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THE WILDFLOWERS ARE WHAT STICK IN MY MEMORY; the bear grass, the lupine, the asters. It was not only the sheer abundance of them, like carpets rolling themselves out wherever water fell toward the valley below, but also the resilience of them, making a quiet but unarguable show in between the craggy rocks. Far down below, out of the mountains at the farm, we tend our share of domestic flowers, many of which are dependent on our frequent attention and intervention. Not these wild ones. These wild flowers cohabitate with the mountain goats, drink ice melt, and I could tell, did not give a shit that we found them beautiful. STORY AND PHOTOS BY NOLAN CALISCH
Artwork by Liliya Dru
915 S. Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
PA R T S , CO F F E E , FO O D, G E A R . . . S M I LE S . 1642 N E SAN DY B LVD. PO RTL AN D, O R E . 97232 / S E ES E E M OTO RCYCLES .CO M
S T O P N I K F A M I L Y PORTRAIT
Words and photos by Carey Quinton Haider
S T O P N I K F A M I L Y PORTRAIT
A family penned The Cycle Zombies from Huntington Beach, California, seems to have missed the boat, pushing the pedal to the metal 24/7 on a permanent vacation fueled with highways, getting high on speed (I don’t mean the shit truck drivers smoke), and swimming in shark-infested waters, all while completely sober. Chase, Scotty, and Turkey Stopnik all do it because they are passionate humans believing 100 percent in their journeys. A rare sight in today’s shopping mall society, where everything is made safe and convenient. It is midnight at the Stopnik ranch and instead of soaking in potato chip blankets watching reruns of Dr. Phil, the boys are instead out in the garage covered in grease slamming together a pre-1960’s Harley wheel. The whole neighborhood is asleep. These moments are good reminders that if you are true to yourself you can live a fulfilled life and get by because of it.
S T O P N I K F A M I L Y PORTRAIT Chase, a tall lanky fellow, has the personality of a stray dog that ate too much MSG-filled chicken discarded in the bushes. Always nice as can be, he is never sitting and always on the move−whether it be making art, building rideable art, or skateboarding a ditch. Turkey, Chase’s cousin, is soft-spoken. He pays great attention to everything he does− from his bike builds to the way he moves about his board. Turkey’s brother, Scotty, lives across town. He is a business man, always buying and selling past-era chopper parts while finding time to surf, skate and raise a family. More often than not, you see these men strolling a swap meet together or on a motorcycle roadtrip heading up north. The spontaneity, need for adventure, and passion of the Cycle Zombies is the real deal.
Festive 500 At this point, I’m deep into the plan. Too deep to back out effectively. The fog rolls over the two riders in front of me and for a moment I think that maybe this is all a figment of my imagination−some sort of fucked up Matrix meets the world of sporty bicycle riding. Then a car whizzes by me over my left shoulder, and I’m shaken back into the reality of the situation. Every year I tell myself that I am going to complete the Festive 500 Challenge. But this is going to be the year where I don’t back out. The Challenge happens during the holidays, so it is the perfect excuse for a couple of things. One, escape! Two, eat! (Or at least keep eating without turning into a fat shit.) Three, excuses! The challenge comes at the weirdest time as well. The cyclocross season is pretty much over and the long, slow road to spring riding and racing is stretched out in front of you. So, during this time, when I am trying to ride a few hundred miles, I find myself pondering the same question: “What’s my motivation here?” The challenge is to ride 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Seems like a pretty easy proposition, right? Let’s break that down, just so that we are clear about what it means. 500 km = 310 miles. That times out to roughly eight days. If we are still in math mode that translates to roughly 39 miles per day. Which, when you put it that way, seems like a pretty easy prospect. It became quickly apparent that it wasn’t. But with a little help from my friends, anything is possible.
Day One: With Max, CD, Julie and Tim 25 Miles We start late. Later than we thought we would start. We’re waiting for each other and it’s like we have forgotten how to do long rides on a bike. Someone forgets a glove. It’s colder than anyone anticipated and the shining sun has tricked a few of us into wearing less clothes than we might have otherwise. Now we’re on a bike path and the usual game of dodging riders becomes amplified by dodging homeless that are setting up their Christmas decorations.
