It is the game, not the call...

Christine, my wife, pulled a slick move and flew in two of my oldest friends for a couple of days.  I recently celebrated a birthday and she nailed her present to me.  I can't thank her enough for the best kind of gift.  Timeless experiences with your best buddies.

^They flew in on Wednesday night and we partied pretty hard at the Telemark Skier Magazine movie premiere at Brewvies in SLC.  The next morning we opted for a slow going day out on "Brown Sugar" with another old friend of mine, Ben Geiger.  From left to right is Ben, Ryan Schmaling, and Bryan Tournas.  Ryan, Bryan, and I go all the way back to early elementary school in Wisconsin.  They live in Phoenix, AZ these days, but our roots still run deep into the rich midwestern farm soil.  

^Glassy water is a good hangover cure.  

^Blue skies and sunshine are the prescription.

^I had to jump into the frigid water to show the boys how it is done.  Wake surfing in the Wasatch.  They weren't expecting to be surfing in the mountains, but then again I wasn't expecting them either.

^Bryan is figuring it out.

^Ryan and Ben keep an eye on his efforts.

^Surfing.  No big deal.  He is an athlete.

^Ryan picks it up like a natural.  Of course.  

^But then Ben makes it look really easy.  We polished off the evening with the lakeview off of Ben's back porch in Willard, Utah.  Some whisky drinks, and some knee high entertainment from Ben's youngsters kept our spirits as light as floating leaves on the cool wind.  The stars emerged over Willard Bay and served us the perfect night cap to a once in a lifetime type of day with the best kind of friends.  

^Sore calves from the all day surf session the day before, I threw the boys right into a 7-mile round trip hike.  Adams Canyon is a classic waterfall hike, and a good one for athletic out-of-towners.

^Chill spot.  Murphy is pumped, and the sun is shining down on our lifted spirits.  The planets all kind of lined up for us for a couple days.  It was really a perfect weekend.

^Ryan is stoked.

^One reason why.

^Another reason why.  Ryan is chilling under the sun soaked cliffs and taking in the 60-foot waterfall.  This is a special place, and I was pretty blessed to be able to share it with two people who have influenced my life in such a profound way.  Pretty cool moment.  I am glad I snapped these shots of it.

^Pour it out for our homies.  It was a flood of reflection in the mist of the falls with these guys.  We have come a long way since bike rides and kissing girls in the small town Wisco world of our youth.  We have endured life, love and tragic death together.  We have emerged out of the darkest pallbearer roles of our past to each strive for lives of inspired existence.  We have each taken the lessons of the hard knocks of loss to heart, and pursued lives of second chance.  

^In the mist.

^The album cover.  The woman that made it all possible in between the boys on the shores of Antelope Island out in the middle of "Big Salty".  Of course, Murphy is with too.

^Christine and I are creeping up on our first anniversary.  Although, I have known her most of my life she is still surprising me.  The boys love her too.  That actually speaks volumes.  To me at least.

^Bryan and I humbled by the light show finale.  This is one of my all time favorite sunset spots.  I am blessed to have been able to share a stellar one with some of my favorite people, and my dog.  The boys love Murphy too.  Big surprise.  Everyone loves Murphy.

^I snapped this one of Ryan and Bryan as the sun settled on our day and weekend together.  

^While driving across the causeway exiting the island, the moon and stars were rising over the Wasatch Range in front of me.  The sun was finishing the light show over the Great Salt Lake in my rearview mirror.  Ryan,  Bryan and I have a lot of experiences in the rearview mirror.  We truly grew up together.  I met Ryan at age 5 and Bryan at age 8.  We are three in a group of five from our hometown that has done it all together.  We are all very blessed to have each other as true lifelong friends in this chaotic world.  Each and every one of us has taken the lessons of our shared past, grabbed the torch we were given, and ran like hell with it.  Each and everyone of us is keenly aware of the fragile and fleeting nature of the human experience.  We have all chosen to pursue our short time here with reckless abandon.  The 5 of us all played sports together growing up.  In light of our hometown Brewers recent run for the NLCS, I will give you an old baseball analogy that explains. 
"I will not be walking across home plate with a clean uniform.  I will be rounding third base in full stride.  Uniform tatered, torn, and stained from a life of diving plays.  My pace will be driven by the motivation of errors and triumphs.  The play will be at the plate.  With no hesitation I will leap head first toward the imposing catcher.  The play will be so close that the crowd will hold their breath.  The silence and the perfectly executed head first hook slide will result in an uproar of emotion when the umpire animates and  proclaims his call above the lingering anticipation... "