Once I was on the "yes" list, I subsequently received a barrage of emails, including one requesting a photo of me taken in a national park. I was stumped. Does the lighthouse at Montauk Point count? The plot thickened...
The night of the soiree, as I made my way to Aspen Social Club, I couldn't help wondering why on earth that Colorado city would situate its tourist board smack dab in the heart of Times Square. And even when I crossed the threshold and spotted a pair of antlers over a fully stocked bar, I still wasn't connecting the dots. Turns out it's a nightclub, not a convention and visitors bureau.
Suddenly, as I glanced around at the racks of "performance wear" and displays of seriously crunchy shoes, the mystery unfolded like a bolt of lightning: The event was sponsored by Merrell, and it was for the other brand of Outsider—the kind that might actually hike through Yellowstone.
I must say, the ski chalet-themed snacks (including DIY s'mores) were pretty fabulous. But after chitchatting with the Merrell marketing team, I had to tear myself away from the sweets and scamper off to a long-standing appointment to meet Rafael Nadal. (No, not that Rafael Nadal. This one has red hair, four legs, and is the latest in a long line of yapping poodles owned by a tennis-obsessed pal. Woof woof!)
UPDATE: I was just notified that after I hightailed it out of Aspen Social Club, a drawing was held, and I am now the proud recipient of a free annual pass to the National Parks across this great land of ours. Time to fire up the motor home.