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Stay Wild



Adventure Festival

FIELD TRIPS // WORK SHOPS // TRADE SHOW // PARTY AUGUST 26-28, 2016 / WORLD FORESTRY CENTER PORTLAND, OREGON isn’t just the home of our magazine’s studio, it’s the end of the historic Oregon Trail. Pioneers of all kinds have come to Portland looking for adventure and they’re still coming. Our adventure festival needs to happen here because this is where people are looking for it. The EXPO base camp will happen ten minutes west of downtown. We’ll be up in the forest overlooking the city at the lush outdoor campus and cluster of grand halls at the World Forestry Center, Portland, Oregon.



Unlike other trade shows this one will be free and open to the public. With a wooden-yurt-lodge styled hall for large exhibitors and a big outdoor plaza with a Makers Market for other exhibitors. Although we have a wish list of exhibitors we’d like to feature, the application process is open to anyone who wants to exhibit.

An adventure festival should facilitate adventure, so we’ll be planning a grand list of activities to do in the water, in the forest, on the trail, up the mountain, and in the city. These trips won’t just be a freaking blast they’ll also be educational.



We’ve got a classroom attached to one of the halls at the EXPO, but we won’t be trapped inside. Our workshops will be lead by experts in different fields and designed to get people outside working with their hands, learning new skills, and actually making something they can take home other than notes.

We’ve got a big old performance hall and we’re going to fill it with awesome art, live music, and good old fashioned craziness. The line up is still being worked out, but you can sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know once we’ve got some names to drop.



This magazine is all about Our Contributors

STAY WILD MAGAZINE Studio104 2127 North Albina Ave. Portland, Oregon 97227

HELLO // Aloha // Hola Website

Courtney "Coco" Ferguson, Megan Freshley, Ren Brownell, Amy Morrison, Camper Morrison, Justin “Scrappers” Morrison, Ben Giesbrecht, Mirae Campbell, Becky Goebel, John Waller, Lanakila MacNaughton, Jeff Edwards, Jason Macdonald, Zach Liptak, Brett Stern, Stephanie Buer, Eric Bruckbauer, Mattie Krall, Peter Gjovik, Ayumi Takahashi, Matt Thomas, Orion Anthony, Anne Andrews, Manny Aloha, Jianca Lazarus, Wilder Schmaltz, Bruce Greif, Renee Lusano, Lori Damiano, Jeremy Okai Davis, Natatie Yang, Anthony Georgis, Allison Ross

COver Photo

Liz Devine // @liz_devine

©2015 STAY WILD MAGAZINE LLC. Content may not be reprinted in part or in whole without written consent from the publisher.





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Ben Giesbrecht


BELIEVE everyone should experience the full potential of their home country. I pride myself on the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to explore a large portion of Canada, but there’s still a long list of remote locations I have yet to check off. When I heard that a group of my friends were planning a trip to the Northwest Territories to scour a burnt forest in search of a rare, sought-after mushroom, I couldn’t resist joining them. Vancouver to Yellowknife is around 1,500 miles—a full 24 hours of driving. About half of that is in a completely straight line through a featureless landscape. With a combination of podcasts, questionable gas station snacks, and gallons upon gallons of coffee, we made it up there no problem. Morel mushrooms are a rare fungi that grow in a short window sometime between May and June the season after a large forest fire. This season was predicted to be one of the largest of all time; with over 100 kilometers of highway-accessible burn, pickers guessed that only 5% of the mushrooms would be harvested. It was being called the modern-day gold rush. Naturally, we showed up about two weeks late expecting to be swimming in mushrooms right off the bat. Our friend Andy had already set up camp and a fully functioning buying station with a drying trailer and dozens of makeshift racks. What we learned was that it hadn’t rained in weeks and the shrooms were struggling. Our friends had spent the last few weeks building forts and frisbee golf courses and kitchens, fishing, drinking beer, and bathing in swampy water—all the things you could possibly think of doing in the middle of the wilderness for two weeks. 

Style NL-7 reflecting the Alaskan alpine // // @northernlightsoptic

After researching previous harvests, we were told to expect to walk away with $10,000 after a few weeks of intense picking. Our hopes were high, but we quickly had to make new goals. On our first day out, we picked only four pounds each, at $8 a pound. It was going to be a long month. Some of the more experienced pickers were bringing in 20-40 pounds a day, but they definitely hustled for it. It was an amazing experience to be up there during the solstice. At one point, the sun took over the sky for all 24 hours of the day. It took a bit to get used to, but I learned to love it by the end. The horse flies, mosquitos, and black flies

were something that you never really adapted to, just accepted the torment they bestowed on you. Much like the gold rush, many people flocked from around the continent and invested everything they had into the experience, only to walk out disappointed, dirty, and defeated. We even met a group from the UK who had quit their jobs in hopes of basking in mushroom glory. Overall the experience was amazing—spending time with some of my closest friends and meeting new ones under some very unique circumstances. In the end, we made enough to pay for our gas, beer, and food. To me, that’s the definition of a successful trip.



BY BECKY GOEBEL // @ACTUALLYITSAXEL THE DREAM ROLL was exactly what we pictured when we came up with the name: a dreamy, lovely weekend in the woods with 300 other women—riding, partying, and getting naked under the moon. A sisterhood was forming from the moment the ladies started rolling into the event grounds, which was a landing strip used in the ‘20s near the base of Mount Adams in lower Washington. The roar of Harleys, café racers, choppers, sport bikes, and enduros was heard from miles away, and it was a pretty awesome feeling watching their faces light up when they finally got to the Dream Roll destination. Some of these babes came from Portland and LA, while others came from New York City and even Australia.

OUTDOOR ORIGINAL Towering at 11,240 feet, Mount Hood stands as a beacon for our hometown, providing resource and recreation long before we opened our doors in 1932. We honor our past with the new Danner ® Mountain Pass — a careful balance of tradition, craftsmanship and modern comfort. Handcrafted in Portland, Ore.



The first night was a rager. The tepee was hotboxed, the girls drank almost 1,000 free tallboys, and the DJ had the time of his life as over 100 ladies danced topless to his music. There were two massive dome-tents on the event grounds—one filled with vintage furniture and hanging hammocks, and the other a medicated ice-cream vendor giving out free samples (thank you to the state of Washington!) It’s a pretty rad feeling to have “met” a lot of these women on social media and then come together in a place with zero cell phone service. Saturday morning was full of coffee and raindrops. It was pretty obvious that it was going to be a wet day, but the babes were full of positive vibes. There was a ride-out to the ranger station about seven miles away where riders chose where they wanted to explore that day. Some went on a 70-mile ride around the entire park, exploring the volcanoes and canyons surrounding the national forest. Others hit up Lower Lewis River Falls where they were spotted skinny dipping in the rain, and others checked out the ice caves not too far from the camp site. No matter what road you chose to get lost on, there were cows, cliffs, and dozens of other ladies saluting you as you cruised past. The sisterhood vibes were seriously strong that night. It was apparent that there were strong bonds made after the hurdles that were jumped because of the rain, the riding terrain, and the excitement of watching each other kill it on their bikes. Five bands played in the dome and a burn-out contest started going down in the spotlights turned on by the filmers. The days of being a woman and wild are here, and they are smiled upon. The Dream Roll has been looked at as a gathering of strong, independent women who just want to ride. Being able to bring this diverse gathering together is an honor, and I wouldn’t change the outcome of The Dream Roll 2015 for anything. Until next year, babes!


by Jeff Edwards


PEOPLE ASK ME, “HOW DO YOU AFFORD TO TRAVEL?” My standard response is, “How do you afford to do anything? You just make it a priority.” Once you find out what’s important in life, you figure out ways to do it. Last year my friends and I spent a week scouting cliff-jumping spots in Northern California. This year we picked out the best ones, crammed a van full of our gnarliest jumpers, and explored.

