There are people that come along every so often and completely change your perspective on humans and life. Kenyon Salo is one of those people. We met through a combination of mutual friends and social media. Another O.G. of BASE jumping that I watched in videos years ago. He inspired me to take trips to several destinations in the U.S. and Europe through images of his own adventures. Currently Kenyon does standup comedy, is a member of the Denver Broncos parachute team, a skydive instructor, avid BASE jumper, a motivational speaker and an all around rad dude. Recently, he has begun helping other people realize their potential, their dreams and attain their goals and dreams by helping them check items off of their Bucket List. The guy lives quite the life to say the least. Based out of Boulder, CO, Kenyon lives an active lifestyle and continues to travel.
Several months ago Kenyon contacted me to let me know that he was doing a regional Bucket List Life road trip starting in Colorado and going through Wyoming, Montana, Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Utah. He didn’t have any set or definitive plans. He was going to let the road and others' Bucket List items lead him on his journey. Just the thought of such an adventure had me reeling! What an amazing idea! Kenyon let me know a round about timeframe that he would be passing through the Seattle area and asked if we could meet up. I told him I could do one better. I would take off of work and he would stay with me and my family. As the weeks passed, Kenyon kept me up to date on how things were going with the trip and I of course followed his adventure closely through his Facebook and Instagram posts. He was having some amazing adventures indeed and I was getting more and more excited to get in on the action as the days went by. Finally I got a text that Kenyon was crossing the border out of B.C., Canada and making his way south to the Seattle/Tacoma area. Woohoo!!! Weather and traffic delayed him a bit, but he finally made it to the house later that evening. We gave each other high fives, hugs and did introductions as we had never actually met in person. Funny how that happens. Such strong friendships and bonds can form over distance and written correspondence. We spoke about our ideas over the next couple days and decided to sleep on it and make a final decision in the morning.
The next morning Kenyon spoke about how something was drawing him to an urban outing in downtown Seattle. He mentioned that after our conversation the evening before, something just told him that is what we were supposed to do. I went with it and followed his intuition. What a great decision that was! It was a beautiful day in Western Washington! We made our way to Pikes Place Market and meandered around grabbing a coffee at the nearby Starbucks. We enjoyed the sights and sounds of the market and made our way to The Gum Wall. In case you are wondering, it is as awesome as it sounds and it is in fact a wall of chewed up gum. The closer you get to the wall, the more sweet and fruity it smells. Then it sets in that this is a huge germ and bacteria rave with more DNA than a sperm bank. Pretty cool actually! We took a few pictures and enjoyed the various gum art that was on display.
Next we made our way upstairs to street level and stopped by the infamous Pikes Place Fish Market. This place has been around for nearly 60 years and is an icon in the city of Seattle. Kenyon and I happened upon Jason who worked at Pikes Place Fish Market. He told us his story about how he literally grew up at the market since 1969 when his mother worked there. She would take him to work with her and he would sit behind the counter while she worked. Then at about the age of 20, he started working at the fish market. 20 years later, he’s still throwing fish and loving every minute of it. Jason then asked me if I wanted to catch a fish. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t hesitate. I gave him an enthusiastic, “YES!!!” and made my way around the counter. Jason picked up a 20+ pound Coho salmon and yelled out, “TT for ZACH!” which was then echoed by the rest of the market staff. The net thing I know, theres a huge fish flying 20 feet through the air RIGHT AT ME! I was nervous and excited all t the same time. The fish found it’s way right into my hands and everyone in the market gave a loud cheer. I was so excited! One of the other employees took the fish from me and through it back to Jason. Jason again called out “TT for Zach!” and chucked the fish my way again. I caught it... AGAIN!!!! I couldn’t believe it! What an awesome day! I never thought in a million years that I would be catching a fish at the Pikes Place Fish Market. I’m sure this sounds a bit silly, but I don’t care. It was amazing! Kenyon and I decide to grab a bite to eat before heading our way back south to the house and preparing for the next days adventure.
During a short conversation at the house before going to bed, I asked Kenyon if he liked to shoot guns. He mentioned that he hadn’t shot in quite a while, but a true “guys day” would be a nice change from his normal adventures. I took the time to get everything together and prepared for the next day. Ammo, check. Ear protection, check. Eye protection, check. Cleaning supplies, check. Guns, check. We were ready! The next day Kenyon and I set out for a local rock quarry where some friends use to shoot several years back. I could tell that Kenyon was getting excited! We get to the quarry and set up targets and the tripod and camera to capture then fun that would soon ensue. I gave Kenyon a once over on each weapon, noting each of the safety features and different ways they operate. After a short briefing, he was ready to have fun! Over the next couple hours and several hundred rounds of various calibers, I watched Kenyon get more and more familiar and comfortable with each weapon and get more and more proficient with them. We laughed, high five’d and hugged it out. Good times were being had and great memories were being made.
Kenyon was finally done being a badass and we packed everything up to head home. We stopped and grabbed a coffee and chatted on the car ride home about life, love, jumping, and friendship. I was thoroughly impressed with his attitude and perspective on life and people. It was refreshing to know there are still good, kind hearted and positive people out there in the world. We finally arrived home and Kenyon asked my family and me if we would like to take some pictures in the front years of our home before he left. We obliged and had a blast making funny faces and poses. We said our goodbyes to Kenyon as he made his way south to Oregon and California. I continued to follow his adventures for the days to come. They just kept getting better and better.
Although he was no longer with is in person, the mark that Kenyon left on me and my family remains. His positive outlook and zest for life is as infectious as a snot nosed kid in an emergency room. You just can’t help but be drawn to him. Even just today, my wife mentioned that she was in horrible traffic on the interstate and she asked herself, “What would Kenyon do/say?” It’s true, what would Kenyon say? Would he get all bent out of shape and throw a fit about how he hated traffic and he’s going to be late or would he take it in stride and tell himself, “It’s supposed to be this way. It’s like this for a reason.” And then move on with the moment.
The 48 hours that I had the pleasure of spending with Kenyon will go down in my books as two of the best days ever. Not just for the things that we did and the smiles and high fives that we shared, but for the lasting impression and profound effect that he has had on me and my family. Thank you again Kenyon. You rock like Def Leopard with all ten arms!