Jess & Travis’ Backcountry Wedding Adventure

Jess and Travis’ wedding was made for Two Mann; and photography’s not the half of it.

Blood, sweat, and tears imbue the peculiar forces that brought us all together atop a wild mountain in the middle of a global pandemic.

Our convoluted dots connect all the way back to the 1999 Canadian Cross Country Running Championships, where, in a disastrous display of physiological limits, I crash-landed unceremoniously upon Travis’ enduring memory. Who could forget a gangly, 6-foot-4, frizzy-haired Mann, collapsing gracelessly to the ground… in 2nd place… 300 metres from the finish line? For several gut-wrenching minutes, Travis and hundreds of spectators bore witness to the most excruciating 300 metres of my life. Nobody ever remembers who finished in 38th place… but somehow, on that infamous day in Kingston, Ontario; Travis did.

Flashing forward a few years; a feisty, spirited runner arrived on Calgary’s collegiate running scene with a balls-to-the-wall zest for life and adventure. Travis runs, lives, and loves like the fate of the universe depends on it. So when Jess, an impressionable running rookie strode her way into Strides Running Store on a fateful day in 2012, she had absolutely no idea what she was striding into. Not only did Travis manage to sell her a fancy new pair of shoes, but he cajoled her into registering for a “group running clinic” which he conjured out of thin air, right there on the spot. Unbeknownst to Jess, what she was actually signing up for was a series of private one-on-one running dates with Travis.

The rest is history… Jess got faster… Travis got slower… and together, they got high on life, love, and adventure!

Flashing forward to 2020; our world seems to have gone from gloriously flying along the course, to sprawled out flat on our faces with 300 metres to go. All travel cancelled. All workshops cancelled. Every wedding postponed. Every wedding, that is, except this one!

Jess and Travis’ wedding was just small enough, just local enough, just out there enough to go ahead cautiously. True to Jess and Travis, however, it was not for the faint-of-heart. After making the rugged 4X4 journey into the remote Ghost River Wilderness Area, we all had to climb 1000 vertical metres up to their chosen ceremony site atop one of their favourite mountains. When I say, “climb,” I mean, “haul ass!” Jess and Travis, and their Olympic-calibre friends, are insanely fit. Keeping up with them would be an impossibility for most, let alone while attempting to run up ahead here and there, all the way up, in order to document the journey with our cameras. Alas, having raced at the World Mountain Running Championships, we were kinda made for this wedding. That’s not to say it didn’t damn near kill us!

Massive props to Travis’ hard-core mom for pushing outside her comfort zone and enduring the treacherous journey to be there! And kudos to their incredible wedding-officiant-extraordinaire, Lisa-Marie Walker, who made the climb and then delivered a beautifully fitting ceremony. And of course, none of this could have happened without the adoring company of Jess and Travis’ utterly gorgeous dogs, Logan and Skeena. But making the longest, least likely journey to be a part of Jess’ and Travis’ wedding, was that which won’t be returning for 6,800 years… Comet NEOWISE!

Everything about this celebration, from the strenuous climb, to the magnificent scenery, to the intimate ceremony, to the hilarious vows, to the campfire beers, to the red-neck fireworks, to naked asses beneath the stars – was so quintessentially Jess and Travis… down-to-earth and high-on-life.

Jess and Travis, thank you so much for making us a part of your beautiful wedding adventure. Documenting this experience for you and your family was our absolute honour!

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