DAY 1: Our first stop was Rainbow Pool in the Stanislaus National Forest. It’s a popular day-use spot along the south fork of the Tuolumne River. The main jumping rock is only about 20-feet tall, so we spent the day practicing our dives and warming up for the trip.

jump to clear, lest you smack your ass on the way down. We spent all day taking it easy and laying out in the sun at the most beautiful place on the entire trip. After the grueling hike back up, we drove to the campground at Feather Falls. Halfway there we got stuck behind a herd of cows.

DAY 2: We drove to Candy Rock, down a long dirt road just north of the town of Murphys. It’s pretty well known, so we shared the area with a few carloads of locals. What the locals don’t know is that a mile downstream there’s an even better swimming hole called Blue Streak. It gets its name from the giant blue strip of granite above the falls. The cliffs are perfect and the pool is so deep you can’t even touch the bottom. We had the whole swimming hole to ourselves.

DAY 6: We hiked down to Cable Pools in the town of Paradise. It’s along the Feather River near another place the locals call White Arrow. The water was much warmer here since it runs through shallow rapids in town. We spent the day jumping the big 50-foot rock and hanging with the locals.

DAY 3: We hit up Traverse Falls north of Placerville. The falls are 40 feet tall and made of very dark lava rock. We jumped and swam for a few hours, but left to catch the sunset at Big Tit, a place that’s literally a stone’s throw from Folsom State Prison. In fact, if you swim too far up the American River, the guards will yell and open fire if you don’t turn back. We jumped the rocks while the sun set, ate pizza, and drank a crap-ton of beers. DAY 4: We drove to Wildwood Falls, directly below Lake Wildwood. The turnoff for the hike was full of trash and smelled horrible. Fishermen who catch carp in the lake dump them here, along with other garbage. We found a dead kitten and a live baby kitten hiding in the bushes. We took her down to the falls with us. Four people in our group had to head back to LA, so they took the kitten home with them. Our friends, Cam and Katie, adopted her and named her Wildwood. After that, the rest of us went to Beale Falls, named for nearby Beale Air Force Base. The hike in was a few miles through a golden field of dry grass. We got to the falls and they were even bigger than we expected. We measured the big jump at 81 feet. The whole canyon was made of the same dark rock we saw at Traverse Falls, which starkly contrasted with the golden grass covering the hills. DAY 5: We were all pretty sore from four straight days of hiking/camping/cliff jumping/hangovers, so when we hiked in to Seven Falls we realized we were gonna hate the hike out. Seven Falls lies along the Feather River northeast of Lake Oroville. It’s a 2,000-foot descent along a mile-long “trail” (more of a deer path). When we got to the water, we stripped down and swam in a pool that’s about 100 feet wide and 20 feet deep beneath a 40-foot waterfall. The waterfall has a 45-degree angle slant and takes a running

DAY 7: It was a big day we’d all been waiting for. Last year we tried getting to Jolly Boy’s Mine, but our friend’s Volvo couldn’t make it. This year we got ahold of lifted 4x4 trucks for the ride. It was a rugged three miles of unrelenting off-roading; our rectums were pretty sore. Once we got to Jolly Boy’s, our faces lit up. We stood atop a picture-perfect swimming hole with a million spots to jump, all differing heights. Above the falls was a giant crane that a mining company used to pull out huge chunks of granite. Because of this mining operation, the swimming hole was 40-plus-feet deep—basically heaven on earth. We measured the top of the crane at 79 feet. Only problem was when you jumped from the crane it swung back. But that didn’t stop us. We hooked up some aircraft cable with a handle to the end of the crane and made a giant rope swing with a 40-foot drop. It was our playground and we had it all to ourselves. It was nice knowing that we were the first people to flip off the top of that crane—shouldn’t that make us like heroes or something? Afterward we camped at Grouse Ridge. We camped here last year and promised to come back, because it’s by far the most gorgeous campground in the area. DAY 8: We woke up and spent some time being lazy, making breakfast at a very slow pace. Then we hiked down to a set of alpine lakes we saw from the overlook. We stopped at one called Island Lake that had the best cliffs to jump. All of us left our gear on the cliffs and swam to the island in the middle of the lake. We blasted some Sabbath, blazed a few doobers, and spent the whole day getting naked and doing dumb shit. Afterward we hiked up to the lookout tower for the sunset. I have seen many sunsets in my days on this planet, but the one at Grouse Ridge is in my top three. A couple of astronomy weirdos had a giant telescope that we looked through and saw the craters on the moon. There was a thunderstorm in the distance above Reno, but it never hit us. We stayed dry all night—lucky, because most of us were sleeping in hammocks.

This adventure was made with help by


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LAST DAY: We went to Emerald Pools along the Yuba River. A group of slackline nerds set up a giant hammock dead center above the pool, which made it a huge pain in the ass to shoot photos and video of the place, but we managed. The big jump here is called Goliath at 69 feet. Of course we destroyed it. When you hike into Emerald Pools, there are memorials to people who have died here. They all died the same way: drowning behind the falls. The rush of the waterfall creates a whirlpool behind it and people get sucked in, panic, and drown. Even as I type this, someone sent me an article about a guy who drowned there yesterday. If you go to this spot, please don’t jump near the falls. Steer clear. We left the swimming hole around 3 pm so we could get back to LA at a decent hour. One of the van’s tires was flat, but we had a full-size spare. On the way home, we passed through a giant thunderstorm north of Bakersfield. Visibility was about 10 feet, so passing big-rigs in the van was kinda tough. I saw a giant thunderbolt hit an oak tree right off the side of the highway, which reminded me of a Hermann Hesse quote:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.


When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.”


by Brett Stern Medicine Bow National Forest, near Cheyenne Wyoming I WAS WALKING THROUGH THE DENSE TREE PACK, looking down and being careful not to trip over a fallen tree or rock, when I noticed bird droppings in front of me. I stopped to look up. About 50 feet above me in an old spruce was a large nest, almost three feet in diameter. A golden eagle was peering down in silence, watching as I moved through its domain. I continued on, but not before the bird let loose with a warning cry announcing my presence for the whole forest to hear. I was traveling from the metropolis of Manhattan to the back roads of Wyoming, where I was participating in a volunteer project for the U.S. Forest Service’s Passport in Time program. My journey had started when I flew into Cheyenne a day early to see my first real rodeo at Frontier Days. I rented an SUV, loaded up provisions for ten days in the woods, and drove to Medicine Bow National Forest. This was a place where Native American tribes once fashioned hunting bows from mountain mahogany trees. It was also a place for friendly tribes to gather, perform ceremonies, and cure diseases—hence the term “making medicine.” The federal government eventually forced these tribes north, taking over their lands for animal grazing, mineral exploration, and population expansion. In the 1870s, the Union Pacific Railroad ventured out past Cheyenne, Laramie, Centennial, and Encampment, which opened the doors to huge tracts of land. Because of the terrain, which varied from

