Dispatches from the Mountainside
Cover image: The Oboz Livingston Low works hard and plays hard. All images: Aaron Theisen.
The life of a travel writer and photographer tends to be one of idle relaxation (those cocktails are for article research purposes, I swear) followed by intense flurries of activity. Sometimes those flurries come unexpectedly, as the unpredictable schedules of both mountain athletes and mountain weather line up.
I recently toured the Okanagan of south-central British Columbia, on a magazine assignment to cover the bike parks in what is considered the birthplace of freeriding. I’d shattered my clavicle in a mountain biking mishap a few weeks prior, so cycling is strictly a spectator sport for now.
One morning, at Big White Bike Park, near Kelowna, I was sipping coffee in the day lodge when a patroller approached me and said that my riding models were heading to the chairlift.
I wasn’t planning to leave the village that morning, so this was unexpected. I was dressed casually—jeans, hoodie, and my new Oboz Livingston slip-ons—but there was no time to delay.
Time, and photo subjects, wait for no man. I grabbed my camera backpack and coffee and ran.
Mountain biking photography involves a lot of walking. Double-black downhill trails are no less sketchy on two feet than on two wheels. And getting the right shot often means bushwhacking well off trail, on steep, log-strewn sidehills.
(I sincerely hope the orthopedic surgeon who screwed my clavicle back together isn’t reading this.)An hour or two into the shoot, I stepped down off the trail onto a wobbly, shrub-obscured log, and then to solid ground. It was then that I realized I’d been wearing my Livingstons the whole time. Comfortable enough on the foot and confident enough on the trail that you forget you have them on: that’s the hallmark of a hard-working shoe.
In life, as in photography, opportunities arrive as surprises, whether it’s a last-minute after-work hike or a round of drinks with friends. The Livingston is a do-it-all shoe that handles both work and play—or livelihoods, like mine, where work is play—with easy style. And it looks good while sipping cocktails too.
Aaron Theisen is a professional writer and photographer based in Spokane, Wash. Follow him on social media: @whiskeygingermedia.