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    Dirtbag Diaries: Origins

    by Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Editor's note: Hard to believe it's been five years since The Dirtbag Diaries was born onto the Internet. There have been so many good stories, so many inspiring people. Now, we can't imagine an Internet (or this blog) without them. Thank you Fitz and Becca for all your hard work. And thank you to the fans of the show for your passionate support. Here's Fitz and here's to five more years:

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    The Dirtbag Diaries turns five. This also happens to be our 100th episode. To celebrate the occasion, we reached out to our collaborators, our contributors and our friends and asked for ideas. I pitched them a bunch of ideas. They shook their heads. Their response was resounding. "We want to hear your story, the story of the Diaries," they said. Our intern, Austin Siadak, stepped forward to do the interview and relay the story. The tables were turned. By nature, we like our creation stories simple. An idea appears in the void.  A light bulb goes off. The apple hits Sir Isaac Newton on the head. In reality, creation stories are messier, more complicated and more interesting than abbreviated elevator pitches. They are a sum of parts. So here goes.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Origins"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "Origins" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

    Mokelumne River – Filming and Fighting for Wild and Scenic Designation

    by Mike E. Wier

    Mokelumne River 2

    For years, my brother and I had to sneak into one of our favorite sections of our home river, the mighty Mokelumne. The land surrounding both sides of this section of the river is owned by the East Bay Municipal Utility District. They had big “No Trespassing” signs up along their barbed wire fences.

    We, however, strongly considered the river to belong to everyone. So every once in a while we would float down through the rapids on inner tubes and stop in the beautiful and secluded pools to swim or try catch-and-release fly fishing. Along the way we’d check out the old miners’ trails and wild flowers, or stop at the ruins of the historic mining town of Middle Bar, or imagine we were Mewuk people catching Salmon in the river and admiring the giant blue oaks that produce so many acorns.

    Continue reading "Mokelumne River – Filming and Fighting for Wild and Scenic Designation" »

    Back to Patagonia - Part 4

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy

     

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    After more than a week camping in Patagonia with Jamie Sterling, Jack McCoy, and Mel and Kenny, founders of 1% for the Planet member Sol Raiz Organics, along with their crew, we regrouped and repacked for the coast. While we were in Santiago packing our surfing gear, we heard that the nearby ski resort, Valle Nevado, still had snow and was closing for the season. We decided to make a day trip to visit the over 10,000-foot-high mountain.

    The drive up the mountain was as thrilling as hearing the “Wild Bull” breathing outside our tent. The sharp turns and steep cliffs with no guard rails looked down onto car cemeteries. With no coca leaves to chew on the altitude was getting the best of me; I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Our whole drive we didn’t see one patch of snow, just dirt. We were all wondering if there would actually be any snow at the top. I was ecstatic to get out of the car finally to discover a white-capped mountain with patches of mud. It had been almost eight years since I’d been snowboarding, a sport that I’ve love to do at least once a year my whole life growing up. I guess I had been so focused lately on traveling to other coastlines in search of waves that I neglected visiting snowy peaks.

    Continue reading "Back to Patagonia - Part 4" »

    Back to Patagonia - Part 3

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy

    I made my way through the Pumalín Park area in Patagonia. Fjord Quintupeu was my next destination along with fellow surfer Jamie Sterling, Sol Raiz Organics, and filmmaker Jack McCoy. We paddled our kayaks into the wind with the sun warming our faces while refreshing splashes of freezing water hit our faces. We had a day of paddling, passing by waterfalls, isolated ranches, salmon farms, and seal colonies. When we finally made our way to the entry of the Fjord Quintupeu, the sun was starting to slip behind tall peaks that were blanketed with deep emerald forests, revealing heaven-high waterfalls.

