It’s my best friends birthday, and I couldn’t let the week go by without dedicating a few stories in honor of her 23rd rotation around the sun.

My best friend is Jessica. The two of us have been through thick and thin. We’ve been with eachother through the good times and the bad. We’ve seen eachother evolve and change over and over again. We’ve seen eachother through boyfriends and girlfriends. I like to think that the two of us comprise of our squad, which has had so many great members come and go over the years.

We’ve spent probably thousands of hours in the wilderness and on the road. We’ve camping so many damn times. We’ve been all over central, southern and northern Utah. We’ve traveled to the west coast together. There’s so many stories, I dont think I can even begin to number them.

Jess and I grew up in the same neighborhood. We played on the block when we were kids. We only became close after beginning to work at the ice rink the we grew up next to. I was 16, she was a year younger. I clearly remember her coming to my house to invite me on bike rides. I thought she was nice, but at that stage in my adolescence, I was so stuck in my small circle of comfort. I wasn’t accustomed to hanging out with people I didnt know. Well, since that’s exactly how friends are made, it goes without saying, I didnt have many friends at the time.

Jess pulled me out of my circle. Even though I was clearly hesitant to her invitations, she kept on inviting me. Like… all the time. Bike rides, camping trips, snowboarding, tram rides, Park City, rock climbing, bonfires, family fiestas, hikes, fishing trips, ice skating. Man, the list seriously goes on an on. Some of those my have been my ideas.

I think the two of us found chemistry over our outlook. I don’t say that about very many people, but it’s true. Jess and I viewed people, and the world through a similar lense. We practice a lot of the same judgement. We have always put the same emphasis on treating the world with kindness. She’s relatable. We laugh about a lot of the same things also. I feel honored to be close with Jessica’s immediate and extended family. They are all such great people.

I can’t thank Jessica enough for the role she’s played. They say that if a friendship passes seven years, than its likely to be a life long friendship. We’ve passed that landmark, but I’m sure we’ll have eachothers acquaintance in the next life. I love the shit out of you Jess. Happy Birthday toto taso!

Erik H.