The Cleanest Line

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    Returning to the Source – Rediscovering Wild Places and the Wild Child Within

    By Brett Dennen

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    I grew up in a camping family. We never went on any vacations that didn’t involve sleeping bags and mountains. My parents would pack up their three kids and we’d pile into our green VW bus and head into the high country, where we could truly be wild children. When I was five, my dad built a canoe and most of our camping trips after that involved paddling around a lake.

    I started backpacking when I was ten, the first year I went to Camp Jack Hazard. CJH is a high Sierra Nevada summer camp, where kids learn backpacking and leadership skills. Being a kid at camp in the mountains was always the highlight of my summers. My dad recognized the fact that I loved backpacking so he started taking me along on trips he’d plan with his friends. At the age of 14, I started working at CJH, becoming a wilderness leader. I learned to play the guitar so I could sing songs around the campfire. That’s where I first fell in love with the idea of being a musician. Playing folk songs high up in the mountains. I continued working at CJH every summer until the age of 22.

    [A five-year-old Brett in the canoe his dad built. Photo: Brett Dennen Collection]

    Continue reading "Returning to the Source – Rediscovering Wild Places and the Wild Child Within" »

    Working for Wildness – Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2013

    By Yvon Chouinard

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    “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Thoreau

    This year, Patagonia will be 40 years old. There is much to celebrate on this anniversary, but what I am proudest of is the support we’ve given the people who do the real work to save wildness: grassroots activists.

    I’m not an activist. I don’t really have the guts to be on the front lines. But I have supported activists ever since a young man gave a slide show in 1972 at a city council meeting in Ventura. What was proposed was an extension of utilities, roads and urban services across the Ventura River to support a planned freeway-related commercial development on the western floodplain near the river’s mouth. A lot of scientists got up to speak in support of the project. They said it wouldn’t hurt the river because it was already “dead.” Mark Capelli, who was a young graduate student and called himself “Friends of the Ventura River,” then gave a slide show showing all the life that was still in the river: eels, birds, raccoons. He pointed out there were still 50 steelhead showing up each year to migrate upstream. That brought the house down. The project was eventually stopped. He showed me what one person can do. He gave me hope. We gave him desk space.

    [Above: After 40 years, we still follow an early vision to protect wilderness for the sake of wilderness. Lost Arrow Spire, Yosemite Valley, California. Photo: Glen Denny]

    Continue reading "Working for Wildness – Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2013" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Home Front

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    DBD_homefrontThere's a story that you may have heard kicked around in the newspapers and nightly news for the last few months. It's as unsettling as it is tragic. The rate of suicide among active military personnel, reservists, and veterans has increased to nearly 22 suicides a day. 22 every day, even as more resources are being allocated to prevent it – and finding a solution is likely as complicated as understanding why.

    Veterans Stacy Bare and Nick Watson know the struggles that service members face as they readjust to civilian life. Addiction. Depression. An overwhelming feeling of being out of place. But over time, both found a place in the outdoors and the surrounding community to recreate what they missed from the military, and to feel like they had really come home. And they didn’t stop there – they became determined to find a way to make that transition easier for other veterans too. Today, we bring you their stories and the story of how these two veterans are creating a community for other veterans on the home front.

    Warning: This episode does contain graphic descriptions of violence and adult language.



    Editor's note: If you enjoyed this episode, check out "A Lifeline Home" from 2007. 

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

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]


    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia St. Paul’s Kevin Alldredge

    Editor's note: Craig Holloway's interview series continues with some questions for Patagonia St. Paul store employee and ultrarunner, Kevin Alldredge, whose recent story about running 50 kilometers in a skirt generated a lot of smiles. Craig talked to Kevin about his job, family, passion for writing, and advice on how to run straight through Minnesota’s brutal winters.

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    Craig – Are you originally from the Midwest?

    Kevin – I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, but have lived in St. Paul since 1989. Without editorializing, the two cities are pretty much opposites.

    Craig – Have you been working at the Patagonia St. Paul store since it opened its doors?

    Kevin – Yes, I’ve been at the store since we opened in the summer of 2005 and it’s been a great ride. It’s tremendously gratifying to see the local community embracing Patagonia’s ethics.

    [Above: One short bus ride, one long train ride, and a friendly smile got Kevin to the starting line of the Le Grizz 50 Mile Run. Montana. Photo: Kevin Alldredge Collection]

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia St. Paul’s Kevin Alldredge" »

    Slow is Fast – 2013 Book Tour Dates [Updated with Event Photos and Ordering Info]

    By Dan Malloy


    We are so stinking stoked to announce that our book Slow is Fast is finished! Starting on August 2nd, Kanoa, Kellen and myself will tour our new book (and the moving pictures DVD that comes with it) from Mill Valley to San Diego. Please join us if you have time. There will be good music (The John Stewards up north and Todd Hannigan down south), we will screen the movie, talk about the trip, answer your questions and drink free beer. The book will also be for sale. We haven’t figured out a price yet so just bring your whole piggy bank.

    A huge thank you to all of the Patagonia folks in japan who made our recent tour over there so much fun, especially Lisa Iida!

    [Above: Slow is Fast book trailer. Video by Woodshed Films. Hit the jump for some DVD outtakes, production photos and the book tour details. All photos courtesy of Dan Malloy. Update 7/29: added new book tour dates and photos from each event at the bottom of this post. Update: 10/21: the book and DVD are now available to order. Details at the bottom of this post.