    [Above: Crystal Thornburg Homcy+Chile from The Wave Journal. Video: Jack McCoy & Erik Derman]

    We navigated through the fish farm to get to our resting point at the base of a waterfall in the Quintupeu Fjord. The crew was ready to warm our bones as the temperature was dropping fast. Our escort boat was far behind back at the port, hours away with the warm gear. We attempted to stay warm by gathering wood, putting our girl and boy scouts skills to work. We finally got a flame going on the soaked logs. As we began to warm up, we passed the time waiting for our boat by doing yoga on the beach, and keeping our fire alive. The clouds began to seep into the Fjord, and the darkness was setting in. Our boat was finally spotted on the horizon. This time, we set up camp under the stars with the rumbling sound of a waterfall instead of the “Wild Bull.”

    Continue reading "Back to Patagonia - Part 3" »

    The River Speaks... and So Can You

    By Chris Kassar

    Every time I kneel down next to a river – even if just for a moment – I swear I can hear it speak to me. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I also know I’m not the only one who hears wise murmurs rising from the ripples of wild waters. For many of us, the rhythm of a river can mesmerize our soul, capture our spirit and force us to really stop and listen.

    The Baker River, nestled deep in the mountains of Chilean Patagonia, is no different. I spent weeks walking its banks, riding its waves, and crunching through the epic ice fields that feed it. I even floated over the exact spot where its journey as a river ended and it emptied into the sea – a feat in and of itself given that so many rivers, including my very own Colorado, no longer even make it all the way to the ocean. But, this trip from source to sea was much more than just a fun adventure. We – team Rios Libres – immersed ourselves in the landscape so we could arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to join the fight to protect Patagonia’s wildlands and the people who depend on them.

    During our excursion, the mighty Baker spoke volumes and gave us a glimpse into what the world used to be like - full of untamed lands, untouched rivers, intact forests and people who depended on the land and each other to survive. Spending a month at the edge of the world was like traveling back in time to an age when things were simpler and nature remained largely unaltered by the trappings of man.

    Continue reading "The River Speaks... and So Can You" »

    The Labyrinth - an excerpt from Best Women's Travel Writing 2011

    From The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011 - an excerpt from “The Labyrinth,” a story about surviving Costa Rican heartbreak and whitewater by Bridget Crocker, Patagonia copy writer. Bridget and fellow BWTW11 contributors will be reading at Diesel, A Bookstore in Malibu on Sun., Dec. 4 at 3p.m.

    Demin BW Portrait Bridget
    [Author and river guide, Bridget Crocker. Photo by Tony Demin.]

    “This upper section is called ‘The Labyrinth,’” Roland says, cinching down his frayed lifejacket. “It’s been run maybe three or four times before today. I’ve seen it a couple times and I’d say it’s pretty solid Class V. Lots of steep drops through tight chutes. There are a few slots we have to make—it’s not an option to miss them. I think I can remember them all, but we’ll have to scout as we go. There’s no way out of the gorge once we start.”

    Normally I would be anxious about taking a flaccid shredder down a little-run Class V boulder garden without the safety of other boaters along or even an evacuation route. Plus, Roland forgot his helmet and we have no throw bag. Oddly, I couldn’t care less. I feel no hint of the usual Class V jitters or concern for our lack of preparedness. It occurs to me that I may be spared a trip to Cathedral Point, as our little daytrip down the Labyrinth is suicidal enough.

    Continue reading "The Labyrinth - an excerpt from Best Women's Travel Writing 2011" »

    Back to Patagonia - Part 2

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy

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    As I packed my bags for my trip to Patagonia, reminiscing about my last visit over four years ago, I remembered the sudden shift of weather patterns from cold to hot, to snow and even rain. My activities would range from surfing, kayaking, hiking, snowboarding, to relaxing in the natural hot springs, and a few film festivals in the cities, so I had to pack accordingly. For my trip to Southern Chile, I had this Patagonia gear list in mind.

    1. Primo Down Jacket
    2. Fiona Parka
    3. 3/4-Sleeve Diviner Top
    4. Merino Sweater Coat
    5. Tranquila Leggings
    6. Expedition Weight Merino Hiking Mid Socks
    7. Rain Shadow Pants
    8. Lidia Jacket
    9. Rain Shadow Jacket
    10. Merino 3 Midweight Crew
    11. R4® Hooded Front-Zip Wetsuit
    12. Woolly Hat

    Editor's note: Patagonia surf ambassador Crystal Thornburg-Homcy follows up on her recent post, Back to Patagonia, with today's entry.

