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To the air and the clouds and the winds, to the lakes and rivers and salt waters, to the streams and the estuaries, to the mountains and valleys and shorelines, to all the living things of this place, to all those who teach us, may we hold to your stories and be worthy of your presence.
Photo: Jeremy Koreski
Photo of Stanley Park by Jeremy Koreski. 3
It’s long ago now that our roads were footpaths through the trees. It was before caulk boots and crosscut saws, before Jerry Rogers opened his logging operation in Kitsilano in 1867, before the Great Fire of 1886 swept the city back to soil and char. And it was long before the Lions Gate, the Sea to Sky and the fleets of steel freighters anchored in the bay. But that long ago is still with us. It’s in the traditions of the peoples who have lived here since time began, and on whose unceded land we live. It’s in the fall of the rain, the whisper of the snow and the songs of the birds and whales. And it’s in the memories of the trees, the old ones that still stand among us. They survive and remember. Those testaments to another time are all around, and they’re what make this city and province unique. They’re what give us our spirit and life. Though too many of the forests have been cleared, too many of the salmon taken, we still have gleamings of the unimaginable beauty and abundance of the preIndustrial world. You see them when you’re running in
the river valleys, or climbing the boulders under the Chief, or canoeing through the winding channels where the Fraser River meets the sea. And you see them when you’re biking to work across the bridge, the clouds parted after a winter storm and a blanket of white draped across the green mountains of the North Shore. Go a little father, and you can skin up into the unending glaciers of the Coast Range, or swim out into big green waves breaking on a Haida Gwaii beach. We’re lucky to be here on this land—and knowing how rare it is reminds us that our task is to stand up and preserve it. In the following pages, you’ll find stories about some of the things we love here at Patagonia Vancouver. You’ll also find profiles of a few organizations we support— and in that work, we’d love to have your help. It’s nice to have great gear to go enjoy what’s around us, but what matters most is defending this place and finding ways of existing that give the land and the water a chance to heal. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that West 4th was once a thin muddy trail through trees 300 feet tall. But it was. And who knows—maybe someday it will be again.
Photo: Simon Hayter
Liz! THIS IS LIZ JOHNSON, THE MANAGER OF PATA G O N I A VA N C O U V E R .
How you were first introduced to Patagonia? I read Yvon Chouinard’s book, Let My People Go Surfing, about six years ago, and I was totally inspired by his straight-up, no-frills nature. He hired his climbing buddies and they worked just enough to fund their next adventure. I totally dug that, and I admired the company’s commitment to balancing growth without sacrificing product or environmental integrity.
and Rescue, and so is our dog, Katja. She’s a Belgian Malinois and she’s totally nuts. My role is to get her all riled up while she’s on the leash, and then I run and hide in a wet and thorny spot in the woods. Then I wait anxiously for her to find me and yank the dog toy out of my hands. It’s actually scary to have those teeth flying at me out of nowhere, and sometimes I have bear bangers in my pocket in case a bigger creature finds me first. It makes me feel secure knowing that search dogs really do work. But I still try not to get lost.
What are the aspects of life here that you appreciate the most? Well, I grew up on the ocean in Nova Scotia, gathering seashells and racing sailboats. British Columbia has all that ocean goodness, but with mountain playgrounds too. I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. It was my former career that drew me to the West Coast, and I thought it would be temporary. But I fell in love—with my significant other, with the rain, with the bear-proof trash cans, with the snow-capped peaks—and it definitely feels like home now. I just wish it didn’t cost a friggin’ fortune to visit my family and the Atlantic.
It’s tough to pick just one, but do you have some favourite places here? Nexen Beach in Squamish must have one of the best views I’ve seen. It looks like the islands are mountains just bobbing in the ocean. On the North Shore, I’m convinced that the stony banks of Lynn Creek are just swarming with fairies. In the city, I love the forest between the road and Wreck Beach—on the way down, that is. Looking to our area’s future, what are the issues that you care about most? We’re so lucky that, with our relatively temperate climate, we can grow pretty much anything we want to eat. We have an opportunity to get serious about growing and eating locally, and I love the momentum that some rad independent businesses are generating in that arena. Also, living in Squamish, the LNG question became very real and close-to-home. It makes my stomach flip to think about that pipeline barging into my beautiful backyard. I think the next few years are going to be a tipping point for British Columbians—my partner has told me that if it comes to the point of shovels hitting dirt on the Northern Gateway, he’ll be one of the first ones standing in front of a bulldozer to protect this precious place. I want the pipeline conversation to stay elevated—in Parliament and around the dinner table. We can’t get complacent on this one.
What are some of your favourite things to do outside? When we’re out on Howe Sound in our adventure wagon—(an inflatable boat named Scooty Puff Jr., bonus points if you get the reference)—with our three dogs, a tent and a bottle of wine, you can’t slap the smile off my face. There are secret camping spots everywhere. In the summer, I can be found indulging my inner mermaid by hopping overboard. Running on pavement is like banging my head against a wall, but on a trail, I feel the added thrill of trying not to trip and destroy myself, which I actually love. The thrill, that is, not the disasters. And when it comes to snow, I’m new to crampons and ice axes, but it took just a little taste to get me hooked. You also have an important role in Search and Rescue. Oh, very important. My partner, Simon, is involved with Squamish Search
Photos: Zack Embree
Directly AFFECTED P A T A G O N I A I S A L O N G T I M E S U P P O R T E R O F R A I N C O A S T, A N O N - P R O F I T R E S E A R C H A N D P U B L I C E D U C AT I O N O R G A N I Z AT I O N D E D I C AT E D T O P R O T E C T I N G T H E L A N D S , WAT E R S A N D W I L D L I F E O F C O A S TA L B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A .
ne of Raincoast’s recent projects is Directly Affected, a documentary film giving voice to those whose lives will be impacted by the Kinder Mountain Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. (Spoiler alert—that’s all of us.) If approved, the Trans Mountain line would carry 890,000 barrels of unrefined oil each day from Alberta to the Lower Mainland, where it would be loaded onto tankers and exported through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. We asked Zack Embree, the film’s director, to fill us in.