Day Two: Christmas Day 0 Miles Spouses kept happy : 1 The second day proves to be the hardest. Because my wife is also a cyclist I think she won’t mind that I sneak out in the morning for a ride, before we open presents. This doesn’t go over well. At all.
Day Three: With Patrick & Julie 35 Miles I convince Patrick and my wife Julie to skip work for the day and go out with me. What could really happen the day after Christmas anyway? I stop by the office to refill my bottles and suddenly feel guilty. That guilt burns away quickly as the hill turns upwards and the fog settles in. There is an eerie stillness to the West Hills as we pedal up, then down, then back up, a move I later regret when I realize that I shouldn’t be wasting time going up and down when the point of all of this is to get to that 500km. What felt like at least 50 turned out to be just 35.
Day Four: With Simon 70 Miles I cannot stop eating. I have dragged my friend Simon with me. The holidays have given him time off. We ride out past the airport and into Troutdale where we stop for coffees as the day is deceptively cold. However, the sun is out, and as we talk of his upcoming fatherhood, we are thankful.
Day Five: With Steven, Joel, Simon, Leah 50 Miles Good company helps. Good weather helps even more. Steven is up for a road ride instead of his usual mountain biking tendency. His lady is in town from SF and we decide to take her up and over Wildcat Mountain. We laugh and eat salty chips while riding our bikes and suddenly the prospect of having to do this every day doesn’t sound so bad. This high feeling is tempered by the realization that I haven’t done enough riding per day to help it even out in the long run.
By Jeremy Dunn
? Day Seven: With Patrick and Tim 103 miles Day Six: Moving day for Eric, post-moving ride with Tim 35 Miles Somehow, I volunteered to help Eric move during the Festive 500. I was thinking of camaraderie and brotherhood when I decided on this course of action. But my legs are tired. They remind me constantly, and I console myself by thinking “these are not even long days on the bike.” After we blast through the move – roughly 15 people make short work of it – Tim and I somehow rally ourselves and ride out to Sauvie Island. Out at Sauvie we spot our friend Michael, and he takes a picture of us. I have to continue to remind myself to take pictures and to look around, as my views are becoming increasingly inward and vision-narrowing. Tim and I have a hard conversation on the way home. We realize that tomorrow will have to be a big day to make this happen, to finish in time.
The prospect of a 100-mile day in the heart of December is not one that looks good. In the middle of the summer, when chamois time is tanning time, when the mere thought of being on the bike all day long brings slight patters to one’s heart, that’s when riding 100 miles is fun. When your bike is weighted down with fenders and covered in grit, it is not that fun. Tim and I eschew extra jackets for extra food (thank you – dear wife, for Nutella filled crepes) and head out along The Gorge. Patrick takes us to Crowne Point, where we bid him adieu and start down the winding road to the falls. We make it all the way out to Charburger, the diner cum tourist trap that sits on the Oregon side of the Bridge of the Gods. We spend a few minutes stuffing too sweet cookies into our mouths before we try to head back out into the cold. I overhear the electric hand dryer in the men’s bathroom and get an idea; I remove my wool baselayer and stand there drying it. It takes nearly five cycles, but there is nothing like putting on a toasty warm baselayer for a 50-mile return trip in the cold. This action proves to be my best idea of the week as the rain starts sputtering down on us the moment we leave the safety of the Charburger awning. I look down at Tim’s bike and then back at mine. He is not using fenders and that means that either I remain in the front of our little group of two — taking in all the rain and wind for both of us — or I get a mouthful of gritty dark water off the spray of his wheel for the next 50 miles. I choose the
former and start thinking about Crowne Point and that beautiful 20-mile downhill on the other side of it. As we start out, I curse Tim and his ineffective choice of bicycle, but this feeling quickly subsides as I console myself with the thought that I would rather have him there, even if back there, than not at all. As we navigate the tight turns below each of the falls, I’m considering everyone along the week that helped me get there. Like Ira standing atop a pile of rocks shooting photos while Leah pumps air into her tire. And Julie making food in the mornings to eat and to pack along. There’s an image of Steven jamming a bag of chips into his face, grinning the whole time. And Simon laughing as I tried to rid us of an unknown cyclist that had latched onto our wheel. Was he real? No matter what I did, I could not shake him. Even the chance meeting with Michael on his own vision quest of sorts had given another little nudge toward the finish line. But where is that finish line? As we rolled back into town that last day – altering our route slightly to make sure that we hit the 100-mile mark for the day – the light faded to nothing, and Tim’s rear light was the only thing preventing me from lying down for a nap on the side of the road. I had lost ten pounds, gained a nagging cough, traversed roads I’d never seen before and some that I will probably never see again. What again is my motivation? Just to finish, I guess.
