T H E H OW TO ( S U R V I V E ) I S S U E
Issue 2 | Winter 2016/17
HOW TO: winterize your sleeping bag stick to your morels wow passersby with your camp food prowess decode smoke signals contemplate the cosmos + more
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Misadventures Issue 2
Issue 2, Winter 2016/17
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Iceland
“There were no kayak tours for the lagoon, so we made our own.”
—KRISTEN BLANTON, HELLO AMERICA
THE HOW TO (SURVIVE) ISSUE GETTING THROUGH WINTER IS different than getting through summer. In the summer, you can exist on ice pops and a good breeze. In the winter, that’s not going to fly; you need know-how, gumption, moxie, MacGyver-like ingenuity, a sense of humor, a basic understanding of constellations, and a good hat, for starters. For this issue, we asked the best outdoorswomen we know how to survive (and thrive) in the darker days ahead. Here’s what they said.
Misadventures Issue 2
10 Recipe: Sunset Campfire Cakes 12 Winterize Your Sleep System 16 Wilderness Self-Amputation 17 Cidermosa 17 Smoke Signals Decoded 17 Winter Pickles 17 Orange Peel Firestarter 18 Retreat
9 How To Winter
If you plan on being snowed in somewhere, try to remember a copy of this magazine. It is full of helpful survival tips. It can also be burned for warmth. CREDIT Photo by Jamie MacPherson
20 Dye Fabric The Natural Way 22 Snow Bike Tires 22 Dream Tinctures 23 Forage For Mushrooms 23 Identify Chanterelles 23 DIY Hot Sock 23 Cedar Branch Hoop House
10 Recipe: Sunset Campfire Cakes That’s no orange…it’s a space station! Nah, just kidding; it’s a cake. BY MAEVE STEPHENSON
32 A Conversation with Rue Mapp Paige Fulton interviews Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, a group that celebrates, inspires, and supports people of color in the outdoors.
A chilling excerpt from the critically-acclaimed memoir, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, followed by a Q&A with the inimitable author, Blair Braverman.
BY JULIE HOTZ
BY RACHEL PATTIN
BY CHRISTINE DENNISON
46 Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, An Excerpt
Come with me if you want to live.
Dye another day.
Easy-to-follow instructions for aspiring explorers and adventurers.
BY PAIGE FULTON
12 How To: Winterize Your Sleep System
20 How To: Dye Fabric the Natural Way
45 How To: Be
BY BLAIR BRAVERMAN
34 The Long Ride of Adeline and Augusta Van Buren In 1916, two women set out on motorcycles across the United States. A century later, their descendants are following their tracks. BY DAKOTA KIM
24 High Flyers What do you get when you ask three pro skiers to Skype for an evening? Peek inside the world of competitive freestyle skiing, along with Roz Groenewoud, Britt Hawes, and Adie Lawrence.
50 Winter Fashion & Gift Guide Our roundup of the best things to give and get, organized by color.
60 Embrace Hibernation The best new music, books, and movies to get you through the shortest days (and the longest nights). BY SARA KAY MOONEY AND THE EDITORS
BY JESSICA C. MALORDY
28 An Amateur’s Guide to the Galaxy Annie Dillard once wrote, “After thousands of years we’re still strangers to darkness, fearful aliens in an enemy camp with our arms crossed over our chests.” BY PAULA WRIGHT
JULIE HOTZ IN THE FIELD Self-portrait, early season snowstorm, North Cascades, Washington.
41 She Calls Herself The Shot Diva The Olympic shot put gold-medalist speaks her mind on equal pay, body image, and making it as a woman athlete. BY SARAH CONNETTE
BACK Wish You Were Here Email is overrated. Send a dispatch, post-haste. Cut out your very own postcards and wing them on their way. BY JULIENNE ALEXANDER
CREDITS In order, photos by Maeve Stephenson, by Julie Hotz, courtesy of Rue Mapp, courtesy of Robert Van Buren, courtesy of Michelle Carter, courtesy of Christine Dennison, by Christina Bodznick, and by Alejandro Poveda. Illustrations on both pages by Julienne Alexander.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
EDITORS’ LETTER AST SUMMER, I DROVE from New York to Arizona with a cardboard box containing 64 copies of Misadventures in the trunk of my car. The goal, of course, was to get those magazines home to Tucson, so I could bring them with me to the annual summer gathering of the outdoor industry in Utah. (The rest of our many thousands of copies were already winging their way to subscribers.) But as I made my way across the country, I found myself lightening the load, leaving a Hanseland-Gretel-like trail of magazines behind me. There was a bicycle-and-coffee shop in Chicago, for instance, that screamed “misadventurer hot spot.” And where else but the Badlands to encourage women to embrace their wild sides? So I left a stack of five in the national park visitor center. College campuses, too, in Minnesota and Colorado, seemed the ideal spot to reach out to new readers. Still, by the time I started abandoning single issues in, say, that lonely rest stop along State Highway 270 in Wyoming (on the free-coffee table, of course), or the neon-lit bar in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where I spent the last night of my trip, I had to admit that something strange was going on, something other than a simple search for new readers. Each time, I felt a kind of thrill walking away from the magazine, and especially its cover: a woman wearing binoculars, staring up through the dark lenses at her new ceiling, new environs, lips parted in surprise, or even wonder. What might she find here? And who might find her? As I cruised over the state border, back in Arizona at last, I had to ask myself: was I trying, with my tiny trail of Misadventures, to chart my own journey, or to inspire new ones? Both, I think. And also something more. Because I wondered too what might happen if the somebodies who stumbled on my scattered magazines were not necessarily misadventurers-in-the-making. Sometimes, I feel so immersed in our mission that I forget how rare
For as much as I took in on that road trip—distant peaks, rolling valleys, a new understanding of myself and the vastness of the country I live in—I feel strongly that I left as much behind…
an endeavor like ours is. Of course women are strong and smart and able: it’s a statement so self-evident, to us and to all of you in the Misadventures community, that it feels ridiculous to even say it out loud. But I am writing this letter just days after a difficult election season, one in which we have witnessed the way our national consciousness is frequently, and sometimes violently, at odds with the seemingly simple idea that women, too, can lead. There is a new world ahead, and for many of us the horizon looks less hopeful than before. But I believe in those binoculars. For as much as I took in on that road trip—distant peaks, rolling valleys, a new understanding of myself and the vastness of the country I live in—I feel strongly that I left as much behind: a testament to women’s strength, curiosity, and ingenuity. Once each magazine exited my hands, there was always the chance it would wind up with someone for whom its truths and values are unwelcome; but there is always the chance, too, that this magazine, which captures the myriad ways women go out and beyond, defying centuries of stereotypes that say otherwise, can change minds, too, one new reader at a time. In just the last three years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve seen changes. There are more women being vocal about their place in the world, more women on the crag, more women on the road, more women in the Senate—more women not just wonder-struck but also defiant, as we accomplish what so many thought we could not, should not do. Let’s not stop now.
Yours in misadventure, Jessica C. Malordy, Senior Editor Zoë Balaconis, Editor-in-Chief Marybeth Campeau, Creative Director
Misadventures Issue 2
GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE COLD Order a copy of this issue, or the last issue, at misadventuresmag.com/shop.
THE MISADVENTURES TEAM FAVO R IT E W I NT E R B E V E R A G E S E C R E T W I NT E R S K I L L
My secret winter skill is doing all winter chores, mainly hauling water and splitting wood, in fleece-lined leggings, a Carhartt jacket and a slip. Secret's out, who needs work pants? Not I. – Rachel Pattin
I spend all winter making hot drinks like spiced rum cider and mulled wine, but my favorite is sujeongwa, a Korean dried persimmon, cinnamon and ginger punch. I make it hot and add a shot of rum or whiskey to keep myself extra warm. – Dakota Kim
Marybeth Campeau CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Jessica C. Malordy SENIOR EDITOR
Sarah Connette OPERATIONS MANAGER
ILLUSTRATOR: Julienne Alexander CONTRIBUTORS: Christine Dennison, Mia Flanagan, Sara Kay Mooney, Alejandro Poveda, Dakota Kim, Paula Wright, Julie Hotz, Blair Braverman, Maeve Stephenson, Paige Fulton, Listel Bjorck, Rachel Pattin, Hello America
Smoky flavors are my favorite year-round, so when my friend Kelly introduced me to Lapsang Souchong, a semi-fermented tea with leaves that are dried in the smoldering smoke of spruce, I knew I'd found my favorite new winter beverage. Add a little milk and it takes things to the next level. – Julie Hotz
INTERNS: Ellyn Gibbs, Dana Guth
S E C R E T W I NT E R S K I L L
Pond hockey. – Paula Wright
SALES & ADVERTISING
FAVO R IT E W I NT E R B E V E R A G E
S E C R E T W I NT E R S K I L L
I'm very good at tying scarves around my face; I think I have cultivated a distinct winter look. Think charred marshmallow man. – Paige Fulton
With Thanks To: Lila Allen, The Awesome Foundation, Korrin Bishop, Eddie Brawner, Hannah Brotherton, Lindsay Brownell, Candyman, Toni Carey, Chris Catanese, Suzanne Churchill, Davidson College, Catherine DiSanto, Maria Fackler, Kaela Frank, Alanna Ford, Shane Gibson, Franny Goffinet, Tory Hayssen, Carolyn Highland, Tim Houston, Zoran Kuzmanovich, Rachel Leeds, Hannah Levinson, Tim Morin, Walter Olin Nisbet III, Marian Nisbet, Walter Olin “Chip” Nisbet IV, William McGowan Nisbet, Alan Michael Parker, Jeanine Pesce, Sarah Reijonen, Kate Reutersward, Allison Dulin Salisbury, Peter Scorcia, Liz Song, Jon Springfield, Gale Straub, Annie Temmink, Jessie Tuckman, Carol Quillen, Ross Saldarini, Emmett Weindruch, Mark Williams, moms and dads everywhere Advertising Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Press Inquiries: email@example.com
D R E A M S N OW D AY C O M PA N I O N
Michelle Obama. – Blair Braverman
ILLUSTRATIONS by Julienne Alexander
Central photo on cover by: Kristen Blanton, Hello America. “Lindsay in Colorado. Our annual meet up in Colorado sent us into a snowstorm outside of Winter Park.” Trees on cover by: Keghan Crossland
Photo: Dane Peterson
Misadventures Issue 2
HOW TO WINTER Please try this at home.
RECIPE : S U NS E T C A MP FI R E C A KE S 10 WINTER I ZE Y O U R S L E E P I N G SYST E M 12 WILDE R N E SS S E L F-A MP UTAT I O N 16 C I DE R MO S A 17 SM O KE S I G N A L S DE C O DE D 17 W I NT E R P IC KL E S 17 ORA N G E P E E L FI R E STA RT E R 17 R E T R E AT 18 DYE FA B R IC T H E N AT U R A L WAY 2 0 S N OW B I KE T I R E S 2 2 DR E A M T I NC T U R E S 2 2 FOR A G E FO R MUS H R O O MS 2 3 IDE NT I FY C H A NT E R E L L E S 2 3 DIY H OT S O C K 2 3
ICON by Artem Kovyazin from the Noun Project
CEDA R B R A NC H H O O P H O US E 2 3
PHOTO by Jamie MacPherson
SNO-CLONES Itâ€™s a myth that no two snowflakes are the same. In 1988, a scientist found two identical snow crystals during a storm in Wisconsin.
The Recipe Dazzle your backpacking pals with these cooked-in-the-campfire Sunset Cakes. Warning: definitely attracts chipmunks, most likely will not attract bears. FOR 4 CAKES, YOU WILL NEED
• 1 piping hot campfire • 4 oranges • ¼ cup oil • ½ package boxed cake mix • 1 ½ eggs • ½ cup water • tinfoil • frosting - purchase in a tube or transfer from a larger tub (I recommend Coghlan’s Squeezy Tubes!)
1. Prep oranges. Coring the oranges at home makes life a lot easier, and there are more ways to reuse the pulp and juice, like in a smoothie. Cut the top off, making a “lid.” Scoop out all the fruit, like you are carving a pumpkin. Keep the lid-stick it in the cored-out orange for the hike in. 2. Start a campfire. You’ll want the embers to be very hot. 3. Make the batter. Whisk cake mix, eggs, water and oil together. 4. Fill oranges. Only fill them ¾ of the way, since the cake will expand. 5. Tinfoil time! Double wrap each orange in tinfoil. I find it’s best to use two sheets: when you wrap in tinfoil you will get a “tail” on one side where the foil is thicker; try to have two tails on opposite sides, to create an extra buffer between the tinfoil ball and the fire, which helps it cook more evenly. 6. Cook for 45 minutes. Place tinfoil-wrapped oranges into the hot fire. If your fire allows, position the cakes so that they are not directly in the embers. Turn the cakes a few times. 7. Cool and frost. Unwrap, cut in half, let cool. After a few minutes, apply the frosting. 8. Leave no trace. Unused cake batter should be packed out in your garbage, not scrapped into a stream or lake. Orange peels can be burned; foil should be packed out.
Misadventures Issue 2
PHOTOS By Maeve Stephenson
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UIDE
Sunset Campfire Cakes
ICON by Josue Oquendo from the Noun Project
Take your camp food to the next level—and then the next level beyond that—with these cakes that rise in an open fire. I ONCE ATE A handful of Skittles mixed with twigs and sandy dirt—because they had fallen on the ground—which goes to show how good sugar can taste after hiking eight miles with a 3,000 foot elevation gain. After marveling at Mother Nature’s beauty, my most pressing thought whenever I arrive at my out-of-doors destination is: “What and when do we eat?” I believe firmly that any night in a tent should include dessert, whether that’s a marshmallow at the end of a stick….or a decadent cake with a whisper of orange zest. While there is certainly no shame in
a sandy Skittles game, a bit of planning, a roaring campfire, and this recipe can help you take your sweet treats to the next level. Most recently I packed these Sunset Orange Cakes into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to Melakwa Lake. Though only 45 minutes from Seattle, this destination feels far away. The trail was full of day hikers, but come twilight, the lake fell quiet. The sharp mountain peaks of the Cascades were reflected in the still Alpine lake, marmots chirped and scampered among the lichen covered rocks, and a waterfall murmured next to my campsite. I know some folks, when it comes to backpacking, are all about minimal weight, but I am about maximum enjoyment—even if that means hiking in a few extra pounds in the way of a bag of wine, a squeezy tube of frosting, or an extra luxe sleeping mat. When the overwhelm of packing overtakes me, I try to remember that it’s these kinds of little treats that help to make the magic we are seeking when we take a break from the routine of everyday life and head out into the wilderness. So do yourself a favor: take the extra step, prep and pack these one-of-a-kind orange cakes, and thank me later, when you’re licking the frosting from your smoky-orange fingertips. —MAEVE STEPHENSON
SUGAR HIGH Though sugar has been getting a bad reputation, it can be extremely useful for recovering from strenuous activity. Endurance exercise depletes the glycogen stored in the liver, and glucose and fructose allow muscles to keep working. Fruit is the best vehicle for sugar, but cake works, too.
Hacking the System:
Warming up your current sleep system without breaking the bank COLD FROSTY NIGHTS WEREN’T about to change my plans to visit the high country of California’s Sierra Nevada range. However, I was not thrilled by the prospect of spending an entire week of extra long and dark October nights shivering in my sleeping bag. I’d learned little tricks and tips throughout the years to buy me a few degrees of warmth here and there, but I desperately wanted a hefty boost of warmth without going over budget. The problem leading up to this trip was that my sweet and lofty ultralight down sleeping bag—15ºF (25ºF EN comfort rating)—could barely keep me warm at freezing temperatures. I discovered years ago that most sleeping bag ratings are generously warm, almost deceptively so, and that more accurate ratings are reported only by the EN system. I have also discovered, over the years, that I am an incredibly cold sleeper—perhaps because I was raised in the temperate South, and never had to adapt to alpine temperatures; or perhaps because my legs and arms are disproportionately long, so they get colder, faster, due to lack of circulation. Either way, it is always distressing to wake up
Misadventures Issue 2
from a night of cold sleep only to hear my friends complaining of being too hot and sweating through the night. Seriously? I was determined to sleep warmly on this trip: seven days of traipsing through basins and over passes in the High Sierra, on the cusp of early winter conditions. And though I knew that, whatever the cause of my cold sleeping issue, it could be solved by purchasing a warmer sleeping bag, all the cheap 0ºF bags were several pounds heavier than my own and far more bulky. Some, according to the EN ratings, weren’t even that much warmer than my current bag. I eyed ultralight 0ºF bags and lightweight -20ºF and -40ºF mountaineering bags online…and quickly remembered that money doesn’t grow on trees. My contrary nature flared, the little rebel in me rallied, and I began brainstorming. Trying to find an alternative to spending $1000 became my mission. Somewhere in the filing cabinet of my mind I remembered someone once mentioning that she used an emergency breathable bivvy over her sleeping bag to add warmth and weatherproofing. The reflective material bounces a sizable amount of body heat right back into your sleeping bag, and its breathability allows for condensation to escape, avoiding the possibility of a wet, soggy, ineffective sack. As the trip leader for this informal outing amongst friends, I confidently announced my recommendation to buy the SOL Escape breathable bivvys. At a price point of $60 USD, I crossed my fingers and hoped we wouldn’t all be returning them in a couple weeks in the aftermath of a failed experiment. But the experiment worked. I’ve never slept so soundly in temperatures so low; and as a result, I wasn’t afraid to dive even deeper into the realm of cold weather and winter camping. A few months later I was brave enough to test the same system, paired with some fleece pants and insulated booties, in 0ºF temperatures during a snowy winter backpacking trip in Zion National Park. I was colder than I would have preferred, but I still easily made it through those nights. While there is a perfect sleeping bag for every scenario, it’s tempting to write off cusp or winter backpacking
ICONS by ChangHoon Baek and Made Somewhere from The Noun Project
SURVIVE & THRIVE
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UIDE
DISCLAIMER Please be responsible in planning cold weather trips. Know the weather conditions you will be encountering, know the limits of your gear, and know your own personal limitations. The following hacking tips are meant to boost the warmth of your current sleep system, a little to a lot, but are not guaranteed.