valley pastures to mountainous topography, it became a natural locale for cattle and sheep grazing. It was perfect for the growing wool industry, and immigrants from Western Europe—specifically shepherds from the Basque region—adapted well to the land and climate as sheepherders. They spent long periods of time alone with their flock, looking for ways to pass the time. They left graffiti in the woods by carving into aspen trees, which have distinctively smooth, thin-skinned white bark that, when carved, leaves a black line or scar over time. These graffiti images ranged from a shepherd’s name, date, and place of birth to amusing pictures, mostly of women in suggestive poses. Aspen trees typically grow in large clonal colony. They spread by root suckers and continue to expand in growth. An aspen tree can live more than 125 years. Our job as Passport in Time volunteers was to seek out sheepherders’ tree carvings that were made between 1890-1920. So we needed to trek deep into the forest to find old-growth Aspens. Our team of eight volunteers, plus two forest rangers, was to hike through the woods to search for and document these old trees for the first time. It was like a scavenger hunt for shepherd carvings. Once located, we would photograph, sketch, take measurements, and secure a location point with a GPS. Shepherd carvings had been going on for more than 100 years, so some of the aspens were reaching the end of their lives. Combined with drought and forest fires, this folk art was in danger of falling down, and even worse—going up in flames.

Check out The trips are free and involve work, but are lots of fun.


Because Deek and Bryan have an excellent adventure of their own, Next Adventure. Get, like, totally stoked on some radical new gear, upstairs or enter the time warp in the Bargain Basement for heinous deals on the freshest styles from the yesterday and today. Bring in your used gear today and trade up to some totally classic retro gear. We help you come in under budget every time, putting all that beer money

right back in your pocket! Not only is the Bargain Basement stocked with tubular gently used gear but we also have a winter leasing program that’s rad enough to make any Portlander stoked for winter!



Heyo Stephanie, Amy said you had some awesome photos you and Eric shot while up a mountain. -Scrappers Hi Scrappers!! Thanks for asking about the pictures! I'm not sure how awesome they are, I'll let you be the judge. We did this epic midnight summit of Mt Shuksan up in the North Cascades the other weekend, it was so fun!! There's this part of the route named, Hells Highway. Why is it called Hell's Highway? I believe its called that because there are numerous hidden crevasses lurking under the surface. People fall in them often. Each year the glacier gets covered in fresh snow and the snow hides crevasses from view and you can accidentally step in them sometimes. That's why people travel on a rope together, so you can catch eachother and this section of the route is also steep and can be icy. It's just a dangerous bit. Awesome! Do you mind if I turn this into a page in Stay Wild's next issue? Of course not, I'd be super stoked!



EVERY TRULY GREAT ODYSSEY DESERVES AN EQUALLY EPIC SOUNDTRACK. Together we have cruised thousands of miles of highways and interstates across the United States of America. Driving through the Great Plains of the Midwest, climbing up the mountains of the San Joaquin Valley, or seeing all there is to see in our home Portland, Oregon, we never leave the house without a stacked playlist of our favorite jams. Creating a mix with your adventure partner is just as important as deciding which highway to take.



There are dozens of ways to put a roadtrip mix together: create a Spotify or iTunes playlist, share music on SoundCloud, or burn a CD the old-fashioned way. Point being: Take the time to do some planning, because any 400-plus-mile trip is going to need some thought. One way to kill the vibe of the open road is to have to scroll through an endless playlist. With a collaboration, you’ll both have a general idea of what’s coming up in the next hour or so. Just press play and let it run!



An adventure mobile can feel like a prison on wheels when you’re stuck listening to the greatest hits album of a band you didn’t even know existed. You and your adventure partner are bound to have some differences in musical taste, and like clockwork, they’ll be rudely exposed when it’s 103 degrees outside and you’re in the panhandle of Oklahoma in the middle of an eight-hour jaunt. In those trying times, it’s important to be level-headed and not shout, “I don’t want to fucking listen to Fall Out Boy anymore!” Be honest, but calm, and simply ask to change the music. You can come back to FOB later in the trip when you’re both in the mood to wax nostalgic about your preteen years.



For us, podcasts are a must. The amount of eye-opening, entertaining, and educational content available is staggering. Some of our faves are Radiolab, Criminal, This American Life, Serial, 99% Invisible, and occasionally Freakonomics. A podcast doesn’t require much commitment beyond, “Does this sound interesting?” Once you settle on an episode, just press play and learn something new and interesting.



Keep your eyes on the road and your hands at ten and two. The co-­pilot navigates the atlas and the playlist. This is especially true when you’re on a roadtrip with more than one person. Whomever rides shotty picks the jams. However, as DJ, it’s polite to take requests and fit them into your “set.” Don’t be a D about it.



It can feel like serendipity when the music is shuffled at the perfect time, like it’s creating an even more vivid and textured memory of your travels. Never try to force a moment like that; it won’t work. Remember that you’re on the open highway because you’re a vagabond, dammit. The soundtrack is important, but never forget why you’re really out there. Now, go, the road is waiting.



15 days

bacteria x yeast colony 10 days


tea x botanicals sugar x H20 x Kombucha





truck x store

+ $3.50 = Happiness

in your mouth

Beautiful and Strange Brew How Brew Dr. Kombucha’s path lead to booze

There are two types of people in this world: those who love kombucha, and those who love to point out how fucking gross it is. The gross part is that bubbling fermented horse snot, or “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). Looking at the SCOBY is gross. Kombucha, the drink it makes, is not gross at all, and it’s got health benefits. We asked Matt Thomas, the owner of Townshends’ Tea Company, what makes their kombucha so good and ended up learning about booze.

STAY WILD: Who is the Brew Doctor of your kombucha Brew Dr. Kombucha? MATT THOMAS: Gregg Shetterly and Mo Osborn are our two brewmasters. They source all the tea and botanicals that go into every batch, and work out the right ratios of ingredients. We chose the name “Brew Dr. Kombucha” and our bottle style because kombucha is truly a health beverage. We want the name and package to communicate that. The bottle is like a new take on an old-time apothecary bottle, and together with “doctor” in the name, it helps communicate the message that this stuff is both good for you and expertly crafted. Our method to making kombucha is a no-shortcuts approach, and we use only high-quality, organic ingredients. Why does your kombucha not taste like fermented horse snot? Is it because the tea mellows things out?  We were a tea company for five years before we were a kombucha company. We know how and where to find great teas, and how to blend those teas properly with aromatic botanicals like sage, lavender, and hops. A lot of commercial kombucha is made by making a “plain” batch with only a cheap green or black tea, then flavoring that with juices to create different flavors. We call that “commodity kombucha.” Our flavor profiles are created from the very beginning of the process, when we mix the teas and botanicals together. Nothing is added at the end. The difference is very distinct. Commodity kombucha can taste overly sweet because of the juice that’s added, or overly sour from being cheaply made and over-fermented. Another benefit of our method is that our kombucha is truly 100% raw and has the most naturally occurring probiotics possible. What are some examples of “botanicals” that go into your kombucha?  “Botanicals” is a catch-all word for all the herbs and dried fruits that we blend with tea leaves in our recipes. For example, our Clear Mind kombucha is made from a high-mountain-grown Chinese green tea along with dried rosemary, sage, mint, and dandelion root.