Words by Malcolm Johnson and Reid & Arran Jackson Photos by Kyler Vos and Rene Gauthier
Some time in the Long Ago, on the narrow spit that marks the northeastern tip of Haida Gwaii, Raven happened on a clamshell half-buried in a heap of kelp. There were strange noises coming from the shell, so he pulled it free with his beak and leaned in for a closer look. Raven found that the clamshell was filled with tiny, chattering creatures, hiding in fright from the loud rush of the waves and the bright glare of the springtime sun.
Those tiny creatures were the first humans, and the late Haida artist Bill Reid completes the story: “So the Raven leaned his great head close to the shell, and with the smooth trickster’s tongue that had got him out of so many misadventures in his troubled and troublesome existence, he coaxed and cajoled and coerced the little creatures to come out and play in his wonderful, shiny new world.”
On this chain of islands far off the coast of British Columbia,
the humans and the wilder things have been living in something close to harmony ever since. The traditional homeland of the Haida people, the archipelago formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands remains a stronghold of proud indigenous culture and profound natural beauty. It also happens to be loaded with surf potential â€“ hollow beachbreaks, meandering rivermouth rights, and, if myths are to be believed, a few deepwater reefs that can hold waves as tall as the ancient trees that line the shore.
Last year, an adventuresome crew
that included Peter Devries, Noah Cohen, and brothers Reid and Arran Jackson set off into a rarely surfed area of Haida Gwaii to start filming The Fortune Wild. A Sitka Films production directed by Ben Gulliver, it’s a plucky little story about surfing the farthest corners of the Pacific Northwest – and about exploring and preserving this shiny new world that Raven welcomed us into so long ago.
I can’t imagine what life would’ve been like had I not spent my formative years near the ocean and discovered surfing at a young age. Every surfer dreams of solo sessions in perfect waves, and for those of us living in the Pacific Northwest those sessions can be found closer to home than one might imagine. – Reid Growing up on Vancouver Island with an active family, many of our weekends were spent touring around in kayaks or going biking or hiking. Sea kayaking was a huge inspiration and introduction to the ways of the ocean. But when Reid and I started surfing, our parents compromised and let us tow our boards behind the boats so we could enjoy the new beaches we discovered wherever we went. – Arran
The Sitka trip to Haida Gwaii had been a dream of ours for years, and we finally decided it was time to make it happen. Some research had us stumbling on an oasis screaming with surf potential, and after a lot of dreaming and scheming, emails and phone calls, plane rides and boat rides, we actually pulled it off. When we arrived, we spent three days on Graham Island, the largest island in the archipelago. It was our last chance to gather camping essentials and complete our mountainous packs. Standing on the beach, we looked at the trees surrounding us and knew those were the same trees the first explorers saw when they arrived. The last evening before taking off, we spent a little time running errands in town. By the time we were ready to go, the sun had set and the wind and rain had come up. I was standing barefoot in my shorts with the wet and cold hitting my face and muck between my toes. We were about to paddle our fully loaded canoe through the blinding wind and darkness to an island off of an island. I turned to face our destination and howl into the night. The adventure had only just begun, and I felt ready for anything. – Reid For months, we’d been studying maps and trying to imagine what it would be like. As we approached our campsite, the visions I had in my mind started to take shape before my eyes. We rounded the sandbar to see little wedges peeling down the beach, and then it took some time to figure out where to land and pull our gear to shore. Once we were on the beach, the boys were freaking out. Ben Gulliver and Kyler Vos were fumbling with their camera gear, Pete was running down the beach to