Why is the Trans Mountain issue so important? Although many have heard about Keystone XL and Northern Gateway, the Trans Mountain is bigger in terms of volume. The expansion would deliver 890,000 of diluted tar sands bitumen every day, but standing in the way are some of B.C.’s most densely populated areas and the traditional territories of many First Nations. These same communities, along with many cities and countries around the world, are now acting on climate change, and this project would lead us all in the wrong direction.
In the making of Directly Affected, what was the most powerful moment for you? Visiting the tar sands production sites, breathing in the acrid air, walking in the largest industrial project on Earth and witnessing the scale of destruction was sobering. I spoke with many indigenous people who told me the ways their traditional lands and lives have been destroyed. Even more sobering is knowing the intention from industry and government is to scale up production in the tar sands to at least three times its current state; at the same time, scientists tell us 80% of that oil has to stay in the ground if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change.
It also puts at risk some of the places that help define B.C. There’s the Fraser River, with its salmon and the culture they embed, and the Salish Sea with its critical habitat for the endangered southern resident killer whales. All this is balanced against the purported economic benefits that have shown to be exaggerated while the risks are downplayed. So as Kinder Morgan, an American energy giant, stands to benefit, everyone in the province is asked to shoulder the burden of risk for scant reward.
What are some things that people here can do? First and foremost, I encourage everyone to get informed about the proposed Trans Mountain expansion. Directly Affected is a great place to start. In the film, I was interested in dispelling some of the myths that shroud the topic—like that climate change doesn’t need to be considered, the project is in our economic interest and the risk to the environment is small. Every expert I spoke to stated that the opposites are true.
Did your perspectives change through the filming process? Initially, my concerns were primarily with the implications of increased burning of fossil fuels as the primary contributor to climate change. But it also became clear that there are serious implications to Canada’s democratic process and its economic future.
Secondly, once people learn about the enormous risks, we must be willing to bring this issue to the front and centre of our local and national conversation. Collectively and personally, we must reflect on the kind of nation we’re currently building. Should we be expanding fossil fuel development in the era of climate change? Or should we be investing in the emerging low-carbon economy, strengthening our economy and leaving a living legacy for future generations?
Learn more about Directly Affected and the rest of Raincoast’s environmental work at raincoast.org. 8
Photo: Bill Hawley
On dreamcatcher J A M I E F I N L AY S O N I S O N E O F T H E M O R E D E T E R M I N E D P E O P L E Y O U â€™ L L E V E R M E E T.
Follow Jamie at jamiefinlayson.ca. 9
s a kid, he dreamed of being an alpine ski racer. His family moved from Vancouver to Whistler when he was 13, and within a few short years he’d earned a place on the Canadian national team. But two decades on, it’s going up instead of down that consumes him the most. Jamie started climbing in ’95 at the age of 15—now settled in Squamish, he’s focused on Dreamcatcher, a 5.14d near his home that stands as one of Canada’s most difficult climbs. First completed in 2005, it’s only been sent three times. Here’s more, as Jamie tells it.
THE LINE Dreamcatcher is such an amazing route. It’s located in a collection of massive boulders that centuries ago fell off the Stawamus Chief. The line is stunning from every angle—it’s one of the most picturesque routes in the world. There’s beautiful yellow lichen that grows on the adjacent walls and gives the whole area a magical feel.
Despite many an attempt, it’s only been sent three times. This past summer some of the strongest climbers in the world were trying the route and nobody was able to complete it. The goal is to get from the bottom of the climb to the top without falling—I’ve been able to do it falling once, so I know I can do all the moves and link all the sections. THE TIME Projecting a route takes a lot of patience and perseverance. It can get frustrating at times, but for me it never gets boring. If I can’t do it, I just need to get stronger.
Chris Sharma, arguably the best climber in the world, did the first ascent. That gives the route a lot of prestige, or notoriety, and people come from all over to try it and even just to look at it. One day this summer, there was a family of about 10 people who carried a barbeque in and watched me climb while they cooked their lunch.
There are high and lows, and it’s important for me to keep my eye on the larger picture, the end goal. It will happen someday, it’s just a matter of time. I try to take something positive out of every climbing or training session. That’s really important for me, as it allows me to focus on the positive, not the negative, aspects of a bad day. And trust me, there are bad days. It’s also important for me to remember that climbing is fun—if it wasn’t fun, why would I do it?
The line itself is what has really consumed my every thought. It’s complex and extremely challenging. From the opening razor-sharp microscopic holds, the route has so many different aspects—the slopey rail where you have to jump between holds, the tiny pin scar slots that barely fit my fingers and the powerful crux where there are no footholds. I’ll admit the grade of the route is also part of the draw. Dreamcatcher is one of the hardest routes in North America, and it’s shut down many of the world’s best climbers. I’d love to climb a 5.14d, but really the route is so much more to me than the grade.
Just recently I had major back surgery, but now I’m on the road to recovery with Dreamcatcher the one thing on my mind. It’s still too soon to see how much of a setback I’ll have suffered from the surgery, but I think overall I’ll be much stronger. I was suffering for quite some time, so it will be great to climb pain-free. I’m excited to see what’s possible now.
Learn more at farmacie.ca.
Photos: Alana Paterson 11
f the many things to be thankful for in Vancouver, healthy communities and access to good local food are right near the top of the list. That doesn’t mean we can take them for granted, though, and the founders of Farmacie certainly don’t.
Beyond the practical support Farmacie provides to Lower Mainland non-profits, the organization has a more philosophical purpose—encouraging people to make the informed choices that are required to create a just, secure and genuinely sustainable food economy.