    I was invited to be part of the crew from 1% For The Planet member, Sol Raiz Organics, to head off on an adventure with world renowned cinematographer, Jack McCoy, and big-wave surfer, Jamie Sterling, to explore the path of our hero, Yvon Chouinard, and to experience the area that inspired him to name his outdoor gear company Patagonia.

    Continue reading "Back to Patagonia - Part 2" »

    Running to the Sea - Help Save the Colorado River Delta

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    "But along the way I learned how the problem could be fixed and that the delta is far from dead both in terms of people who care about it and the remarkable habitat that still remains." –Jonathan Waterman

    When our fall catalog lands in your mailbox, you’ll find an excellent essay on the Colorado River by Jon Waterman, a writer who has devoted himself to the river and everything that depends on it. The Colorado was once a great river but it has been ruined by water greed. You can find out more about the river and Patagonia’s ongoing campaign at Our Common Waters. Here, Jon sends an urgent and eloquent plea to help save the Colorado. Please take action today.

    In June 2008, as I began paddling the 1,450-mile long Colorado River, the knowledge that the river had not reached the sea for a decade outraged me. And it wasn’t just because paddling the last 90 miles would be a challenge. It is outrageous because we have shunted our most iconic western river to the greatest desert estuary in North America and not only has this been swept under the rug by our Bureau of Reclamation, but people I met everywhere along my journey from the Rockies toward the Sea of Cortez were largely unaware that the river had run dry.

    [Above: Pete McBride portaging toward the sea along the empty river banks. Photo: Jon Waterman]

    Continue reading "Running to the Sea - Help Save the Colorado River Delta" »

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz

    Munoz_30_Waimea_2 Our friends on the Patagonia Books team are proud to announce a new title by Mickey Muñoz called No Bad Waves. The book was a collaboration between Mickey, who recorded the stories in a series of interviews, Jeff Divine, who culled through Mickey's extensive photo archives, John Dutton, who massaged the transcripts into shape, and Peter McBride, who combined the words and images into what we think is one of our best books to date.

    Today we're happy to give you a taste of the the book. Instead of a long narrative, No Bad Waves features a collection of short stories like this one about Mickey and the first group of West Coast surfers to ride Waimea Bay.

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger


    The next time I went back to Hawai‘i was in 1957 when we spent the whole winter on the North Shore and ended up surfing Waimea. That winter, I rode some big waves and came back with extreme confidence.

    The group of us over there had talked about riding Waimea and had gone by to look at it. Waimea appeared to be the last place on the North Shore that was rideable when everywhere else was closed out. A bunch of us had gathered, and we were standing on the road to check it out. I can’t remember who suggested we go out, but, “OK, let’s do it!”

    Continue reading "Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz" »

    Zeb Walsh, Jeff Denholm and Gerry Lopez Set to Compete in Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Race

    Zeb_walsh_1 Zeb Walsh will be representing Australia in the 15th annual Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboarding Word Championships. Zeb is the assistant manager of Patagonia Torquay, dad, great surfer and all-around talented waterman. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Zeb right before he left for Hawaii.

    Editor's note: Today's post comes from our sister blog at Patagonia Australia. Best of luck to Zeb, Jeff and Gerry in the race. We'll be pulling for you guys.

    Born and bread in Torquay, Zeb says he is a "sucker for white-line fever." Growing up in the surf-lifesaving scene, hard work is nothing new to him. Zeb trains all year-round under a self-disciplined schedule of two shorter 15km paddles, two longer 30km paddles and one "fun" paddle in the waves out front of Torquay point each week -- sometimes breaking it up with a run or good workout in the gym during the winter months.

    Continue reading "Zeb Walsh, Jeff Denholm and Gerry Lopez Set to Compete in Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Race" »

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