check the bar and the rest of us were getting dizzy from trying to decide where to set up camp while still peeking out from the trees to call out good sets to each other. We were like kids in a candy shop. I took a step back to absorb all that was happening around me with a shit-eating grin plastered to my face like pre-pubescent acne. It was sensory overload. – Arran While the waves were flat, we enjoyed some of the other activities our little piece of coast had to offer. Fishing, hiking, foraging, and relaxing in homemade saunas were our go-to pursuits. But the timing of the trip had also brought a ton of garbage to the shores from the tsunami in Japan, as well as from the normal marine debris. We fashioned the waste we collected into sports equipment like basketball nets and hockey sticks to stay active. Exploring our surroundings around camp was an endless adventure – many moons ago, our temporary home was likely a summer fishing camp, but it had been centuries since it had been left to the wild and months, if not years, since humans had last been there. We felt lucky to be able to roam free with only the deer watching as we played. Hundreds of years earlier, Haida people were making a life there; some years after that, European settlers may have been plying the local waters. But that week, we had that wild coast to ourselves to feed on and play on. – Reid When you put all your effort into planning and imagining a place, then have that dream become reality, that is one true sense of human happiness. – Arran More at sitka.ca
IN AMERICA Made in China A photo essay about hiking boots made in Chinese factories
by Daniel Cronin
LAND THEIR HANDS ARE THE FACE OF YOUR FAVORITE OUTDOOR BRAND Hey Caleb & Ryan, If you let me interview you, it might be more fun than a knife fight.
Yo Man, Send over some questions. I’ll take a shot at ‘em. Please be a bit patient as we’re swamped! PHOTOS BY JULIE COPE AND WALTER PERINGER
What are you so swamped with? Swamped with branding a hotel, liquor label, stoked to work on more Deus doodles, and a couple of art shows with friends.
Why do you call yourselves LAND? Caleb had just moved back to Austin and felt more connected than he had in awhile to the land and sky and space here in Texas. We were trying to find a name for joining forces and it just felt right. It’s ubiquitous enough that it doesn’t define what we do and want to do.
Where are you located? We work in a brick warehouse shop in East Austin. The building was built in 1941 for making wire ropes and chains. What percentage of your work is done off the computer screen? About 50 percent. If time permits, we try to draw as much as we can; typography and illustration. In the end, it all ends up in the digital world. What have you been drawing lately? We’re always experimenting. Motorcycles, nudes, animals, portraits, any objects or life with symbolic value. Can you tell me what the symbolic value of these things are? I guess it’s like trying to talk about art. We figure the meaning we draw from an image will be different from what you might take from it. You take the chance that someone may feel your art doesn’t make sense at all, but we like that. Sometimes designers put too much concept into something and it’s a turn off. Just get weird and have fun. The work you’ve done for clients like Poler, Patagonia, Deus, and the like has really solidified the look of this newfound outdoorsy branding. Has it been hard to keep growing your visual voice since you could basically have a seat in the throne you built? That’s kind of you to say, but the only thrones we sit on are porcelain. Growing our visual voice is something we strive for and it does get tough sometimes to do something new that you’re stoked
on. It’s all about trial and error, and the urge to progress. It’s a bit easier to do that with your own art, but getting a client on board with pushing things isn’t. Fortunately, we’ve been able to work with folks that let us run wild and trust us. Where do you get your typography influences from? Early American signage, even up into the 60s. Anything hand paint-
ed or hand set, so that includes anything from the Gutenberg Bible to the dawn of computers. What would be a dream project for you? What would you make if money and time didn’t get in the way? Weed packaging is a dream. Soon. We would probably abandon desk life in general and get into sculpture, painting more, building motorcycles or just painting with mud nude in the woods.
Whatâ€™s the most wild youâ€™ve ever felt? Visiting the full moon under purple skies in Bali on mushrooms.
o get this. One day I decided it’d be a really fun idea to take shrooms and watch the sun set over the mountains. I convinced one of my friends to do it with me. We rode out to the desert and parked in a deserted lot. We each took two stems and two caps, but after an hour of watching the sun finally set, we grew impatient and couldn’t feel shit. So we ate a couple more.
