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Explorer Spotlight: Conor Barry

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Name: Conor Barry | Age: 26 | Location: Salt Lake City

What’s your day job?
Student & Photographer

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Anything. Literally. Being outside is one of the few things that keeps me sane and happy. If I had to pick one single thing though, it would be sleeping under the stars. There’s some sort of humbling magic that happens when you see the galaxy and realize you’re just a small speck.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I grew up in Salt Lake City. That should explain it. More seriously though, I found my love for the outdoors through photography. That's what fuels my passion to be outside.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Amethyst Lake in the Uinta mountains takes the cake. That’s my happy place. Beer, not a fan of beer. Burritos on the other hand, I’ll have a beef burrito from Barbacoa anyday.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
Other than a camera...nothing. That’s the only thing I don’t seem to forget. I always tend to leave at least one essential item behind. Makes for more of an adventure. Usually its a toothbrush - or underwear.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Beef jerky. Lets be honest, nothing is better than cow. Cow beats all.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
Josh Ritter.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring?
I had a sketchy Grizzly bear encounter in Glacier National Park. He wasn’t too happy. Bear spray was armed, fighting words were spoken, bun cheeks were clenched, hair was raised, teeth were bared. It was a cold war of sorts, though — no wrestling actually took place. I think he was intimidated by my beard.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime?
My wife. I have to drag her kicking and screaming sometimes but there’s no one else I’d rather commit crime with. Who inspires you? I have a buddy who lived his life as if everyday were his last. His motto was “life by passion.” He didn’t have to tell you though — you could tell just by spending an hour with him. He passed away in an avalanche a handful of years back. When it comes to having regrets though, I’m sure he had very few. I try to take his attitude with me when I’m out adventuring. It makes the type II fun a little easier.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Iceland, Patagonia and Peru.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Mountaineering/Ice climbing

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
The stars aligned for this photo. I dragged myself out of my cozy sleeping bag, crossed the creek (successfully) in my drowsy state and the perfect combo of light and clouds came together just in time for the sunrise. The only thing to make that morning more memorable would have been a full-grown sasquatch prancing through the meadow. Or a thermos of hot chocolate — I would have appreciated either.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Never half-ass anything. Whole-ass everything.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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