PHOTO Grace models lots of tricks to stay warm, High Sierras, California. Taken amidst a week-long cusp season backpacking trip. Photos by Julie Hotz.
SURVIVE & THRIVE simply due to gear limitations and lack of funds. But no one should have to eliminate all cold weather fun while saving up for a warmer bag. With a few tools and tricks in the gear kit, anyone can increase the warmth and versatility of their current sleeping bag. —JULIE HOTZ
SLEEPING CLOTHES Cost: $ Extra Warmth:
Having a set of “sleeping only” clothes and long underwear— including a nice thick pair of warm socks—is key. Dry, sweat-free fabric is far easier to warm up than oily, salty, soggy clothes. My favorite socks and tops are made of merino wool, which is a great natural temperature regulator and has antimicrobial properties that keep things smelling fresh longer.
According to the 2014 American Camper Report from the Outdoor Foundation, winter actually follows summer in camping popularity! The average number of days that campers will spend on a trip during each season are as follows: 2.5 days in summer, 2 days in winter, and 1.8 and 1.5 in fall and spring, respectively.
MIDNIGHT SNACK DON’T HOLD IT! Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
As simple as it sounds, make sure you pee right before going to bed. Empty out that bladder so you don’t waste any precious body heat keeping your urine warm. If you wake up in the middle of the night needing to pee, don’t hold it and continue to get colder; go outside! I first became privy to this fact while camped in a valley, during the spring, near a cold creek. The temperature got quite frosty that night and I woke up several hours before daylight shivering and needing to pee. Too afraid to get up and pee in the cold I tried to hold it until the suffering was unbearable and an accident was almost inevitable. I reluctantly peeled off my sleeping bag and peed in my vestibule. Afterwards, I noticed warmth returning to the rest of my body, and I fell into a peaceful slumber that lasted until dawn.
Cost: $ Extra Warmth:
Your body needs fuel to keep the furnace on, especially if you’ve been burning calories all day long. Make sure you eat something shortly before crawling into your sleeping bag, or even sleep with a little calorie/fat-packed snack for middle-of-the-night munchies in case you wake up cold. I’ve consumed peanut butter and chocolate at dark thirty in the morning to jumpstart my metabolism and fan the flames of my internal heater.
WARM FEET Cost: FREE to $ Extra Warmth: to
Warm your feet up before falling asleep! The nights that I’ve gone to sleep with feet that feel like ice blocks are the nights that I inevitably wake up over and over again wondering, “Why can’t I sleep? Why can’t I feel my toes?
“Trying to warm them in a half-asleep stupor by sticking one foot at a time in the crook of my opposite knee is far from effective.”
KEEP IT CLEAN Cost: $ Extra Warmth:
THE EN (EUROPEAN NORM) RATING SYSTEM
Over time, your bag (especially if it’s down) can lose warmth and effectiveness due to body oil and dirt. Make sure you periodically wash your bag, and properly!
Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
Even in my tiny apartment’s even tinier closet, I hang all of my sleeping bags so they can live an uncompressed life when not in use.
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A survival only rating! Between the lower limit and the extreme ranges a strong sensation of cold is to be expected and there is a risk of health damage due to frostbite or hypothermia.
The temperature at LOWER LIMIT/ which a “standard” TRA NSITION RA NGE man can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking. If you think you are a warm sleeper use this rating to decide the coldest temperature the sleeping bag is suitable for.
The temperature at which a “standard” woman can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position. If you think you are a cold sleeper use this rating to decide the coldest temperature the sleeping bag is suitable for.
ICON by Kid A from The Noun Project
Maintaining loft isn’t limited to cleaning your bag, it’s also about long-term storage and on-site decompression. Long-term compression of insulation (especially for down) can have negative effects on the loft and the effectiveness of the insulation. If possible, hang your sleeping bags during long-term storage. If you don’t have any hanging space, use large storage sacks rather than a small compression or stuff sack. After pulling out a sleeping bag at camp, give the bag a strong shake to expedite the decompression process and coax out the loft’s full potential.
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UIDE What exactly is frostnip?” Trying to warm them in a half-asleep stupor by sticking one foot at a time in the crook of my opposite knee is far from effective. I’ve learned that it’s worth doing a few jumping jacks or a quick running-in-place warm-up before diving in my bag, or massaging my feet as I get into my bag. If I’m really wanting to treat myself, I bring a pair of insulated booties to shove my feet inside the moment I get to camp, which helps retain the heat of circulation created by the activities of the day.
HOT WATER BOTTLE HEATER Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
I am a diehard fan of rotisserie side-sleeping (I rotate throughout the night), but when the temperature really drops, you might find me on my stomach, because I can tell the difference!
HOLD THE LAYERS (OR TURN THEM INTO BLANKETS)
Warm up a little water in your cook stove, pour it into a reusable water bottle, then tuck it into your sleeping bag near your feet. Make sure it’s watertight, or else. This is a tip that’s been passed along to me by many pro-hikers. Just make sure to plan accordingly for fuel!
CATERPILLAR EXERCISES Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
Do a few sit-ups, leg lifts, or any other sort of exercise that will make you look like a caterpillar or inchworm in your sleeping bag. These will warm up your core a bit, and get your blood circulating, without having to leave the sleeping bag.
SLEEPING BAG LINERS Cost: $ to $$$ Extra Warmth: to
Whether it’s silk, fleece, or a second sleeping bag, a liner can increase warmth—by a little or a whole lot—while also keeping your main sleeping bag a little cleaner. Sea to Summit offers a wide array of liners, from silk (which adds a few degrees) to Thermolite (which adds up to 14ºF–25ºF, depending on the model). These are also extremely easy to throw in the wash after each trip. For a heavy helping of warmth, use an additional lightweight sleeping bag as a down or synthetic insulated liner. In 2015, I switched to a 30º F (EN comfort 38ºF) down quilt and Sea to Summit silk liner, because I could not be restricted by the confines of a mummy bag any longer. When I found myself finishing up a long distance thru-hike late in the season with potential snowstorms on the horizon, I switched out my silk liner for a down liner: Sea to Summit’s Traveller Tr I sleeping bag ($199; 50ºF lower limit; and 13.7 oz, which is lighter than most fleece liners). It’s a very versatile piece that can stand alone as a summer sleeping bag, be unzipped into a camp blanket, or, my favorite, serve as the world’s coziest sleeping bag liner. It has been tested with success in combination with a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm down into the Fahrenheit teens.
BACK AND STOMACH SLEEPING Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
body makes with a sleeping pad, the more reflected heat can be returned to your body. This is certainly the most heartbreaking option for the side sleeper, but when the night gets cold, give stomach- or back-sleeping a try if you’re not already.
Back sleepers should consider themselves fortunate: not only is sleeping on your back apparently better for your body and health, it can also keep you warmer. The more contact your
Cost: FREE Extra Warmth:
As the temperature drops you might be tempted to put on more layers before jumping into a sleeping bag. However, putting on too many layers can trap too much heat in your warmest areas, and leave the colder parts wanting. Letting your body heat circulate throughout your sleeping bag is key; your bag cannot warm itself, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Sleeping in only a thin base layer allows the warmth of your core, thighs, and hips to circulate more easily throughout your bag, warming the down and the rest of your body. If you must sleep with a jacket on, keep it unzipped so that some core heat can continue to be shared with the rest of your sleeping bag. Try draping a hardshell or rain jacket over the lower half of your sleeping bag, to help trap any escaping heat.
With a few tools and tricks in the gear kit, anyone can increase the warmth and versatility of their current sleeping bag
Due to past bad decisions (which have included using a down jacket as a second pajama top layer) I’ve experienced awful nights waking up to hot, sweaty, clammy armpits and freezing toes. This sweat not only makes me feel nervous and suffocated, but the extra vapor created in the sleeping bag can negatively affect the loft of the bag! Instead, I’ve switched to using my down jacket as a pillow, as a tiny extra blanket inside my sleeping bag, or not at all.
HARDSHELL: THE SOL ESCAPE BREATHABLE BIVVY Cost: $ Extra Warmth:
Just as you might use a hardshell on a day of skiing to trap heat that might be escaping through an insulation layer, you can do the same for your sleep system. SOL makes a breathable Escape bivvy ($60, 8.5 oz) that is lined with a silver reflective material. (SOL claims this bivvy can reflect up to 70% of your body heat back to you). Additionally, the material is fairly soft, not crinkly like most, allowing for a quieter sleep. In the summertime you can throw this piece in a daypack as an emergency shelter! While difficult to quantify just how many degrees of warmth this might add to your sleep system, it certainly adds some, and also helps as weatherproofing.
GROUND INSULATION: USING A HIGHER R-VALUE SLEEPING PAD OR SANDWICHED PADS Cost: $ to $$$ Extra Warmth: to
In addition to considering weight, size, packability, and tactile comfiness when choosing a pad, be sure to also pay attention to its R-value. The R-value measures thermal resistance, so the higher the number, the more insulation you’ll get from the ground.
SURVIVE & THRIVE If shelling out a chunk of change for a warmer pad isn’t something you’re looking to do at the moment, and if you don’t mind carrying a little extra weight and bulk, you can simply double up on sleeping pads. Use your go-to sleeping pad and pair it with another foam or blow-up pad. it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but that extra layer of insulation will work wonders.
Pro Tip: Don’t over-inflate a blow-up air pad. Though it has less to do with warmth, you’re more likely to be a little more comfortable if you can sink into your pad just a smidge.
• some sort of pocket knife or saw • grit • luck • bandage
As a cold sleeper, the difference was astronomical when I went from Therm-a-Rest’s Prolite Plus ($99, 1lb. 6 oz.) with an R-value of 3.4, to Therm-a-Rest’s Regular Neo Air XTherm ($199, 15 oz.) with an R-value of 5.7. I could tell instantly I was far more insulated.
FILL ‘ER UP Cost: VARIES Extra Warmth: to
For the adventurous and skilled seamstress: you can always add more synthetic or down fill to your bag! Personally, I don’t trust myself with the combination of seam ripper, down feathers, and precious sleeping bag! But you know your skills best.
So, you’re pinned. There’s NO HOPE of escape. Good thing you have a copy of this magazine with you. YOU WILL NEED
1. Do you have what you need to sit tight for days or weeks? Wait. Wait until you can’t wait any more. Search for alternatives. Yell. Make a signal fire. This is a last resort action. Gangrene is nobody’s friend. 2. Pre-make a tourniquet out of whatever you have handy, like a shirt or your pants. Maybe this magazine? 3. Here we go. First thing you’ve got to do is break the bone. Try to use leverage to snap it. Don’t faint. 4. Quickly, now that the bone is broken, cut through the remainder of what’s pinning you. While you’re physically separating yourself, try to psychologically separate yourself from the situation. Think about cutting a piece of tough meat. It’s meat. It’s not your arm or leg. Meat. 5. Apply a tourniquet and GET OUT OF THERE. Roughly based on Civil War amputation techniques and Marshall Brian’s “How To Cut Off Your Own Arm In An Emergency.” Better than nothing?
COWGIRL RETREATS Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch Martinsdale, Montana
Misadventures Issue 2
bonanzacreekcountry.com firstname.lastname@example.org 406.572.3366
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UID E
Smoke Signals Decoded Are you 1) in the woods; 2) need to relay a message; and 3) sans power? No fear. Smoke is an age-old means of communicating. You may have learned to tweet, but can you send smoke signals? YOU WILL NEED
Cidermosa Charm your friends and enemies with this ambrosial beverage. Prepare to ascend to your rightful place as the newly initiated queen of brunch.
• fire • green branches • blanket • water
1. Find a high location, preferably in a clearing. 2. Make a fire with gathered kindling and wood. Let it burn down a bit.
3. Cover fire with green branches (or leaves). White smoke will begin to issue forth. 4. Douse blanket with water. 5. Lay blanket on top of fire to stifle the smoke momentarily. Remove blanket and replace blanket depending on your messaging needs. • One puff = Attention! Here we are, people. Listen up. • Two puffs = All is well. • Three puffs = DANGER. Trouble with a capital T. Warning: As always, be cautious and attentive with your fire. Adapted from Trails.com’s “How to Make Smoke Signals.”
YOU WILL NEED
• apple cider • champagne • apple slices and cinnamon sticks (for garnish) • a small, daytime crown
1. Fill a champagne glass ½ full with champagne. 2. Top with cider. 3. Garnish for looks.
Orange Peel Firestarter
4. Place crown upon humble head. 5. Imbibe!
Winter Pickles So you think you’ve pickled everything, eh? Think you’re some kinda pickle aficionado, eh? We understand. We thought the same thing. And then we pickled apples. If you need a crunch to get you through the long winter, this is it. It’s autumn in a jar, year-round. YOU WILL NEED
• 2-3 crisp, medium-sized apples, sliced • 1 cup apple cider vinegar • ½ cup water • ½ cup brown sugar • 1 ½ tsp. salt • ¾ tsp. ground ginger • 2 cinnamon sticks • 5 black peppercorns • 1 clove • 2 tsp. lemon juice • 1 pint canning jar
1. Mix cider vinegar with water and lemon juice. 2. Stir in sugar, salt, ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and clove. 3. Heat mixture till it’s simmering. 4. Fill jar with apples, then slowly pour boiling cauldron of spicy goodness over apples. Be careful not to overflow! Danger awaits. 5. Seal jar and let the pickling begin. They’re ready for tasting after just a few days, but things really get interesting after a few months.
The thing that oranges don’t want you to know is that the oils in their skins make great, sweet-smelling fire starters. YOU WILL NEED • oranges • tray • paper bag • silica packet
1. Cut the peels off of some oranges and dry on a tray in the sun or by the fire for a few weeks. 2. Toss them in a paper bag with a silica packet to maintain freshness. 3. Gather your friends round the fire and dazzle them with your wit and ardor. From: Little Eco Footprints Blog.
SURVIVE & THRIVE FEATURED RETREAT
SwellWomen $$$ Want to balance restful indulgence in tropical paradise with the chance to challenge yourself athletically? WE HAD TO CHECK out this luxury surf/yoga/wellness retreat ourselves to get the full SwellWomen experience. We can’t recommend a more decadent retreat that will also quench your thirst for adventure (with an umbrella on top). With over ten destinations to choose from (Hawaii, Mexico, Belize, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Anguilla, just to name a few), joined by a small group of either all-female or co-ed companions, this adventure travel experience accentuates the treat in retreat. Highlights of the Maui retreat for us included miraculously catching that first wave, cruising on a catamaran at sunset, hot-tubbing on a cliff over the ocean, and being moved by the courage of the women around us. Good energy flows from owner Lulu Agan, who goes all out with her vivacious hospitality, knack for forming genuine connections, and fun-loving spirit. Every piece—the venues, the food, the instructors, you name it—has been carefully selected by Agan. She encourages people to follow their bliss and has “always had that desire to bring people together and to reconnect with themselves.” Former retreaters still email her about the positive impact their retreat had on their lives. “People change,” she says. “They start glowing. That’s a total highlight—to witness people as they transform, relax, smile all the time, have fun, be challenged, and do something.” If you’re ready for blissful days of surf, yoga, massage, healthy food, sunshine and laughter, SwellWomen has got you covered. Whether you’ve never surfed before or feel pretty smooth on a board, SwellWomen retreats take you in and release you a more balanced, more aware human being. For more information, visit swellwomen.com.
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PHOTO by Carve Designs
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UID E
How To: Retreat
Sometimes you just need to run up the white flag and surrender. But hollering “RETREAT!” and skedaddling away from your advancing troubles need not be an inglorious endeavor. RETREATS THROUGHOUT THE AGES have been sought for reasons romantic, spiritual, philosophical, medicinal, strategic, and otherwise. Here we offer a range of retreats to suit your noble needs. From a DIY retreat on the homestead to a luxury retreat in tropical paradise, here are some options to soothe your spirit, ignite your curiosity, and revamp your mental toolkit.
Vipassana Meditation Retreats $ Do you think you could go ten days without talking? Better yet: what do you think might happen to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health if you did?