Let me tell you, it definitely hit me out of nowhere. It grew dark. I looked up at the sky. I started making up legit constellations with the stars. You know, straight up being an astronomer rollin’ balls. Then clouds rolled over and I solemnly swear I saw pirate ships made out of clouds throwing bombs at one another. I could literally see pirate war action going on in the sky in front of my beautiful, made-up constellations. I was freaking out! I tried showing my friend, but he was in his own little universe...as was I.
Story and photos by Gaby Jeter
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MOPEDS MAKE GOOD FRIENDS “USUALLY 20-35 YEARS OLD, LOUD AND SLOW, VERY UNRELIABLE.” MATT C H E V LE N AND CAR R I E S C H R E C K INTERVIEW C H R I S H E R NAN D EZ OF THE LOS ANGELES W O O L LY B U L L I E S
HRIS IS PROPPED ON A PILLOW IN HIS DARK BEDROOM. He’s settling into a Norco and gingerly holding a Modelo. His finger is wrapped in gauze and he’s nursing it gently. “The rest of my finger is up there somewhere. Do you want to see it?” He indicates the bookshelf with the large screen TV above us, the only source of light. “No, I’m good.”
As tough as he looks, Chris is a big softy. The painkillers are in abundance since his girlfriend’s moped accident four months previous. Struck by an absent minded driver, moped totaled and her humerus fractured, Hilary had been recuperating at Chris’s since, leaving a helpful stash of muscle relaxers for future, inevitable scrapes. Chris is woozy and his eyes roll. His arms and face are covered in tattoos and scars, most notably a large rip down his right cheek that meets the top of his lip. He was one of the first moped riders I’d met when I moved to Los Angeles. Our mechanic had made the introduction: “This man is the original Bully.” A moped is a small bike with pedals, usually 20-35 years old, loud and slow, very unreliable. But it’s also elegant, simple. A connoisseur would point out the engineering marvels each model was designed with, and he’d do it with love. The bikes and their riders are a total contradiction: they’re serious and they aren’t. A moped rider would be the first to laugh at his little, slow bike. But he’d also defend its appeal. He might say the idea of a gang is absolutely, 100 percent an ironic joke, but he’d help and protect his gang member like family. He wants to tell you about it, but he also doesn’t want you to know about it. It’s completely immature and absurd, but it’s also something to love dearly. In spite of the injuries, Chris and I are actually sitting down this evening to discuss the joys of riding tiny little bikes. Specifically, large events where multiple moped riders gather and are hosted by one city’s moped gang. There are long rides, parties, raffles, even awards (“First Blown Piston!”). It’s serious, and it’s not. But it is.
W E ’ D R A C E D O W N T O V E N I C E L A T E A T N I G H T. I T W A S A W E I R D M I X O F O U R 1 2 -Y E A R - O L D B R A I N S I N F A N TA S Y- M O T O R C Y C L E M O D E A N D T H E R E A L I T Y THAT W E’R E J UST TW O D U D E S BAR R E LI N G D O W N THE STREET ON THESE… CONTRAPTIONS. I MEAN THOSE WERE SOME OF THE BEST MOMENTS.