A self-described “collective of food-aware citizens coming together to inspire change,” the organization has a simple and elegant model—throw semi-annual family-style long table dinners, then donate 100% of the proceeds to local causes. Working with some of the Lower Mainland’s finest chefs, farmers and food producers, Farmacie’s events have supported the Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, the Quest Food Exchange and the Community First Foundation’s Backpack Buddies program.
“The vision for Farmacie was to connect people to local charities already at work in our backyard,” says Jennifer Savory. “We’re out to foster new relationships and nourish connections.” “We want to expose Vancouverites to the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s food system,” continues Britney Gill, who co-founded Farmacie with Savory in 2012. “There are so many amazing people and charities in this city, doing work that often goes unsung, and getting them more exposure is really important to us.” 12
Photo: Peter Giannoccaro
The CALLING 13
hough he found his life’s purpose in the high mountains, Barry Blanchard’s ancestral history lies in the Métis culture of the Great Plains. He writes of his forebear Cuthbert Grant, a captain of the Métis buffalo hunt:
stone glowed in an aura of oblique light, and we envisioned it as a direct finish to the summit.
“I close my eyes and I can feel the prairie quake under the thundering onslaught of hundreds of thousands of buffalo hooves. I can see the golden dust rise to black out the sun like a sandstorm in the Sahara. I was gifted adventure in my blood.”
“Avalanche!” I wailed, and the sky exploded. I dove forward, weighting my tools as the chunks thumped into the snow all around me. Something like a sledgehammer smacked into my right shoulder. Pinpricks of hot, white light scattershot through black. I slid six inches before my body snapped to and flexed harder into the slope. I stopped. The roar drew off down the mountain and hushed into a hiss.
Then crack! The air vibrated with the whir of a large object accelerating. I glanced up: The belly of a cornice was bearing down on Carl.
That thirst for adventure took Barry from a tough upbringing in Calgary to a lifetime of bold and pioneering climbs that have made him one of the most respected alpinists in the world. In The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains, Barry traces his path from fumbling attempts at the Wasootch Slabs to groundbreaking ascents on big walls around the world. It’s an honest and sharply descriptive read about climbing culture and the power of the mountains, but there’s more to it than that—it’s a book about friends, family, fear, and how our passions can lead us through the darker clouds of life into the brighter skies above. Also: sex, punk rock and how to hold on tight while spindrift avalanches are trying to tear you off the face.
Carl was still on the ice—white from helmet to front point—but still attached. Since he and David were both OK, we decided to keep going. But my shoulder blade was blue, stiff, and throbbing, and I was out of the leading. I hung back and followed, riding the Jumars on the steep sections. It was marvelous to watch how well David and Carl worked as a team. David’s fox eyes twinkled, and he said to Carl, “Climb like a beast, man.”
The following excerpt finds Barry, David Cheesmond and Carl Tobin high on the east face of Alberta’s Mount Fay: I woke cold to the bone. The top of my homemade bivy sack had slipped down, and my shoulder had melted a hollow into the back wall of our snow cave. Water saturated my sleeping bag. I punched my arms down my body over and over. The shivering came again, and I clenched my body into a fist. I had to find some warmth. I had to sleep. I prayed for dawn. Finally, the next morning, the sun’s heat radiated into my dark clothing. One hundred and thirty feet overhead, Carl was tacked on to a silver strip of ice. Higher up, a rock pillar rose like the handle of a sword affixed to a gleaming silver blade. The
Hardcover; 440 Pages; Available now from Patagonia. 14
SKEENA WATERSHED CONSERVATION
Coalition you know that place called up north?
“Our communities depend on wild salmon for our sustenance, economy and sense of identity,” says Brian Huntington, the Associate Director of the SWCC.
That’s where you’ll find the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition working to protect one of the biggest and grizzly beariest wild salmon rivers in the world. From its beginnings in the Sacred Headwaters to its estuary near Prince Rupert, the Skeena system is one of the most intact and diverse wild salmon and steelhead watersheds on the planet. Beyond its priceless natural and spiritual value, the Skeena is also hugely important to the economy of the north—its wild salmon generate a billion dollars every ten years.
“The work we do is guided by the ancient Gitxsan principle of Gwalx Ye’insxw. That means each of us has a responsibility to ensure the watershed is passed on to future generations intact and whole.” The SWCC’s unique style of conservation focuses on getting people on the land and increasing decision-making power at the community level. Twice recognized as one of Canada’s top ten most effective organizations, the Coalition remains hard at work. The Skeena River is once again at risk, threatened by a LNG gold rush that would build pipelines to the Pacific with terminals and tankers right in the mouth of the river.
With a staff and board that reflects the diversity of the region, the SWCC’s collection of rednecks, hippies and guide outfitters is probably best known for going toe-to-toe with one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies when they got wind that the B.C. government had sold fracking rights in the Sacred Headwaters to Royal Dutch Shell. In 2012, after the SWCC’s eight years of community organizing, Shell formally abandoned its drilling plans in the face of determined and unified opposition.
“The Skeena estuary shouldn’t be turned into an industrial complex,” Huntington continues. “Every salmon from every river in the Skeena system uses the estuary twice, so we’re not about to let it be destroyed.”
Learn more at skeenawatershed.com.
Photos: Brian Huntington 16
Photo: Jeremy Koreski 17
BRITISH COLUMBIA HAS BEEN A SPECIAL PLACE F O R Y V O N C H O U I N A R D S I N C E H E S TA R T E D C L I M B I N G H E R E OVER 50 YEARS AGO. DANIELLE EGGE FINDS OUT MORE.
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, never beats around the bush. The first time I met him, I was interviewing for a job at his son’s surf shop, which is a pretty crusty place. As he shuffled by, he looked at me, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Uh, I’m not really sure you want to work here.” Now that I sit at a desk all day, he still gives me a hard time: “Good thing you actually got a real job.”