What’s up with your new line of Thomas & Sons boozes? Don’t all paths lead to alcohol eventually? For real though, Townshend’s goal has long been to push tea forward into its best and most creative expressions. We were looking at the “What next?” question and saw an opening in the craft-spirits world for tea. It was an exciting new challenge from a production standpoint. We have learned a lot about fermentation science over the years making kombucha, and found we already had a lot of the equipment it would take to make spirits a reality. Basically we are taking a kombucha fermentation, driving it forward to produce a meaningful alcohol content, then distilling that. We found a still that was ideal for capturing the delicate aromas of the botanicals we work with, and the result has been deliciously satisfying. What kinds of spirits are you making and where can people get them?  We have released a line of four tea spirits. All of them are crafted with teas from Townshend’s tea list. No. 2 Sweet Tea is made from our single-estate Ceylon black tea. No. 5 Smoke Tea is made from pine-smoked Lapsang Souchong black tea. No. 16 Spice Tea is made from a blend of black tea, orange peel, and two types of cinnamon. And No. 50 Bitter Tea is made from our Kashmiri Chai recipe of strong black tea from India, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, and mint. The first three are technically liqueurs and are 70 proof. The Bitter Tea is an amaro and is 80 proof. Additionally we have released one clear spirit that we are calling White Rose. It falls in the category of “specialty distilled spirits,” and tastes somewhere between a gin and a vodka. It’s like a gin made with white tea and rose petals instead of juniper berries. It’s fantastic. We are in over 70 liquor stores in Oregon and are just now signing distribution deals for Washington. We are also seeing it added to specialty cocktail menus at a number of bars. All of these spirits are new and exciting and are being used to make some amazing cocktails around Portland. // @brewdrkombucha // @thomasandsonsdistillery

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DITCHES! @landyachtzlongboards

Rider: Billy Meiners Photo: Jacob Lambert






Pages Ripped from Bruce Greif’s Classic Book Pier Rats

(The year is 1973 and 13-year-old Lance Stratton is heading on a surf trip to Jalama with his three friends Crow, Roach, and Crab. They’re riding in a beat-up brown VW bus they call the Turd.)


OACH turned around in the passenger seat as Crow veered the Turd onto the 101 freeway. “So what’d you guys bring for food?” With no backseat in the van, Lance and Crab sat in the rear on a plywood bed cushioned by a foam pad and a sleeping bag. Lance opened a paper sack. “We’ve got two baloney sandwiches, some Cheez-Its, Cap’n Crunch, and a couple root beers. What’d you guys bring?” “Nothing,” Roach said. “We’re pretty low on food ’til Crow’s mom gets back from Palm Springs. We’re gonna stop at El Cap and get supplies.” He reached back. “Let me see that bag.” Lance handed him the sack. “This’ll be a good snack for the road.” Roach took out a sandwich and ripped it in two. He handed half to Crow and stuffed the other half in his mouth. “Hey, that’s all we brought,” Lance complained. Roach tossed him the other sandwich and swallowed. “You guys can split that one.” He opened the Cap’n Crunch and poured it into the Cheez-Its box and shook it. “Hey, you’re ruining the Cap’n Crunch,” Crab said. Roach handed him the box and opened a can of root beer. “Don’t knock it ’til you try it.” “We’re coming up on Rincon,” Crow said. Lance knew Rincon Point was one

of the premier surf spots on the Pacific Coast. He and Crab pulled back the side curtains to look out at the small waves peeling into the cove. Soon they entered Santa Barbara where the freeway turned to boulevard and there were traffic lights. Hitchhikers lined the grass along the roadside holding signs for San Francisco, Portland, and even Vancouver, B.C. The Turd caused a stir. Hippies waved and held their fingers to their lips indicating they had marijuana. Crow held up two fingers indicating they were only going a short distance. “Man, why you showing ’em how small your wiener is?” Roach chuckled. “I’m not, parakeet penis, I’m showing ’em how big your brain is.” Leaving Santa Barbara the street became Highway 101 again, and as Crow accelerated Lance had a strange thought. “It’s weird to think that right now my parents are driving to San Diego and we’re driving north. That means every second I’m farther away from them than I’ve ever been.” “So?” Crab asked. “You gonna cry cause you miss your mommy and daddy?” “No dip-wad. I’m just saying it’s weird.” After passing through Goleta, they drove mostly in silence until Crow veered off the highway onto the El Capitan State

Beach exit. “Why we pulling off here?” Crab asked. Roach put a sandaled foot on the dash. “You guys ever watch Yogi Bear?” “The cartoon?” “Yeah, what’s Yogi do?” “He steals picnic baskets,” Lance said. “Exactly, but in our case it’s gonna be an ice chest.” “You can’t steal an ice chest,” Crab said. “If you get caught we’ll all get in trouble.” Roach turned to face him. “We’re not doing it, you guys are. So don’t get caught and we won’t get in trouble.” “I’m not doing anything,” Crab said. “So, what are we supposed to eat?” “We’ve got the Cap’n Crunch and Cheez-Its.” Roach tossed the empty box on the floor. Crab looked at Lance and frowned. Roach smiled. “Come on, it’s part of the surf-trip adventure. Everybody should know how to Yogi Bear.” They pulled up to the ranger booth at the entrance of the state park. A skinny guy in a green uniform pushed back his hat. “Man, that is some brown van you got there.” Crow leaned out the window. “Yeah, we call it the Turd.” “I wasn’t gonna say it. You guys camp-

ing or day use?” “We just wanna just check the surf.” “Sure, I’ll give you 10 minutes.” Crow drove in and parked near the camp store. They got out and looked over a hedge to the beach. There were people sunbathing and wading in the water. The waves were small, well-formed peaks. The coast here was a barren strip of white sand that ran along the foot of an eroding bluff. “Okay, that’s enough sightseeing,” Roach said. “What’s the hurry?” complained Crab, “We’ve got 10 minutes.” “We’ve got business, remember?” “He’s right,” Crow said. “We gotta get going.” They got in the van and drove into the campground. Roach looked left, then right as they cruised past campsites. “This should be easy—looks like everybody’s at the beach. There’s one, park in the next empty site.” Crow parked a few campsites down and shut off the engine. He turned to Lance and Crab. “Okay, walk through the bushes like you’re looking for the bathrooms, then wander through that campsite. If nobody’s around peek in the ice chest and make sure it’s got stuff in it, grab anything else that looks good, and get back here.” “I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Crab said.

Artwork by Wilder Schmaltz // @schmaltz0

Surf & Turd

915 S. Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Lance slid the van door open and jumped out. “Come on, let’s get it over with.” They walked through the bushes to the campsite and strolled past the tent. No one was around. Lance opened the ice chest; it was full of stuff. They each took a handle, Lance grabbed a loaf of bread off the picnic table, and Crab grabbed a package of napkins. They carried the ice chest through the bushes to the van. “See, nothing to it,” Roach said. Driving past the booth on the way out, they waved to the skinny ranger. On the highway, Roach climbed in back and opened the ice chest. “Whoa, a six-pack of beer, you guys did good. Okay, so we’ve got six beers, four hot dogs, a package of ham, some cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, half a quart of milk, and a loaf of bread. Good eye getting the bread, Lance. . . oh yeah, we’ve got napkins, too.” “What, you don’t wipe your mouth?” Crab asked. “That’s what my towel’s for. Why couldn’t you grab a bag of chips or something?” “I didn’t see any chips—and I use my towel to dry off.” “Pfff, I use mine for everything.” “You even wipe your ass with it?” “No, I use your towel for that.”


