rump roast I had been saving in the freezer. Fine times with finer people- summer in Missoula is a good thing and I am very grateful.

Ties that bind across time and distance.

Ties that bind across time and distance.

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