As I was waiting for David Granger, the longtime editor of Esquire magazine, to begin the keynote address at a conference of national magazine editors in downtown Denver recently, I found myself seated next to Abe Streep, a contributing editor at Outside who had just spoken on an expert panel with a staff writer from The New Yorker. Abe and I got to talking, and it turns out that we have something in common: regard for Devon O’Neil, this magazine’s contributing editor (pictured above at Pitkin Lake). Abe attended Middlebury College with Devon in the late 1990s, and, as it happens, they also played collegiate baseball together. Back in the day, Abe confided with a bit of awe, Devon, an outfielder, had proved himself time and again to be one of the team’s most valuable players.
As his editor, I thought I knew everything there was to know about Devon. Born in Connecticut, he and his twin (Sean) were raised on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and spent two years of their boyhood there living on a 40-foot sailboat named Yahoo and commuting to school by dinghy.
I always found it interesting that Devon, who had spent his formative years as a barefoot Huckleberry Finn of the Caribbean, as a young adult chose to make his permanent residence 3,000 miles from and 9,000 feet above the sea he once called home. So evocative is the siren song of Summit County for someone who considers life itself an adventure.
You’ll find proof of this on nearly every article of this issue, as you follow Devon on a journey across his mountainous stomping grounds. From the debut of the world’s highest (and coldest) triathlon on Lake Dillon , stopping for an extended chat with locals like a fly-fishing guide/philosopher and a hiking guide author who’s now a high-country beekeeper, and ultimately leading us on a trek to the pinnacle of every sizable area peak he’s hiked, Devon leaves us—as most worthwhile outdoor endeavors end—with a nosh and a few knuckles of bourbon.
With this issue, Devon proves himself to be the journalistic equivalent of Bert Campaneris, the first player in Major League Baseball history to field every position in a single game.
He’s Colorado Summit’s MVP.