IGHWAY 101 turned inland through the rolling hills of central California, and after a few miles they took Highway 1 north toward Lompoc. The Turd sped down the long strip of highway as golden sunlight poured in through the driver-side windows and the wind whipped their hair around their faces while they sipped cold beer. Soon the sun disappeared behind the western hills and a sign appeared on the highway: Jalama 15 miles. Below that an arrow pointed to the hills. Crow downshifted and turned left. “Here we go, Jalama Road.” The Turd gasped and sputtered as it wound through the ups and downs and around blind corners on what could hardly be called a two-lane road. The ice sloshed back and forth in the ice chest as Crow constantly worked the clutch and gas. In the shadow of the hills, it got dark and Lance continually shifted his weight in the swerving van. Suddenly Crow hit the brakes and turned sharply, two tires went off the pavement. Lance and Crab fell to the floor. “What the hell was that?” “That pickup almost hit us,” Crow said. Roach wiped his hair from his face. “Maybe you should slow down and turn on the headlights.” Crow restarted the engine and flicked on the lights. “Whoa, wait!” Roach flung his door open and jumped out. He ran in front of the van and bent down in the headlights. “What the hell is he doing?” Crab asked. Roach came back to the van cradling something in his hands. “Open up, I’m getting back in.” Crab slid the side door open. “What is it?” Roach leaned in and held his hands open. “A tarantula.” “Oh shit, get that thing away from me!” Crab yelled. Crow reached over and pet the spider with one finger. “Don’t be a baby, Roach used to have one of these for a pet.”

“That’s sick, who keeps a tarantula for a pet?” Roach cupped the spider in his hands. “Relax Crab, you’re getting her excited.” “Come on Lance, tell ’em you don’t want that thing in here either,” Crab protested. “I don’t care as long as I don’t have to touch it.” Roach stepped into the back of the van. “Scoot over, I’m sittin’ back here.” Crab stood up. “Then I’m sittin’ in front.” He jumped out, closed the side door and took the front seat. Roach laid back on the bed petting the spider, and Crow put the Turd in gear and pulled back on to the pavement. Crab turned around in his seat. “How do you know that thing won’t bite you?” “She won’t, as long as you don’t scare her.”

Lance and Crab put hotdogs on sticks and roasted them over the fire. Roach sat on the floor of the van with his legs out and the tarantula on his lap. Crow held a stick out to Roach. “You ready for a hot dog?” “In a minute. I’m trying to get her to relax, I think the smoke is freaking her out.” Crab blew out the flame on his hotdog. “Aren’t those things nocturnal?” “Sure are,” Roach said. Crab took a seat at the picnic table. “Great. I’m sure it’s poisonous too.” “Not to humans, they use their venom to liquefy their prey then suck it up with their stomach.” “That’s appetizing.” Crab laid a napkin out on the table and wrapped his hotdog in a slice of bread. “That thing just better not end up in my sleeping bag.”

“Did you see it? That thing was huge.” “How can you tell it’s a girl?” Lance asked. “’Cause man, she showed me her boobs. Look she’s crawling up my stomach.” Roach sat still as the spider crawled up his bare chest to his neck. He leaned his head back and let the tarantula crawl over his chin and onto his face. It stepped slowly over Roach’s mouth, nose, and eyes and came to rest on top of his head. “That was freaky,” Lance said. “Man, you’re sick,” said Crab. “What if that thing had peed on your face?” Crow shifted gears as they came over a rise and the van filled with orange light from the setting sun. “There’s the ocean, we’re almost there.” The road switchbacked down the hillside, and by the time they entered the campground the sun had vanished below the horizon leaving an orange and pink sky. The campground was mostly empty and Crow pulled into a beachfront campsite. “Let’s check the waves real quick, then you guys can round up some firewood while there’s still some light. Me and Roach’ll get camp set up.” “How come we have to get firewood?” Crab complained. “Because you want a ride home,” Roach said. “It’s called paying your dues.” “Let’s hurry and check the waves,” said Lance. The waves looked rideable but sloppy, and Lance and Crab wandered into the darkness to find wood. Roach called out. “See if you can find a mate for my spider while you’re out there.” Crab frowned. “There’s probably tarantulas all over the place, especially in the wood.” “Let’s check the empty campsites first.” The waves pounded in the distance as they rummaged through old campfires for half-burnt logs. Lance wished he’d worn tennis shoes instead of thongs. On his third trip back with a load of wood, Crow had the fire burning and Lance settled near the heat. The concrete fire pit had a grate on one side for a kettle or frying pan.

Roach stood up cradling the tarantula; he walked to the picnic table. Crab stopped chewing. “Don’t bring that thing over here.” “I’m gonna help you get over your fear. Just look at her, she’s an amazing creature.” Roach held the spider out for Crab to see. “Get that thing away from me.” “Just look.” Crab held his hot dog off to the side and peered into Roach’s hands. “That thing’s ugly and it’s probably got parasites.” Crab turned away in disgust and Roach dropped the tarantula on his lap. “AHHHH!” Crab tossed his hotdog and rolled over backward into the dirt. He scrambled to his feet swatting at himself. “You asshole! I knew you’d do that!” “Sorry man,” Roach laughed. “I couldn’t resist. Do you see her?” Lance spotted the spider cowering against the cement wall of the fire pit. “There it is.” Crab grabbed a pile of napkins, snatched up the tarantula, and flung the heap onto the grill. The napkins ignited and the spider’s legs erupted in a frenzy from the flames as it shrieked like grating metal then fell silent on the grill. “What the hell was that?” Crow said. Roach shoved Crab. “What the hell have you done?” “I got rid of it, that’s what.” Lance stared at the charred spider remains on the grill. “Did you hear it scream?” Roach shook his head and sat down at the table. “That’s a curse man, that’s an omen.” He looked at Crab. “You’ve done it now, you better watch it, we all better watch it.” “Relax,” Crow said. “That thing could’ve easily died on the road.” “But it didn’t, ’cause I saved it. You heard that scream.” Roach looked across the sky. “Evil’s been cast over us, you can forget about getting waves tomorrow. We better just worry about getting home safe.” “You shouldn’t have thrown it on me,” Crab said. “I was trying to teach you something.”

Pier Rats by Bruce Greif

“By throwing a spider on me? Right. Only thing that taught me was you’re an asshole.” Roach got up and opened the ice chest. He took out a hotdog, stabbed a stick through it and walked to the fire. “It’s cool, I’m just glad I’m not sleeping on the ground tonight with a tarantula curse on my head.” Lance and Crab looked at each other.


