The Cleanest Line

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    Patagonia Dillon Gives Local Pronghorn a Little More Freedom to Roam

    Pic_1Today's post is from the staff of our Outlet Store in Dillon, Montana, who were among the first to take part in a developing program called Witness for Wildlife, a new initiative from Patagonia and the Freedom to Roam Coalition designed to bring together the experiences of everyday Americans who are documenting wildlife activity and threats in their own backyards and speaking out on behalf of the migration corridors those animals depend on for survival. Read on for a first-hand account from our Dillon friends, as authored by Patagonia employee and Dillon-area environmental activist, Kenda Herman.


    Living in Dillon, Montana we take for granted seeing American Pronghorn speckle the landscape and have the luxury of witnessing these animals zoom across open ranges. We are charmed with the high desert backdrops of our home that allow a view of not just big sky, but large-scale mountain ranges and valleys. With an understanding of the local wildlifes’ perspective on usable countryside in mind, we brake on I-15 for whatever animal from the foothills that might cross the highway to visit the river.

    Dillon’s Patagonia Outlet staff gained some “Freedom to Roam” this summer when we were funded for an environmental internship. We kicked off crisp work clothes in exchange for . . .

    [A view of lower Centennial Valley. Pam Neumeyer]

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    And the Winner of "Chasing Waves" is ...


    A couple weeks back we shared an excerpt from Amy Waeschle's new book Chasing Waves: A Surfer's Tale of Obsessive Wandering. Amy kindly donated a copy of her book for one lucky Cleanest Line commenter. And that person is ... Long Story Longer!

    The random time generator selected 22:09 and Long Story Longer said, "Very cool! I'd love to win a copy. I'm a brand new surf baby and this sounds inspiring." at precisely 10:10 PM (22:10). Turns out she keeps a blog of her own where she's chronicling the trials and tribulations of being a new surfer.

    Congratulations LSL. I hope you enjoy the book as much as we have.

    Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. If you didn't win, please consider supporting Amy's work by purchasing a copy of Chasing Waves from Mountaineers Books or Amazon. We have another book giveaway in the works so stay tuned.

    Summer Reading: "Chasing Waves: A Surfer's Tale of Obsessive Wandering"; Win a Signed Copy

    CWcover-lowrez Amy Waeschle is the author of the field report "WAP #96" and a former Patagonia catalog copy writer. She's one of the friendliest, most surf-stoked women I've ever met, especially for someone who lives in a place where conditions are finicky and 5mil wetsuits are the norm. It was a pleasure working with Amy and a joy to introduce her and Kurt (her husband) to the waves at Rincon during one of their visits from the Northwest a few years back.

    Today I'd like to share news of Amy's first book, Chasing Waves: A Surfer's Tale of Obsessive Wandering. In it she chronicles her evolution from nervous newbie to self-confident and skillful surfer, and how she learned to balance love and family with her overwhelming surf lust. Says Patagonia surf ambassador Mary Osborne, "A sense of freedom, overcoming fears, discovering new cultures, dealing with love, the exciting, unexplainable feeling of riding a wave – this is what Chasing Waves is all about."

    Hit the jump for an excerpt from Chasing Waves and a chance to win a copy of the book.

    Continue reading "Summer Reading: "Chasing Waves: A Surfer's Tale of Obsessive Wandering"; Win a Signed Copy" »

    Backyard Adventures: Little Wild Places

    Santa Rosa Plateau 03 Today's Backyard Adventure was one we almost missed. It surfaced recently in an unexpected folder - no doubt the result of a botched drag-n-drop. We're happy to have found it and would like to offer the author our apologies, and readers, his submission. It's a nice reminder of why we started the Backyard Adventures series in the first place.

    TCL reader Greg Russell lives in Riverside, CA and teaches biology at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He's grown up in the West and, as a result, has been within reach of wilderness most of his life. Our call for your backyard adventures reminded him of an essay he'd seen in an old Patagonia catalog. Says Greg, "It made me look at the concept of 'wild' in a whole new way, and now, as a father, I want to instill that in my son."


    The message of Ernest Atencio's "Little Wild Places" has stuck with me since I first read it in a Patagonia catalog years ago. As a teenager hungry for Big Adventure, I had failed to see the wildness present in my own backyard. After reading that essay, it was if reptilian scales had been peeled from my eyes. For the first time, my backyard came alive with wildlife—horned lizards, orioles, finches, robins, kestrels—and a stone wall to boulder on, even if it did take a little imagination. It was enough to fill my soul with hope and contentment. Big Adventure, I found, was anywhere you were willing to look. 

    Since then, I have graduated college, gotten married, earned a Ph.D., become a father, and purchased a home in urban southern California. As I sit here looking out my window on a January day, I am reminded to look for the beauty and Big Adventure in those Little Wild Places. If I were to go in my immediate backyard, I could show you where to find alligator lizards, or show you the group of jays that lives in the pine tree next door.

    [Owen & Stephanie Russell at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve near Murrieta, CA. Photo,  Brent Deschamp]

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    Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse

    Morning after Central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountain Range offer a stellar backyard for Steve Graepel's adventures. A Boise resident, he wedges his endurance training around family and a full-time job. His Backyard Adventure gives us a glimpse at a beautiful section of country to be included in one of his bigger projects: connecting 1,200 miles across Idaho’s backcountry by foot, raft and mountain bike. We can't wait to read that Backyard Adventure. Until then, here's Steve in the Sawtooths.

    “Steve, I’ve got an idea ...”

    This is how it always starts. One of us drops the bait. Only this time it wasn’t me.