ICON by Michael Zick Doherty from The Noun Project
Vipassana retreats, which are free of charge (though donations are encouraged), are ten-day meditation courses centered around the restorative power of silence. Though the practice has its origins in a 2,500-year-old Indian tradition, today you can retreat Vipassana-style all over the world, including, in the U.S., just outside of Joshua Tree National Park in California. Just you in the desert, working things out with the voice inside your head. Sounds pretty sweet, right? For more information, visit dhamma.org
F**k It Retreats $$$ Yep. These retreats are something else. Shake off the stress of our constantly-connected world at a European retreat that features expletive-laden breathing exercises, permission to nap on the floor, and, of course, relaxation galore in a gorgeous resort setting. There’s even a “F**k It Magic” retreat for women only, “dedicated to play, celebration, feeling and understanding. Listen to yourself, to your
rhythm, and follow your own way. F**k it, it’s about time.” We couldn’t f**king agree more. For more information, visit eff-it-helps.com
DIY Retreat $ Sometimes the thought of going anywhere can be… exhausting. A little self care at home can go a long way toward making you feel human again. For your DIY retreat, consider creating a fortress out of your home. Lock the door, turn out the lights, flame up some candles, draw a hot bath, turn on Enya (or whoever gets you to that deep space-space), and soak. Add some bath salts if you’ve got ‘em. After the soak, apply body lotion liberally. Think of this as a massage that you’re saving money on. Create a cocoon out of blankets. Stock up on snacking supplies, beverages, and reading materials or movies. (See page 60 for some ideas!) Get your hibernation on.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary $$ In the mood to forgo human company for a while? Rent a room in the pre-Civil War residence located on the 100-acre Catskill Animal Sanctuary in the Hudson Valley of New
VACATION/ALL I EVER WANTED Did you know that women consistently report more stress than men? On top of that, their average stress levels are higher (a 5.3 on a 1–10 scale, as opposed to 4.9 for men, according to the American Psychological Society). Women are also more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress, such as headaches, tears, or indigestion. In other words: treat yourself. You deserve it.
York State. CAS provides a refuge for 11 species of farm animals: horses, pigs, cows, goats, ducks, sheep, and more, all of them rescued from cruelty, neglect, and abandonment. This strictly vegan environment is dedicated to “looking an animal in the eye and seeing someone—not something”; overnight guests are given a VIP pass to hang out all day and do just that with the more than 300 animals currently in residence. For more information, visit casanctuary.org
Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency FREE + $5000 STIPEND This one’s for those of you who consider seven months of writing and working in the Oregon backcountry to be living the dream. There is an application process, run by the Northwest branch of PEN American Center, from which one lucky writer is selected to serve as the steward of the Dutch Henry Homestead in southwestern Oregon, not far from the Rogue River. The website promises an abundance of wildlife and some serious silence. Conditions for acceptance include a willingness to live two hours from medical services and most cultural amenities (though there is an excellent public radio signal!) and the ability to use a chainsaw. The 2013 resident had to evacuate because of a wildland fire: this residency is not for the faint of heart. But that may be exactly what you’re looking for. For more information, visit pw.org/writing_contests/margery_davis_boyden_wilderness_writing_residency
A Park Near You $ It can be easy to forget that most of us live within driving or even walking distance of a park: local, state, or national. These public resources belong to everyone, and even (or maybe especially) in the dead of winter, it can feel like an escape from the everyday just to go for a walk, a run, or a spur-of-the-moment photography session in the great outdoors. Sometimes, in fact, it’s these micro-adventures, as opposed to the big trips that take lots of planning and preparation, that can feel the most refreshing: a real retreat with Mother Nature. For more information on national parks near you, visit nps.gov
SURVIVE & THRIVE
The women behind Cascadia Fiber Co. look to their surroundings—and the past—for inspiration. BY RACHEL PATTIN, CO-OWNER, CASCADIA FIBER CO.
CASCADIA FIBER CO. MAKES hand-harvested, hand-dyed, often hand-sewn, and always hand-quilted bedding. Beyond finding both the art of quilting and natural dyes stunning, my co-founder Victoria Anderson and I are passionate about objects made with thought and care—items that will be passed down with love. We admire crafts that take dedication and skill to make and that connect us to where we come from. Even now, I sleep under quilts made by my family of grandmothers: one a beautiful and detailed quilt made by my mother’s grandmother in the heart of Texas; the other a simple pioneer quilt made by my paternal great-great-grandmother, who settled near Mount Rainier before Washington was even a state. I cherish these quilts; they’re the only items of mine that I would try to save from a fire. I also feel incredibly grateful for the generations before mine that
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passed on their ideals to me. It takes time, patience, and dedication to make crafts of this sort. We strive for a life full of passions, which take a whole lot of our time, so we want to end up with something beautiful to show for it. VICTORIA AND I MET in 2009 while working at a summer camp on a remote island in the San Juan Archipelago in Washington, though it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that our friendship truly began. That was the summer we shared a tipi while caring for a group of teen girls: together, we led a backpacking trip (which became a medical evacuation in a 15-passenger van) and did nearly everything else as a pair, too. At summer’s end, however, we separated: I took off for North Carolina, and Victoria moved into a cabin built by her sister and father on her sister’s small farm on Vashon Island.
TRIED AND TRUE Archaeologists unearthed a 7th-century BCE cuneiform tablet that details the neo-Babylonian process for dyeing wool a lapis color. The ancient recipe reveals that in terms of technique, not much has changed.
PHOTOS by Rachel Pattin
After adding fabric to the dye bath, simmer the fabric, and then remove it and gently wring. Dye bath can be used again for fainter results.
ICON by Kellen Lester from The Noun Project
How To Dye Fabric the Natural Way
Luckily, Victoria and I share a love for snail mail, so we kept in touch by pen and paper. Mostly we talked crafts, and the land we hoped to own someday. Not quite two years later, I packed up my rig during the witching hour, and drove west from the land of the fireflies to the Point Defiance-Tahlequah ferry terminal: my favorite route connecting the Washington mainland to Vashon Island. Suddenly, there I was, camping under an apple tree at Old Orchard Farm, with Victoria’s cabin all but a 10-second walk away. Victoria pitched me the idea of doing some natural dyeing one afternoon over tea. She’d already checked out numerous books on the subject, including some on Sashiko quilting, and others on dye plants around the country. (Later, she found a wonderful book on Northwest plants, which has become our guiding light for harvesting, recipes, and a framework of expectations.) Of course, I was interested immediately. This was in 2014. Nearly all literature on natural dyes at the time was geared towards dyeing wool—but we dreamt of large and beautiful swaths of fabric to sew into handmade quilts. We wanted to dye cotton. True to our pioneering spirits, we said “whatever” to the naysayers, and made it work. Over the past two years we’ve only had one dye plant completely fail: we dyed it as the recipe instructed, and it came out of the pot brilliantly full of color…only to wash away entirely in the sink. I didn’t even think
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UIDE
Dye Some Stuff Yourself The first step is to manage time well and plan ahead. Most natural dyes are not ready in a day; some take weeks. BEFORE ANY DYEING CAN OCCUR 1. Locate recipe. Check if a mordant is needed for the dye plant of choice.
YOU WILL NEED
• a heat source • a large pot (note: some metals affect the dye process so this needs to be paid attention to; we use enamel canning pots) • a scale small enough to measure ounces and large enough to weigh pounds (food scales are great) • wooden spoon and/or metal tongs • a mesh strainer • scouring soap and fabric • mordant (if needed)
One of Victoria and Rachel's quilts drying on the line.
DIRECTIONS that could happen! Other plants that were reputed never to work with cotton in fact turned out wonderfully; and some that were supposedly guaranteed to succeed have not. So it goes. THE STEPS BEHIND NATURAL dyeing are simple: they depend on a plant’s lightfast, or its ability to remain as a dye without fading. Some plants do great all on their own, and others need what is called a mordant to help fix it to the material. An important part of dyeing cotton is scouring the fabric; this removes natural waxes and oils so that dye can penetrate the fibers. Dyestuff refers to the materials harvested or purchased that make up the dye; and the “baths” refer to the process when dyeing or mordanting the material in
particle-free liquid. As for the philosophies behind dyeing, wildcrafting deserves respect and care. We never want to over-harvest from one plant, and always pay close attention to which plants can be gathered from while living. At Cascadia, Victoria and I have made dyes from black and English walnuts, apple leaves, cherry leaves (the fader dye), madrona bark, yellow onion skins, pokeberry (our wash-away dye), sludge from the bottom of red wine barrels, salal berries and leaves: tansy, hollyhock, red cabbage, and western red cedar. We’ve yielded tan, peach, brown, orange, pale to bright yellow, purple, subdued to bold blue, and grayish tones from our various dyes and processes. We’ve got staghorn sumac waiting to be used, and we’ve dyed many sheets of fabric with indigo. Plant dyes are all over: once familiar with
KEEP YOUR DYES PEELED One need not forage far to experiment with natural dyes. To get an orange color, boil fabric with chopped up carrots. For pink, try chopped cherries. For red, try hibiscus. For green, try spinach or grass. Fix the colors with a vinegar or salt bath. Voilà!
RESOURCES AND WHERE TO GET MATERIALS We use a non-toxic professional textile detergent from Dharma Trading Company and buy our alum and tannic acid from Carol Leigh’s Hillcreek Fiber Studio. We got our start from Rebecca Burgess’s book Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes and now do most of our work out of Judy Green’s book Natural Dyes from Northwest Plants.
1. Soak dye stuff according to recipe, usually overnight at minimum. 2. Scour your fabric to remove any chemicals or flame retardants added in the manufacturing process, which can interfere with dye uptake. 3. Dry if not dyeing immediately. Machine drying on medium can help shrink fabric to final size.
ONCE THE DYESTUFF HAS FINISHED SOAKING 1. Wet fabric.
2. Begin mordant bath and add fabric. (Some recipes do not require a mordant, in which case skip this and the next step.) 3. Rinse fabric. 4. Cook dye stuff for required time. 5. Strain plant material out. 6. Add fabric to dye bath. 7. Simmer fabric in dye bath for prescribed time. 8. Remove fabric and gently wring. (Dye bath can be used again with fainter results.) 9. Rinse until water runs clear. 10. Wash newly dyed fabric with scouring soap. 11. Line or machine dry. Pro tip: line drying certainly adds charm to the process!
SURVIVE & THRIVE
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any drips, and the fabric can go straight to the line to dry. The elements add to the process, and some days we’re quite efficient because it is bitterly cold outside and we just need to get it done. On fairer weather days, during the dead time—while fabric is in either a mordant or dye bath or while dyestuff is cooking—we’ll walk around the property, feeding the chickens or harassing them for eggs; playing with Victoria’s sister’s dog, Branwyn; working in the garden; or gathering future materials. We want to stay close to the dye pots, to check on them, agitate the fabric, and make sure the flame is still lit. On other days, we take shelter indoors, to drink tea, and dream ahead.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE Mordant is a dye fixative that sets and intensifies colors using metal ions. The name comes from the French word mordre, meaning “to bite.”
Snow Bike Tires Don’t let a little snow keep you out of the saddle—even though it admittedly looks a bit ridiculous, a few zip ties can give you traction on icy streets. YOU WILL NEED
• 1 or 2 packages of zip ties
1. Attach zip ties around tire (roughly 1 per spoke), with the zip ties’ connectors alternating between the outside edge and inside edge of the tires, with the loose end trimmed down to a nub. 2. Word of caution: Don’t try if your bike has rim brakes! From: Wired How To
Dream Tinctures Hamlet isn’t the only one to have bad dreams from time to time. Day life is hard enough; give your night-self a rest. This calming potion will let you down easy and give you the slumber you’ve been dreaming about. YOU WILL NEED
• The will to go on • 1 cup distilled water • 1 Tbsp. vodka or rubbing alcohol • 10 drops lavender essential oil • 2 drops peppermint essential oil • 2 drops chamomile essential oil (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and give your pillows and sheets a spritz. 2. Night-night.
ICON by Michael Scott Fischer from The Noun Project
the flora of a region, the whole landscape becomes workable. I stumble across dye plants while hiking, visiting friends’ properties, and driving along country roads. Right now, Victoria and I predominantly focus on dyes found and foraged in the Pacific Northwest, but we dream of one day taking a road trip in my truck to gather dye plants all over the United States. I’m convinced that nearly anything will make a dye; what really depends is whether it will stay attached to the fiber. As for mordants, we nearly always use Alum, which we get in powder form. We buy organic and made-in-America cotton from retailers, or get leftover pieces from one of Victoria’s jobs, a woman-run cyanotype company on the island. We constantly keep notes to remember what we did that worked and what didn’t. We grew dahlias one summer to use as a dye plant and then liked them so much in our homes that we kept them for bouquets instead. Our limited space has brought our dye business almost entirely out into nature: beyond simply growing and gathering dye plants in the great outdoors, we also do most of our dye baths on a propane crab cooker—some on open fires, some on kitchen stoves, and once on a camp stove when there was no other option. Dyeing outside is wonderful; some dyes smell sweet, like tea and honey—but others smell absolutely foul, which makes outdoor cooking especially appealing! There is little mess to deal with when the earth soaks up
M ISADVE NTURE S WINTE R G UIDE
How To: Forage For Mushrooms
How To: Identify a Chanterelle YOU WILL NEED
No Morels, a group of fungi foraging enthusiasts, shows us the ropes.
No matter how tempted you may be to pop a mushroom in your mouth in the heat of the moment, try to cook your foraged mushrooms before eating them.
1. Be at the right place at the right time. Chanterelles form symbiotic relationships with roots, so you’ll find them on the ground of hardwood forests, near the edges of dirt roads, ditches, or other shady places where the ground has been disturbed. Their high-season is early fall.
WE SPOKE WITH LISTEL BJORCK, one of the founding members of “No Morels,” a small but dedicated group of fungis and fungirls who share a love for choice edibles and exploring the damp outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. When they get together, they’re on the hunt for local treasures: chanterelles, boletes, morels and lobsters.
Bjorck’s advice for an aspiring forager? “Go outside! Be aware of the space around you. Know what it is you're looking for and not looking for; there are tons of wild mushrooms you don't want to mess with. The absolutely best field guide anyone can buy is All That the Rain Promises and More. It's a hilarious and very essential guide to identifying mushrooms.”
DIY Hot Sock
Winter Hoop House
We believe that everyone is part lizard. Warm the depths of your cold-blooded, scale-covered body with these sleuthy handwarmers. They’ll be the hot rocks on which your dry lizard hands can bask.
This simple DIY hoop house will have you hollerin’ for more greenery during the long, bitter winter. Why endure the blandness of frozen veggies or out-of-season supermarket produce in your winter soups and stews when you COULD be growing your own magical gems? Fool ye no more.
YOU WILL NEED ICONS by Creative Stall and Gan Khoon Lay from The Noun Project
• your wits
• a sock (you choose the size!) • string • rice or barley
1. Fill your sock with rice or barley. Choose wisely. 2. Tie it off with a string. 3. Heat your rice sock in the microwave for 20–30 seconds. 4. Put your hot rock rice sock wherever you need warmth. We mean wherever. 5. Bask. Radiate hot goodness. Repeat.
YOU WILL NEED
• cedar sticks (long and bendy) • string • plastic sheets (greenhouse-worthy) • simple wooden frame or box • a knife/hatchet • stapler • scissors • dirt • seeds/starts
1. Choose a sunny spot for your wooden frame (facing south, preferably). 2. Fill your frame with dirt (get the good stuff or do your soil testing homework).
CAVEAT EATER The most infamous poison mushroom is ominously known as the deathcap. While it looks innocuous enough, it is indeed deadly and there is no antidote. The best way to avoid it is to forage for mushrooms that don’t look like your average toadstool. Go instead for the more distinct varieties, like oyster mushrooms and hen of the woods.
2. Check under the hood. Chanterelles are known for their “false gills” or ripples that can’t be separated from the rest of the mushroom. They should look branched and striated, like a tiny, dramatic mountain range. Those ridges should run down the stem. 3. All caps. The cap should be vase-shaped and orange, to yellowish, to peachy. The stem should be smooth and not hollow. 4. The nose knows. When in doubt, give it a sniff. Chanterelles smell slightly of apricot.
3. Plant your seeds or starts (kale, collards, greens, etc!). 4. Whittle the ends of your bendy cedar sticks so that they’re stakes. 5. Stick one end of a cedar stake into the corner edge of your garden bed. Stick another one in the parallel corner. 6. Bend the sticks towards each other until they connect, and tie them together to make a hoop. 7. Make several more hoops evenly spaced between corners so that the hoops form a tunnel and can hold up the plastic adequately. 8. Wrap those plastic sheets around your hoops and staple to the outside edge of the frame to make a tight seal. 9. For the doors, cut pieces of plastic to size, and staple to your roof plastic. 10. Figure out some sort of latch system so you can unfurl the doors during the day. Don’t want to cook those veggies! 11. Celebrate your nascent gardening prowess.
FRIENDS OF THE FUNGUS When in doubt about how to get your foraging career started, get in touch with your local mycological society. They have all kinds of expert, region-specific tips—and sometimes they even give tours.
