After setting up our tents in the mountains above Crested Butte, CO, we made the decision to head back to town to check out a local open mic night as suggested from our impromptu sherpa, Casey.
With a little more pep in our step we drove down the mountain and into town. We walked into Pitas in Paradise where families were finishing up a late dinner while others crowded the bar to catch the last period of the NHL hockey game. It was obvious that we weren’t locals as we sat on the outskirts of the eatery. After feeling like awkward ghosts for a few minutes Shane turned to Nate and said, “We should buy the bar a round of beers.” After discussing the logistics of it we decided to wait until later when open mic night started up.
Eventually, we secured some seats at the bar while some local musicians filled the air with music. The bartender asked Shane if he wanted a beer and he replied, “Yes can I get an IPA and also buy the entire bar a round?” The bartender looked slightly puzzled and responded, “Yeah… I mean if you really want to I guess you can. Are you sure?” Shane explained the premise of Project Wildness and that we had several donations revolving around the desire to buy beers for locals and share our story.
The owner of the bar caught wind of the plan and invited Shane onto the stage to explain what was going on. The crowd was ecstatic. If you want to make friends fast in a new town, buy the bar a round. The music picked up again as everyone laughed and shared stories. It seemed everyone at one point in the night approached us wanting to shake our hand and hear our story. As the night wore on we made new friends, heard some great local music, and shared many laughs.
Before the night was through we had multiple people give us money with suggestions on how to use it including animals, women’s rights, and preservation of nature. Others shared their uplifting emotions and told us their own ideas of how they would be giving back in the future. If this trip can accomplish just one thing it would be to inspire others to pay it forward and incorporate good deeds into their everyday lives.
To Karrie and Bob… You introduced me to good wine, great beer, and the blues. You both revel in the experience of travel, sharing stories and making new ones over a cold pint. I have witnessed numerous times that Bob has bought strangers drinks and it only seems right that your money goes to buying a bar a round. I raise a glass to the both of you for your never ending hospitality. Cheers!
To Natalie and Chris… You requested us to buy some locals a beer and hear their story. Well, we did and we heard a lot of stories! I have shared beers and laughs with you both and it is never a dull moment. You bring life to any party and even though you were miles and miles away, you brought life to the party at Pitas in Paradise.
To Lee S… You supported Project Wildness from its beginnings. Without hesitation, you gave hoping someone could try a local beer or two. Today, tens of people were able to enjoy some of that local beer in your name. Cheers to you and all you do!
To Josh… You have bought countless drinks and meals for me over the years, never bothering to keep track or run a tally. You have also benefited from the Kapsner effect (good beer, good tunes, good stories) equally as much as I have and you know the joy that comes from buying people drinks and sharing stories. In less than a month we will all be in Crested Butte and whether you know it or not, you already have friends here because of your donation.
Always leave a place better than you found it. #ProjectWildness