The Cleanest Line

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    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

    Delta_rivers end0636

    "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" »

    Chicagoans Gain Ground in the Fight for Clean Water

    by Derek Schnake

    Kind thanks to Patagonia Chicago's Kelley Freridge-Olson and Derek Schnake for today's update on recent events at Patagonia Chicago store. People often laughed at the thought of cleaning up the Chicago River and other area waters. Thanks to the efforts of some committed citizens that skepticism is fading. - Ed

    Great Lakes Event
    [A packed house turns out to hear how they can help clean up Chicago-area waterways. Photo: Andrew Mills.]

    For most Chicagoans, the Chicago River is a putrid vein of sewage water. In fact, Chicago’s water quality has become such a farce that many residents laughed when President Obama ordered to make the river safe for swimmers. Of course, it’s not just the river either; we’ve come to expect regular beach closings due to E. coli levels and other toxic concentrations.

    It wouldn’t be a surprise to find a multitude of jaded attitudes among Chicagoans when it comes to water quality. So when Patagonia Chicago and The Alliance for the Great Lakes announced they were hosting a Great Lakes Awareness Event, in which residents could voice their opinions about where to emphasize a $10,000 grant, I didn’t expect much of a turn out.

    Continue reading "Chicagoans Gain Ground in the Fight for Clean Water" »

    Five Stars for 5-Point Film Festival

    Confession: I don’t usually like film festivals. I like the idea, much like I enjoy seeing live music – at least when it’s good, because then it’s great. Sure, you can listen to a Rolling Stones album, but seeing them live leaves you speechless. Not a great comparison, since at film festivals you’re still watching an on-screen production. But on a big screen, and with the energy of the audience. Plus, I like seeing friends and bullshitting at the bar (any worthy film festival has a bar, or at least bar-like beverages nearby). But too many outdoor films put me to sleep, and even evoke my Kelly Attitude: This sucks, can we go climbing now?

    Dawson - IMG_0023-wolf


    I think things are changing. I hope so, anyway, and last weekend’s 5 Point Film Festival gave me proof. I never got fidgety, and I ran to the beer room in between films because I didn’t want to miss a second. Normally… I’m a grouch, I know. And super critical.

    [Jeremy Collins paints, his ensemble plays, and animation fills the screen at his stunning performance of The Wolf and the Medallion, at last weekend’s 5 Point Film Festival in Carbondale, CO. Photo: Lou Dawson, wildsnow.com]

    Continue reading "Five Stars for 5-Point Film Festival" »

    Picture Story: Wave of the Day

    Wave_of_the_day

    In the summer of 2010 Margo Pellegrino paddled the West Coast of the United States to bring attention to pollution and other issues facing the ocean. Along the way she met some wonderful people and experienced both the sublime and the terrifying. Here she shares a story of one of the lighter moments on her journey:

    The summer of 2010 I paddled from Seattle to San Diego, as a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign, in an effort to draw media attention to the many problems facing our ocean and coastal areas. My partner in this, June Barnard, and I met for the first time on June 25th, a little more than a week before embarking on the two and a half month long adventure. During that time, we became fast friends and a solid team.

    While the Oregon and Washington coasts offered different types of gnarly, the California coast offered almost a respite. The timing of the trip was everything, so after catching the tail end of ugly in the Pacific Northwest, we hit the California coast when life was sweet as conditions became perfect and enjoyable. We laughed more, we were actually warm on a few occasions, the fog seemed to lesson, sort of, and I could paddle with my wetsuit top down, and life was grand.

    Continue reading "Picture Story: Wave of the Day" »

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