HIGH FLYERS Hanging Out with the Freeskiers of Coalition Snow BY JESSICA MALORDY
Meet freestyle skiers Adie Lawrence, Britt Hawes, and Roz Groenewoud.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, these three incredible women, all of them with their eyes on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, were able to get together and share their stories. With Misadventures listening in, Adie, Britt, and Roz talked and laughed about everything from how they got started skiing to what keeps them going. All three are sponsored by women’s-only ski brand Coalition Snow, and so the conversation encompasses not just the sacrifices and willpower necessary to go for gold, but a glimpse, too, of what’s it’s like being a woman skiing today. 24
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ILLUSTRATIONS by Julienne Alexander
Roz: I think a lot of it is bravery. Especially for halfpipe and slope. Being really strong and really fit helps to some extent, but in some ways freeskiing is less of an athletic sport and more of a technical one. There are some people who avoid the gym and don’t want to ever do anything physical outside of skiing, yet when they get on snow they just have a feel for it. Just watching the Rio Olympics this summer I noticed that some summer sports are so athletic. They require you to pay attention to your diet and your training. And I think for our sports, that helps, but it's not the make or break point. It's much more of a mental game. Britt: When it comes down to it, what we're doing is scary. And we should be scared! It would be very unnatural to not be afraid. But it's managing
that fear and knowing, within yourself, when it's time to go. When you drop in, you can’t have any hesitation. You've got to go. You've got to override your fear factor, and I think that's something that's quite hard to train for. Adie: I always say that confidence is key. Just being able to know within yourself that you can do it. And when you land something right, and you're skiing into the next jump, the feeling is just, like, wow, that was sweet; that was the best thing that could have happened. Roz: With halfpipe, if you land in that sweet spot, there's actually no impact. You feel like you just slide from the air back onto the earth, which is a really, really incredible feeling — though obviously there is a lot of impact in halfpipe
when you don't hit that sweet spot! It's a constant search for the perfect landing — that's the feeling I'm always hunting for. Britt: What’s so fun about halfpipe is there's no…limit. You can keep trying to go higher and higher and higher, no matter how good you are, no matter how long you've been doing it. There's no ceiling on the sport. Roz: One thing about halfpipes, especially these days, is that they've gotten so big they can be intimidating. But I always try to explain that there's no commitment. When you're just starting, you can go three feet up the wall, and then the next run go 10 feet up the wall, maybe try to get the lip — you just work your way up. Unlike a jump, where you’ll hurt yourself if you don't get enough speed, with a halfpipe you can just
#SISTERHOODOFSHRED Coalition Snow is the world’s first company specializing in high-performance skis and snowboards designed by women, for women. Their mission? To put an end to the “shrink it and pink it” paradigm plaguing the ski and snowboard industry, and ignite a revolution of female skiers and riders across the globe.
ICON by Danil Polshin from The Noun Project
Both Adie and Britt are from New Zealand; Adie skis Slopestyle (“that’s the jumps and rails”) and Britt is a Halfpipe skier (“if you get it right, you can't even pinpoint the moment when your feet are back on the ground”). Roz has competed internationally in all the freeski events — Slopestyle, Halfpipe, and Big Air — but focuses on Halfpipe. In 2014, the first time Ski Halfpipe was in the Olympics, she represented her home country of Canada at the Sochi Games and got 7th place.
feel it out and work on it. So I really recommend, to anybody, if you ski at all, next time you see a halfpipe, get in there, and just start going a little bit up the wall and see how it feels.
Adie Lawrence, New Zealand Slopestyle Skier
ICON by Bilel Djettaou from The Noun Project
Britt Hawes, New Zealand Halfpipe Skier
Roz Groenewoud, Canada Halfpipe Skier
Adie: Ha! I'm a slopestyle skier, so I'll hit a jump, a 60 foot jump, without thinking twice. But get me in a halfpipe and I get excited when I get a foot out of the lip! That's nothing, like no air at all, but I get really excited because I'm like, oh, this is terrifying! But you have such quick succession of hits in the pipe, so it's always fun to get over there and give it a go. Though I do not envy the pipe at the moment — it looks so hectic! Britt: Yeah, over here in New Zealand it’s a big training season, the last one before the Olympic qualifiers start, so it’s quite busy in the halfpipe at Cardrona right now. There are a lot of nations here, and everyone's pretty gung ho to get new tricks under their belts. My routine at the moment is a combination of short, sharp training sessions, some heavy strength work in the gym, going to my job in the evenings, and just trying to find a balance so I don't get too tired. You have to have enough days off that when you go skiing it's still fun, you know? I've never been to an Olympics before, so that is definitely my biggest goal. Adie: Same here. It's the fun of learning something new, too. There's so many options and different features. The jumps are going to stay the same, but the rails are always going to be different. I think there's something about floating through the air. It's just very cool. Right now it's that time of the season when
it's slushy by midday — no, I take that back — by 10 o’clock in the morning! So you’re training while the snow is okay, taking it back to fun tricks, ones that you can adjust without getting caught in the slush, just playing with grabs and little things. And then, as Britt said, it's Olympic qualifying, so also you've got to be getting those new tricks, the ones that are going to bump up your runs. Roz: Right now, for me, it’s more of a healing journey. I had a really bad head injury last year, and I wasn't sure I was going to be returning to skiing. It was a pretty gnarly recovery. And when I got cleared to ski, I had to make the decision if I even wanted to keep competing. One thing was that I didn’t have a good experience in Sochi. I left unsure of how I felt about going back. But I think that Pyeongchang will probably be my last Olympics, and so I want to leave this time feeling like, I did this, and I'm proud of it. Watching Rio was really great, actually, because I had a few good friends competing, and I watched their journeys, and it helped me get that feeling, Yeah, wow, I'm proud that I'm an Olympian. How does qualifying work in New Zealand? It’s so different from country to country; I'm really interested to hear what you two have to do. Britt: Mmm. So we – well, everyone obviously has to meet a certain international qualification. Which is top twenty-four, right, Roz? Roz: I honestly don't know, because qualifying for freestyle skiing Canada is so demanding
COME ON, BOB The 2014 Olympics in Sochi were the first to feature freeskiing—and not everybody agreed with the decision. Bob Costas himself made disparaging remarks about the sport on air at NBC. The growing cadre of women freeskiers, understandably, were not pleased. To show your support, try joining them; almost every ski resort boasts jumps, rails, a halfpipe, and other terrain elements that mirror the challenges faced by Olympian freeskiers. And what that means is that freeskiing is attracting an enormous audience—especially young people. In fact, some folks believe freeskiing is the future of the Winter Games, the sport that will keep the Olympics alive and exciting for the next generation. Take that, Bob.
that we don't pay a lot of attention to FIS [Fédération Internationale de Ski] points. Britt: In New Zealand, it doesn't matter either — you obviously have to make international qualifiers, but in New Zealand they want us to have enough top twelve results within those qualifiers to be eligible to make the Olympic team. So we're not just trying to meet the international qualifying rules, we're trying to make our nation's ones as well, and our nation's ones are harder. Roz: So, in Canada — the International Olympic Committee allots a certain amount of Olympics spots, based on results, for all of freestyle skiing. For Sochi Canada earned 26, and for Pyeongchang it's going to be 30. And when I say “all of freestyle,” it’s moguls, aerials, halfpipe — Britt: Oh, yeah! Roz: — and slope, and ski cross. And Canada is the only country in the world that has extremely competitive teams of all five. So though there’s a max of four spots per gender per discipline, the math works out that not all of the top four will get to go. As a female halfpipe skier, I could be “competing” in the ranking system against a male mogul skier for the same spot. Which means, for Sochi, people who were ranked 5th in the world, 6th in the world, didn't get to go to the Olympics, because you had to be so competitive just against the rest of freestyle skiers Canada. There weren’t enough Canadian spots to include them.
OFF THE LIP
Britt: Yeah, I forgot about that, Roz! For New Zealand we don't have a moguls teams or an aerials team, so the number of spots allocated by the IOC is enough for us to send four from every discipline — I mean, I don't know exactly, there could be a couple spots we don't have, but there's not that same fight. In other ways, too, I almost think we have an advantage, as women skiers. We're more of a rarity. Just think of the number of males who currently hold a competitive license, versus the number of females. There are so few women, it's easier to find a niche because you're not competing for financial opportunities. Roz: It is quite different internationally — but I think that the disparity between the number of men in skiing who have made enough money to live comfortably, versus the number of women who have made just enough money, is pretty huge. Especially with industry sponsors, the amount of money that they pay women versus men is a huge difference. But I think sometimes the smaller countries support women better. Britt: I definitely agree with that — my experience is not an international sort of financial experience, it's very localized, and I do think in New Zealand that they're really trying to be as equal as possible. There's a real focus on it, because historically there hasn't been a lot of strong female skiers from New Zealand. But I feel like women's freeskiing New Zealand has really been growing in the last 15 years. Adie: I can see both sides, but I do agree with Britt in the sense that there's more opportunity because we're a smaller country. But one of my friends
Misadventures Issue 2
was working over in Tahoe, and she actually got directly approached by Coalition Snow and got to chatting to Jen [the founder of Coalition Snow], who said they were always on the lookout for athletes. She straight away was like, Adie! When she got back she told me about Coalition — and I just absolutely loved the idea that there are skis out there for women, and at a high standard. Roz: Yes! I’m super, super picky and detail-oriented about my skis. Previously, I'd worked
could design better halfpipe skis than all of you have. So I actually approached Coalition Snow because they didn’t have a pipe ski yet. They were super keen to have a female skier come on who knew about ski design. The process for the prototype went so well and we were all stoked. That was when Jen asked me to be a sponsored rider, and said, you know, we could actually sell these skis that you’ve designed, because it could be really rad to have a woman’s pipe ski in the market! And it is a great
But, when I think back to what I love about skiing: the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being in the air, the knowledge that I’ve always got that female freeski community around me…I think that's what makes it worth it. with some big companies, and they had made me my own skis. But that company actually dropped their entire women's program — because I really do not think the ski industry is very kind to women — and so I was looking further afield. After this head injury, I knew it was going to be hard to approach a big brand and be like: hey, sponsor me, but by the way, I think I
carving ski—super fun and fast to zip around the hill. Britt: I got involved with Coalition both for the direction of my competitive freeski journey in the last two-andhalf years — and because I noticed last season in New Zealand you had a blank ski on, Roz. I remember, it had no topsheet, it had no graphics,
and I was like, I wonder what that's going to be? And then when I saw that you had partnered with Coalition, I was like, well, I know that Roz is a pretty rad rider; I want to ride the skis Roz is riding! I contacted Jen and said, I want to ski on Roz's skis, if you're interested in working with me as well, and she was keen. And you know, I've always looked up to you, Roz, as an amazing skier, and also the kind of person you want to hang out with — because you’re nice, and friendly, and smiley, and talk to everyone at the events. I know in a lot of Olympic sports the competitive side overpowers the friendly side, but I don’t tend to find that in our sport. It’s really cool: whatever competition you go to, there are these inspirational women freeskiers. You’re in this competitive mindset, but it's a competition against yourself. It's about how high you can go, and about how high you can push your tricks. So you'll see people who are a lot better than you, and then you'll look back on your video, and you think, well, that wasn't that high, but for me — that was really high for me. That was the best I could do. And that satisfaction when you do manage to push through — to keep pushing it up little bit by little bit — it's awesome. Roz: Yes. I think for me it's about finding your tribe. Find people that care about you, and don’t listen to anybody else’s judgment. I wish I had done that earlier in my career. Find the people you really respect and love and who respect and love you back. Find your power from that. The athlete lifestyle is so selfish, you have to be so self-absorbed to achieve anything, and I think sometimes it gets to me that I'm not capable in my position to give as much back as I want to. It's hard that you're not home for your friends
and family when they need you. You're a phone call away. Adie: Oof, yeah. There are definitely sacrifices, and I feel like friends take it the hardest, because you're not there for them when they need you, you're off jet-setting, and that can make friendships…not disappear, but lie dormant. And it's hard. Straight out of high school, I missed my graduation because I flew away over to the northern hemisphere. I went from being in high school, where you've got all your friends around you, to suddenly coming back and they were all off at uni. That's hard to come to terms with. Britt: I don’t really feel like I am sacrificing anything in terms of staying in one place — I love traveling, and seeing new places, and meeting new people — but it is a little harder to leave these days. We've all got friends who are, you know, having babies and getting married. We miss huge parts of their lives. Actually, my sister is pregnant, and she's due on the first of January, and I'll be lucky to see the baby… maybe at the end of April? And I feel guilty that I won't be here for this insane journey of my sister's life, her first baby, and I'm her older sister, and I can't be there for her because I'm going to go skiing. Although she would never want me to give up my dreams and skiing and stay with her, I do find it hard to justify at times. Adie: I think we're also very emotional people — women, in general. So we tend to overanalyze these kinds of things as well. We feel a bit deeper, I find. I suppose guys do too, but we just don't hear about it so much. Britt: Yeah, I think for a man, no one looks twice at them if they spend three years travelling ‘selfishly’ following an
Find people that care about you, and don’t listen to anybody else’s judgment. I wish I had done that earlier in my career.
individual pursuit, but the first thing I am often asked about spending summers away is ‘oh, what’s your boyfriend going to do?’ Why is that the first thing? How is that even relevant to me chasing my dreams? I feel like if the roles were reversed men would be asked, what competitions are you going to, what tricks are you trying to learn? But, when I think back to what I love about skiing: the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being in the air, the knowledge that I’ve always got that female freeski community around me…I think that's what makes it worth it. Adie: It’s the reason you fell in love with it in the first place. Anytime you get on your skis, you're like: Oh, this is so much fun. Even if it's not in the park or the halfpipe. You just go for a solo shred over in a different part of the mountain and you fall in love with it all over again.
Roz: It's been an awesome way to spend my teen years and my twenties, for sure. Last season was my 11th year on the World Cup circuit. My first World Cup was right after I turned 16. So it's been a pretty big chunk of my life. But I’ve watched my friends retire from sports—freeskiing and others—and the piece of advice that I’ve taken to heart is that you can have more than one goal. I used to go to university every spring and fall, but I just graduated in April, so I'm in a flux! And now I'm kind of torn — my undergrad was in neuroscience, and the idea of grad work in neuroscience is definitely appealing, but I also really like working with people. I think med school is currently my first choice (much to the disappointment of my neuroscience advisor!) — I think that will be my next big adventure.
Britt: Something really important, which I'm in the process of still learning myself, is to try not to be intimidated. What I tell myself, and others, is that you deserve to be there. You're allowed to be there. It doesn't matter if it's your first time or your millionth time. You're welcome there. Don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. Go ahead and do what you want to do, and be brave, and smile at people even if they’re not smiling back at you. Women are allowed to be anywhere that the men are, you know? Just go there and do it. Adie: If you look like you know what you're doing out there, that covers it. If you feel like you know what you're doing, you're going to have a fun time no matter what, so — just be confident. Face it head on, and go for gold.
inspired. between the pines
An Amateur’s Guide to the Galaxy Considering the enormity of the universe can be immeasurably liberating, or incredibly isolating. BY PAULA WRIGHT
April 2012. Lander, Wyoming. Evening. A small light appears in the evening, just off the horizon where the raw edge of the world meets the infinite black of the sky. Several residents of the small town report seeing an orb, followed by a thin, trailing shape as it hovers over the mountains. Hemmed in green or red, it moves slowly across the western sky, wavering back and forth, until it comes to rest where it began before it disappears. After a week of nightly sightings and police reports, some residents of the sleepy mountain town make a call to a NASA affiliate at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. My boyfriend at the time works with the astrophysics program and offers to head up there to take a look. Our weekend climbing plans shift slightly with the new assignment: we have science to do.
