Dear Utah: ‘We Still Love You, But It’s Complicated’

Breaking up is hard. But we’ll all get through this.

Utah delicate arch
Utah’s Delicate Arch; Photo by jungle jim3 licensed via Creative Commons 2.0.

It’s been great Utah. Really, all these years together were incredible. And you’re still just as beautiful as the first time we laid eyes on you.

Your peaks are as majestic as when Outdoor Retailer first landed in your capital. Your lakes are just as blue and sparkling. And while we never did enjoy your stinky inversions, they were just a personality quirk we were able to overcome.

Kind of like your weak beer and odd liquor laws. But you know, we take the good with the bad.

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So really, it’s not so much you, as us. We have a lot of needs. We need cheap hotel rooms. And a big convention center. And agreeable politicians. And, really, we like to get our way (and if we don’t, well, we tend to pitch a fit).

Our loyalties run only so deep, and sometimes it’s easier to cut and run. We were just dating, ok? Two decades was a long time together. We drifted apart over the last few years. Really, isn’t this latest blow up just a manifestation of some other deeper seated issues?

Our families never really approved anyway. Our friend Yvon nudged us to leave this relationship. He’s a hard guy to ignore. Once he turned on you, the rest of our friends fell like dominoes. We agreed to counseling. But we admit we only gave it a half-hearted attempt. Our eyes were already wandering.

So now we have to call it quits. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love you.

powder mountain snow edit
Snowboarding Powder Mountain, Utah, January 2017; photo by Sean McCoy

For real, we’ll be back for all the stuff we did during the good times. We’ll be there to climb all over those chiseled rocks. And we’ll explore deep into your canyons at every chance. Obviously, just because we’re not officially “together” doesn’t mean we won’t be back, over and over again, to enjoy your glorious territory.

But there are other fish in the sea. And we suppose you find them pretty attractive, too. I mean, you’re trading hiking boots for wingtips, flannels for pantsuits. Moving up in the world, some might say.

Powder Mountain Nate by snow trees

We guess we’re just feeling burned. A fancy new friend comes along, and poof, you just open up your sacred spaces and let ’em in. We thought we had something monumental. Guess we were wrong.

But we still love you. And we’re pretty sure you still love us, too. So we’ll enjoy our clandestine meetings together. We’ll see you at Park City and Moab and Zion. But we’ll feel weird supporting your new obsessions. We just don’t find all that smoke healthy.

Anyway, take care Utah. We’ll miss you a whole lot. We’ll miss your quirky ways and natural beauty. But you know, we found the neighbor next door to be gorgeous and fun, too.

We’ll be fine. But stay in touch, OK, and be careful with that new crowd you’re running with. We think they might be after your money.

Guess we better get going and pack up our things for one last hurrah in the Salt Palace. After that, you know where to find us.

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Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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