Photos Blind Pilot Cappadocia Slacklining Gear Reviews Summer Skiing Pebble Mine / Bristol Bay Kayaking For Mere Humans
Change, allegedly the only constant, is good. Summer is changing to fall, fall to winter. The air is changing, growing colder and crisper, drawing us away from beaches and swimming and into mountains and snow. Leaves change color then fade away, reabsorbed from swirling dervishes on windswept streets back into the earth, to begin the process of being born again in spring. Change keeps us fresh, staves off boredom and complacency, engages us and keeps the mind nimble. We have a few changes up our sleeves. First, with this issue we’ve added music coverage, something we’ll be expanding on as things move forward. We’ve also had some changes in our staff, adding a sales person and deciding to focus more on freelance submissions than having everything written/photographed by just a couple of people. This will create a greater diversity in coverage, and give our readership (that’s you) a voice in the mag, something that’s important to us. We’ve broadened our commitment to, and coverage of, conservation groups/efforts. Let’s face it, without the passion and hard work of the myriad nonprofits out there fighting for access, restoration and protection the amount of outdoors in which to have a lifestyle would greatly diminish – faster than it is already. As we grow and figure out this whole “having a magazine” thing, there will no doubt be more changes and tweaks to be made. “Outdoor lifestyle” is a broad term; coupled with a healthy dose of curiosity and the attention span of a caffeinated gerbil, there’s no telling what may pop up in these pages. We love seeing your submissions. That we managed to spur so many folks into taking a moment from their day and typing us an email with our very first issue had been encouraging and inspiring – never hesitate to drop us a line (even if you’re telling us off – we can take it!). We’ll know we’re succeeding as a mag when every one of our readers feels the same sense of ownership over the contents that we do. Last but not least, we’ve started a Facebook page (Facebook.com/highlyacclaimed) and urge you to check it out. We’ll be having all manner of contests and other fun stuff running through there, and wouldn’t want to leave you behind! Without further ado, I give you The Highly Acclaimed, issue two. Read it, then get out there and do something! On the cover: Dave Wiegand gets some August snow at Alta, Utah. This page: A snowy egret takes flight . Photos James Joiner
The Highly Acclaimed
The real gold mine is already here. Tell the EPA to keep Bristol Bayâ€™s watershed just like it is. Act today to stop the Pebble Mine.
Vol. 1 Issue 2 Sept / Oct 2011 J. James Joiner firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor / Stress Case Patricia Pronovost email@example.com Copy Editor / Moral Compass Angela Schwarz firstname.lastname@example.org Business Manager / Queen Bee
photo: Corey Arnold â€˘ www.coreyfishes.com
Shauna Forte email@example.com Sales / Bacon Bringer
Contributing Writers: Sam Snyder, Louis Arevalo, Cindy Joiner, Chris Korkoda, Bennett Barthelemy, James Cruikshank Contributing Photographers James Cruikshank, Bennett Barthelemy, Jared Alden, Matt Peterson, Willie Huang, Bob Waldrop, Gray Struznik, Maureen Eversgerd, Lisa Seaman
The Highly Acclaimed is published bi-monthly in the USA at an FSC certified printer. We cherish our environement and encourage you to as well. Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertising is (strongly) encouraged & information is available by emailing email@example.com
2. Orvis’ Helios ZG Ion 5 weight: Venerable fly fishing manufacturer Orvis’s Ion 5 weight is the newest rendition of their Far & We dug these past Fine series, which originated in their line as two months. a bamboo rod back when your parents were kids. Now embracing available technology – 1. Guayaki Yerba Maté: Yerba Maté is the we’ll spare you the jargon – this ultra-light official drink of several South American stream rod can be a fun Jack-of-all-trades, countries, and after drinking you’ll know bobbing nymphs a few feet away and tossing why. All the caffeine of coffee, plus a load of larger flies at the pools on the far side. I’ve antioxidants. Can be drunk from a cup or cast 50-plus feet seeking bass with Wooly in the traditional fashion of passing a gourd between friends. Kind of like in college, only, Buggers and dabbed midges... The perfect rod? Maybe. you know, different. 3. The People’s Pint in Greenfield, MA: Funky ambience, their own brews (we recommend the Farmer Brown, which reminded us of long time fave Big Sky Brewing’s Moose Drool), locally sourced meats –