Misadventures Issue 2
LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON, BRIAN and I drive out of Laramie, headed west. It’s unclear to me whether we are heading toward an encounter with some new pattern of celestial light, or evidence of an unidentified flying object, or neither. Before we left, the university informed us that an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had already been out to Lander to investigate. It was cloudy when they arrived. Predictably, they couldn’t see anything—a circumstance you’d think an organization like NOAA would be able to predict. We exit the interstate, leaving behind the comfort of twinned gas stations on either side of the highway. Most of the year, the wind-swept roadside is a sheet of pale yellow, the color of dried buttermilk. Now with spring’s warmer temperatures and melting snows, a shock of green seizes the fields. We watch for the flashing eyes of deer, pronghorn, and coyote darting over long stretches of highway. From the red desert, we head toward Sinks Canyon, so named for where the Popo Agie River disappears into a hole in the ground. Higher up the canyon, climbers dot the walls of the broad limestone buttress, clinging to bullet-sized pockets and sharp fins of rock. In the morning, as we climb, I watch for strange shapes on the horizon. THERE ARE TWO KINDS of UFO sightings, UFO researcher Mike Clelland later tells me over the phone. Ambiguous sightings often involve lights or shapes far away. The viewer may not have had long enough to get a good look at the object to produce a detailed report. Perhaps it may have been debris from outer space, or an otherwise explainable flying or falling craft. Unambiguous UFO sightings, however, are those reports of flying saucers landing in the backyard. In the event of an unambiguous UFO sighting, a witness will likely make a report to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). The nonprofit organization tracks UFO sightings across America, and receives up to 1,000 reports each month. Witnesses prepare reports indicating the shape and size of the object, whether it was stationary or moving about, its flight pattern and more. MUFON then assigns a field investigator to each case, resulting in a report classifying the sighting as either a true,
PHOTO by Larm Rmah
ICON by icon 54 from The Noun Project
confirmed (unknown) flying object, an identified flying object, or a hoax. I have never seen a UFO myself, and up until the drive to Lander, never expected to. But, Clelland notes, it’s rare for people to sight one UFO in their lives; you either see none, or several. The way I see it, since I haven’t seen any, my chances of encountering one now are slim. Unless, of course, I do see one. Then I’ll be in for either a lifetime of UFOs, or a lifetime of waiting. I CAN TRACE MY familiarity with the night sky back to my childhood. I grew up on the edge of the plains in southern Minnesota and learned the familiar constellations on camping trips up north. I had an affinity for that bruised color of the dark sky—I asked my parents for purple carpet and purple walls in my room. Spread out across the ceiling hung strips of paper with planets and constellations on a background of matte, inky black. Even in the daytime, I could see a night sky. I attached gummy glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling, walls, and furniture around the room. When the lights went off, I was surrounded by a faint green glow. By the time we got a telescope from a mail-order catalog, the city had begun to push even farther out into the cornfields and forests formerly hemming the town. The Milky Way had gone from a bright belt to a barely visible thread. My first encounter with real night sky was on a climbing trip in the mountains of Wyoming. At 10,000 feet, the air was significantly colder than where we had left the town of Lander below. Sun sets quickly when you’re trying to cook with only scraps of daylight. We finished dinner that evening without our headlamps, but we didn’t need our headlamps to see. As our spot on the earth turned deeper into shadow, we walked out from under the trees to look at the stars shaking loose from the dark. The canyon’s limestone walls lit up with moonlight as my eyes adjusted to the night, and I remember the cold air cutting through my fleece jacket. In the distance, the old mining town of Atlantic City sat like a soft ember in the pit of the valley. I recall struggling to comprehend that our galaxy is but one of many, perhaps innumerable, out there. In a photo taken from outer space by the
Voyager 1, just as it was about to exit our solar system, the earth appears as a small speck, what Carl Sagan describes as a “pale blue dot,” suspended in a stream of light. In the photo, the width of the earth covers about a tenth of a pixel. “A lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” Sagan writes. As I held my thumb up against the dark, blotting out a hundred stars and invisible planets beyond, I began to sense the enormity of the mystery caught in our black ceiling. “Our imagination is stretched to the utmost,” writes Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, “not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.”
mountains—moving. They followed it. Driving over the winding back roads, John shouted out directions as they chased the object right and left. After a long journey, it disappeared. I stepped back out into the street to look up at the sky. Now that we were here, I didn’t know what I was expecting. It was the same sky as the one the night before. But perhaps there was a hint of light above a tree that seemed unusual. A radiating, tangerine point. Delores came out of the house, followed by a man toting a small cart. His glasses breached out over his face as he shuffled down the ramp. He paused at the sidewalk, then raised a finger to the sky.
In the morning, as we climb, I watch for strange shapes on the horizon.
BACK IN LANDER, WYOMING, Brian and I pulled up to a small house a few blocks from Main Street. A dimly-lit porch led down to a small sidewalk, dwarfed by two large conifers. I could only see in silhouettes—pitched roofs, a few fence posts, the shape of a truck. The house looked dark, except for the blue light of a television coming through the window. I drew in a slow breath of night air. “Well, I suppose we should knock.” Brian raised one eyebrow, then turned. I followed him up the sidewalk toward the house. An older woman answered the door. Wispy gray hair sat cloud-like on her head. Brian introduced us and explained that we were from the University, there to talk to her and her husband about the UFO sightings. “We’ve just been climbing at Sinks Canyon,” I added, as though that somehow gave us more credibility when it came to things flying through the air. I gave a quick smile. “I’ll just be taking notes.” The woman introduced herself as Delores. It was her husband John who began seeing the strange lights a few weeks ago, she said. They had been out to the casino late at night, and were on the way home when he pointed at something outside the windshield, above the
AUGURY Based on data collected in June 2016 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are about 1,419 satellites currently in orbit. There is no data on how many of them have been mistaken for shooting stars, UFOs, and cosmic signs from a watchful universe.
“There she is,” he pointed. “Old Faithful.” Delores, Brian and I followed his hand up to where he pointed, somewhere just above the western horizon, to where the orange spot sat. Brian looked over at me, and back again at the sky. “That’s the planet Venus.” Between feelings of disappointment and relief, I took up my notebook. Unconvinced by Brian’s explanation, John continued. The strange light had appeared every night for the last few weeks, which was how it got its name. Sometimes, he said, other glowing points appeared, like satellites. As John went on again about their nightly chase, I looked over at Delores. I thought I saw her mouth crease in a small frown. I began to look for familiar shapes in the sky, the ones I knew from childhood. Of the 88 named constellations, only two take their names from women. One, the queen Cassiopeia, was punished for boasting of her beauty. Half the year she sits on a throne, combing her hair, while the rest of the year she appears upside down as penance for her vanity. The other, Andromeda, also known as the chained maiden, appears fastened to a rock, one strap across her chest and another around her feet, awaiting her fate as a sacrifice to the sea monster. There are also
the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters—a bright cluster of stars. Disparate regions of the globe share similar stories of seven maidens, turned into birds or in a sprint, fleeing the unwanted touch of Orion, always in pursuit. When night falls, he appears just after they do. I prefer the constellations with stories attached to them over those named for scientific instruments (like Antila the air pump or Fornax the chemical furnace). In 1930, someone declared that there were too many stories cast into the sky, and so Eugène Delporte of the International
Later, they learned that sudden physical ailments were common among those who had seen UFOs, perhaps signs of extraterrestrial meddling. Delores hadn’t seen the spacecraft—she wasn’t there. Forty-seven years had passed before he began to see UFOs again, as he was recovering from a stroke. Brian had taken John’s bifocals from him, and was peering through their thick lenses, angling them up and down. The high desert air continued to send cool waves down from the mountains nearby.
As I held my thumb up against the dark, blotting out a hundred stars and invisible planets beyond, I began to sense the enormity of the mystery caught in our black ceiling.
NIGHT CONTINUED TO DEEPEN as Brian again attempted to explain that “Old Faithful” was just a planet, and the satellites, bright stars. I pressed my notebook against my chest for warmth. I heard Delores chime in. “Other people have seen the thing, you know.” Someone else had reported the sighting in the police blotter of the local paper. The paper had made the woman who called in the report sound crazy, Delores said. But, she added, “We know what we saw.” It wasn’t the first time that John had seen a UFO, Delores said. Before they moved to Wyoming, as John was driving across the country on a business trip, he had seen a bright orb, perhaps a satellite, touch down along the side of the deserted road, then disappear. A few days later, John suddenly fell ill—a collapsed lung. Just in his mid-twenties at the time, he had been a picture of health—the injury didn’t make any sense to either of them.
Misadventures Issue 2
STEPPING OUT INTO A dark night is harder than ever in the U.S. To help amateur astronomers locate the darkest skies, Sky & Telescope magazine in 2001 released the Bortle scale, which ranks the quality of darkness in the sky on a scale from one to nine. A sky rich with stars, the “astronomer’s dream,” where the glow of the Milky Way is so bright it can cast shadows, is a one on the sky scale, whereas an urban city center swimming in light pollution is a nine. The darkest skies have all but disappeared east of the Mississippi, as domes of light radiating from surrounding cities emanate far past their sprawl, into the fields and beyond. No observatories have been erected in the east in over a century. Out west, the dry climes of the desert and mountains are the last refuge of the stars. Perhaps one day, they too will be too bright. A FRIEND OF MINE was out in the remote wilderness for several weeks when he and his companions saw streaks of light plummet from the heavens to the ground. It was still weeks before they returned to civilization and could report on what they had seen, the mystery of which had kept them up at night. It turned out to be debris from a Chinese spacecraft. Someone else had reported it, too.
GROUND CONTROL These days, those being considered by NASA for its upcoming missions (to Mars!) are a diverse group, but that was not always the case. It’s no surprise that the majority of astronauts have been men in uniform. According to Wired, in Hillary Clinton’s younger days, she wrote NASA to ask what she needed to do to become an astronaut. They responded that she could not be one—because she was a woman.
ICON by Callum McGregor from The Noun Project
Astronomical Union fixed the number of named constellations at 88. Still, there are more stories than that number conveys. With stars being born and dying each night, the sky looks and feels like a living thing. Perhaps one day we’ll cut Orion out of our star charts, freeing the Pleiades from their eternal chase.
At least once a day, a piece of space debris drifts from its orbit around the earth. Either by gravity or desire it veers into the atmosphere, where it begins to burn before emerging in a streaming ball of light dropping from the sky. There’s not always someone there to notice it. Voyagers across the desert and the sea trusted the constellations with their life. Today, few are fluent in the grammar and vocabulary necessary to read the sky.
How To Stargaze 1. Get in the car. The most valuable tool to the stargazer in the 21st century is not a telescope—it’s wheels. Head out from the nests of buildings, Plexiglass and chrome to the end of the road. 2. Find the neighboring skies of wild lands, fields, or hillsides. 3. Walk, bike, paddle or swim, away from the friendly blaze, and wait. 4. Wait some more.
ICON by Alina Oleynik from The Noun Project
5. As your eyes adjust, the night will begin to make its shape. Don’t expect too much—just a few orbicular forms, luminous gasses, and dust. 6. The more you look at the stars, the more they appear. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, the cones in your eyes expand to let in a little more light. 7. Late autumn, wait up all night for a hazy, shimmering column—the zodiacal light, or false dawn. 8. Not by looking at the thing, but by looking away, the fuller shape, color and texture of the thing will reveal itself to you.
BACK IN LANDER THAT night, I didn’t see anything extraordinary. Neither did Brian. We thanked John and Delores for their time, and Brian promised to consult with the NASA consortium at the University and send them a report within the week. We headed back up the canyon road to camp. On the drive, Brian and I talked about loneliness of knowledge. Already, he was formulating explanations beyond what he’d told John and Delores of the planet Venus and the potential refraction pattern that the dividing lenses of John’s bifocals might have caused. The next morning, we drove up Baldwin Creek Road, the same stretch where John and Delores had chased Old Faithful in their car a few weeks back. The road heads out west from Lander toward the Wind River Mountains, a steady drive past low-sloping hillocks, patched with silvery-green sage and dark junipers, passing from one cattle ranch to the next. Telephone poles are the tallest things on the horizon between the road and the mountains beyond. In the light of day, the idea of trying to recreate a night-time, high-stakes UFO chase struck me as a meaningless exercise. We made note of where the road slopes up and curves, guessing at where a point in the sky might seem to shift against the fine line of the horizon. That week, Venus was the brightest it had been in eight years. To those unfamiliar with the more intricate patterns of the night sky, Venus could appear as a foreign, flying object. As I later learn, this is apparently a common occurrence in modern history. If the stars and planets kept a high school yearbook, Venus would win the “Most Likely” award for being mistaken
EYES TO THE SKIES On May 6 and 7, 2017, the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower will rain down as many as 60 meteors per hour. While these streaks of light may look like UFOs, they are but dust particles left behind by the comet Halley. The best way to catch some of this celestial show is to find a dark place, past midnight, to watch.
for a UFO. Just a few years ago, a pilot mistook Venus for an oncoming spacecraft. In an attempt to avoid a collision, the pilot made an evasive maneuver, injuring sixteen people aboard in the process. President Jimmy Carter famously mistook the planet for a UFO some summery evening in Georgia. All that humid night air. John and Delores’s sighting had likely been just another case of mistaken identity, but we could never account for the odd light patterns and shapes. After all, they had reported seeing numerous lights on more than one occasion. The night we were there, all we could see was the planet Venus—a glowing, familiar dot. Niels Bohr famously argued with Einstein about the veneer separating scientific knowledge from the reality of living in the world. As Rivka Galchen neatly summarizes it, “science, though wonderfully good at predicting the outcomes of individual experiments, could not tell us about reality itself, which would remain forever behind a veil. Science merely revealed what reality looked like to us.” I wish I could’ve believed that something else was out there, beyond the lights, in the field of John’s vision. Something that he, only, saw. Years later, I called Delores to ask about her and John. She told me that in the weeks after Brian sent his report to Lander, John was still convinced that the lights he saw were a sign that something else was out there. He called in another atmospheric expert, who brought binoculars and telescopes. The expert noticed nothing unusual. And still John saw something, but he stopped telling others what he saw. In 2014, John passed away the week before Christmas. Delores no longer sees the lights. PERHAPS ALL JOHN WANTED was confirmation, like so many of us. We want someone to listen to our story and say, “yes—I know just what you mean.” In some ways, the remoteness of those dark, faraway places is double-edged: you can get away, be alone, and see things that are normally invisible. But there also, it’s unlikely that anyone else will share your experience. All you can do is tell it.
A Conversation with Rue Mapp
Misadventures Issue 2
CHECK THE DATA A recent study out of Stanford shows that walking in nature yields significant health benefits and even causes changes in brain function, including lessened anxiety, improved emotion regulation, and increased memory capacity. Breathe it in.
CREDIT Photo courtesy of Outdoor Afro
On founding Outdoor Afro, “where black people and nature meet” BY PAIGE FULTON
When I spoke with Rue Mapp, the CEO and founder of Outdoor Afro, she was on her way to a gala in honor of her organization, which hosts meetups for people of color who want to experience the outdoors together. What began in 2009 as a nature blog has turned into a nationwide conversation about the connection between conservation, black lives, spiritual healing, food insecurity, social justice, and so much more. She encourages all people to “tap into their inner afro” and get outside. Paige: How did you turn the outdoors, a personal hobby of yours, into an entire network of people across the country? RUE: It started off as a blog, and then the blog became popular with social media. Then we were able to start not only having a conversation about the things that I love, but find a whole community of people out there who have the same interests. That's when I realized that we didn't have a problem with getting outside, we had a visual representation problem. People of color, black people and Latino people in particular, are using parks. We may not be on the remote trails, but we are using these spaces a lot, sometimes more than white people. But those are not the stories that you see represented in the mainstream. Outdoor Afro became a platform to tell a different narrative and shift the visual representation of who gets outdoors. After I started my blog, people wanted to know “how do I get out with people who look like me?” and so
we launched our Outdoor Afro leadership team. P: How did you begin the #healinghikes campaign? R: After Ferguson, people in Oakland were bracing for protest, and I had decided that was not how I wanted to show up at that moment. I had kids at home waiting on dinner, but at the same time I realized there absolutely was something that I needed to be doing. I just didn't know what it was. And then the answer just came. I was like, you know what? You do nature! Nature is your lightning; that's who you are. So I got on the phone the next day and I said we're going to do healing hikes with all of our leaders and partners. With healing hikes, we access nature in a way that we have always known in the African American community—we can lay down our burdens down by the Riverside. We can wade in the water and find healing, hope, and transformation. So, that was the moment where I understood, as an outdoor recreationalist,
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER Paige Fulton lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a wine enthusiast who lives in a POC punk house called “Butterflies Live.” She plans on hiking Teotihuacan while wearing acrylic nails sometime in the near future.
all of the lessons that nature teaches you about resiliency and inner strength. It also has this enormous potential to heal us, especially at this time in history. P: Looking at your goals for your Glamp Out fundraiser, I saw something about an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. I was wondering if you have plans set for this already and what the expedition is going to entail? R: We are going to be bringing a team of Outdoor Afro leaders to Kilimanjaro because, while our conversation and focus have been on the Americas, there's a global conversation that we need to have about community and protection for our wild places. I think we have to really expand our vision for healing and connectedness beyond our borders. P: Okay…now I have a question that's kind of out there, but are you familiar with the work of Octavia Butler? R: Yeah, yeah. I love her work. I'm really inspired by Earthseed.
P: I just read Parable of the Sower, and when I was researching Outdoor Afro, I couldn't help but to think about Lauren [the main character] and her determination to look back towards the ancestral ways of survival in nature in order to survive the apocalypse [kanyeshrug]. I think this kind of speaks to a real tension between the enjoyment of nature in ways that are spiritual and recreational, and the fact that we need to understand nature for survival. Not to be an alarmist, but do you have any plans to provide practical information about developing skill sets for survival in the outdoors? R: Yeah! I'm interested in getting some land because we need a demonstration site. I mean, I think it'd be really awesome to have a place for young people and their parents to camp and experience recreational opportunities, but I also think that it could be a place where we learn how to grow food, and how to take care of domestic animals. I grew up with a family that knew how to live off the land. They knew how to grow things, preserve things, hunt for things. I've felt a void in my
life since my parents passed away because that is no longer the case and those traditions have really kind of died off. I think absolutely all human beings—this is not just black people, this is everybody—we all need to know how we can get food if there's no grocery store. It doesn't have to be an apocalyptic event. Look at Katrina. Look at other national disasters that have shut down huge regions at a time. FEMA is not necessarily going to come for you quickly. P&R: (we both laugh) R: So we really have to be thinking. We really need to get our nature swagger back so that people can live a life with more empowerment and confidence, not only if there is a disaster, but just in your day-to-day. When I am able to go and collect eggs from my chickens or pull a tomato off the vine at my house, there is a certain amount of empowerment and satisfaction in that. It definitely enhances my quality of life. P: What is your advice for people of color who have little experience but would like to take the first step towards getting outside? R: We now have networks in nearly thirty states. I really want to encourage people to seek us out as a first step because we are designed for people who are reluctant to go on experiences by themselves. Also, one of our international partners, REI, has tons of content on how-tos and basics, which we will also be doing more of in the coming year. There are a lot of resources out there, and a lot of groups to join. Outdoor Afro is one of many, many recreation outlets that people can plug into.
