Tense moments in transit made for an adventure without a dull moment.
My plane touched down in Salt Lake 12 minutes after my connection to Portland was scheduled to depart. Upon deplaning, the gate agent asked for my flight number. She grimaced. “If you sprint, you probably won’t make it. Your flight is in a different terminal.” With 51 pounds of carry-on luggage crammed into two bags, I began to move, and fast. I caught sympathetic looks from fellow travelers as they cleared a path for my rampage. Passing a couple unburdened by luggage, dashing for the same flight, I thought to myself, “Woah, I am tough.”
I soon slowed to a walk, every muscle screaming, until I realized the difference between success and failure would be measured in seconds today. I started sprinting again, ignoring my lungs. Then I saw it, Gate C37, and the door was still open. I had no air left to communicate with the gate agent. I ran down the gangway, as a flight attendant made frantic gestures at me. I stepped inside the plane and she shut the door on my pack, which now felt like lead on my back. I navigated to row 33, enduring the glowering stares of 200 seated passengers. The bag-less couple I had sprinted past didn’t make the flight. I took my seat, lungs searing, but the adventure was just beginning.
Scenes from the slopes of Mount Hood, Oregon, above the Timberline Lodge.
Before long, I’m thrust in front of cameras and a large film crew. I find myself earnestly explaining that the chance to influence gear design is what excites me most about this job opportunity. By helping women (and men) be more comfortable and confident with better gear in the outdoors, we can strive for tougher objectives and more difficult challenges. You can’t push way past your comfort zone if your gear isn’t keeping you comfortable.
More tests along the way down following my job interview with Columbia Sportswear on the Palmer Glacier.
Am I tough enough? Columbia will soon make a decision about their new Directors of Toughness, radically changing two lives. Regardless of the outcome, I’ve climbed another mountain and relish this experience that has now etched itself on the pages of my story.
Goodnight from Mount Hood