When love starts a thing: Park City, Utah
This is a close-up shot of a tree in Park City, Utah. It’s festooned with shoes of all kinds. Boots, sneakers, hiking shoes, trail shoes, water clogs, even sandals. Footgear of all stripes.
The entirety of this small stand of trees is similarly outfitted. An uncountable number of shoes dangle from the branches. Some of them at impossible heights. Who has that kind of hurling prowess?
Most commonly a pair of shoes are tied at the laces and flung into the tree canopy, coming to full stop when they snag on a limb.
I came across this spectacle along a pathway adjacent to our hotel. When I asked the woman at the check-in counter about the shoes, she countered:
“Do you want the myth or the truth?”
Me: “Both, of course!”
The myth is that a couple hikers almost lost their lives on an expedition . . . and were so jubilant upon reaching civilization that they flung their hiking boots up into the trees to celebrate. Over time, others followed suit and it became a trend.
The truth worked better for me. A newly-wedded couple flung their tied-together shoes into the trees, symbolic of their now-joined life adventure. Very quickly it became a thing. People tossed their footwear up into the trees by the dozens.
Now, once a year, volunteers ascend into the trees to dislodge the shoes. They donate hundreds of shoes to a local charity each year.
How freaking cool is that?!
Exuberant love made an impulsive gesture. Others picked up on the act. Now it continues year upon year, awing those like me who happen to pass by, benefitting scores of people who can put those shoes to use.
Who knows if those original lovers even know what followed in their wake?
When love starts a thing, watch out—
Park City, Utah