YC, as friends, family and Patagonia employees call him, will call you out all day long. He doesn’t mince words, which I think is one of the reasons he can get things done— like build one of the most respected brands in the outdoor industry. Because he doesn’t have an email address or a cell phone, I left a note with Mike Dunn, his right-hand man, to set up a conversation. Two weeks later, I’m sitting across from the 76-year-old at Patagonia HQ in Ventura, California. I update him on the new store in Vancouver—he looks pleased— and ask him about his own experiences in British Columbia.
18-year-old kid, it’s paradise. I couldn’t get enough of it.” It was at that age that YC started traveling north each summer to climb in the Bugaboos and the Selkirks. It wasn’t until later, he explains, that he got into steelhead fishing. He asks if I know B.C. has the best steelhead fishing in the world. Well, they did, he claims, even 40 years ago, and they still do today.
He shrugs his shoulders and says, “Well, I don’t know, I pretty much just fish up there and that’s all.” Since I know that’s not all, I wait. Besides, I have an hour with him, not just one measly minute. He shifts a couple of times in his seat, looks everywhere but at me, sighs, and begins.
“It blows my mind,” he says with wonder. “Most importantly, there are still really wild places up there. There’s no wilderness left in the Lower 48 anymore,” he laments. Disgust creeps into his tone as he continues: “Down here, wild is a word that’s been watered down to mean nothing. I realized a while back that the wildest place is on the Upper Snake River, and it’s only 21 miles from the road.” He shakes his head: “You can walk 21 miles in a day!”
On Paradise and Wilderness “Gee whiz, British Columbia has everything. Absolutely everything that I love, anyway. It has dry areas, rivers, mountains and a coastline like nowhere else in the world except for maybe New Zealand. For an
I ask him about surfing in Canada and he lets out a classic YC harrumph. “Have you felt the water up there? It’s absolutely freezing!” We quickly abandon the topic because, as he says, those waves are really quite good and actually kind of secret.
“You’re right?” YC nodded, and the stranger immediately followed up with “You give a bunch of money to right?”
On Victory YC often talks of his friend Bruce Hill from northern B.C. I didn’t know how they’d met, so I ask. Immediately a huge grin spreads across his face. He leans back, rests both hands behind his balding head and recounts their first interaction. He was fly fishing with his son, Fletcher, on the Bulkley River.
That interaction started many years of fishing with Bruce, and it also helped save the unspoiled Kitlope. The photographs went all around the world, starting the battle that squashed the clearcutting and eventually led to the area’s preservation. “We killed it,” YC exclaims to me, still completely pleased as punch. On Legends “I think the First Nations legends are more true than we’d assume. They’re real and we should respect them. There’s a power there,” he muses. Of course, his favourite legend had to do with catching seafood.
As they were getting out of the water, a “big logger looking guy” marched right up to them—beard, suspenders and all. The logger asked “You’re Yvon Chouinard, right?” YC nodded, and the stranger immediately followed up with “You give a bunch of money to environmental organizations, right?”
A few Haisla fishermen had told YC that their grandmother said if they wanted to catch abalone, they needed to shoot a seal, skin it and drape the pelt over a rock, inside out with the fatty part exposed. Leave it there for a couple of days, she said, and when you return there will be abalone.
YC laughs across the table at me and says, “So, I’m standing there in my waders, scared shitless and looking for a place to run, but then the guy asks me how I’d like to save the largest uncut temperate rainforest in the world!”
“So, I guess they tried it,” he says. But then a storm came up, and they couldn’t get back to the spot for a few weeks. Finally, when they returned to the seal pelt, there were four feet of abalone piled on top. When he finishes the story, YC pauses and looks like he’s making a mental note to himself. “Yeah, someday I need to try that.”
There were plans to clearcut the Kitlope Valley, and Bruce wanted to take aerial photographs of the area to elevate the issue to international eyes. He needed cash to hire a helicopter, and YC trusted him. “Does the copter take credit cards?”
YC and Fred Beckey. Photo: Jeff Johnson
Photo: Patagonia Archives 21
On Louis L’Amour Novels Since I’d let him talk about fishing for half an hour, I gently nudge him in a new direction. “Didn’t you make a big first ascent up there?” My apparent ignorance stops him short. He chuckles and states quite simply: “Danielle, I had many first ascents. Fred Beckey and I, we weren’t there to climb seconds.”
a curse to be too beautiful. I mean, how many beautiful people do you know that can handle it?” He answers his own question: “They can’t, and they get to be all a mess.” He explains to me that B.C. is a resource intensive economy, which is like being too beautiful. When you have too many resources, you become a mess. “You should see a map of the potential mines in B.C., there are thousands and thousands of dots. The province has every resource there is, and by God, they’re going to take it all. It’s a really, really sad deal.”
Fred was YC’s dirtbagging mentor. In YC’s words: “Here’s Fred. We’d go into a café and he’d grab all of the creamers, ketchup, crackers and napkins, then we’d go in and do the climb.”
YC isn’t known for his optimism, but the turn in the conversation brings me up short. I don’t say anything. But then a quiet chuckle offers relief. “In fact, I think Harper’s government looks at
One time, when they were on the South Howser Tower in the Bugaboos, they got caught in a storm with nothing to do. Luckily, Fred had brought a Louis L’Amour novel—but whenever he finished a page, he’d tear it off and let it float around the bivouac, rendering the book unreadable. “It would drive me crazy,” YC says, “because I’d be lying there bored and wouldn’t be able to read the book.” I laugh, and the story gets better. Fred would take the pages, crumple them up and stuff the liner of his 25-cent sport coat for insulation. In the morning, he’d burn the whole thing and heat up some tea.
