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Dear Jason

In keeping with Mountain Hunting parlance, Jason “educated” me. To all kinds of shit. Shit without which my life would be so much less interesting and rewarding, and quite frankly, worth living. As such, writing this feels like a seriously painful exercise in irony, and unfairness. Cessnas, Beavers, Otters, helicopters, glaciers, the Arctic Circle, Aurora Borealis, the kind of exposure and beauty and grandeur and immensity and absolute fucking silence—a silence most modern humans will go their whole lives without ever experiencing—that comes with scrambling through the rocks and hummocks of deep Northwest Territories for 12 days and nights with a backpack and some rifles, crossing a glacier midday in a record hot summer—one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done and the only time I’ve ever written “that kind of letter” to my kids—not crossing the river issuing from the belly of that very same glacier on account of we tried several times and nobody wanted to die that day, Copenhagen, so much Copenhagen, hiking through the night with 100 pounds or more of freshly harvested Mountain Caribou meat and various camera bullshit on my back, fours in a handbuilt blind on a mud wallow in the Wind Rivers, and the glory of Sheep Kabobs made from fresh backstrap meat a stick and some fire, all of that, all of those profound and life affirming experiences are because Jason believed in me and in what I could do. Our first conversation was a two hour phone call. He was building a company called Kuiu and he wanted it, roughly speaking, to be the Rapha of Mountain Hunting. For the next two years we spent a lot of high-quality time together. At that point in my life I was raw and going through some serious shit like divorce and bankruptcy and sucking at being a dad. And so not surprisingly with all that time on our hands walking through some of the planet’s last remaining wilderness, stalking and scoping along the way but mostly walking and talking and thinking, we had some fairly serious conversations. He had is own shit. He played football through college and then in the NFL for a bit and it was through him that I first learned about CTE. Eventually we fell out, not all the way out, but out all the same. Until about a year ago when talked for a bit about writing his biography—he wanted to get something down on paper, he wanted a record. I don’t write biographies and quite frankly at the time it seemed sorta silly and premature. Like, dude, “You’re amazing, I love you, I think you’re hella interesting but that’s because I love what you do, but for the rest of the world what’s the hook?” As of Friday I don’t know how I feel about that last conversation but I suspect when I finally figure it out it won’t be altogether great. Right now it feels like foreshadowing just punched me in the face. But what I do know now is this; I am forever and eternally grateful for you Jason.