The Cleanest Line

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    Ten Tuamotus Days – Empowering the sisterhood

    By Liz Clark

    Last year I got to meet fellow Patagonia ambassadors Kimi Werner and Léa Brassy for the first time. Patagonia kindly arranged for all of us to meet upon the waters of some remote atolls in French Polynesia that have come to be my beloved backyard and playground. From all that I knew about them, I expected we’d have an enjoyable time but I never imagined that we would connect in such a way that, by the end of our time together, it felt like I had gained two sisters.

    All three of us enjoy very similar things—wilderness, wildlife, waves, conscious eating, etc.—but I feel like it was our open minds and hearts that made this time together so genuine and so special. Whether we were diving, sharing waves, giggling under the stars at night, wandering on the motu looking for coconuts or just watching the seabirds circle and dive, it was like they saw exactly what I saw: divinity, freedom, peace, respect. Being with Kimi and Léa in nature felt like being completely understood.

    Above:  the four-video series documenting Liz, Léa and Kimi’s time together in French Polynesia. Videos: Patagonia

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    The Rescue Box

    By Tom Doidge-Harrison

    Photo credit Tom Doidge Harrison 

    In its deep summer slumber, it is hard to gauge the latent fury this place can serve up to the unsuspecting. There are, however, clues to the power of this landscape that can both give and take in equal measure. The weathered faces of naked shale give evidence to deadly drops of tonnage. The natural order of the rounded boulders, hewn from the limestone shelf that extends at sea level, hints at unseen forces liberally applying Newton’s first law of motion to provide a natural floor, devoid of scale from most vantage points. But much of this runs in the background, as eyes are drawn to the beauty of the place itself.

    The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most cherished landmarks and for good reason. Numerous miles of stacked sea cliffs, gloriously abundant with bird life, are arranged such that each bluff and headland is curiously framed by the next. The beauty, as most surfers are well aware, extends out to sea a few hundred meters where deep lengthy lines of North Atlantic grunt are pulled into form atop a perfect anomaly of faults and features in the bedrock. Aileen’s is a wonder in a wonderous corner of the world’s original ‘island.’

    Above: The dangerously beautiful Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Photo: Tom Doidge-Harrison 

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    For the Love of Honey

    By Hank Gaskell

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    His hands were unlike other farmers. Not calloused, hard, cracked and stiff, but broad, flexible and quick. He seemed not to mind the thick white suit we were both wearing or the suffocating screen helmet. I felt like I was going to melt away.

    The deeply forested Waiho‘i Valley on Maui has countless wild bee hives that are vital to the flowering ecosystem. Avocado, mango, guava, ohia, rainbow eucalyptus and wild ginger thrive in fertile soil that’s fragmented by dark lava veins. The Kapia stream ribbons down through it all towards the ocean. At the base of the valley, nestled in a dead mango stump, a hive plagued a local fisherman and his family.

    The gnarled location of the hive forced my friend Kenny to be more attuned and work more smoothly than usual—he had been doing this for twenty years. When the bees attacked he remained calm and focused. With surgeon-like precision he worked the hive, angling the box and gently adjusting the combs to fit snugly. His movements were clever and patient yet eager. The white suit clung to my sweaty skin, making it easier for the bees to sting me, but I watched intently. I was hooked.

    Above: My girlfriend Malia and I inspect a frame from one of our hives to see if it’s ready to harvest. Hana, Hawai‘i. Photo: Anna Riedel

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    The Chase: a tiny film

    By RC Cone

    Honestly, we went to Iceland to catch big fish. It was that simple. We wanted to bask in the late Arctic sun while bringing dreamy meter-long Atlantic salmon to hand. We wanted to drink whiskey afterwards, go to bed and do it again every day we could. What surprised us wasn’t our ability to check that mission off the list it was the insignificance that those goals held compared to what we actually discovered. The Chase: a tiny film is an ode to the friendships and experiences that were shared while chasing our passions.

    Above: The Chase: a tiny film. Video: Tributaries Digital Cinema

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    Wild Fish Don’t Ride in Trucks

    By Yvon Chouinard and Matt Stoecker

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    This op-ed was originally published in the Sacramento Bee on July 23, 2015.

    On May 7, the Yuba Salmon Partnership Initiative (YSPI) shared a plan that would create the first “trap and haul” program of its kind in California. Trap and haul involves capturing fish, putting them in trucks, and moving them up or down rivers around obstacles such as dams.