HROUGH THE FABRIC of his sleeping bag Lance could feel every pebble. He rolled up his beach towel for a pillow and pulled the sleeping bag over his head. It was almost impossible to sleep. When dawn finally came Lance stretched out, pressing his feet against the bottom of the bag. He lay there listening to the waves and tried to determine if they were louder than the night before. He poked his head out; the air was cool and moist. He saw Crab wrapped tight in his sleeping bag on the picnic table. “You bastard.” Lance climbed out and walked across the cold sand to the water. It was glassy and the waves were dark, hollow peaks. With no one out it was hard to tell how big they were, but it looked good. He ran back to camp, unzipped Crab’s sleeping bag and flung it open. “Wake up, the waves are good.” “What the hell are you doing?” Crab pulled the sleeping bag back over himself. “Get up, the waves are good, you’re wasting time.” “Okay, give me a second, will ya?” “Let’s hurry and get our wetsuits on before those guys wake up.” Before leaving for the water Lance opened the Turd’s sliding door. “Waves are good, see you guys out there.” He ran to catch up with Crab. “Omen shmomen,” Crab said walking to the water. “Look at those waves.” Peaks were pounding up and down the beach. The sky was gray and so was the water. The waves were breaking close to shore, an easy paddle out. They ran splashing into the water and jumped onto their boards. The waves were powerful and Lance battled to get out. When he finally made it past the whitewater he heard yelling on the beach. He turned and saw Crow and Roach waving their arms and yelling like lunatics. He wondered what the hell they were doing. They didn’t even have their wetsuits on. Lance stroked over a swell and looked for Crab. He saw him bellyboarding in on a whitewater. “What the hell is he doing?” Lance sat up on his board and turned to the outside. There he saw a large fin rise from the water not 50 feet away. The tail fin thrashed the surface and the dorsal turned his way. “Shark!” he screamed. He sank the board’s tail and swirled around, plunging his arms into the water knowing his splashing would only attract the shark— stroke, stroke. He lifted his feet. The shark would be on him any second. He felt a jolt from behind and was thrust forward. It was a whitewater. A wave had picked him up and was carrying him in. He continued to paddle until his hands hit sand. The other boys ran up shouting, “Did you see it? That thing was huge.” Lance stood up trembling and looked back out. They watched for the fin, but it didn’t reappear. “I’d say that’s an omen,” Roach said. “Can’t be too bad though, you guys both made it in.” “Come on,” Crow said, “we better tell the ranger.”

Available at Iron and Resin, Ventura Surf Shop, Bank of Books, Powell’s Books, and other select shops. . . and of course For retail orders contact


ion ers v y y eo or v i d i s s t s i c b tch! e u h a h t t o f i n g m ayw M B r u .CO t mo INE f e a tana Z A AG an DM Gu WIL Y A ST



by Jeff Edwards

I GREW UP IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, so when I tell people I’ve never been to Tijuana they’re very surprised. That’s where kids went to party if they were under 21, but I got a fake ID when I was 15 that said I was 31. I found it in a field next to the Wienerschnitzel by the Showcase Theater in Corona. It wasn’t even a driver’s license. It was a Green Card for a guy named Raul Rubio Muniz. We looked nothing alike. So to finally visit TJ at age 33 was pretty strange—but fuck it, why not.

My mom’s work rented the water park Wild Rivers in Irvine for their company picnics when I was a kid, and I would spend the whole day sliding and getting water up my ass. But if I tried to do something stupid, like go down head-first or naked, I would immediately get yelled at by the staff. At El Vergel, they don’t give a fuck what you do. Pretty much the more stupid and dangerous the act, the more the workers laughed and told you to go for it.

Sanuk gave us a bunch of flip-flops and some rafts to go dicking around at a waterpark called El Vergel on the outskirts of TJ. We gathered a huge posse, got a bunch of rooms at Hotel Ticuán, and spent the weekend partying. We rented a private bus to get to the park and raged the whole way there. The driver obviously didn’t care we were chugging tequila the entire time. We drove up, waited in line, and then got ready in the co-ed locker room.

Because of how relaxed the rules were, some of us got pretty fucked up. We all got tons of scrapes and bruises, I ate shit trying to jump over a fence, and two people in our group got thrown in the drunk tank. Our friend Virgil must have got drugged ‘cause we found him passed out on the cement with the paramedics trying to resuscitate him. So, of course, we teabagged him.

After lotioning down, we went to a palapa that sold Tecates for 25 pesos, which is about $1.50 US. They also had micheladas for $3, so we pounded down a few of those as well.

After the park, we took our bus back to the hotel and took a nap for a bit. Then we got up and went to the strip club.

This adventure was made with help by

Lori Damiano’s Motorcycle Story

My dad was worried… ’cause the bike was old and he was like, “What if the engine just rattles apart while you’re riding down the freeway?” I was thinking, “What?! That couldn’t happen,” but now I know it probably could. I’ve had my bike’s battery bolts just rattle right off on the freeway. My dad always had bikes. He got us a little Honda 80 when we were kids and my brother was pretty good with it, but I ran it into a tree. I just forgot how to stop. We were riding out in the woods when I hit the tree and never wanted to ride after that. But then later in life, I was hanging out with a bunch of Canadians who were all riding these old Hondas. Everybody knew how to fix them and it was easy to get parts. So that’s why I wanted this bike. It’s good for me. It has plenty of power, except going up hills on a highway.

Growing up, motorcycles were always a big part of our family experience. We’d go on dirt-bike trips to the Mojave Desert with a bunch of guys, and we’d be the only kids and my mom would often be the only lady. All the guys would just party. One of my earliest memories is of my mom reading us a bedtime story in the camper while bottle rockets were flying outside. The guys were sitting around the fire, partying and shooting bottle rockets out of their shoes at the camper window and my mom was gently reading the story. It’s one of my fondest memories.

My dad built his dream shop after he sold his business. The shop was at the foothills of the Sierras. We took the Honda up there. We planned to take the bike apart and clean it up and restore the whole thing. My dad would leave me alone with the bike and let me try to figure stuff out. Sometimes I’d want him to help me, like, “I don’t know what to do!” And he’d be like, “Just look at it,” and then he’d wander off. Eventually I’d get it. If I was really stuck, he would help. It was perfect. He was so patient. I made this series of paintings to celebrate our time together. He was sick at that time. We were doing all that stuff at the end of his life. We’d have these really peaceful days learning from him and hanging out. He was doing pretty good at living each day the way he wanted to. Like, to look at him, you wouldn’t know he was sick. He went on a big West Coast motorcycle trip with a bunch of friends pretty close to when he passed away. It was so inspiring to watch him dealing with that and just living it up, up to the very last moment. He was making jokes all the way to the end. This bike my dad didn’t like when I first brought it home ended up being this great gift for us to share. After we’d been working on it together for a while, he said, “You know, this is a pretty good little bike.”

I made this series of paintings to celebrate that time.


We Love Backpacks Our favorite adventure buddies are strapped to our backs, cheering us along while we get into all kinds of trouble. Check out our backpack reviews to make sure yours is the right fit.

HippyTree + JanSport // Watchtower This collaboration features HippyTree’s fuck-it-we’redoing-it-our-own-way attitude with the easy no-biggy functionality and affordability of a JanSport. $100 // HIPPYTREE.COM MADE IN CHINA

Drifter // Sky Pack

Topo // Mountain Pack

This adventure buddy wants to fly with you. Made from 1.9-ounce parachute material, it’s durable and light as a feather.

These folks make gear that turns heads on the trail and sidewalk. Even though this pack was built to be super-useful up on a mountain, while fly fishing and climbing, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the waterproof zippers and daisy chain webbing in the city.



Mokuyobi Threads // Alex

Burton // Tinder

KAVU // Camp Sherman

This color is called the “Beaver Tail Crinkle,” but it comes in other colors. It’s your basic get-in-the-truck pack with all the pockets you need, plus a side-door laptop compartment and good vibes.