    Alice lake2 Scott and I have both been caught up with middle management - middle life. He runs a lab in the Bay area, and I've been tasked with leading a creative department at my place of work. Our schedules have been forged out of early mornings and late nights. Workouts squeezed between bottles and diapers.  We've both grown soft under our heavy shells of work, kids and family, barnacled with noon-meetings and mortgages...second mortgages. Our early trips together, traveling to climb in far-flung ranges have become cob-webbed memories and we now feel fortunate when we can carve out a weekend together every other year or so. As incentive to extract us from the grind of our day jobs, Scott makes the pitch.

    “Let’s do the two days.”

    Like carp to corn, I’m hooked.

    [Top, Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains in early morning light, as seen from the author's bike after running over 40 miles of trail to traverse the length of the range. Above, the route as it runs past an un-named lake below Alice Lake. Photo: Steve Graepel.]

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    Backyard Adventures: On Lone Cone

    IMG_1328 A few weeks ago some of the folks from the California office cruised up to our part of the coast. Glen Morden, one of Patagonia’s product designers, is a transplanted Canadian, so he was piloting the minivan as they rolled across the Island and into town. They showed up on a typical Tofino day—thick cloud, sheets of rain and fun little wind-groomed waves at Cox Bay. Glen and I used to be cursed every time we surfed together, but after a few hours of waves on that first day it seemed that our luck had finally been lifted.

    Editor's note: Today's post comes from Malcolm Johnson, editor of SBC Surf Magazine and author of the Patagonia field report "Not a Soul in Sight." For more musings and music recommendations from Malcolm, head over to his blog.

    From then on, the rest of the week in Tofino turned out to be pretty grand. The sun came out, the weather warmed up and the Californians caught some lovely slabs of fish with the guys from Jay’s Clayoquot Ventures. There were a few swims in the clear water of the Sound, and we managed to work a trip up Lone Cone into the schedule—one of the two main peaks on Meares Island, it’s a great upward grind that leads through some of the lushest old growth on the coast. It’s a bit of a burn for the legs, but the view you get from the top is always worth the work.

    [The folks in the forest on Meares Island. Photo: Jeremy Koreski]

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    Backyard Adventures: Toiyabe Trails - Part 3

    Today, we've got the final installment in Old School's Toiyabe Trails series (previous posts: Part 1, Part 2).

    Audio_graphic_20pxWe personally believe any trail story is best served up with a cuppa steamy brew (or a frosty barley pop, your discretion) and the right music. Find your trail traveling theme music right here, courtesy of the Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot's weekly podcast.

    1_Camp4 The morning after our unplanned layover day dawned clear and sunny, and while there was still a stiff breeze, it was nothing like the howling winds of the day before so we packed up and headed north. The TCT is split neatly in half by the Ophir Creek Road and the three of us have been backpacking long enough to never pass up the chance to lighten our load – we took advantage of the road to drop a food cache at the top of the pass before starting our hike. By lunch we were at the cache and by dinner we were enjoying cold beer and hamburgers.

    [Flat spots are a rare treat along the northern stretch of the trail. Photo: OldSchool]

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    Backyard Adventures: Toiyabe Trails - Part 2

    6a00d8341d07fd53ef011570c281bc970b-800wi Welcome! We're pleased to bring you part two in this series. If you missed Part 1, no worries, you can find it right here.

    Nevada is smack-dab in the middle of the Basin and Range topography of the Great Basin so every mountain range is an island poking up out of a sagebrush sea. These ranges are generally quite narrow, so driving from west to east is like driving across a giant washboard. Coming from Reno, our first view of the Toiyabes left us awestruck, not so much from the beauty of the range but the amount of snow that still covered it. I knew it had just snowed a foot and a half the week before but we still weren’t quite expecting the amount of snow still left up high, and we weren’t too psyched (or prepared) to hike in snow for any length of time. Luckily we had planned our route from south to north, giving the higher and snowier northern section 3 additional days to melt out.

    [A view of the Toiyabe Range's high point, Arc Dome. Photo: OldSchool]

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    Backyard Adventures: Toiyabe Trails - Part 1

    Cview Mention Nevada to most folks and what comes to mind is Las Vegas glam and desert heat. Truth be told, many Nevadans are more than willing to let you think that but for the record, with 313 named mountain ranges, Nevada has more mountains than any state except Alaska. Since moving here five years ago, I have been trying to wean myself away from the Sierra Nevada by exploring some of Nevada’s more remote ranges. The Toiyabe Range, which is nearly in the middle of the state, more than fits that definition. So when my friend Chris called me up asking for ideas for a good late spring backpacking trip I not only suggested the Toiyabe Crest Trail, I invited myself along as well.

    [At 10,000' for a stretch of nearly 50 miles, the crest of Central Nevada's Toiyabe Range is well-situated to catch snows that would otherwise miss the arid valleys of the Basin and Range territory. Photo: OldSchool]

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    Backyard Adventures: Finding Reasons Not to Leave

    Front cast Another installment of the Backyard Adventures for TCL readers today. This time, we're heading back East a bit, and a little back in time, to eastern Virginia in early January.

    Folks who live along the mid-Atlantic seaboard know this is one of the few places on earth that didn't get the memo - the one that stipulates rain should turn to snow when the temperature falls below 32 degrees. Bitter cold, gray skies, and depressingly infrequent snowfall makes it a hard place to get outside during the too-long period between the warm, sunny days of September and the first buds of April.

    David and Terrell Juth found that the right back yard can make all the difference between letting the season get the best of you, and getting the best of a season.


    For us, backyard adventures are the bulk of our "adventures," and even the aimless ones are pretty damn fun. Our latest was just a walk down the hill ...

    I visit a small fraction of the places I’d like to each year. Balancing everyday life with the frequent urge to escape is a challenge, and four years ago I tilted things towards my ideal - I moved.

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: Finding Reasons Not to Leave" »

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