In a year of uncertainty, hear how reconnecting with old friends and caring for a new furry companion defined nomadic photographer Kylie Fly’s sense of home. Words and Photos by Kylie Fly.
Deciding on where to call home is one of my life’s greatest challenges. It seems a simple choice, straight forward enough and maybe just a logistical thing. However, I often go where my heart leads me and the people in my life are what have kept me the most grounded. Mountains are always there, and the access to beautiful places to climb, ski and play are certainly high priority. Much of the appeal of where I live has to do with where I’m able to get to in a short amount of time and who I get to share it with.
From left, the Highside ‘84 Mid in Dark Shadow/Arona and Chocolate Brown/Tandoori Spice.
When I first moved to Salt Lake City in 2016, I was looking for a fresh start. My life had taken unexpected turns that demanded an honest change, which included scenery right alongside everything else. Since then, I have bopped between my home state of Idaho and a few other places along the way. At times, being independent can feel a little lonely when you’re starting somewhere new. Things were different when I found myself back in Salt Lake this year. Even a few years later, it still felt like coming home.
Jessie and Roo.
Kylie and Griz.
I met Jessie when I first moved to Utah, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s from Salt Lake and knows the Wasatch mountains like the back of her hand. Her pup, Roo, is her best friend and we have certainly bonded over being dog parents. While living on the road and being away for work and adventure can be difficult to balance and at times feel very isolating, Jessie has been a consistent friend whom I kept in touch with over the years no matter how many miles came between us. Even if I was just passing through, we’d meet up for a ski or grab some dinner together and maintain a meaningful connection that is impactful.
Coming into 2020 and after living in my Sprinter van for the past year, I knew I needed to find some roots and dig deep into a sense of place again. My heart was anxious, soul restless and too many unknowns made it hard to feel focused or centered. As the pandemic took over our lives and the ground felt like it was falling beneath me, I felt compelled to grow somewhere steadily surrounded by things and people that could support me in the ways I needed. I wanted to create a home where I could feel at peace; somewhere settled.
Seal out the muddy Fall elements with the Grandview GTX hiking boot in Chocolate Chip, made with waterproof leather and quick-dry mesh with a Gore-Tex waterproof bootie.
When Griz, my pup, frolicked into my life in early May, he burrowed right into my heart and changed my focus entirely. He gave me the boost I needed and the motivation necessary to hustle to make decisions. I wanted to give him the best possible life and finding a home we could share was top priority. Before I knew it, I was looking for houses with fenced-in yards where he could run free and be happy.
The Wasatch mountain range aglow in Fall colors.
Being a dog parent is a funny thing. Jessie and I took a hike in one of our favorite areas in Salt Lake on a beautiful autumn evening, and we talked about the intense love we have for our furry companions. I am convinced our hearts grow at least sixteen sizes when we invite another living thing into our lives and choose to commit to sharing it together. At times it’s an absolute hassle, and there are definitely growing pains and adjustments not unlike what I imagine being a human parent might be like.
Already, I’ve learned so much from Griz about patience, selflessness, relationships, and reliability. He has taught me that life is not a singular experience and his presence has been the greatest contributor and addition to my happiness. In a year filled with uncertainty and challenges, he is a breath of fresh (and needed) air.
Griz has changed the way I see and define home. My friendship with Jessie has only grown as the two of us are able to explore Salt Lake’s trails with our pups by our side, seeing the world through their eyes and moving through mountains together. Whether it’s a person, a dog, a place, or a feeling, I’m convinced it’s a combination of them all to truly find home.
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