WHAT IS A MOPED RALLY? Arguing, alcohol consumption… [laughs] no. It’s a good time. People come from out of town, out of state. When it’s all said and done it’s about riding. It’s about planning a good ride, showing people a good time, giving them an experience, showing them your town, your roads. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE RALLY TO DATE? That’s hard. Sacramento, the Landsquids‘, was my first. I’d never seen that many mopeds in one place. For a year after I got my Maxi, I hadn’t seen any other bikes at all. Going to a rally and seeing so many blew my mind. Seeing the possibilities of what you can do, people get really creative with their builds. The first [San Francisco] Creatures’ rally, ‘Gender Bender’, was my favorite. I had been in the Bay Area a lot, but suddenly I was there charging the streets in this…in this pack. MOPEDS. REALLY? It’s fun. That’s all there is to it. Really. People will look at me on my bike and kinda snicker. “Oh what? You’ve got a Camry? Well, I’ve got a cute girl on my bike, so eat a dick.” LET’S GO BACK AT BIT. HOW DID YOU FALL INTO THIS? I was at a family function and talking about getting a motorcycle. Someone said, “Hey, I’ve got a little moped you could have.” So we go over to this dude’s shop and he gives us this moped, this hilarious little bike. We take it home, throw some gas and oil in it, ride up and down the block. It was a ‘78 Puch Maxi, a two speed. SO HOW DID YOU GET STARTED RIDING IN GROUPS? Some dudes told me to check out this place, Choke. I said, “Oh, they have mopeds like mine there? I mean mopeds, not scooters?” I came to Choke and it was like, “You people ride these stupid things? That’s funny ‘cause I ride mine, too!” After Choke I found out about Moped Army. I thought it was cool that people had their little clubs and ride together. Certain things in life… sometimes you just have a good ride and have a big old smile on your face and people just can’t comprehend it. If you have fun on your own, doing what you’re doing, it’s only going to be multiplied when you meet like-minded people. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR GANG, THE WOOLLY BULLIES. Well, the first Bullies were friends since high school. We were wrenching on our BMX bikes, so a few of us got mopeds. The rest of the group got together mostly through the internet, finding people who wanted to ride, and that’s it. We just sort of became a group. LA has an official Moped Army gang, The Latebirds, and they’re all cool dudes, but I just wanted to do my own thing. What makes a Bully? I think you reach a level of friendship where you become like family, where sometimes you can loathe each other, but no matter what they’re still your family. We have differences. I slapped someone once. Sometimes dudes lose their cool. You reach this level of friendship, and you ride, and you’re a Bully. Some clubs are pretty homogenous. We are very, very different people. If it weren’t for mopeds, I wouldn’t have met some of these people and had these great friendships. In the normal world, these people would not hang out with each other. WHAT MAKES IT FUN? When we got our first bikes, Mike and I would cruise around. We would draft each other to see who could go the fastest [laughs], but we were still super slow. We’d race down to Venice late at night. It was a weird mix of our 12-year-old brains in fantasy-motorcycle mode and the reality that we’re just two dudes barreling down the street on these…contraptions. I mean, those were some of the best moments. DO YOU HAVE A BEST NIGHT? One of the last rides we did with Oscar. We all rode to South Central to go see Leftover Crack. I just remember insane amounts of fun. There are certain feelings you just get when you’re riding. That perfect feeling could last for three seconds. It’s a hard thing to define. AND A WORST? Yeah, riding my moped to go see where Oscar had just been hit. As someone on two wheels, you try not to make a bad decision. But other drivers… You don’t, say, run a red light on your bike, because that would be dumb. When I was hit, a guy ran a red. The car pulled in front of me. I blacked out for an instant. I pulled my face out of the window. Fell back. My tibia was shattered. SO DESPITE THE DANGERS, YOU CAN STILL ENJOY RIDING. WHEN IS THE NEXT BIG RALLY? Well, Learn 2 Love Again is in the spring. That’s the Portland Gaskettes and Uphill Battle. This summer is the Tomahawk Cup. IS THAT A RACE? Yeah, a big gathering at Grange Motor Circuit in Apple Valley. Same vibe though. It’s the community. People come from out of town, out of state. You know the first time we went to a rally this girl gave us a key to her place, a couch to sleep on. I mean, she didn’t know me. This rider from SF, Paul, he made us breakfast every morning. Through these little fucking bikes I’ve met some of the greatest people. They’ve shown me hospitality. I just want to share that, keep it going. AND JUST FOR THE RECORD, WHAT IS “MOPED TIME”? [Laughs] Moped Time is about two hours behind schedule. Yes, it’s most likely due to the irresponsibility of the participants. You know, you gotta start your bike and it won’t start. Then you work on it. Tthen you got grease on your clothes and what if you want to hug someone? So you change. And maybe you forgot to eat dinner. You gotta pick someone up from the airport. Next thing you know you haven’t left for your ride yet. CARRIESCHRECK.COM
Another Day in Paradise by John Hook ’ve never been on a wild boar hunt before. But as we trekked into the jungle on the East side of Oahu−like where they filmed Jurassic Park−I was surprised to find out that dogs are the best tool to hunt with.
he dogs were set loose with GPS trackers on their collars, while the local dudes I was with cruised into the jungle, having the type of conversation that fisherman might on a boat while they wait for fish to bite. “That’s why they call it hunting, not catching.” We waited awhile for a signal from the dogs until I thought we wouldn’t find anything. Finally, we heard the dogs call.