TRAILBLAZERS Though our National Park System turns 100 this year, we still have a ways to go to attract more diverse visitors—a 2009 survey shows 78 percent of visitors, and 80 percent of employees, were white. However, many parks have deep historical ties with people of color: Buffalo Soldiers—members of all-African-American regiments of the U.S. Army—were among the nation’s first park rangers and built the first trails in Yosemite.
IN HIGH GEAR
The Long Ride of Adeline and Augusta Van Buren To surprisingly little fanfare, the Van Buren Sisters proved that they could do what was thought to be impossible. A century later, theyâ€™re getting the parade they always deserved. BY DAKOTA KIM
Misadventures Issue 2
CREDIT Photo courtesy of Robert Van Buren
ICON by Marvdrock from The Noun Project
While Adeline and Augusta might have similarly become an inspiration for generations of women to come, somehow their story was lost.
IT WAS THE SUMMER of 1916. The suffragettes were lobbying hard for the power to vote in the Wilson-Hughes election. Montana was months from electing Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. And two tough, daring young motorcyclists, ages 26 and 32, had just strapped on their helmets, ready to depart New York City on arguably the finest model of motorcycle available at the time: the Indian Larry Power Plus. They were Adeline and Augusta Van Buren, and they were West Coast-bound. With World War I raging in Europe and the United States on the brink of joining the Allied forces, Addie and Gussie were dead set on proving to the U.S. Army that women could be motorcycle dispatch riders, racing messages from camp to camp under enemy fire. The Van Buren sisters seemed destined to decorate the annals of history; theirs is the kind of legend that film executives hunger to option, a sepiatoned story that recalls the headstrong determination of Amelia Earhart. While Adeline and Augusta might have similarly become an inspiration for generations of women to come, somehow their story was lost, buried far from the spotlight for a century. ON A STEAMY SUMMER day in Massachusetts, fifty women gather at the Springfield Museums
AND TROUSERS FOR ALL Over the course of their ride, Addie and Gussie were arrested several times—not for trespassing or speeding—for wearing men’s clothes.
where what’s left of the Indian Larry Power Plus Motorcycle Plant is laid out in a chrome-polished exhibit. Row after row of antique bikes sit on display, gleaming under lights. Even with the crowd, it’s oddly quiet—you expect to hear at any moment the rung-gungun of someone opening up the throttle. While many are ogling the machines, there’s a crowd gathered around a small collection of family photos down the hall. The pictures show two women in long leather jackets, calf-high boots, and riding caps. Adeline and Augusta Van Buren are looking right into the
then anything can be done.” Among the many riders commemorating the Van Burens’ achievement is their great-great-grandniece, Sarah Van Buren. She is the spitting image of Augusta, and has learned to ride a motorcycle just for this event. In the great hall of the Springfield Museums, Van Buren looks up from the podium and gives a speech that brings many in the audience to tears. “I wanted to thank all the badass ladies who have come before us and are in this room and who will come after us,” Van Buren says, clad in a leather jacket like the ones her
Among the many riders commemorating the Van Burens’ achievement is their greatgreat-grandniece, Sarah Van Buren. She learned to ride a motorcycle just for this event.
camera, their faces shining. “We’re here to celebrate the momentous trip the Van Burens made,” says Diane Ortiz, who owns a motorcycle school on Long Island. “They did it in a man’s world, where women were expected to stay home and have children and that’s it—not to have a career or have a voice.” Ortiz coordinated the event that brought everyone here: the Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride, a commemorative journey where the Van Burens’ descendants—spiritual and literal—will retrace their route across the country. Vivian Gerstetter traveled from Palatine, Illinois to join the ride. After examining the grainy photos of Adeline and Augusta, she says, “If they did this on dirt roads with no help,
CREDIT Photo by Molly Stitchfield
forebears are wearing in their photographs. “In Mad Max: Fury Road, there is a scene where motorcycle riders surround the main characters to protect them, and then they take off their helmets and they’re all old women.” Her voice shakes. “Something about that scene made me think of Augusta and Adeline. People want to erase the past. We are the keepers of history and we pass that on.” THE NEXT DAY IS July 6, the beginning of the long cross-country journey. The formations have been carefully practiced: as the group pulls out of the parking lot of the La Quinta Hotel in Springfield, the ride order is clear and the exit calm, but there’s an electricity in the air.
“I’ve been doing the parades for ten years with Dykes on Bikes,” says Durga Krummer, who heard about the ride through that group. “It’s that same exhilarating feeling of power and awesomeness, us all turning on our engines and going together.” According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, female motorcyclists more than doubled in the decade between 2003 and 2014. Today, 14 percent of all American motorcycle owners are women; and of the 30 million Americans who rode a motorcycle once in 2014, 25 percent were women. “I’ve seen a tremendous increase in women compared to just six years ago,” Ortiz says, describing enrollment in her motorcycle school. “Now 30 percent of our new riders are women, as opposed to 10 to 15 percent. I’m also seeing more
Misadventures Issue 2
PHOTOS by Molly Stitchfield
women of different ages.” The motorcycle industry is responding to this growth, by developing more gear and more bikes aimed at female motorcyclists. Women riders are filling the gap too, by launching their own gear, training, and touring companies. Among the Sisters Centennial riders, in fact, are the founders of clothing company Gear Chic and Women’s Motorcycle Tours, Joann Dunn and Alisa Clickenger. Online, women motorcyclists blog about everything from seat height for petite riders to how to get started in motorcycle maintenance. Still, in many ways, the world has been slow to catch up. “It's a hundred years since the Van Buren sisters went on that ride, and a lot has changed,” Diane Ortiz remarks. “But a lot hasn’t changed. Here we are 100 years later and we’re still trying to
get publicity.” Though the Centennial Ride celebrates a historic breakthrough, includes top racer Erin Sills—2014 AMA Female Racer of the Year, 12-time Land Speed World and National Record Holder, and two-time Guinness World Record Holder—and will result in a record-breaking ride by Sarah Moreau, there is a dearth of local or national press. But nothing can dampen the Centennial Riders’ spirits. When the going gets tough along hot, dusty stretches of the Midwest, the riders look to motorcycling veterans like pro racer Erin Sills and Holly Ralph, the vice president of the Canadian Motorcycle Association. At 71 years old, Ralph is the most senior Sisters Centennial participant. Ralph, a retired schoolteacher, has fought osteoporosis and celiac disease to ride all over
FOR BESSIE Sarah Morreau is riding an Indian motorcycle in honor of Bessie Stringfield, who completed eight cross-country round-trips in the 1930s and 40s and was the first African-American woman to complete the trip solo. When Stringfield was denied lodging due to her skin color, she would sleep on her motorcycle in filling stations.
ICON by Edward Boatman from The Noun Project
IN HIGH GEAR
“If they did this on dirt roads with no help, then anything can be done.”
Photos from the Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride, a commemorative journey where the Van Burens’ descendants—spiritual and literal—retraced their route across the country in 2016. L-R: Diane Ortiz, Lisa Jackson, Terri Mallory, and Adeline and Augusta Van Buren.
the world, including solo trips in Antarctica, Iceland, Holland, and Portugal. A 14-year-old rider, Sonya Quillen, from Alameda, California, confides that the riders want to make a shirt that says, “If Holly can do it, I can.” Sonya recalls: “She was in our motorcycling class one day, and the way she was hurting, you could tell, but she doesn’t give up. She’s unstoppable, and I told her I want to be like her when I grow up.”
ICON by Ben Biondo from The Noun Project
THE JOURNEY LASTS THREE weeks. Some riders start in New York, as the Van Buren sisters did; 50 depart from Springfield; and more than 200 others join up along the route, which follows portions of the Van Burens’ journey— though in truth, much of the sisters’ 1916 ride is shrouded in mystery. “They
PHOTO of Adeline and Augusta Van Buren: courtesy of Robert Van Buren
didn’t keep a journal, or it was long ago lost,” explains Bill Murphy, author of Grace and Grit: Motorcycle Dispatches from Early Twentieth Century Women Adventurers. The main sources of documentation are local newspapers from towns the sisters passed through and telegraphs that they sent home to New York from major cities along the way. For the great majority of their trip, the sisters were totally alone, depending on their own mechanical skills, emotional toughness and each other—for everything. This camaraderie is true of the present-day riders as well, who have been divided into four to six groups, each helmed by an experienced ride lead like Clickenger, Moreau, Ortiz and Sills. Sills (who, apart from being a motorcycle champion, is also an off-road motorcycle coach and tour guide) offers
EXCUSE ME, KINDLY PROSPECTOR According to an article in Ms. Magazine, the Van Buren sisters got extremely lost in the desert hundreds of miles from the nearest town—Salt Lake City—and ran out of water. Things were beginning to look grim when they crossed paths with a lone prospector who came to their aid.
advice during rainy patches. “Some folks had never ridden in rain before,” Sills explains. “I told them to essentially slow everything down and de-intensify things. If you do fourth gear normally, do third gear. Or add 50 percent to your braking distance, but don’t be so nervous.” There is a stop scheduled in Columbus, Ohio, to view the Van Buren exhibit at the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame. From there, the riders head due west across Indiana and Illinois to visit the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. As they traverse the nation, the community spirit continues to grow, sometimes beyond the Centennial riders themselves: all along the journey, local towns and motorcycle clubs turn out in droves to welcome them. In Marion, Iowa, the riders are feted with an ice
As they traverse the nation, the community spirit continues to grow, beyond the Centennial riders themselves: all along the journey, local towns and motorcycle clubs turn out to welcome them.
Misadventures Issue 2
cream social. That evening, when they ride on to Cedar Rapids, local women’s bike club The Chrome Divas throws them a dinner party. The riders roar straight across Iowa, on to Omaha and into Colorado Springs, where, escorted by Denver women’s motorcycle club The Scarlet Headers, they elatedly ascend the daunting hairpins of Pike’s Peak. The next day, the group is hosted at a barbecue by the Mountain Shadow Riders, the Colorado chapter of Women on Wheels. Of going cross-country, the riders emphasize how different the experience is on a motorcycle. “Unlike in a car where all you're smelling is the car, out here, you're smelling skunk, porcupine, pine trees, hearing all the sounds,” Ortiz says. “It's almost overwhelming how we use all our senses to enjoy the experience.” AS INSPIRING AS THE cross-country expedition can be, the journey is not without its difficulties. Back in 1916, Addie and Gussie faced storms, mudslides, landslides, rain and bitter cold, even getting lost in the Great American Desert with no gas and no water in 100-degree temperatures. At Colorado’s infamous Pike’s Peak, they struggled to make it to the top on unpaved roads, before successfully conquering all 14,114 feet to become the first women on any kind of motor vehicle to reach the top. One hundred years later, while descending down the
Million Dollar Highway in the Colorado Rockies, their great-great-grandniece is, at first, petrified. “There were lots of hairpin turns on mountain cliffs, and I was really scared to do it, but it ended up being great,” Sarah Van Buren confesses. “I actually cried at one point because we came around these turns, and there was this sweeping view of Rockies in front of me. I was crying because I was happy to be alive. I was aware of life as a gift, in a profound way that I don’t know I’ve ever felt.” “It’s not just about the physical skill, but also the mental stuff,” she adds. The Centennial riders continue from Colorado on to Utah and Nevada, where they face the long, hot stretches of the Lincoln Highway, also known as America’s Loneliest Highway. During these long silences, many of the riders recount later that they thought back to personal difficulties, from illness to loss; some dedicated the ride to these recently-lost friends or family members. Marjorie White, a tough rider reared by a dirt and enduro-riding motorcycling family on a farm in Maryland, uses motorcycling to talk about mental health. Her family has been marked by tragedy: in 1974, her father committed suicide, and in 1977, her younger brother did too. Her son Tom was killed in 2012 while riding his motorcycle, hit by a pickup truck. It was then that White decided to buy a street bike and undertake an empowering solo
cross-country ride to heal herself and raise donations for the National Association of Mental Illness. She writes about her experiences in mental health, family, and motorcycling on a blog called Tom’s Mom’s Ride. Her bike, Stormy, bears a license plate that reads “TOMMOM.” Tom’s death brought her back together with her childhood best friend, a rider known as Niner. When they heard about the Sisters Centennial Ride, they decided to register together. The victorious finish of the ride turns out
THE 99S Despite completing the cross-country ride, the U.S. Army rejected their applications to become dispatch riders. Instead, Adeline went to law school at New York University and had an illustrious career as an educator, organizer, and lawyer. Augusta became a pilot and was an active member of the Ninety-Nines, an organization for women in aviation co-founded by Amelia Earhart.
ICON by Ivan Colic from The Noun Project
IN HIGH GEAR
ICON by Simon Child from The Noun Project
feel his spirit coming with me and riding with me.” Emmalisa Jackson, a rider with the New Jersey Road Sisters, found new life in motorcycling after her divorce. “I got divorced and all this time there were so many things that frightened me,” Jackson says. “I was scared all the time, and then I started doing things like paragliding and roller coasters. Every time I get on the bike, I'm terrified, but I'm now at the point where I’m terrified but do it anyway. Every time it's a huge personal accomplishment.” Jackson adds: “I'm a completely different person now. I don't ask for permission and I don't need permission. If I screw up, it’s my screw-up. I felt like I missed out on so much before when I was scared.”
On top of celebrating the Van Buren sisters, the Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride also donated its proceeds to the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists (WCM2020.ORG), which offers scholarships to motorcycle trainers of female riders, and to Final Salute (FINALSALUTEINC. ORG), which seeks to find housing for the over 500,000 homeless female veterans in the United States — both causes the sisters surely would have approved of.
to be July 23, Tom’s birthday. Afterwards, White rides off to Joshua Tree to plant her son’s ashes there in a flowerpot, where they will bloom. “Motorcycling has healed me,” White says. Niner, meanwhile, seeks solace of her own on the ride. She spent 33 years in the military, with three deployments, the last of which was in Kandahar, the second-largest city in southern Afghanistan, where she repaired downed helicopters. “I wrote down every day a body that came through Kandahar,” Niner says. “I
wrote down 167 bodies.” Ride leader Erin Sills also rides as a triumph against personal tragedy. Her husband, Andy Sills, died in a motorcycle accident last year. Not only did the tragic accident not deter her from continuing to ride, but it inspired Sills, whose helmet is emblazoned “Ride Like Andy,” to excel and to help others. “On the ride, there were times when Andy was full and bright with me—on the Golden Gate Bridge, and on Pike’s Peak. When we were in middle of nowhere and people needed help, I could just
RIDE ON “I grew up in a long line of feminists, male and female, so I understand and appreciate what people and women before me have given up so I can do what I do,” said ride leader Erin Sills. “I couldn’t be happier that charities like the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists and Final Salute are continuing to wave that flag.”
ON JULY 23, 21 days after their launch and one hundred years after the Van Buren sisters, the cross-country riders triumphantly land in San Francisco. In 1916, the Van Buren sisters were promised a jubilant welcome by the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, the second oldest motorcycle club in the world. Mysteriously, when they arrived, the San Franciscan riders declined to appear. Finding no welcome wagon, the sisters declared it a “po-dunk town” and thundered off for Los Angeles, where they mingled glamorously with Hollywood stars, and then continued all the way down to Tijuana. In 2016, on the other hand, as the Centennial
IN HIGH GEAR
Women are motorcycling for themselves, regardless of the worries or wishes of friends and family.
riders roar over the foggy Golden Gate Bridge, they are met with welcoming cheers from the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, which issues a formal apology for the 1916 faux pas. The SFMC then lead them on a guided outlaw tour of San Francisco, and throw a rousing party for 150 people at their Folsom Street clubhouse. At the celebration, Sarah Van Buren shares a triumphant story from the final day. As her group was coasting over the Golden Gate Bridge, a truck swerved suddenly in front of Holly Ralph; she was forced to adapt without using her brake, due to her foot injury and osteoporosis. “She had to do this insane maneuver with her bike, and she swerved way out while
on the highway going 70 miles per hour,” Van Buren gushes. Ralph, of course, shrugs modestly. “I've ridden long enough that it was sort of normal for me,” she explains. “I watch my mirrors constantly so I knew the swerve was the safer option. I've ridden long enough to have experienced lots of poor car driving and I'm an extremely defensive rider—obviously, since I've survived 50 years of riding! When I first started things like that were much scarier, but they’ve never stopped me from wanting to ride.” One hundred years ago, Augusta Van Buren told a reporter that “Woman can, if she will.” That holds true today: women are motorcycling for themselves, regardless of the worries or wishes of friends and family.
