Moab, Utah

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers

adventure engagement session with devyn + adam | cross country skiing in the mountains near moab | adventure elopement photographer

The first time Callen and I ever came to Moab, it was not quite love at first sight. We made the mistake of coming in August at the height of tourist season and one of the hottest months of the year. It was 100 degrees when we went to bed at 11pm and 114 at the hottest time of the day. We were enchanted by the desert, but exhausted after a 30 mile backpacking trip earlier in the week and cursed the heat. Once we got home from that trip, we decided to give Moab another chance in the fall. This was possibly one of the most formative decisions we’ve made, as that return trip completely changed our views and made us fall head over heels in love with Moab, Utah. Not only were we able to explore so much more of the desert in the perfect October temps, but we also got a tip from a local to head into the mountains nearby for the fall colors. We, like many Moab newbies, didn’t think of it as a mountain town and were pretty surprised by the suggestion, but a ton of our favorite spots and hikes have been suggestions from locals, so we spent the day driving through the mountains with our jaws on the floor. The fall colors amazed us (we both grew up in Texas where fall is more of a fantasy used by stores to sell merchandise than an actual change in outside weather) and we were completely blown away to find beautiful mountains just outside of the desert we’d fallen so in love with. On that first trip, we wandered far and wide and found ourselves a dreamy little meadow with a perfect mountain on the horizon. We pulled out our still-new Pendleton Blanket (my favorite wedding present) and sat in the field taking it all in. Sometimes I wish I could go back to that day and tell my past self how much this place would change me, that I’d one day consider it home, and it would be the source of so many amazing adventures, life changing experiences, and deep friendships…which brings me to: Devyn and Adam!

We met these two almost a year ago. They live in their van too, and we had some mutual friends so Devyn slid into my instagram DM’s and basically told me we were going to be friends now :) She invited us to their van for a home cooked meal, which we pretty much never turn down, and the rest is history! Honestly though, we connected with these two right out of the gate, talking about everything from rock climbing to skiing to having real jobs on the road to more rock climbing. Devyn made us incredible quinoa bowls with so many delicious ingredients and my standard for van meals have skyrocketed since (seriously, this girl does things like marinading steak and has her own spice rack IN A VAN, unreal). We spent the next two weeks hanging out nearly every day whether it was parking next to each other at the best spot in Moab for work days or going climbing or car-hiking a new dirt road. Devyn’s encouragement got me stoked on climbing in a way I haven’t experienced before, which has become a common theme in our friendship (see: ski photos in this blog post!!). When the time came to say goodbye and head different directions from Moab, we promised to get back together later in the fall when the desert returned to reasonable temps. (Although, bonus, our paths crossed for a few days in Yosemite!!). 

This fall in Moab was one of the best seasons of my life, so full of adventure and wonderful days off between really fun elopement + adventure session gigs. 2018 was a really good year of friendship for us, when our communities really began to grow out here on the road, and it felt like this fall was a beautiful culmination of that when a lot of our people found themselves in Moab. We had some great adventure days with Devyn and Adam and we got to introduce them to a lot of our friends that came through, as well as my family that came to town for Thanksgiving! As the season was coming to an end, we began thinking of a last adventure we’d do together before feeling Moab for the winter. I remembered these little huts in the mountains that you could ski out to and casually mentioned it to Devyn. She loved the idea, and before I knew it she was texting me price estimates and asking if we were in. Once I confirmed we could make it happen a few hours later, Devyn revealed she’d already booked it the day before — she knew we were going to do it! We originally chose the easy hut that was a shorter distance but some plans changed with the company and they moved us to the farther hut. I was a little worried considering I’d never XC skied in my life, but…the new hut happened to be just steps away from that meadow Callen and I found way back when we fell in love with Moab, and the idea of finding myself in that meadow covered in snow was enough to motivate me! 

The adventure itself was such a blast - we recruited more friends and Callen and I managed to pick up some old skis at the used gear shop in town (Moab Gear Trader — highly reccomend!) the night before. We skied 4 miles out to the yurt, arrived before sunset, and Devyn made us some delicious stew while we snacked on charcuterie and champagne (remember what I said about Devyn’s food making skills!). We all crashed around 9pm, waking up every few hours to stoke the fire and keep our little yurt warm. The following morning, we woke up to over a foot of fresh snow!!! Which was absolutely beautiful, but it also meant our 4 miles back “down” was breaking trail the entire time, and ended up being even harder than going up! I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it there or back without Devyn’s constant encouragement (and her handing me energy gummies when she could tell my morale was depleting). I am so thankful for these friends, so incredibly thankful for this adventure, and so stoked for their wedding later this year!! We did a more “normal” engagement session with them in Moab that I’ll blog later, but it was super fun to take these photos of them in their element, wearing their brightly colored ski clothes, and cozied up in the yurt in their base layers. It was especially cool for me when we walked out to that same beloved meadow that Cal and I found so many years ago and watched the fiery sunset on the horizon as the storm blew in. 

The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.