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This is an inside story about a surely to-be-missed Colorado Kayak Supply team great. Tiff Simpson interviewed and employed me this past February. Although, I only worked with her for 3 days her persona is evident to the CKS Team. “Tiff’ll be here. The store will be fine…,” a phrase I heard again and again just prior to training with her. Confidence in the soon to depart manager was apparent as she accomplished closure on one task to the next.
Seven years ago I was invited on a private June Grand Canyon trip where I met Tiff. There’s an undeniable energy that has existed for millions of years within the canyon walls. It’s a place where the nature experience is equaled only by the life long bonds formed?
The canyon with an absence of technology and day-to-day distractions return us to a more primal state. It’s this focus of enjoying life, exploration, and human interaction within the confines of geologic strata being cut by the waters torrent that makes the canyon a once in a life-timer. There you can learn a lot about a person.
Tiff is my old Canyon friend I was excited to see annually as I made my kayak pilgrimage to the Arkansas River Valley. Simply stated she’s one of the people in life who net-works, builds relations, a person who attracts.
“I can’t believe you’re moving to Crested Butte…” Roommate Anna said as they packed her belongings.
Tiff extended her CKS stay because they needed her to help. CKS is big. Real Big. And PaddleFest week is an aimed challenge for the team. As a PaddleFest rookie I could sense the determination and underlying stress to do a best job as a team effort. It was not until after PaddleFest weekend while Tiff packed boyfriend Evan Ross’ truck and trailer for Crested Butte that I caught her for a couple of photos.
Tiff packed her life into plastic and cardboard boxes as I snapped photos asking questions. “I’d like to do a piece on you working for CKS. Something that illustrates your character.” That’s a challenge… it’s not easy to tell someone your character. For that matter it’s not easy to illustrate with words either. We walked back and forth between Evan’s truck and trailer loaded with clothes, adventure toys, and furniture.
Inside the BV house Tiff was packing kitchen supplies, “Well I don’t know what to say.” I answer, “Just do your thing and talk with your roommates. I’ll snap shots and do the rest.”
Roommate Anna helping pack opens a drawer listing the items, “Condoms, Teva duct tape…” Tiff embarrassingly smirks as we laugh and packing a series of boxes her sentences swiftly string along as fast as her packing pace, “I’m giving you my rum. You can have my bed. Do you have sheets?”
I repeat my notes to the room, “OK. Condoms, duct tape, rum, have my bed, sheets… got it.” Tiff laughs, “David don’t write the condoms.” Tiff would later send me an email; “If you can put photos of yourself on a toilet on the net for CKS then I can be OK with condoms.”
Anna speaks, “I think I’m in total denial I can’t believe you’re leaving, WTF. General Manager at Crested Butte Mountain Guides.” Anna, looks at a box of yoga rabbit food (something I’d never eat unless trying to impress a girl 15 years ago), “Does this make your gut smaller?” Tiff answers, “No it makes your gut happy… anyone want this tapioca and corn starch? David you’ll get these two cupboards.”
Tiff has made one of those tough life choices, “Evan moved to Colorado from Wyoming for me (three years ago). We’ve never lived together. If he could move here for me then I can move to the Butte for him.” It’s apparent Tiff loves her job and more so the people she works with and her community.
Slowing for a breath she says, “I’m having a harder time with it than I thought I would. I cried yesterday. I don’t know if I’m getting sentimental with my old age. I know if things don’t work out they’d let me come back with my tail between my legs. OMG. Why do I have so much food?” As I watch her struggle with leaving her community I think what a great place to be in life. To be surrounded by people who want the best for you. And if your path does not work out then it too is great to further realize they’d openly receive you no matter the condition.
Tiff continues, “I’ve always been fortunate to work at places that don’t feel like jobs… more family like.” Roommate interjects, “Inbred cousins family.” Tiff’’s likable persona acknowledges the joke with a pleasant laugh, “Yeah we’re a bit dysfunctional… I love ‘em.”
Tiff wipes the stovetop, throws food in the trash and returns to the interview, “I don’t know. I don’t know that I have anything super powerful to say. Does anyone want this vegan chocolate?”