Cover photo by Kyle Smith
Words by Emerald LaFortune
In 14 hours, Jesse Weber and Nate Moody will take off into the cold Colorado night on skinny skis, with 40 miles and thousands of feet of vertical relief in front of them. Neither have done this race before, or even really ski mountaineered. There's a large possibility they'll fail, or at least have a serious epic. Yet they have good gear, ample food and a sense of humor. No one in the Grand Traverse Race is allowed to race alone - they'll have each other through the seven (or fourteen) hours it may take.
There's a metaphor for what it means to be an Idaho guide here.
To be a guide is to rarely work alone. To be a guide is to inherently understand your own shortcomings and rely on the family around you to get a job done. From hunting to mountain sports to river running, guides are the ultimate collaborators, knowing that our teamwork is not just a board room meeting but often a matter of life or death in dynamic, wild environments.
Your fellow guide is on the other side of a beacon, with the skills to rescue you if the cornice above you breaks.
Your fellow guide hikes a creek bottom, pushing a trophy elk up towards your guest.
Your fellow guide paddles a kayak alongside your raft ready to help you right a flipped boat, in a surging, flood-stage river.
Your fellow guide picks you up on the side of the road when your truck hauling your driftboat breaks down.
Your fellow guide is on the other side of a cross cut saw, helping clear trail for the pack train stocking camp.
The Redside Foundation receives support from folks all over the state of Idaho. Redside's services and opportunities are made possible by parents, outfitters, folks who knew and loved Telly Evans and businesses that recognize the importance of Idaho's guiding industry to a thriving state.
Redside also receives support from Idaho guides themselves.
Most of us do not guide for the exciting paycheck or health care benefits. Guiding is an act of love to wild animals, rugged landscapes and the family that comes from collaboration in unpredictable situations. So when the Redside receives support from guides, be it $10 off a trip's tip or the offer to fling oneself into the Colorado mountains on a pair of skinny skis, we know our Idaho guides are saying, "We support each other. We are a team. We support Redside, because Redside supports our family."
Guiding inherently means accepting the risk of unpredictable situations. With their guiding background, I have no doubt that Nate and Jesse will finish or have a blast trying. They know that they not only have each other during the Grand Traverse, they also have Idaho's 2,500 outdoor guides rooting them on. I hope you'll join me in wishing them well and stay tuned over the next day of racing.
Live tracking: http://thegrandtraverse.org/2014-live-tracking/
Facebook Fundraiser: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1386474334717097/1277831938959578