I love B.C., and I want
to preserve what’s wild. That’s why I’m in business.” me as an eco-terrorist, because I keep pouring money into groups they don’t like. I love B.C., and I want to preserve what’s wild. That’s why I’m in business.” For some reason, I don’t think YC’s spending habits are going to change. On Chinese Food As I’m standing up to leave, he asks me if I’ve had Chinese food in Vancouver. No, I say, I haven’t yet, to which he replies, “Well, it’s the best Chinese food outside of China. It’s unbelievable.” Of course it is, I think to myself. And I realize there’s been a theme in our conversation: B.C. not only has everything, but it also has, quite possibly, the best of everything. The fishing will blow your mind; the coastline is incomparable; its mountains rival the Alps. And the dim sum—it can’t be beat.
“Now that’s a real dirtbag,” YC concludes. When I ask him why the fascination with the Bugaboos, he just shrugs his shoulders and says, “With all the granite and glaciers, they’re the most beautiful range you can imagine. It’s as simple as that.” On Being Too Pretty I mention the pipelines to YC, and he immediately gets serious and sighs. “I think it’s
PHOTOS BY ADRIENNE COMEAU
in your hands. I N C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H A P R I L V O K E Y
The rivers of the Lower Mainland served as April Vokey’s introduction to the art of fly angling. It wasn’t long until it became her life’s work. In 2007, she founded Fly Gal Ventures, a guiding and instructional company; today, as a Patagonia ambassador, she guides, teaches, writes and speaks out in defense of the fish and rivers she loves so much. And, of course, she still gets after flashing steelhead as much as she can.
remember when women in the sport were sparse,
or at least it felt that way. Social media sure has seemed to put a spin on that.” How did you find your way to fly fishing? Like most people, I began with a worm and bobber alongside my parents and family friends. As I grew older, I started to save my allowance for gear to fill my tackle box. It was only inevitable that by the time I was in my teens I’d caught enough fish that I was ready for the next step. For me, that next step was fly fishing.
sure as hell wouldn’t have called it Fly Gal back then. C’est la vie. And have you also seen changes in the fish and rivers themselves? Being 31, I’m in the core of a shifted baseline, so I can’t really comment on a changing fish population. As long as I’ve known it, it’s always ebbed and flowed. What I have seen, though, is an abundance of people who are much more aware and willing to fight the companies that threaten our resources. The Internet—cursed as it might be at times to the outdoor world— has given us a sense of community to work together to make a difference. It’s strength in numbers at its finest.
And what attracted you to it over bait fishing? I’ve always appreciated a good challenge in all aspects of my life, and fly fishing is one of those sports where there’s always more to master. I suppose I could’ve continued to learn more about where fish live by fishing bait, but fly fishing keeps me focused on fish behaviour, fly casting, fly tying and finicky presentations.
To people outside the community, it can seem a bit confusing that fishing and conservation go hand in hand. You bet. People can be confused by someone like me who fishes and ‘hurts’ fish. They don’t necessarily understand how we can possibly be concerned about the environment beyond our own selfish desires to catch fish. The truth is that most anglers love everything about being outside—mountains, birds, bears, air, waterways, plants, trees. Physically holding Mother Nature in your hands can be one of the best ways to fall in love with her. I know that for me, by catching and releasing, it gives me a connection and respect that is unparalleled with any other. Some of the most active and passionate people I’ve seen fighting for what’s right are anglers. We need more people to have such a bond with our rivers and oceans, beyond what they see in photographs. After all, if they don’t know how extraordinary what we have here is, how can we expect them to care enough to devote a major part of their lives to it?
You’ve said that by 16 you were trying to escape whenever you could to get out fishing. Well, growing up in Surrey, at that age many of the people around me just wanted to skate, snowboard, fight, smoke and sell drugs. I was desperate to get away from it all and fishing did that for me. It let me be alone in my head to develop strength and independence that I couldn’t while surrounded by most of the people in my circle. Fishing in general is still a fairly maledominated culture. With Fly Gal, have you seen that starting to change? No question. I remember when women in the sport were sparse, or at least it felt that way. Social media sure has seemed to put a spin on that. I think we’re seeing it all in sports, though. Gender has no place in fly fishing—truthfully, if I’d known my company was actually going to succeed, I
Like all things worth learning, you should
enjoy the days when it all seems to be a mystery.
What are some simple things you think people here in B.C. can do to encourage healthy rivers? That’s a tough question, and we’d need so much more space to answer it properly. But to start, take the time to become educated on current projects being proposed. One example is the LNG proposals up north at the moment. Some people are indifferent because when they think of northern B.C., they associate it with being a world away from Vancouver. But this is our province, all of it, regardless of how far away it is, and we should be proud of it. Some people are hell-bent on industry and job opportunities—I get that, but when I ask them about the numbers or hard facts on how many jobs such a project will provide the province when compared with the number of jobs it’s endangering, or just the sheer impact, what I receive is silence or a mutter that I drive cars and take airplanes. So they often miss the point entirely. A little reading goes a long way these days, and many of these problems could be fixed if people would just take the time to read about something they have the power to change.
hopeless. But these days we have YouTube and forums, and it’s never been so easy to tap into a foundation of knowledge. Like all things worth learning, you should enjoy the days when it all seems to be a mystery. Those days are special and everything is mystical, magical and exciting. And there’s no strength involved in fly fishing—it’s all finesse and rhythm. The only intimidating aspect of the sport, in my opinion, is just the time it takes to build comprehension. Who are the fisherpeople who have inspired you the most? When I was younger, my first fishing buddy was a man named Dave Puffer. I met him when I was alone and clueless, trying desperately to hook into a salmon. After running into him several times, I finally agreed to fish with him one day. He wasn’t a fly fisherman, but he was certainly my mentor when it came to reading water and figuring out the local rivers. He also taught me not to judge anglers who fish only bait. Other inspiration came from books and various fishing buddies throughout the years. For you, what’s a perfect day of fishing? Sleeping in without any worries, a cup of coffee with Carolans, bushwhacking with my dog Colby, hoping for some adventure and finding an uninterrupted run of holding steelhead that are looking up for a dry fly. And that’s about it.