KAVU makes things that help you suck the fun out of life. They use the hashtag #busylivin because their backpacks are made for hiking, paddling, sky diving, biking, climbing, surfing, vanning, and fun-making.

These colors like to eat pizza and want to play video games in a hard-to-find mountain tavern on another planet. Space travelers can fill the many pockets with gifts from Earth. The foam walls work as a cooler, so you can bring some cold ones along for the spaceship ride.




Pack Northwest // Sunbreak

Alite Designs // Willow

Handmade by sailors, skaters, backcountry enthusiasts, cyclists, climbers, surfers, and kayakers in Bellingham, WA. This little adventure buddy has all the pockets you need in sturdy rain-resistant perfection.

This top-loading adventure buddy comes with a lifetime warranty, so you’ll be friends for life. It also has a trampoline back panel, removable hip belt, and all the roomy pockets you’ll need for an epic hike to a secret camping and swimming spot.



Roark Revival // The Mule Outfitted by Hex This pack is luxurious and adventurous! Look at the rubberized PV-coated cotton outer shell, the passport pocket, the faux-fur-lined laptop pouch, the hide-able skateboard straps, and the audio port hole. Look at those things!!! $180 // ROARKREVIVAL.COM MADE IN CHINA

Poler // High & Dry Pack We love this “Mushy Trees” pattern bag. It’s got a zipped-in dry bag within the splash-proof outer bag— perfect for keeping your wetsuit separate from your drysuit. Easy access to the bottom (hee hee). Perfect for your wallet, keys, phone, or vegan beef jerky. $149.95 // POLERSTUFF.COM MADE IN CHINA

Element // Weekender

Timbuk2 // Custom Choose your own colors to customize your style on their website or at a flagship store. In a world where most backpacks are made overseas to keep costs low, it’s really nice that this company offers a way for you to get involved with the manufacturing conversation by letting you decide how your backpack is made. Plus these laptop-friendly bags come with an on-strap bottle opener for party tricks.

Penfield // Massey Bag The shoulder straps are lined with felted wool, so it feels like a hug from a fuzzy friend. The camouflage pattern is having too much fun to go to war. $32 (IT'S ON SALE) // PENFIELD.COM MADE IN CHINA


YKRA // Matra Mini

Skaters take care of other skaters. That’s what you do as part of a community. When you buy this backpack or others from Element’s Camp Collection, proceeds go to the skate camp they run with the YMCA.

These buddies are made to order with canvas, leather, steel buckles, mountain climbing rope, and good vibes.



Other Bags We Love!

Swift Industries // Polaris Porteur Bag This Seattle-based company knows what’s up with riding through the shit on the daily! All their biking bags are awesome. Like this Polaris Porteur Bag, or their new pannier that turns into a backpack. $230 // BUILTBYSWIFT.COM MADE IN WASHINGTON

Sons of Trade // Land + Sea Duffle Pack Boreas // Bootlegger Do you adventure in many different ways? Try this badass on for size. A frame with three different backpack options: a submersible waterproof one called the Scrimshaw, a well-organized daypack called the Hopper, and a hydration pack called the Torpedo. It’s way smarter than these words can express.

Dooood, this bag is really, really big. We’ve hiked into remote surf spots with this bag carrying three adult wetsuits, two kids’ wetsuits, towels, water bottles, and a couple of superhero action figures, and it never felt too heavy. The two zippers down the side make it really easy to get at stuff down at the bottom of this bottomless canvas and leather bag. $210 // SONSOFTRADE.COM MADE IN CHINA


Sagebrush Bags // Evergreen

Wayward Stock // Roll-Top Board Bag

Poler // High & Dry Surfboard Bag

If you surf, you have a love for simple minimalism, just like you’ll find in this roll-top. Fits boards up to 6’8” in the padded cloth-lined bag with a coated polyester shell.

Made from the same splash-proof stuff as Poler’s High & Dry Pack, this buddy wants to get surfy. It fits up to a 6’ 6” surfboard in its padded roll-top sheath.

Made with organic fair-trade coffee roaster bags, upcycled fabric, and salty ocean love vibes. The water-/wax-resistant liner isn’t bulletproof, but neither are most things that share your road-trip bed. Sizes range from hand-plane tiny to 10-foot-log large and all lengths in between.




Rareform // Daylight Noserider Responsibly made from upcycled advertising billboards with all the stuff you need from a basic board bag: foam padding, fin slot, strap, and more. $115 // RAREFORM.COM MADE IN CALIFORNIA


P H O T O & W O R D S B Y J E R E M Y O K A I D AV I S / / J E R E M Y O K A I D AV I S . C O M / / @ J E R E M Y O K A I


ALVATION MOUNTAIN epitomizes the Californian dream. It’s a technicolor cathedral beneath the brutal desert sun, improvised with genius, fervor, and devotion. Tens of thousands of gallons of paint layered upon concrete, hay, and adobe, it’s a thing of pinstriped waterfalls, fist-pressed roses, decorated chambers, and the endless message that “God Is Love.” It’s a destination beloved by adventurers of all kinds. Now, those who look after “Love Mountain” are putting out a call for volunteers to spill a bit of paint and welcome the masses in the name of conservation. In 1967, Vermont native Leonard Knight had a life-changing moment of religious transcendence in Southern California. He wanted people to know about it. But between his revelation and building the zenith of Salvation Mountain, he spent years attempting and failing to launch a love-proclaiming hot-air balloon. Dejected, Knight decided to move on in 1984, but first he’d build a small monument in the California desert by Highway 111 near Salton Sea. Clearly one thing led to another. That became the first Salvation Mountain, which collapsed under its own uneven weight around 1989. A tireless optimist, Knight rebuilt. Despite its remote location, Knight wanted everyone to visit. Don’t mistake Salvation Mountain’s magnificent kitsch for insincerity; the multi-decade masterpiece is as honest a labor of love as they come. Knight wanted to turn as many people as possible on to universal love and acceptance. In his mind, the message was paramount, closely followed by the mountain itself, with outsider art-hero and self-made minister a distant third. Not into religion? Visit anyway. The kind of love-from-above that Knight believed in was radically inclusive. He in-


sisted that love is simple. “That message appealed to me,” says Dan Westfall, president of the Salvation Mountain nonprofit, “and to so many of us who were raised in whatever type of religion and found it so full of unnecessary rules and constraints. We want to complicate and own everything, but God’s love is a gift. You can’t deserve it more than somebody else. You can’t fight over it. You can’t earn it. That message disarms a lot of people.” In the last few decades, the site has become a magnet for artists and explorers with a taste for the realest of Americana folk. People want to know what makes a person dedicate their whole life to tirelessly building something with just their hands and heart and sweat. Also, Salvation Mountain is mind-blowing to look at. Along with documentaries and other media attention, this year National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey is releasing five years’ worth of photography in a loose scrapbook collection called Where the Heaven Flowers Grow, with partial proceeds going toward the Salvation Mountain nonprofit. It’s no wonder so many people are transfixed. There’s an uncanny, special feeling at sites dedicated to the worship of beauty or the beauty of worshipping. There’s an extra-impassioned air when we know they were built by one person. We can see time passing in the creation of it, our human bodies the measuring sticks for how long such a huge-scale project takes. There’s postman Ferdinand Cheval’s Le Palais Idéal in France, Horace Burgess’ bafflingly massive Minister’s Treehouse in Tennessee, and Edward Leedskalnin’s mysterious Coral Castle in Florida. None of these approach the irrepressible color and volatility of Knight’s creation. Salvation Mountain also has the magical quality of public art in-