It’s the dog’s job to find the pig, hold the pig down by grabbing and locking onto the pig’s legs, and then the hunter comes up and finishes the job with a knife. We climbed about 400-500 yards up the mountain following the sound of barking and pig squealing, and the GPS signal from the dogs. We found this piggy, which was small, but still a good enough size to make some smoked meat.
Some of these photos originally appeared in Flux Hawaii Aug 22, 2012
Our days and nights in the valley were consumed with hot spring dipping, tea making, and fly-fishing.
U.S. Flagship Store 402 NW 14th Ave. Portland, OR. 97209
e arrived by night and turned onto the washboard road. The sky hung heavy above us, and was illuminated only by the Universe and its twinkling disciples. Unsure of our location and without a plan, we took the first right and followed the steam that rose from the earth. We pulled aside a small tub, a circular stone pool. The engine cut out, the headlamps were attached, and I eagerly rolled out, surprising my sleeping legs. With high expectations, I plunged my hand into the gurgling pool. “Tepid! Lukewarm!” I screamed to Trevor, who opted to stay put. Filled with a sense of disappointment and an urge to get in anyway, I slumped back to the car. We pulled off the road and leveled the truck. We knew we were nestled somewhere beneath the Sierras and between dispersed pools of geothermal water, but we had to let the dawn reveal it to us. I opened my eyes and watched my breath fill the sleeping loft. I leaned down and used my nails to scratch the ice off of the windows. The golden light of morning turned the frost into amber, and slowly the amber into lava as it melted. The Sierras! Like guardians of the Long Valley, they stood tall and strong. A fresh dusting of snow capped their peaks and the brightening light painted them.
revor, wake up,” I whispered. Forgetting about my strict ritual of tea before anything else, we tumbled from the truck, our eyes sticky, dry, and adjusting to the spectacle before us. The Sierras are no doubt the Long Valley showstoppers, but the land itself, snuggled tightly beneath the giants, holds a beauty of its own. Flat dusted plains stretched out around us, meeting only thirsty bush scrub and pines at the foothills. To the other side of us lay the deepest part of the valley. Tall billows of steam rose everywhere as scalding pockets of water bubbled. Our days and nights in the valley were consumed with hot spring dipping, tea making, and fly-fishing. There are tubs scattered through out the valley, most of which is BLM land, which was good news for us and other campers alike. Two rivers meander through Owens Valley (also known as the “land of little rain”). Owens River is the larger of the two and carves through the landscape. Its cold and clear water provides a
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needed lifeline in the parched land. We spent many afternoons fishing the snowmelt for trout, sitting on the grassy banks with flasks of steaming hot tea. Hot creek is the second of the two and is heated geothermally and around dusk and dawn, the frosty air meets the warm creek and creates billows of steam. So enticed by this spectacle, we camped on the misty banks. Temperatures met lows of 15° F that night and the ghostly plasma turned into a veil of freezing fog, which cloaked our sleeping van, casting us under its deep-freeze spell. I take warm, fond memories with me from that trip, memories that are close and reachable. With a five-hour drive and some hearty road snacks, I know I can be there again, under the loving shadow of the sweet Sierras, quenched by the river and warmed by the springs. I take with me solitude, clear skies, and long, deep breaths. I take with me an appreciation for the patient sport of fly-fishing and a richer understanding of the Native People with my adventure cavity filled until next time. MADDIEJOYCEART.COM
Colorful Confessions. An ongoing collaborative series between LA-based photographer Neave Bozorgi and Portland-based artist, Nick Stokes. More info at itscolortime.com & neavebozorgi.com.
Hi from beautiful Panama.