    The initiative is proposing a 50-year, $700 million project that involves moving spring-run chinook salmon around two dams, Englebright and New Bullards Bar Dam, into the North Fork of the Yuba River.

    We all want to see the Yuba River and its salmon thrive. But an expensive project like this one, which doesn’t achieve real recovery of wild and self-sustaining fisheries or watershed function in the Yuba River, would be a huge mistake.

    Above: Yvon Chouinard looks out over Englebright Dam back in 2011, Yuba River, California. Photo: Matt Stoecker

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    Respect for the Past . . . and Rules to Protect a Sacred Place

    By Josh Ewing

    Belaying-VOG-Mickey_Schaeffer

    Fifteen years ago, I was drawn to southeastern Utah by the vast tracts of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest lands where I could find the freedom to explore and climb and have an adventure—rarely seeing another human other than my climbing partners or an intrepid hiker. I loved the feeling that my every move wasn’t being scripted by a ranger or a regulation, a sense I sometimes get when visiting National Parks.

    Now, years later, these remarkable lands are no longer a place I visit on a quick weekend trip. Literally in my backyard, I work every day to protect this landscape for future generations. Our big project right now is working with a coalition of groups to protect the Bears Ears cultural landscape as a permanent National Conservation Area or Monument.

    Above: Josh enjoys an oil-field-free view from the third belay on Eagle Feather (5.10). Eagle Plume Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

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    Patagonia Bike to Work Week 2015 – #ridehard4adam

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    Reno D.C. Recap

    By Gavin Back

    As with most years, Patagonia celebrated a belated Bike to Work Week (B2WW) due to business conflicts. And yet again we had fantastic participation. Here in Reno, we collectively rode 4,586 miles but the crown deservedly goes to our North American retail stores who together rode 5,833 miles—with extra kudos for our Freeport store colleagues who rode a huge 1,176 miles! For every mile ridden, Patagonia donated $1 to a local cycling orientated non-profit. This year, the Reno D.C. mileage money went to the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, a non-profit that is spearheading construction of a bike path along the river Truckee, starting at Lake Tahoe and finishing at Pyramid Lake.

    Upon arriving at work on the Monday of B2WW, we received the worst possible news. One of our colleagues, Adam Excell in Toronto, had been struck and killed by a driver while cycling over the weekend.

    Above: Reno coffee riders honor Adam Excell. See more photos from Patagonia employees around the world at #ridehard4adam. Photo: ©Tyler Keck

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    Beauty in a Blurry Photo – Merging climbing, science, and conservation in Mozambique

    By Majka Burhardt

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    Exactly one month ago I tightened the last bolt in the last hold on the first-ever climbing boulder in Mozambique—and then climbed on it with over 1,000 Mozambican school children.

    Tonight, over dinner in Central Mozambique, I made a promise to climb a 12-pitch run-out granite slab with a Mozambican farmer named Elias who’s never roped up in his life.

    Tomorrow, I meet 25 African students in Gorongosa National Park to spend 10 days exploring the vortex of conservation, science, leadership, stewardship and adventure.

    And all of this started because of a blurry photo of a mangy rock face.

    Above: The first round of Mozambican students arrive to “climb” on Mount Namuli with Patagonia ambassador Majka Burhardt. The first-ever climbing wall was built to showcase The Lost Mountain, a combination science, conservation and adventure initiative on Mozambique’s Mount Namuli. Photo: Gustav Rensburg 

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    Over One Million Acres Protected!

    By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager

    Berryessa-Cache-Cr-Wilderness-Bob-Wick-Photo

    Today, July 10, 2015, President Obama announced the designation of two new national monuments: Basin and Range and Berryessa Snow Mountain. We want to thank the President for his decisive action to protect some of America’s last remaining pristine valleys, mountain ranges, wild rivers, and wildlife habitat.

    Above: Cache Creek Natural Area in the newly designated Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Photo: Bob Wick

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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: 700

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    “I was looking for no less than a new way of living in this world for our entire society,” says Clay Shank. “Like, what’s the alternative to this capitalistic system that we have here?”

    Today, we bring you “700,” the story of Clay Shank’s ambitious goal to find a new way of life and his unlikely method: skateboarding 700 miles through the state of California, hiking the 210-mile John Muir Trail, climbing Mt. Whitney and Half Dome and, all the while, capturing a video portrait of the people living in California. But, first, Clay had to learn to talk to strangers.

    You can find Clay’s videos, including his newest film “Up To Us” and the trailer for his feature-length film “700 Miles” on his website clayshank.com.

     


    Listen to "700" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

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