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A darling Duo
At first glance, Tess and Ryan are a picture perfect couple: young, beautiful, and vivacious. If you sat down with these two, you’d start to slowly realize there’s much more to them than their good looks. Small scars sprinkle their skin like plots on a treasure map, with each mark representing a different adventure from around the world.
As kids in small cowboy towns often do, Tess and Ryan came up with creative hobbies to pass the time.
“I started snowmobiling with my dad when I was only 7. I got my first snowmobile when I was 12 and by the time I turned 16 I bought my own sled,” said Ryan.
“Luckily, I grew up with a great place to ride. My grandparents have a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming, near the Bear Lodge. That’s where I learned the ropes and I’ve been addicted ever since,” laughed Ryan.
Tess grew up with adventurous parents and it’s clear that they passed their spark for life on to Tess. If Tess was lost as a little girl, you’d just have to hope she’d find her way back home on her own because there was no telling where she’d be. Hunting, fishing, and horseback riding are just a few of the hobbies on her long list.
As they entered high school, Tess and Ryan became good friends who shared a love for adrenaline rushes. Ryan took Tess out to his grandparents where she rode a snowmobile for the first time.
“It’s definitely a rush. There’s nothing quite like it. He got me hooked,” laughs Tess.
The pair have traveled to many places since that day. Many of them being snowmobiling destinations.
“We like to ride in the Snowy Mountain Range in Laramie and once a year we ride near Jackson Hole and stay to watch the World Championship Snowmobiling Hill Climbs,” adds Ryan.
Ryan himself has contemplated competing.
“If I found the right sponsors I think I would do it. The first sled I ever bought was only $3,000 and since then the market has really taken off and it’s gotten a lot more expensive. It’s a sport that not many people take part in, which is why it’s fun to take our friends and family out when they come to visit,” explains Ryan.
Although riding sleds is a fun winter sport, it can also be dangerous. Tess and Ryan have had their fair share of accidents, with one in particular being a nasty spill.
“On New Year’s Day of 2012 we were riding with little snow in the Bear Lodge. We rode double that day because I was still a beginner on the sleds. When we got to a steep incline, Ryan had me get off so I could film him climbing the hill. As I filmed him, he suddenly went behind a tree and hit a rock. He flipped over the front of the sled and got his arm caught in the mountain bar. I raced up to help him and was shocked to see that his arm had snapped in half,” remembers Tess
“We were eight miles from the truck and I didn’t know how to drive his sled out of the big draw. Ryan had to drive us both out with one arm until we got to the road where I could take over. We rushed him to the emergency room and they put him in surgery right away to put a plate in his arm. Me being a nurse, I thought I’d keep my composure but I almost threw up,” she adds.
Despite the big wreck, the couple continued to ride, living by the cowboy code that if you get bucked off you get right back on again. After Tess mastered snowmobiling, she pulled Ryan toward another unique hobby.
“Tess had always wanted to get certified in scuba diving so we did it together in Casper, Wyoming. After that, for our anniversary, we went scuba diving for the first time in a group of salt water springs in Salt Lake City, Utah,” said Ryan.
“Then we went to the Bahamas and I dove for the first time in the ocean. We saw everything from eight foot reef sharks to angel fish and sting rays. I even saw an octopus. It’s a whole new world down there,” smiled Ryan.
One might think that their scuba diving could only take place in huge bodies of water, but yet again the couple came up with a creative alternative in the heart of Wyoming.
“We have our own scuba equipment so we use it in places like Keyhole Reservoir to go spearfishing,” says Ryan.
They dive 15-30 feet underwater and can stay below the surface for up to an hour and a half looking for fish.
Their adventures had been in the coldest snow and the warmest tropical waters, it was only a matter of time before their adventures took it to the next level.
“For my 24th birthday Ryan surprised me with a skydiving trip in Denver. That was by far the scariest thing I’ve ever done. The buildup and anticipation before jumping was terrifying,” laughs Tess.
“We have some pretty crazy hobbies but snowmobiling will always be my favorite. It’s my passion,” said Ryan.
“Being out on the sled is like scuba diving in a sense. It’s a way to explore places that people don’t normally get to see,” explains Tess.
“We’ve seen country that you dream about or see in the movies. It’s a way to leave our stress behind and discover new places,” said Ryan.
When asked what the next adventure on the list is, they both answer, “snowmobiling”. They’re gearing up for winter and when the powder hits, they’ll hit the trails.
“We’re always thinking about the next trip ahead. We’ll spend the next few months hitting the trails hard and then we’re headed to Cozumel in February,” said Tess.
Where will life take the spirited power couple in the future?
“Our plan is to move to Alaska so I can be a travel nurse and Ryan can continue to be a GIS technician for one of the many power companies there. From there, who knows, maybe we’ll move to Hawaii or the Virgin Islands,” says Tess with a smile.
Tess and Ryan’s maps are being charted with each new journey. Maybe their maps don’t lead to jewels and a chest of gold; maybe their scars and their stories are the real treasures. Another country, another story, another scar. To them, it’s just another plot on the adventurous map that they call life.