I’m back from the OmniTen trip to Arizona with Columbia Sportswear (reluctantly)

Holy mother of Arizona adventure. Here I am, in humid Florida, still reeling from the epic trip that I’m still not sure really happened. I’m sitting here with heaps of GoPro footage, thousands of photos, and a slightly torn wristband that served as my permit for camping near the Havasupai village deep in the Grand Canyon. Did that whole trip really just happen?

Words can’t even begin to describe what I experienced while out traversing canyons, waterfalls, streams, and travertine tunnels with the OmniTen crew and Columbia Sportswear team. Our time together began with a week of industry events revolving around the release of Columbia’s newest innovation, OmniFreeze Zero. We were wined and dined all day and night long at the Hilton and around Sedona as the company worked to woo editors, gear buffs, journalists, and industry professionals. Don’t worry, there will be an entire post dedicated to all the phenomenal meals I gorged myself on during the gear previews. Elk kabobs and cactus margaritas, anyone?

The highlight of the trip was hands-down the three days we spent around Havasu Falls. We began with an early morning hike into the canyon, a hot and heavy 10-mile excursion that left me with blisters in places I didn’t even know my feet could sprout them. We passed through the Havasupai Village, set up camp, and enjoyed our first evening together as a close knit group. The second day was spent jumping off waterfalls, climbing through travertine tunnels, wading through waist-deep streams while carrying our packs over our heads, and cooling off in the unbelievably blue water. The final day saw a 10-mile hike back out to the rim of the canyon, which was brutal. I wouldn’t have survived the final mile, which involves a 2000 foot elevation gain up switchbacks frequented by mule trains, without the cooling glory of my OmniFreeze Zero neck gaiter. Seriously, when they start making those available to the public, get one. 

My grand adventure would have been nothing without the amazing people who made it a truly unforgettable journey. The OmniTen crew started out as complete strangers (aside from creeping on eachother’s social media profiles), but we left Arizona teary-eyed over the prospect of losing eachother’s company. These people are now lifelong friends.

It’s going to take me a few days to process everything that I experienced, put it all down in words, and edit all of the amazing photos I snapped during the trip. Stay tuned for a huge installment of posts chronicling my adventure.

It’s going to be good. 

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Categories: OmniTen, Travel & Adventure

Author:Katie Boué

Katie Boué is the voice of TheMorningFresh.com - a travel lifestyle blog focusing on climbing, Airbnb life, and the outdoors.

13 Comments on “I’m back from the OmniTen trip to Arizona with Columbia Sportswear (reluctantly)”

  1. June 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Awwwwwww let’s go back!! OmniTen reunion, January, 2013! :)

  2. June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    With Heather’s photos and your words today, Katie, you really put my boots out there on the trail with y’all. A grand adventure indeed! Thanks for taking me along for the ride.

    • June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

      This is just the tip of the iceberg, Russ! The flood of photos, videos, and stories from us is just beginning. We’ll have to organize a big tweet-up adventure that everyone can come to!

      • June 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

        I’ll be listening with my boots on, Katie!

  3. June 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    You kept your wristband? I think mine fell off in the Paradise Pool. I love that I get to write sentences like that now.

    • June 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      Yeah, I totally kept it, haha! Which one was Paradise Pool? They all started blending together, there was just too much beautiful waterfront awesomeness around me.

  4. June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Seriously, I kinda want your life. Said from the confines of my cubicle. Sounds like a great experience!

  5. June 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Hm, if I wait long enough I might not have to write about anything because everyone else is covering it all.

    I can’t wait until the band gets back together.

    Also, I still have my wrist band. It’s ripped and faded but I will hold onto it forever.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pushing The Limits Of Omni-Freeze Zero….And Myself - June 22, 2012

    […]  The sooner we headed out the better off we’d be in order to avoid direct sun exposure.  Katie and I teamed up and started our 4 hour […]

  2. Revisiting 6,657 miles of solitude, and looking forward to an autumn of personal adventure | THE MORNING FRESH - September 5, 2012

    […] than I’ve ever been open to. I hauled out to Flagstaff for Overland Expo in May, was flown out to the Grand Canyon with Columbia Sportswear in June, peppered my schedule with all sorts of southeastern climbing trips, and even attended my […]

  3. Review of Columbia Sportswear’s Reactor 35º Sleeping Bag (and Niko’s first guest post!) | THE MORNING FRESH - October 23, 2012

    […] my trip to Havasu Falls with Columbia Sportswear’s OmniTen team, we were gifted the most packable sleeping bags […]

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