“Even though spouses, husbands, families are saying, ‘Oh no, this is dangerous; why are you doing this,’” Ortiz says, “women are saying yes, I can do this; yes, I want to do this.” Susan Smith, who is Chief Operations Officer of Habitat for Humanity Canada and rides despite her family’s worries, chimes in. She says that motorcycling has taught her self-discovery. “Riding is a complete, total sense of freedom—you never thought you would feel that in your life. You’re out there having hot flashes and you say, who cares! On my bike, I learned that I had a part of me that I didn’t even know existed before I started motorcycling. It’s a part of me that is so adventurous. ”
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Misadventures Issue 12
SHE CALLS HERSELF
THE SHOT DIVA
After taking home the gold in the Summer Olympics, Michelle Carter cheers on others. BY SARAH CONNETTE
CREDIT Photo courtesy of Michelle Carter
TAKE YOUR SHOT
WHO CAN HURL THIS rock the furthest? Surely our earliest ancestors asked themselves this question. Early competitions helped identify the strongest men for battle, and from those days, the game has evolved. Rules hammered out, equipment tested and modified, techniques refined. The sport became an Olympic event in 1896; women were only allowed to take part in 1948. Michelle Carter is the latest warrior to take the field, showing the world not just incredible strength, but also deeprooted poise and character, all of which change lives beyond the field of play. Her epic gold medal performance at the Rio 2016 Summer Games made her the first American woman to win gold in shot put. These latest laurels top an extensive list of accolades: six-time national champion, medalist at World Youth Championships and World Junior Championships, Collegiate National Champion, holder of current National High School Record, member of three Olympic teams. The “Shot Diva” is more than just warrior; she reminds us that to be a true champion is to champion others in their battles, too. She is a champion, an advocate, a supporter, for young girls, children with dyslexia, and other female throwers. “Mentor. Athlete. Motivational Speaker. All Diva.” This tagline introduces Carter on her website, ShotDiva.com. “For me when you think of a diva, you think of someone who is well put-together and has their stuff together. So for me, when I walk into a place, I'm put-together, I'm poised, I'm ready for whatever comes my way. And a diva is always ready for whatever comes her way.”
Misadventures Issue 12
Yet Carter’s greatest struggle proves to be not against her competitors. “The struggle is more about me against myself. Because I believe that no one can tell me that I’m not beautiful. No one can tell me that I can’t do it. The only person that can tell me that I can’t is myself. The only person that can stop me is me. And so for me, I have to fight against those negative thoughts, or those things that creep up in your mind to tell you that you can't do it. I know that I can do anything that I set my mind to.” Carter developed this steely determination in part from her experience growing up with ADHD and dyslexia. Carter worked hard to graduate from The University of Texas with a degree in Youth and Community Studies with a minor in Kinesiology. Carter works as an advocate for kids with ADHD and dyslexia, inspiring parents along the way. “I think it gives them hope that, you know, there’s nothing wrong with their child—they just learn differently. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it. They can do it, you just have to do things differently and set them up to do it…I just encourage parents to really stick with your kids and work with them and see them through to the other side, because that helps build their confidence in who they are as a person. And they're not gonna be like, ‘Man I wish I was smarter,’ because they are smart. You just have to sometimes figure it out a little differently.” Carter sees her role as an advocate to include mentoring younger female athletes, as well. She has created a sports confidence camp called You Throw Girl. “When I made my first team, there were a couple of throwers that definitely took
HEAVY LIFTING Women competitors throw a shot that is 4 kg (8.8 lbs). Athletes rest the shot close to the neck, and it must be released above the shoulder using only one hand. For the throw to count, the shot must land within the legal throwing area (a 34.92 degree arc) and the athlete must not step outside of the circle in completing the throw. It’s harder than it sounds.
ICON by Gan Khoon Lay from The Noun Project
AT A GLANCE, SHOT PUT IS ABOUT SHEER POWER. ROARS, YELLS, AND GRUNTS PROPEL THROWERS AS THEY HEAVE CHUNKS OF METAL ACROSS THE EARTH.
me under their wing and were like, “Hey, make sure you do xy and z, this is how this works, this is how this goes. And it definitely gave me more confidence being out here and doing what I do. So if that helps me, then I know I can help somebody else through the same thing.” The camp began as a way to extend this support. “My motivation for the camp is definitely to pass on the information that I've learned to younger female athletes— knowing that, ‘Hey, this is something you can do, and you can be great at it. It's okay, you don't have to compromise who you are as a female to be great in this sport.’ As she told The New Yorker in August 2016, “I think now, it’s like, ‘You know what? We’re girls and we can throw heavy balls and be in the dirt and we look good while we’re doing it.” Carter happens to like “all things glitz and glamor…the hair and the make-up and the fashion.” Her interest grew after her first Olympics. “When I was on my first Olympic team in 2008, I was doing some of my teammates' make-up, and one of them mentioned to me, ‘Hey, you should definitely look into doing this as something you do on the side.’” Carter agreed, and after the Games, she came home, looked online for some make-up classes, got a kit together, and “went out there and did make-up.” Carter is now a certified professional make-up artist. Through all her work, Carter has challenged the belief that there’s one way of learning, one way of being, one right body type. In her interview with The New Yorker, Carter speaks to her understanding of identity and physicality: “You have to understand, everyone’s body was built to do something,” Carter said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.” Carter elaborated on this further in our conversation. “I mean, I’m a larger girl, and you don’t see my picture everywhere. But in the last few years, there’s been more acceptance of what the average size in America is. The average size in America is between a 10, 12, and a 14. So if we're always promoting the model size or only
having a really small size available, that's hard to maintain for some people. Some people are just made to be thicker than others. It'd be boring if we all looked and weighed the same. But the fact that we have different shapes—some people are bigger, some people are taller, some people are shorter—it makes the world as beautiful as it is. And if we can see that in the images we watch on TV every day, in the pictures and magazines that we read, I think it will give people a chance to really assess who they are, and whatever they have that makes them them, that they accept all of them, and it makes them feel better about themselves.” Carter is proud to be part of the trend of increasing coverage and support for women shot putters, though she sees differences in the amount of exposure given to men’s and women’s shot put. “I think the men do get more exposure than the
“YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, EVERYONE’S BODY WAS BUILT TO DO SOMETHING.” women do…. And they really look at my event as a very manly thing—to go throw this heavy ball in some dirt as far as you can. And so sometimes I do feel that we kind of get pushed to the side. But we have made some great advances in our sport as far as equality with some of these track meets where everybody gets paid the same. So it definitely gives the women shot putters a chance to make more money, even though we still make less money in general. But we're able to make more money than we've ever made in the sport before.” Decades of tough work and training went into this opportunity to become one
TAKE YOUR SHOT
of the world’s best on the biggest stage. Since Carter was invited to try out for the track team in high school, her dad, Michael, who won a silver medal in shot put in the 1984 Olympics, has helped her develop her technique. For Carter, her goal is to keep it simple. “I definitely don’t like to complicate it because for me, I over-think it really easily. So I try to keep it simple, stick to the basics of my technique, getting my technique as smooth as possible, and I go from there.” The regimen of an Olympic athlete is both intense and relentless. Gerunds abound. Throwing, lifting, cross-training, eating, throwing, icing, resting. “It’s a struggle some days, like, ‘Hey, you know what, you may not feel like it today,’ but at the end of the day, I have what I need to be successful. I just have to make sure I make the right choices and I make sure I set myself to do the right thing at all times and make sure that I'm moving forward with everything that I’m doing.” For Carter, preparing for elite competitions evokes the image of renovating a house. “As long as I’ve been throwing, I’ve had a foundation. And sometimes I may want to knock a wall out and expand something here or do something different there. I don’t have to change the whole house—it’s just some pieces and things I may want to update or change or get rid of all together.” Carter had her house in order for the Rio Games. Before taking the field for her final attempt, Carter said a quick prayer, “Lord, help me give it my all. This is my last throw. I believe I can win. I’m just gonna go for it.” Those of us watching were spellbound as Carter approached the circle, shot held aloft in the palm of her right hand. She toed the circle, found her spot, and lifted her right arm to the sky while tucking the shot against her neck. A brief moment of settling, preparing, focusing, balancing on her right leg, toeing the ground with her left. Then a mighty and graceful skip backwards, a spin, the hurl. It happened in the blink of an eye. The shot soared like a cannonball and landed with a thud well beyond the 20 meter mark, and the announcer
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YOU DON'T HAVE TO COMPROMISE WHO YOU ARE AS A FEMALE TO BE GREAT IN THIS SPORT. gasped while murmurs rippled through the crowd. The slow motion replay allows for more sustained awe: eyes to the sky, Carter spins with what appears to be unwavering confidence that the shot will fly from her palm and land in a position worthy of gold. A glance at the score. A double fist pump. Yes. Carter knew she had a good throw, but she also knew two-time Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams of New Zealand had one more throw left. Carter says, “So I didn’t want to celebrate and get too excited just then. I figured, ‘Let me just wait and see what happens and then we can see if I won or not.’” Carter reports that although competition is tough, the camaraderie between elite women throwers remains positive. “We’ve been competing against each other for many, many years, and we enjoy seeing each other do well, because I feel like it only makes each other better.” Adams’ final attempt came up short by a little over eight inches, and Carter realized she had won. “And it felt like a huge sigh of relief,” Carter says, “because I had been working so hard for many, many years, and dealing with a lot of ups and downs, and then finally to see all that hard work and dedication pay off, it was like, ‘Ok, you finally did it. It all worked out.’ And I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.” She laughed. We champion Michelle Carter—not only for her epic gold medal performance in the Rio 2016 Summer Games, but also because of the way she champions those who need someone to cheer them on in the battles they face.
IN GOOD COMPANY
How To: Be Christine Dennison’s latest installment of her column, Exploring Women. BY CHRISTINE DENNISON
When you think of an “exploring woman” what comes to mind? Is it a version of Lara Croft? A world traveler? The super-toned women on the covers of fitness magazines?
Christine Dennison is a true explorer and adventurer who leads expeditions to the most remote corners of the world and has been honored as a Fellow with the Explorers Club in New York and the Royal Geographical Society of London.
In reality, any woman of any age and demographic can be an explorer; a life filled with adventure need not mimic a James Bond or Tomb Raider film. As a Fellow in the Explorers Club, I am lucky enough to count among my friends countless women who seek out adventure wherever they go. And these extraordinary adventurers are not just Explorers Club members; exploring women are everywhere, experiencing new thrills, achieving personal goals, and meeting challenges every day. Exploring women include you, Misadventures readers. As one of my favorite writers, Charlotte Bronte, wrote in Jane Eyre: “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” But what it does take to make that action? Over the years, I have discovered that there are certain characteristics shared by
CREDIT Photo courtesy of Christine Dennison
adventurous women around the world. Take a look at my list below—and I bet you will find that some, if not all, of these traits apply to you. 1. Positive Attitude My admiration for those who are able to maintain a good attitude during the bleakest moments has no limits. In the field, the ability to remain positive has tremendous advantages. If you can keep up a positive outlook while out in the elements—when you are tired, cold, hot, hungry and exhausted—you have a better chance of success than those who give in to negativity. It is important to look beyond the discomfort at hand and focus on what’s ahead. 2. Focus and Discipline Some women are exceptionally disciplined and focused. Some are not. I fall into the latter category! I get easily distracted—but when
do not panic. Think and act rationally. Exploring women rely on training and experience to maintain calm. I recommend developing a series of personal techniques that you can put into practice each time you need to master your feelings. Don’t forget that fear can be channeled into a positive stimulant; it sends the senses racing and the mind soaring into a different realm. Regardless of how you get there, inner strength against fear is key to feeling secure. 4. Motivation This is one trait that all adventurers share, but it is perhaps the most personal. What motivates each of us is unique, and may not be easily understood by others. Some of us may be pushed by personal challenges; others by external factors, like money, the possibility of fame, the promise of being
agile and young. Curious women seek adventure and new experiences from which they can learn everyday. This ability to not just ask questions but also go looking for the answers is vital. Above all, keep your eyes peeled and your heart open. 6. Sense of Humor Mental and physical strength are achieved through training and hard work. A sense of humor, however, is not something you can work out at the gym (though the gym can be funny) or learn from a book. When we are in extreme conditions, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature—elements beyond our control. This is the time when a sense of humor will make or break a trip. Contrary to what some believe, it is not stamina, strength training, or logic that give us an edge; it’s our sense of humor! The ability to see the irony of a difficult
Exploring women include you. I am out in the field I make a point of being 100% present. In my experience, this kind of focus can be achieved by training both the mind and the body. Time in the gym optimizes my strength and stamina, but mental visualization techniques and breathing exercises enhance my overall ability to concentrate and stay present during my more adventurous pursuits. If you’re not sure if you can get somewhere, picture yourself there. 3. Fearlessness When entering unknown territory, fear is inevitable. How we handle it is what matters. First and foremost,
able to say, “I told you so.” It can be terribly exhausting to maintain motivation on expeditions that test your mettle. What I have found, however, with each woman I meet in the field, is that there is always something at the heart of their expeditions, driving them forward, against all odds. 5. Curiosity Curiosity can be motivating, but it’s less of a reason and more of a state of mind. If knowledge is power, then curiosity is fuel. It has sent explorers to the depths of the oceans, the reaches of outer space, and everything in between; it keeps our minds
situation and recognize the need to take it in stride relieves mental and physical tension. When life hands you lemons, the choice is yours. What I have learned throughout my career is that the best explorers inspire others by sharing their stories of both success and failure. They are generous with their time and knowledge. They want the generations of women who follow them to be better, stronger, more curious. Exploring women believe that when we work as a collective we can achieve more and inspire many.
COLD AS HELL
WELCOME TO THE
GODDAMN ICE CUBE An Excerpt
The narratorial voice of Welcome To The Goddamn Ice Cube is as cold as the title suggests, and as cold as the place Blair Braverman, our guide and author, keeps coming back to. Most of the memoir takes place north of the Arctic Circle (â€œnorth of the moral circle,â€? one leering man tells her) on a small spit of land surrounded by ice, lush forests, and mountains that encircle the water like teeth.
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PHOTO by William Bossen
As a culmination of our winter training, Tallak arranged a trip to Svalbard, the barren archipelago halfway between mainland Norway and the pole, where he knew of some sled dogs we could borrow. I could hardly believe my own life. SVALBARD WAS LEGENDARY, SHARP and ethereal, that particularly arctic combination of spectacular and austere; short of an expedition to the pole, I could go no farther north, no closer to the top of the world. It was March. The sun there had not yet risen. For a few days we hung around the primary settlement, Longyearbyen, where fat reindeer shuffled down the main street. Then we rented some dogs and an armed guide, in case of polar bears, and set off into the interior. That night, atop a glacier, we made an unusual camp: a cluster of tents, with the dogs staked in a ring around us. The dogs were not in a circle so they could fight off a bear. They were in a circle so that the bear, when it reached us, would already have a full stomach. I volunteered for the first watch shift, from ten to twelve, to get it over with. My headlamp was dim. It didn’t illuminate past the first row of dogs. “How will I know if there’s a bear?” I asked the guide. “The dogs will know.”
i could go no farther north, no closer to the toP of the world.
“And then?” “Wake me up. I’ll sleep with the gun.” He stepped into the nearest tent, zipped it shut after him. All around, students in the other tents were closing down: flies zipping, lights switching off, the first snores filtering out into the night. I stomped my boots, kicked at the wind-packed snow, shook my hands to keep warm. Somewhere across camp was the other watch, but I couldn’t see her. My headlamp flickered. It was too cold for the batteries. I switched it off and waited for my eyes to adjust. There were no stars, no northern lights, but the land was too white to ever be pitch black, no matter how dark it got. Instead, the snow, the mountains, the sky— everything was gray. I stood suspended in it. Gradually I could make out the tents. The dogs were small mounds, curled in nests of snow. Somewhere nearby, I thought, is a polar bear. Polar bears eat people. Eat them. Just when I thought I’d been getting used to things. Should we worry? My mother had asked me, after I first arrived at the school. I’d assured her that she shouldn’t. I loved her dearly, but her worry felt intrusive. Now she would worry about me. Now that I was facing challenges I wanted. But I hadn’t said that. Instead, I’d made an appeal more hopeful than logical, pointing
COLD AS HELL
out the threats that were lessened here: Car crashes. Terrorism. The flu. The dangers here were different, I argued, but no worse than the dangers at home. It was simply an adjustment. I promised not to be stupid. The truth was that when it came down to it, the land here seemed kind, and that kindness seemed to be the great secret of the Arctic, at least on the mainland. All its dangers distilled into one crisp feature: cold. And what was cold but a call to the moment? Cold couldn’t creep or consume, stalk or drown. It necessitated only insulation. The things that survival demanded— covering our bodies, keeping them separate from other bodies—were things that I already wanted to do. In extreme cold, nobody thought of any body but their own. Nobody would think about mine, wrapped in its layers upon layers. Of course, there was the matter of keeping warm. But after months of winter, even cold was easily solved. To live in cold, I had only to internalize its counterintuitive rules: When my body wanted to clench, I had to force it open. Swing my arms when I wanted to pull them in. Jump when I wanted to sit. Pee when I would rather stay clothed. Change into dry long underwear even when the air bit my bare limbs. Cold was the mind’s distraction and the body’s one demand. Of course I was scared. But at least I was scared of dangers of my own choosing. At least there was joy that came with it. I walked to the edge of the ring of dogs and stared into the gray, searching for movement. I squinted into the dark. Are you safe? I’m as safe as I’ll ever be.
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What was cold but a call to the moment?
