Every year, the company I work for (Automattic) has an annual retreat (Otherwise known as a Grand Meetup, or GM). This year, the same as last, it was in Park City, Utah. For those not familiar with the area, it houses several ski resorts, as well as the largest independent film festival in the United States, the Sundance Film Festival.
This being my first GM, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Mind the altitude (over 9000 feet above sea level) they said, drink lots of fluids they said (not all the single malt scotch), and meet your fellow Automatticians. What I got was one of the best weeks of my professional career.
The views were pretty spectacular….
Despite the already high altitude, a few of us decided it would be a great idea to climb the hills behind our hotel. It took us a while, but after a lot of huffing, puffing, we arrived at the top for a breath-taking view and the opportunity for a group picture. Team building, for the win!
Of course, then we had to make our way back down…
On another day, some of us took part in a photo tour around the area, led by none other than David Schultz, a veteran local photographer. David was very kind, quick to answer our many questions, as well as offer many tips and tricks based on shooting styles, camera choices, location, or time of day. While none of my images come close to his, I do think I came away with a few keepers from our time with him. After a while, our photography descended into us taking pictures of each other while taking pictures of eachother. Meta, I know!
Mark even decided to risk life and limb in a steep climb to try and get an even better shot. (Spoiler: Yep, he got the shot!)
As fun as the day was, eventually it was time to trek back down our mountain to the vehicles in the parking lot far below. On the way, Jeff was a bit thirsty. He showed off his nifty little filter straw that lets you drink from any stream or river, without fear of picking up any nasty bacteria or parasites. (For those interested, it’s similar to this.)
All in all, it was a very exciting trip! As nice as it was to get back home to Lorna and Oscar, I will admit that I was a bit sad to leave. It was wonderful to connect with old friends, as well as make some new ones. As far as I’m concerned, GM 2016 can’t come soon enough!