    Continue reading "Slow is Fast – 2013 Book Tour Dates [Updated with Event Photos and Ordering Info]" »

    Viva Los Fun Hogs – A #Funhogging Origin Story

    By Jeff Johnson

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    I used to dread the summers on the North Shore of O’ahu, Hawai’i. Famous for its winter surf, surfers from all over the world come to see what they are made of during a certain time of year. In the summertime, the waves go away and the crowds dissipate. My friends and I dreaded the four months of flatness. We eventually realized if we remained surf-centric we would have been primed for the loony bin. So we began embracing other ways to entertain ourselves.

    We got into paddleboarding, which was perfect for staying fit for the next winter season. Then we got into outrigger canoe surfing and bought a four-man for the job. This eventually led to building a six-man sailing canoe to circumnavigate the island. Then a few of us bought one-man canoes for times when no one else was around. During the summer, our beach was packed with a fleet of ocean craft, ready for any condition, waves or no waves. Eventually, we all started looking forward to the summer months. No crowds, a flat, beautiful ocean, and all sorts of ways to enjoy it.

    [Above: The author has finally joined Instagram. Follow his antics at @jeffjohnson_beyondandback. #funhogging]

    Continue reading "Viva Los Fun Hogs – A #Funhogging Origin Story" »

    The Infamous Stringdusters Open 2013 American Rivers Tour at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

    By The Infamous Stringdusters & American Rivers



    Having just been dusted at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, I couldn't be more excited to hear about this tour in support of American Rivers. Check out the press release and tour dates below; you don't want to miss this band. Video: The Infamous Stringdusters
     
     
    Grammy-nominated bluegrass outfit The Infamous Stringdusters are getting set to embark on their 2013 American Rivers Tour, an epic summer music adventure stopping through, and winding down, some of America’s wildest and most beloved rivers and surrounding communities. For the journey, The Infamous Stringdusters are partnering with the nation’s leading river conservation organization, American Rivers – currently celebrating its 40th anniversary – to raise money and awareness for protecting and restoring rivers and clean water nationwide.

    Continue reading "The Infamous Stringdusters Open 2013 American Rivers Tour at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Mikey Buys A House

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    DBD_Ep_68We've told stories about people quitting jobs, ditching mortgages and selling worldly possessions to go live life on their own terms. The road is ubiquitous with freedom, and sometimes we hear its call later in life. But what if you heard the call at 13 years old? If you had lived your entire adult life on the road? If you'd never signed a lease or even paid rent. Would there come a time to settle down? Meet climber and photographer Mikey Schaefer. Passion can lead to the most incredible places, even to the most American of dreams -- buying a home. This is our version of the picket fence.



    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to discover the music from "Mikey Buys a House," listen to The Shorts and pledge your support for the show. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]


    2013 Bike to Work Week Round-Up

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    As Gavin wrote in his preview post, we had to postpone B2WW this year and weren’t able to participate in the nationwide celebration. So here’s our belated report from the perspectives of Patagonia Reno and Patagonia Ventura (with photos from Retail). And while every day is bike to work day for many Patagonia employees, it’s become tradition to have a friendly little B2WW competition between the two offices. Who rode the most miles this year? Read on to find out.

    Reno Round-Up
    By Gavin Back

    “As I waited nervously on my bike for the Scavenger Hunt to begin, I glanced at the clues: ‘Budweiser’s Arch Enemy’….Easy. The Coors Factory next door. I rushed over there and went straight to the reception area where I was met by two gentlemen, beer drinkers, judging by their builds.

    ‘Hi, I’m participating in a Scavenger Hunt. Do you have a flag here for me?’

    ‘No. But how old are you?’

    ‘24’

    ‘No way! You’re not yet 21! What year were you born, what year did you graduate and who was your high school QB?’

    “I answered their questions, they seemed happy and one of them disappeared somewhere. He returned, said, ‘Here’s your flag’ and gave me SF Giants keychain, a bottle opener and a patch. ‘We often get kids in here telling us that they’re on a Scavenger Hunt looking for a 12 pack. We never fall for that, but you’re a good guy!’”

    And so began Josh’s Bike to Work Week Wrap-Up Party...

    [Above: Participants in the First Annual ‘Skav-unger Games’ at Patagonia Reno. All Reno Photos ©Tyler Keck]

    Continue reading "2013 Bike to Work Week Round-Up" »

    From a Wheelchair to the Sharp End – Story of the First Ever Paraplegic Lead Climb

     By Dave N. Campbell

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    Sean O'Neill lead climbing the 2nd pitch of Jamcrack. ©Dave N. Campbell

    Take a moment and imagine yourself in Yosemite. You are climbing up a steep rock face, above the trees, with Half Dome behind you, but you do not have the security of a rope that can pull you taut from above if you get tired or slip. Instead, you are lead climbing. Somewhere down below a friend is feeding you rope – you are tied in at the waist – and every ten feet or so, as you move upwards, you are obligated to wedge man-made devices into openings where the rock is fractured so you can clip your rope into them as a safety measure. You're putting your life on the line, trusting that the rope will eventually come tight on the most recent one of these devices if you fall.

    Climbers refer to the procedure of lead climbing as being on the sharp end of the rope because of the inherent dangers involved and the accelerated focus that is required. And while advanced climbers constantly dream about being in this Yosemite scenario, I think it is fair to say that much of the rest of the population would find themselves in a nightmare.

    Now picture yourself in this exact scenario – whether you are an experienced climber or novice – except that you are paralyzed from the waist down. This is where most of our imaginations trail off… but this spring in Yosemite Valley, paraplegic climber Sean O’Neill made this his reality by becoming the first “sit climber” to lead climb.

    Continue reading "From a Wheelchair to the Sharp End – Story of the First Ever Paraplegic Lead Climb" »

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