And the dogs exploded. It happened all at once. The dogs were lying curled in their mounds and then they were shrieking, growling, screaming with an energy I had never heard before. I hit the side of my headlamp and shone the beam around the circle but all I could see was the dogs’ tense bodies and the snow that swirled around them. The guide, I thought. The gun. But my limbs felt weak. I kept sweeping my light around me. Dogs, dogs. And now the guide was beside me with his rifle high, shouting something I could barely make out— Where were the dogs looking? And I realized, with horror, that they weren’t facing an approaching danger, something they’d scented on the wind. Whatever the dogs were barking at, it was already inside the circle.
PHOTO by Adam Excell
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR WE CATCH UP WITH BLAIR BRAVERMAN What drew you to dogsledding? What was the original appeal?
ICON by Emma Langston from The Noun Project
There's a little girl named Kiana who helps with the dogs sometimes, and my friend bought her a book called Kiana's Iditarod. And I realized, when I looked at it, that I'd had that book growing up. And then I'd looked up other dogsledding kids' books, and I'd had ALL of them. I think my mom bought them because she loves Alaska, and I must have internalized a sense of amazement and excitement about the whole thing—enough to move to the Arctic as a teenager and pursue mushing with no prior experience whatsoever. Which just goes to show: Be very careful what your children read. The setting of this story is a desolate, foreign one. Do you think we need to be alone to be truly challenged? Do writers need to be “outsiders” in order to better see their surroundings?
I don't think writers need to be outsiders, but I think they need to be alert to the ways that assumptions don't line up with reality,
PHOTO by Christina Bodznick
and it's easier to see that when you're an outsider. Also, I think that the very act of writing—zooming out to look at reality from a distance—puts a person slightly at odds with that reality. You can see that with painters, comedians, actors… a good example might be the work of a photographer, who sees and imagines the world through a lens.
myself to handle situations as they came. Writers are notorious for trying to think ahead, because we're all control freaks, but that anxiety is the very thing that stops so many of us from writing. I try to treat my writing as a dogsled run. All I need to do is get around the next corner, finish this paragraph. I'll deal with the next one later.
Did you write this story from beginning to end?
I wrote all the important scenes and then fit them together using as little filler as possible. In the end, the book ended up structured around two parallel chronologies, switching between them every chapter or so. You learned a lot of skills up north—survival skills, linguistic skills, people skills, sledding skills—what were some of the most lasting lessons and what skills have helped you most with your writing?
Letting go of predictability. Dogsledding is all about problem-solving, because so many things can go “wrong”: your dogs get tangled, the weather changes, you get trampled by a moose, etc. I began to trust myself as a musher when I stopped trying to prepare for all possible disasters, and instead trusted
What has been your most rewarding moment as a writer?
When I've heard from readers that they want to know what happened next in Mortenhals (the village where much of Ice Cube takes place)! That was a big goal: to make the place and people I loved as real to readers as they are to me. To capture their complicated, colorful lives—ones that continue long after the book ends. What are you working on now?
I'm raising nine puppies who I hope will join me in the Iditarod! I'm also finishing up my book tour and training the adult dogs for this next season. I'm happy to be getting away from the page for a little while. But I also know that I'll be back before long.
HUNGRY FOR MORE? Visit misadventuresmag.com for our full review of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube—and then hit the bookstore to buy your own copy!
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
WINTER GIFT GUIDE Take a page out of winterâ€™s book: go monochrome. 50
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STYLIST Mia Flanagan
PHOTOGRAPHER Alejandro Poveda
MODEL Diane Chiu @ Muse NYC
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Pitch Black 1
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The Look Westcomb Copa Jacket with the most breathable, waterproof Polartec NeoShell fabric $499
Avalanche Jewel Hoody Jacket $90
Chaco Fields Boots $190
1 Flowfold Optimist 10L Mini Backpack $75 2 Lumos Helmet $179
3 Patagonia W’s R3 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit $469
4 GSI Outdoors 10” Hard Anodized Dutch Oven $69.95 5 Baro The Northlands $299.95 6
6 Topo Designs Women’s Mountain Shirt - Plaid Flannel $129 13
7 Topo Designs X Woolrich Klettersack $249 8 FuelBelt Helium Sprint Palm Holder $14.95 9 Rumpl Jercollins Super Fleece Blanket $149 and Pillow Sham $19
10 Topo Designs X Woolrich Dopp Kit $49 11 Fellow Stagg PourOver Kettle $79
12 Ramblerose Phoenix Bolo $32 13 Topo Designs Puffer Vest $149 15
14 Petzl e+LITE $29.95 16
15 Parks Project Yosemite Valley View Fleece Sweatshirt $60 17
16 Duckworth Knit Watchman Hat $38 17 Buff UV Headband $15
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
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The Look Toad&Co Boxcan Sherpa Overshirt $139
The Gear 1 Hella Slingshots Neon Yellow Slingshot $34 2 Hella Slingshots Felt Ball Slingshot Ammo $5 3 Duckworth Woolcloud Vest $200 4 Sea to Summit X-Pot / Kettle $44.95
5 Seea Gaviotas Surf Suit in Black Stripe $160 6 Mokuyobi Juliette Purse in Platform Architect $60
7 Parks Project Wild Parks Coloring Book $16
8 Toast Wood MacBook Cover $59 15
9 Alite 3-Legged Mayfly Chair $99.99 10 Flowfold Minimalist Card Holder Wallet $10 11 Alite Bucket Cooler $59.99 12 Chamois Buttâ€™r GoStik $14.99 13 Topo Designs Heavyweight Pocket Tee $45
14 Mokuyobi Fanny Pack in Yellow $42 15 Cotopaxi Bengal Waxed Canvas Jacket $199.95
16 Ortlieb Compact-Shot 17 Fits Socks $19.99 16
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Cloudy Disposition 1
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The Look Cayton Jacket Quarry Grey Marl $100 13 5
Woolrich X Westerlind Wool Poncho $250
The Gear 1 Topo Designs X Woolrich Klettersack $249 2 Ortlieb Back-Roller Urban Panniers $120 (single) 9
3 Duckworth Woolcloud Vest $200
4 Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor $199.95 5 Tait Design Co. Perpetual Calendar $55 6 Topo Designs X Chaco Rover Pack $159
7 Kelty Sine $239.95-$299.95
8 Petzl GRIGRI+ $149.95 15
9 Color Cord Company Industrial Light Bulb Cage $12 10 Seea Swami's Playsuit in Maidu $150 11 LifeStraw Go with 2-Stage Filtration $49.95 19
12 Color Cord Company Porcelain Plug-In Pendant Light $35
13 Duckworth Woolcloud Snap Shirt $275 14 Kassia 2mm Neo-Sport Bikini Top ($80) and HighWaisted Bottom ($80) 10 11
15 GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 8 fl. oz. Hip Flask $34.95 16 All Good Deodorant $8.99 17 Lander Cascade Powerbank $49.99
18 Flowfold Zip Porter - 16L Zipper Tote Bag $78 19 GSI Outdoors 1 Cup Stainless Mini Expresso $39.95
20 Seea Nazare Bodysuit in Ash $150 21 Claritas Kit $29
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Follow the Sun 1
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Mia Flanagan, stylist extraordinaire, is the brains behind Manners, an online shop of vintage and found clothing from all over the world. Check it out at shop-manners.com. Treasures abound.
The Look Cotopaxi Bengal Waxed Canvas Jacket $279.95 6
The Gear 1 Halulite Tea Kettle $24.95 2 Mokuyobi Circle Backpack in Cheese Doodle $70 3 Toad&Co Aerium Vest $189 4 Ortlieb 22L PS10 Drybag $26
5 Hella Slingshots Classic Rosewood YoYo $7
6 GSI Outdoors Javamill $29.95
7 GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Canister Stove $49.95
8 Seea Samara Bottom in Baja $60 9 Kammock Roo $99
10 Sea to Summit 1.4L X-Pot $49.95
11 GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.1L Boiler $29.95 14
12 Topo Designs Classic Duffel $129
13 Flowfold Trailmate Dog Leash $25 14 Sierra Designs High Route 1FL $299.95 15 Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra $99.95 16 Petzl GRIGRI+ $149.95
17 Toad&Co Sundowner Fleece Vest $79 18 Bureo Minnow Cruiser Skateboard $149 19 Kelty Hyphen Pack-Tote $64.95
MUSIC, BOOK, & FILM REVIEWS
EMBRACE HIBERNATION The best new music, books, and movies to get you through the shortest days (and the longest nights). A SEASONED HIBERNATOR KNOWS what to take with her into her lair. Carefully selected provisions must offer nourishment, but not at the expense of entertainment. To make surviving winter a bit more endurable for you, we put together the books, movies, and music we'd want only an arm's length away.
ANGEL OLSEN //My Woman We at first missed the unpolished, raw emotion of Half Way Home, Olsen’s 2012 album, but My Woman has filled out Olsen’s unmistakable songwriting with more complex—sometimes synthy, always tasteful— arrangements. The alternately breathy and warbly vocals are still there, as are the plunky bass and fuzzy guitars. While it
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feels like Olsen has wrapped a few more layers around herself, the moments of unguarded openness peer through and are the more striking for it. “Never Be Mine” conjures Roy Orbison, a classic tale of unrequited love that would have totally been a 70s 45 single chart-topper with cute drum fills and a 12-string guitar hook. “Shut Up Kiss Me” is the catchiest track, but rewarding moments lie in what is clearly, and nostalgically, structured as the B-side: the extended outro slow jam that is “Those Were the Days,” a Stevie Nicks dead ringer in “Sister,” the slowly unfolding “Woman” that reaches its controlled fever pitch with “And I could still breathe for you / Open up and scream for you / Tell me what I wouldn’t do / Tell me that love isn’t true.” As Olsen explains, the album addresses ““the complicated mess of being a woman…I’m definitely using scenes that I’ve replayed in my head, in the same way that I might write a script and manipulate a memory to get it to fit.” The record is a reconciliation, an embrace of lost love, an ode to reinvention, and an acknowledgment of futility: “All my life I thought I’d change.” Some favorite bands have lost something on the spare-topolished trajectory. Olsen has not only lost nothing; she comes out with something entirely new.
LUCIUS // GOOD GRIEF
Big anthem-y choruses, earworm hooks aplenty, impeccable harmonies, and danceable 80s beats round out an overpoweringly impressive album.
SOLANGE //A Seat at the Table
IDLE BLOOM//Some Paranoia
A stunning, self-possessed, expansive, and cohesive album, A Seat at the Table is an ode to black womanhood—full of struggle, beauty, and joy.
A lot of guitars, virtuosic drumming—this psych-pop Nashville band shreds, with ample opportunities for leaning back-to-back guitar dueling.
HIGH-NOONY Check out The Handsome Family's new album, Unseen. One Misadventurer observed that The Handsome Family are “like a band you’d hear in a Boone gas station.” For anyone who hasn’t been to western NC—this is a unique feature of the mountain town, and is much more of a compliment than it sounds.
ART-PUNK Worth a listen: Warehouse's new album, super low. A talented, young “art-punk” quintet from the fertile Northern Georgie indie scene, Warehouse forges songs that careen at breakneck speed, both delicate and raw in their momentum.
Step one: cover self with blankets. Step two: open book, turn the page. Step three: repeat indefinitely.
the tiniest detail—but the transitions are never disorienting. Erens’ dense, electric prose beckons the reader to grip its hand and hold tight until the final sentence. THE WANGS V. THE WORLD// Jade Chang
BOOK REVIEWS HOW IT WENT DOWN// Kekla Magoon An older white man shoots an unarmed black teen outside a convenience store. The teen dies. The man goes free. Sadly, this story’s premise is an all-too-familiar tale to modern American readers. But the story of how it went down, of course, is much more nuanced than that. From the vantage point of the charismatic Reverend who is planning his run for public office, to the shooter’s neighbor, to the victim’s developmentally delayed younger sister, to the local gang leader, among others, Magoon explores her fictional community’s diverse responses to this tragedy through alternating first-person narration. In telling a complex and timely tale through the eyes of a broad swath of lively
characters, she empowers the reader to use their own judgment. ELEVEN HOURS// Pamela Erens The fast-paced story of this small-but-mighty novel begins when Lore, the protagonist, checks into the maternity ward at a New York City Hospital. She is nine months pregnant, in the early stages of labor, and all alone. Lore is tended to by maternity nurse Franckline, a Haitian native who herself is several months pregnant. Erens writes in present tense, placing the reader smack in the middle of the excruciating chaos of the birthing process. The narrative zooms in and out from present to the past, from the concrete to the abstract, from Lore’s story to Franckline’s, from the big picture to
“Charles Wang was mad at America.” So begins Chang’s hilarious, fast-paced debut novel about the Wang family’s fall from fortune and the consequent hijinks that ensue. Charles Wang is mad because his cosmetics business got smashed to pieces when the recession hit full force. Wang, who immigrated from China several decades earlier, takes his wife, mother-in-law, college student son, and high school fashion-blogging daughter on an epic cross-country trip to go stay with his oldest daughter who is living in rural upstate New York. His plan? To go back to China to try and reclaim his family’s land. Chang writes from the different characters’ points of view, and their colorful personalities will have you laughing for days. PICKING COTTON// Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton Thanks largely in part to television crime dramas we are so familiar with the process of using hairs, fingerprints, and skin cells that it is easy to forget that
DNA testing is still a fairly new phenomenon. Unfortunately for Ronald Cotton, DNA testing was not available when 22-year-old college student Jennifer ThompsonCannino was raped at knifepoint in her apartment in North Carolina in 1984. Thompson-Cannino misidentified Cotton in a line-up. He was convicted and served 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Thompson-Cannino and Cotton co-author this page-turning memoir, recounting their separate beginnings, their fateful entanglement, and their astonishing consequent friendship. The story—which squarely shoulders the weighty themes of racial injustice, sexual assault, poverty, discrimination, and trauma—is ultimately a tale of redemption. NINETY-NINE STORIES OF GOD// Joy Williams This exquisitely constructed story collection confirms that Williams is one of the best short fiction writers of our time. Described by Tin House as “The Book of Common Prayer as seen through a looking glass,” these microfictions are parable-like in form, and while many of them are humorous and entertaining, they are all punctuated by a deep philosophical wisdom that raises questions in some, answers in others. Williams’ playful profundity speaks to the soul, and cuts to the bone. —SARA KAY MOONEY
MUSIC, BOOK, & FILM REVIEWS
FILM REVIEWS 13TH Directed by Ava DuVernay, this stylistically deft documentary collects its title from the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in America. There remains, however, one exception: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” DuVernay examines the debilitating effects this loophole has had on the U.S. criminal justice system and the African American community. Through news clips, infographics, statistics, and interviews with the likes of Angela Davis, Bryan Stevenson, Grover Norquist, Michelle Alexander, Newt Gingrich, 13th makes a well-informed, compelling case that the mass incarceration of African Americans is a form of modern-day slavery. This is an important film.
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HANK AND ASHA This delightful little film is a uniquely constructed depiction of love in the digital age. Andrew Pastides and Mahira Kakkar star as the title characters who develop long-distance correspondence after Asha, an Indian studying film in Prague, sends Hank, a North Carolinian filmmaker living in New York City, a video email to tell him how much she enjoyed a documentary he created. The two quickly become video pen pals and the entire film script takes place within the context of their messages between each other. As they wrestle with deciding whether or not to meet in person, Hank and Asha are also wrestling with a series of big picture questions about love and technology: what does quality time look like in the digital age? What information do we edit out when we present ourselves to someone else? Is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never met in person?
SICARIO Action-thrillers rarely have female leads. When Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan placed FBI agent Kate Macer character at the center of the story he said he was repeatedly pressured to rewrite that role to be played by a man. Lucky for Sicario, Sheridan didn’t cave. The movie draws much of its strength from having the remarkably talented Emily Blunt as its star. She harnesses a nuanced range of emotions—fear, joy, sorrow, determination—in a seemingly effortless way. Her character says yes to a new mission involving Mexican drug cartels, and several nail-biting, action-packed scenes commence as she seeks answers amidst an operation run with blurry ethics. Set against a stunning backdrop of the wild terrain of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, Sicario feels like a modern-day Western in the best possible sense.
BROOKLYN Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis, a young immigrant who leaves her mother and sister in Ireland in search of opportunity in Brooklyn in the 1950s. Eilis’s transition into life in America is rocky at first, but smooths out a bit when she develops a relationship with Tony Fiorello, a handsome young Italian plumber played by Emory Cohen. Their wholesome, tender, and sweet romance is interrupted when Eilis has to travel back to Ireland to be with her family during difficult and unexpected news. At its core, this warm and sincere film is a thought-provoking meditation on how we define home, where we find our identity, and how we cope with change. The acting is superb and the shots and scenery are gorgeous. —SARA KAY MOONEY
© 2016 Mountain Khakis Photo: Drew Stoecklein. All rights reserved.
63 Watch our behind the scenes VIDEO: Download the Layar app, grab a cold one and enjoy
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Misadventures Issue 2
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WISH YOU WERE HERE Cut these out and send them off.* ILLUSTRATED BY JULIENNE ALEXANDER
NOTE Particularly potent on New Yearâ€™s.
Winter 2016/17. The How To (Survive) Issue.