Fishing can be an intimidating thing to get into. There’s so much to learn, and as you said, master. What are the key things for people to remember as they’re beginning? I remember my first year of fly fishing. I was
You can follow April at flygal.ca, facebook.com/Fly-Gal-Adventures and instagram.com/aprilvokey. 28
The Town You Know
BY MIKE BERARD
P H O T O S B Y R YA N C R E A R Y
I once lived in paradise. You know the town of which I speak. It is synonymous with glaciers and deep snow and rowdy nightlife and professional skiers and endless festivals celebrating all that exists in the mountain culture diaspora. Frozen lakes dot the landscape. A pedestrian village winds through a never-ending selection of raucous pubs, familiar hotel chains, elegant restaurants, and nightclubs pulsating with EDM vibrations. Above all of this, a mere five-minute chairlift ride away, the mountains sit under a blanket of some of the planetâ€™s most dependable, plentiful and stable snow.
From across the globe, skiers and snowboarders gravitate towards this youthful utopia and #humblebrag their way to the top of their friends’ Facebook feeds. Instantly recognizable landmarks dot the background of their Instagram photos. Their Vine videos capture chairlift smiles and minigolf cliff drops to whiteout landings. They walk amongst sponsored mountain gods in lift lineups scattered amongst a seemingly endless sea of alpine peaks. A spectrum of languages and dialects ring out, reminding these visitors they are where they should be. German, French, Kiwi, Mandarin, Aussie, Slovene…the cacophony is empowering, uplifting, energetic. And the skiing? Well, the skiing is why everyone comes.
can score a sweet snap-button cowboy shirt from the funky used clothing store. And you can get a used snowboard from the buy-andsell section of the community corkboard in that same store. The mountain is 30 minutes away. It gets wetter-than-preferable coastal snow. The wind can be brutal. The tempestuous storms that rattle out of the Pacific Ocean leave
The trees here sag under weight of the heavy snowfall forming snow that stand at lazy attention on the horizon.
In these mountains—alongside millions of others—I’ve dug deep into bottomless coastal snowpack. I’ve skied beneath the towering timbers that only exist thanks to an endless deluge of Pacific precipitation. Here the moisture is your friend. When it blows sheets of rain sideways through the concrete streets of Vancouver it is absolutely puking here. When umbrellas fold out on themselves along Robson St. hardcore locals are pulling Gore-Tex hoods over their toques and pushing off into deep, dark woods full of white treasures. You know this town. It is the one you think it is. It is paradise.
I left this town behind. behind thick coats of rime as they continue on to gift other mountains with lighter and lighter snow until they finally lose power somewhere over the foothills of Alberta. The trees here sag under weight of the heavy snowfall locals still insist on calling “powder,” forming snow ghosts that stand at lazy attention on the horizon. When the sun comes out—and it rarely does—the full glory of the Strait of Georgia stretches below you. The runs are short. The lifts are empty. It seldom quits snowing.
I moved to another town. One you have probably never heard of. It has a main street in the way that old towns in movies featuring gunfights have a main street. One street where everything you need is situated. There is no zipline. You cannot buy a smiling plastic polar bear in a snowball with the name of this town etched into the base. You can buy a bottle of beer for $3.75. You can purchase a steak from an actual butcher. You can ride stunning singletrack 49 out of 52 weeks. You
There is no scene here beyond the off-duty lifties who form most of the sparse weekday crowd. Accents are hard to come by, despite an international airport less than 40 minutes away.
another’s experience, but I can say this with confidence—wherever you are, right now, is where you need to be. Everything you wish to be, or to become, does not require travel. Chamonix. Bali. Åre. Jackson Hole. Kauai. Bishop. Hokkaido. There is no one place we must be in order to live the lives we seek. Like many who dream of relocating to the iconic destination resorts marketed to us, I used to believe the place I was in mattered more than what I did with my time there. I believed geographic location was the key to my growth as a skier, rider, human. I now know this is wrong.
On a Tuesday morning in January you can ski knee-deep snow all morning long right off the lift and, here’s the catch, you can do it without rushing. There is no race to be run. No war to be waged. Elbows here are as soft as the blind landings. A 15-minute skin trail leads to legitimately cat-skiing quality
“Gus Kenworthy made a park edit here.” “Darcy Sharpe almost went to Sochi.” “Mike Douglas grew up skiing West Basin.”
The beauty and adventure we seek is in every town. You just need to know where to look. The details are woven into the haul rope of Mount Cain’s humble t-bars. It’s the preseason lactic acid burn of Squamish’s Chief. It’s seen in the backlit, fat flakes that collide with your lens during weeknight, post-work shreds at Cypress. It’s arriving at Shames and realizing the tiny ski hill is but a mere sliver of what’s available in Terrace. It’s chair five at Baker. It’s the cell phone dead zone of Hemlock Valley, where the only technology you need is three empty chairlifts. It’s the earned flavour of Mile One burgers and chilled brown bottles of beer after a long day of touring Joffre. The utter silence of walking through a Sun Peaks evening. The thrilling poach of a Whistler hotel hot tub. There are backcountry areas you’ve never heard of. More cabins than you can ever sleep in. There is snow on Haida Gwaii…somewhere. Go ski it. The sensations we seek exist in all these places and beyond, even in the tiny towns you have not heard of yet.
When asked where those people ride now, the answer is always that other town. Since I left I’ve been questioned why. My answers are my own, so they’re of little relevance to
So go out there and find it. More importantly though, just go outside. Look at it with fresh eyes. Go get to know your town. It just may be the paradise you’re looking for.
The beauty and adventure we seek is in every town. You just need to know where to .
tree runs. It stays fresh until last chair. No one is here to be seen. There are no pros. The small-mountain insecurity that arises because of this can be heard in lift-ride namedropping.