Salvation Mountain

Leonard Knight’s Lurid Holy Site is in Flux, but its Message of Love Endures. by Megan Freshley

The land used to be a WWII marine training base called Camp Dunstallations like Prada Marfa, Metaphor: the Tree of Utah, or the knitlap. “So we’re hoping there aren’t any toxic waste dumps or anything,” ted pink rabbit in the Italian Alps that you can see from space. DesoWestfall says. “Maybe this year, or maybe early next year we’ll get the late locations make for more intimacy at the end of a pilgrimage. But transfer of the land settled. Everyone’s on the same page. We have a Leonard’s work of folk art has unplanned immediacy that can’t be very good relationship with the state and the EPA and everybody.” mimicked by a planned, commissioned public piece. You can feel the The nonprofit is also there to make sure the site stays a roadside heartbeat in it. attraction of a holy rather than a hokey nature. “Nothing will ever be In its heyday, visitors to Salvation Mountain got an enthusiastic sold here. There will never be a gift shop. We don’t want to clutter tour by the man himself. It’s estimated that Knight personally greeted up the message with commercialization,” Westfall says. more than half a million people during his nearly 30-year Knight had a rule to only accept donations if they seemed tenure as the king of the mountain before his death last Salvation to come from the heart, spending any extra money on postyear. Thanks to copious interviews, a quick trip through Mountain cards to give away. “He wanted you to mail the postcard to YouTube offers a sense of how exuberantly happy this man a friend,” Westfall continues. “His only goal was to spread was. Since his death at the age of 82, volunteers have kept 601 East Beal Road, the word 24/7.” Niland, CA 92233 his dream up and running. His friends knew they needed to The nonprofit now takes donations through their webprotect it so they became a preservation society in the form Latitude: 33°15’15.24”N Longitude: site and Facebook to keep the mountain in tip-top shape, of a nonprofit. 115°28’25.17”W but they’re also looking for volunteers to help steward. With “The mountain and message are too big to be owned,” such a constant volume of visitors, the attraction needs doWestfall says. “We’re just trying to keep it available. That’s cents and greeters—people willing to come spend a day, a our entire goal.” week, or a nice long while as a live-in caretaker. To get involved, just Congress declared Salvation Mountain a National Treasure in send an email through their website: 2002, but nearly a decade earlier it was at high risk of being deSummer 2015 brought more travelers than any other year. “More molished. It’s faced scrutiny for its proximity to Slab City, a mecca young people are coming out here on their own. I know Leonard would for off-the-grid folks often called “the last free city in America.” “At be tickled to see young people show up and appreciate it,” Westfall this point, who owns the land under Salvation Mountain is up in the says. “We see people getting inspired out there every day. It’s touching air,” Westfall says. California’s plan is to divest itself of the land and to see that it’s still working. Leonard said he wanted the mountain to sell it to the board. They’re currently awaiting an EPA survey to get do his talking for him, and it still is today.” things sorted out.

YOU BELONG IN THE ZOO MINI-BIKING WITH THE ZOO BOMBERS BY JUSTIN “SCRAPPERS” MORRISON When I’m alone I get into weird shit. I once found a freshly dead crow on my walk home. I knew it was fresh because it was soft and warm; its head flopped over when I picked it up, and a word bubble dripped out of its beak: “Dude, I just died.” I carried the bird home and dug a grave in the backyard. Then I busted out this big black accordion from the attic to play the saddest song ever played. Right when I was really feeling the moment and started to cry, a housemate came out and busted me. I was alone, in my twenties, and into some weird shit. I bet it happens to you, too. Recently my wife and son took a tiny vacation to visit family in Ventura, and it was then that I knew I’d get into trouble while they were gone. Something weird like Zoobombing. I learned about Portland’s Zoobombers in 2003 when I asked someone about the 20 kids’ bicycles that were locked up across the street from Powell’s Books. “Oh, that’s where the Zoobombers keep their bikes before and after they bomb down the hill from the zoo,” someone said in not-those-exact words. This person also said, “Zoobombers are gnarly punks who don’t give a shit about anything that isn’t fun.”

I’ve always admired the fun they were having for free! With my son unable to stop me, I rode his Spider-Man bike across town to that pile of mini-bikes for my first Zoobomb. Zoobombers are very generous with their free fun; they’ll even supply bikes if you don’t have a six-year-old son to steal from. Tourists are welcome as long as they’re friendly to people like Anthony, a Zoobomber who described the gang as, “A bunch of fun-loving daredevils with nothing better to do on a Sunday night.”



The sun was setting on downtown Portland as busy people walked around mini-bikes on the corner of SW 13th and Burnside. One of the bikes tipped over, which caused a tallboy of Hamm’s to pop open. It sprayed everywhere until a Zoobomber snatched it up and shotgunned that puppy. We “woot-woot”-ed, “yeeew”-ed, and howled like wild animals as we rode off to catch the train that would take us to the Oregon Zoo. The train, or Metropolitan Area Express (MAX), takes you from downtown into a tunnel that goes under the West Hills; halfway through there’s a stop where you can catch an elevator that goes up for like a mile or so to the zoo in Forest Park. When we unloaded, I hoped on my bike and started riding to the elevator. A Zoobomber with a motorcycle helmet named Lost Blake told me, “You gotta walk it here.” He pointed to the invisible surveillance cameras, “We give them respect, they give us respect.” We piled into the elevator and I farted before we reached the top. I like to fart in elevators almost as much as the Zoobombers like to lie down in a field under the night sky to smoke, drink, and laugh before bombing the 3-mile hill. We killed time and brain cells until everyone was ready to line up and go straight down as fast as gravity allowed. “You Belong in the Zoo,” said a button on the demin jacket worn by the Zoobomber named Val. It was a direct message to me from the Spirit of the Universe that I was truly wild among the animals. A volunteer leader shouted the rules of the road to the crowd; we shouted them back. Then we were off. I pedaled as fast as I could to keep up, but those Zoobombers were super fucking fast. I was left in the dust along with the other first-timers and an experienced Zoobomber with a first-aid kit. I was going super fast down the curvy road in pitch-black night, screaming with fear and pure joy. The Zoobombers ahead of me were going faster, crazier, and hogging all the fun. I pedaled harder to catch up, but lost my tiny bike chain and nearly crashed hard before the bike bucked me off. My ankles got a little chewed up by the tiny bike and I released the ceremonial blood that every true adventure demands. It was glorious! After getting the bike back under my butt, I got back on the ride. The road got steeper, faster, and the turns sharper. Surely someone has gone off the cliff doing this. Oh wait, they have. It was Josh Brolin in Goonies. “Goonies never say die,” and neither do I. Everyone met at the bottom of the hill by the MAX station. Some Zoobombers got back on the train to do it again and again into the wee hours. I rode back to the bike pile with some other newbies. We all agreed Zoobombing was awesome, but definitely some weird shit to get into.



photo by huckberry

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Stay Wild // Fall 2015  

Free Adventure Magazine

Stay Wild // Fall 2015  

Free Adventure Magazine