I got in touch with my friend Keith who’s lived in Durango for the past 30-years or so. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to hook up, but he was exceptionally generous with his time. I suggested we meet for dinner, and he one-upped me and suggested we go to his house and throw some steaks on the grill. He understands how nice a home cooked meal is when you’ve been traveling for awhile.
Keith worked with JanSport as a sales rep, and his knowledge of the outdoor industry is formidable. He’s been involved in the industry from all angles — as a designer, as a manufacturer, as a retailer, as a sales rep, and probably in other capacities which I’m forgetting. He was involved in the creation/invention of the first dome tent; he was instrumental in the success of many outdoor companies you’ve all heard of.
I met him at the store he bought a few years ago:
And then I followed him up the hill to his house. It’s a gorgeous, open house with spectacular views and full of amazing history.
He’s a great storyteller, and he talked about his climbs up Everest, Kangchenjunga, Mt. Rainier, etc. He knew Tenzing Norgay, and he knows Sir Edmund Hillary. He has survived a helicopter crash, and he’s an all-around fascinating (and lucky) man.
We ate salami, bread, and cheese (two kinds) to start. We shared red wine, a salad, and grilled jerk steak. He brought out some authentic Gruyere (who knew it wasn’t supposed to be brick hard!?!) and pears for dessert.
The meal was just great, and — even better — it was nice to catch up with an old friend.