INTO THE RAIN INTO THE WIND
BY DA N M A L LOY P H OTOS BY J E R E MY KO R E S K I
In which a Californian joins two Canadians for a winter surf exploration on B.C.â€™s Central Coast. Slabs await, but so do torrential rains and storm force winds.
Finding empty surf isn’ t as warm as it used to be. At the request of our captain, I pulled the foul weather suit over my 5mm wetsuit and threw my gear over the gunwale of his 19-foot aluminum skiff. The boat felt small for the wind conditions, but Peter Devries didn’t seem worried, so I kept my trap shut.
slabby coastline around the bend. The rain started in, and dusk was looming. While the captain studied his soaking laminated chart for a safe anchorage—it was his first time to this stretch of coast too—we scanned for uncharted boils that might result in a mangled prop. Anchorages A, B, C and D proved dicey, so it was with much angst and appreciation when Anchorage E seemed safe enough to enter as darkness surrounded us.
In California, weather like this means our boat stays tied up in the harbour. But we weren’t in California, and it had been clear from the outset that I’d get a proper schooling. As we left the dock I found a place to sit, leaning against the helm atop my dry bag. We approached the open ocean, with the wind blowing 40 knots with 50- to 60-knot gusts. I waited for what seemed to be an imminent about-face, but the captain’s aim stayed true and north for a stretch of fabled
By the time we’d beached the boat and rallied our gear above the high tide line, it was raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock. I figured we’d hunker down and pray for a respite, but right away Pete trudged towards the rainforest yelling behind him, “Let’s set up camp.” I simply had never had to set up camp in the pouring rain.
For those few days, rest and dryness
weren’t really a thing. Both dawn and dusk were spent stumbling around on cobblestones and driftwood looking for dry wood to burn. Making fires provided us with warmth and hot food. And most importantly, it gave us something to keep our minds from focusing on how cold and wet we were. But there’s no such thing as dry wood up there. Even with a Fire Log to get the fire going, it took over an hour to feel confident in turning your back without feeling like it was about to die.
learn the lineups quickly, scanning every boil and pinch hoping for little clues that might help us pick a winner. That kind of heavy surf with thick wetsuits has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, when you hit the bottom it doesn’t hurt as bad and it’s much harder to break skin. Also, when I get hammered while wearing a hood it’s very dark and dreamlike, which keeps my heart rate down and makes me feel relaxed. But on the other hand, trying to get over the ledge with a 5mm suit and then stick the drop with enough rail in the water to find a good line is definitely a little tricky in 7mm boots.
The surf was...rugged. I don’t really know how else to put it. Deep water surging onto shallow slabs that would detonate in front of the rocks. Pete and I were doing our best to
CONNECTION & ReCONNECTION A S H O R T C H AT W I T H D A R C Y T U R E N N E
arcy Turenne isn’t one to shy from challenging terrain, whether literal or metaphorical. Her upbringing on Vancouver Island’s backwoods trails led to a successful professional mountain bike career; now based in Squamish, she’s turning to a new life as a filmmaker.
Documentary trips for Patagonia Provisions have taken her to Alaska, Mongolia and South Dakota; her latest project, The Little Things, is a snowboard film about inspiring environmental change, with all proceeds going to Protect Our Winters and the David Suzuki Foundation.
Photo: Danielle Baker 41
See more of Darcy Turenne’s work at hellodarcy.com
ALASKA Alaska is a wild place in all senses and I had no idea what to expect. When we pulled up in our rented Yukon with a smashed windshield, there were about 20 dilapidated shacks lining the beach and almost nobody around. We found a beach fire, introduced ourselves to two of the local fish counters and tried to make sense of what was going on and how the fish were caught. Then, suddenly, six small boats pulled up onto the beach with giant coolers overflowing with the most beautiful salmon I’d ever seen. In a state of fury and precision, what seemed like thousands of fish were thrown into coolers on the beach and taken back to town to get processed. Within 10 minutes, the boats were gone again and the beach was silent. It was really intense and beautiful. Later in the day, two of the younger fishermen took me out and let me film them pulling nets. By the end I was covered in salt, kelp and blood.
STARTING OUT I had no idea I wanted to be a filmmaker until I was eyeballs deep doing it. I got pretty badly injured mountain biking, and long story short, I enrolled to do a Master’s in International Communication. For a thesis project, I asked if I could make a documentary instead of a paper. They said yes, and suddenly I became a filmmaker. (Laughs.) COMMITMENT The influence sport has had on my work is in not being afraid to take a leap of faith and commit to something that seems unattainable. If you’re mountain biking and hesitate or don’t fully commit to a jump, you’re probably going to come up short and get hurt. I carry that mentality over to film and always try to commit to one element that scares me a little bit. Sometimes it comes out great, other times it can fall flat. But those failures all contribute to growth. THE LITTLE THINGS The Little Things made me really appreciate my connection with the outdoors. It made me tread lighter in the mountains and slow down in my surroundings. Often when ski and snowboard films are shot, it’s all about moving as fast as possible with a lot of gear, but I made a conscious decision to do almost everything on foot. Like Jeremy Jones says in the movie, it’s all about stewardship—we only fight to protect what we love—and reconnecting people to nature is the only way we’re going to get people to care about environmental issues. Moving slowly is a great way to connect deeper.
MONGOLIA Mongolia has this intangible, inexplicable awesomeness that I still can’t fully figure out. It’s vast beyond anything I’ve experienced. One evening after shooting I went to the river to swim. Well, bathe. As I was soaking in the sunset a pack of wild horses ran by on the other side of the river. They crossed, one by one, and ran away into the sunset. To say it was surreal is cliché, but it was as close to surreal as it gets. I was expecting an armouradorned Genghis Khan warrior on horseback to come galloping up next.
Nusiâ€™s Bear 43
Ian Nusi Reid
“IT’S A TRUE SIGN AND SYMBOL OF HOW WE ARE ALL CONNECTED.” Ian Reid is a Heiltsuk artist and cultural leader, born in Bella Bella where he continues to live.
Also known by his ancestral name Nusi, or Full Moon, Ian describes his art as inspired by the cultural knowledge of his elders and mentors—among them the late Heiltsuk artist David Gladstone, the late Cyril Carpenter and Kwakwaka’wakw artist Simon Dick. His work has included masks, panels, mixed media bentwood boxes, acrylics, ceremonial regalia and a 37-foot cedar canoe.
Ian’s commitment to the containing relevancy and vitality of Heiltsuk art is evident in his own creations—but perhaps even more so in how he passes on tradition to young Heiltsuk and urban aboriginal artists. “This bear design symbolizes the Great Bear Rainforest. It’s a true sign and symbol of how we are all connected—the ocean evaporates into the clouds, the clouds move to the mountains and then drop down to run in the rivers back to the ocean. The bear takes the salmon, and then the remains feed the great trees. That in itself has its circle of life.”
“I’m currently working on a lot of items for a potlatch my family will be hosting in 2015,” he says. “My major project for it is a mortuary pole for my great uncle.”
“ORGANIZED CHAOS DANCING WITH TAO.” That’s how Luke Ramsey describes his work. He’s been drawing since he was a kid, but it wasn’t until a spell in Taiwan in 2003 that he found his way to art as a profession.
“I was fascinated with the abundance of cartoons and graphic art everywhere,” he says, “and it helped me see the possibilities in how drawing is applied beyond pen and paper. It just seemed natural to pursue something I knew and enjoyed so much.”
After living on Pender Island for nine years, Luke and his wife recently moved to the Sunshine Coast. “I really enjoy the semi-remote lifestyle close to nature, and having the mountains and lakes so close to the ocean.”
See more of Lukeâ€™s work at lukeramseystudio.com.
Resident Surfer 46
See more at artandantler.net.
Moonlight Raven 47
Leah Pipe & Cash Bo Smith
“ RAVEN STOLE THE LIGHT AND CREATED THE MOON AND STARS.” The Moonlight Raven graphic is a collaborative work by two artists from northwest British Columbia, Leah Pipe and Cash Bo Smith.
The owner of a small boutique studio called Art + Antler, Leah is a fourth-generation resident of the Hazeltons in the heart of Gitxsan Territory. Drawing inspiration from “the rich aboriginal culture, the vast mountainscapes and the open, pristine watersheds,” her deep love for the north is the animating force in her finely detailed prints.
his teachers encouraged him to pursue his gift, and the opportunity came when he returned to Hazelton, the place of his birth. The historic village of Gisgega’as, or Place of the Raven, is the home of his Gitxsan grandmothers and grandfathers. “Raven stole the light and created the moon and stars. The world became illuminated and forever changed. As Raven flies to the horizon, the Moon shines its light on Raven to reveal its spirit within, capturing its true nature and origins in its skyward wing.”
Cash’s traditional Gitxsan name is Git Wil Tim Gibuu, or Warrior Wolf. Throughout his childhood, he would create intricate drawings of people, animals and objects;
Morden putting some protos to the test. Photo: Andrew Marshall
The gear that keeps us warm and stoked in the outdoors has a strong Vancouver connection. Glen Morden, Patagonia’s Manager of Technical Design, was trained in the Industrial Design program at Emily Carr; two other key members of Patagonia’s technical team, Christian Regester and Vic Kang, are also Emily Carr grads. We asked Glen for a few thoughts on how his Vancouver schooling has influenced his career.
Catherine Brown, and they taught how to sew, build and think through different applications. For me specifically, that was a key turning point in my life to realize I could make packs and outdoor gear as a profession. And to be exposed to that within a demanding industrial context was even better.
Gord and Catherine really emphasized that one of the fundamentals of design is getting out and testing gear. That’s always stuck with me—it’s absolutely compulsory that you test your ideas. And that’s definitely something that B.C. offers—everything is right there. You can be hiking on the North Shore, skiing in the mountains, kiting in Squamish, surfing on the Island. The weather is pretty adverse, which really forces you to prove your gear, and having access to so much wilderness is incredible—you can get out there and try everything you’re working on. And there’s also such a phenomenal community of people in the Sea to Sky dedicated to four-season sports. For Patagonia’s technical products, B.C. is a really inspirational place. And I think it always will be.
The applied side of the creative process is super important—especially at Patagonia with how functionally driven our gear is and how our philosophy is so focused on need. Emily Carr really set us up well for that, putting us in that headspace where you’re looking for end use and having that drive your design. Functionality and multi-functionality are really important to us, and that’s what you’re taught in classic industrial design. So going to school there was a really strong foundation. A defining moment for our industry was that Emily Carr started offering a course in backpack product design. It was led by Gord Rose and 49
created & edited by Malcolm Johnson & Jeremy Koreski with design & art direction by Joe Andrus / joeandrusdesign.com and contributions from Danielle Baker, Mike Berard, Adrienne Comeau, Ryan Creary, Zack Embree, Peter Giannoccaro, Bill Hawley, Simon Hayter, Brian Huntington, Jeff Johnson, Dan Malloy, Andrew Marshall, Alana Paterson many thanks to Craig Bauer, Barry Blanchard, Sarah Davies-Long, John Dutton, Danielle Egge, Britney Gill, Kira Hoffman, Joy Howard, Bellavita Koreski, Joy Lewis, Lisa Myers, Karla Olson, Jennifer Savory, Jane Sievert, Jenning Steger, Strick Walker and the Chouinard family.
Patagonia Vancouver 1994 West 4th Ave. Vancouver, B.C. patagonia.com instagram: @patagoniavancouver Printed by Hemlock Printers in Burnaby, B.C. 100% Post-Consumer Recycled, Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
cover photo by Jeremy Koreski