including delectable house-made sausage – and friendly, hip-without-being-hipster staff. Also within quick driving to incredible biking, hiking, trout fishing and more. www.ThePeoplesPint.com. 4. Crisp mornings: Summer’s great and all, gotta love those lazy hazy days, but there’s a magic in the crispness that starts to peek in on late August mornings in New England. You know the trees are about to erupt into color, everything smells fresh and hot coffee tastes so much better. 5. Bands and venues with free shows: “Langhorne Slim & the Law” and “Sassparilla” raged at the free Americana Music Fest at the Grand Lodge in Portland, OR. More $ to buy music directly from the artists and local craft beer at the events! 6. Kahtoola steel crampons are not uberaggressive but are light, adjustable and great for mixing it up on long snow slogs to 35 degrees and on mixed rock. Perfect for a “gumby” like me to make attempts and feel confident on a new landscape of big peaks. Batting two-for-four now in the Cascades! A
small Flagstaff, AZ-based company with an uber-solid design team. 7. Columbia Gorge Kayak School in Hood River OR: Not only do they manage to take complete novices and chuck them into class 2 and even class 3 rapids, but the owner and lead instructor are top-notch teachers allowing the most hydrophobic clients (me) to have fun. They both are world-class boaters and it’s not every sport that allows the opportunity to learn from some of the best at really reasonable rates . 8. Selk’bag and Rodrigo Alonso Shcramm: He designed a functional and utilitarian
apparel item, the wearable, walkable sleeping bag, allowing me to have the best photo shoot ever. More laughs and shocked looks from the hordes of families playing at the Oregon dunes as we ran and rolled around the dunes and shared the bag with amazed passers by. It made everyone happy! 9.The zombie stroll: So there we are, eating a post-trade show gelato in downtown Salt Lake City, and I notice the fellow at the counter is bleeding. A lot. From a variety of places. Alarmed – even more so when I notice that no one else seems to be – I eventually get a grip and take note of the throngs of folks dressed like zombies shambling past the window, arms akimbo and emitting a variety of low groaning sounds. After making sure I wasn’t about to be involuntarily cast into the zombie apocalypse (don’t laugh, it could happen!) my heart rate slowed to normal and all was well. At least until one of ’em eats my arm.
10.Moose Drool. It’s the king out West, and you can’t get it back East.Those who know, know. `Nuff said. 11. Happy hippies. There’s too much angst in the world. Photo J. James Joiner
SUMMIT FOR SOMEONE
JOIN US AND CLIMB THE PEAK OF YOUR DREAMS!
This is the year to live your dreams while making a difference. Your Summit for Someone climb instills critical life skills in under-served urban youth through Big City Mountaineers wilderness mentoring expeditions... A defining moment in your life and theirs. Beginner or advanced, take your pick of 11 epic peaks, a professionally guided climb, and a mountain of free gear from our sponsors. Top climbs include: •
Learn more about BCM at bigcitymountaineers.org SFS climbs are conducted by AMGA certified guides with permits and approval of their respective land management agencies. ©2011 BCM. All rights reserved. Summit for SomeoneTM is a fundraising program owned by and to benefit Big City Mountaineers.
Tioman Island Expedition Objective: A first ascent climb on the Dragon’s Horns on Tioman Island as a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers/Summit for Someone campaign. Climbers: Cedar Wright – North Face Athlete, a man who needs no introduction… Is convinced he is great grandson of the famous Wright Brothers. Lucho Rivera – Long time friend of Cedar’s who found climbing through a program much like Summit for Someone. Where? Tioman is the biggest of 64 islands in a volcanic chain just off Malaysia, 45 minutes by air from Singapore with tons of first ascent potential. The local folklore claims the island is the legendary form of a dragon princess who transformed herself into the island as a final resting place. The southern end sports twin granite towers some 1500 feet in height known as the Dragon’s Horns. Tioman is reportedly filled with numerous other climbing objectives on slabs and cliffs rising from the sea and the jungle, along with armies of voracious biting ants, giant black squirrels, giant red flying squirrels, binturongs, massive monitor lizards, macaques, slow loris and the Tioman walking catfish… Not to mention 25 species of snakes including king cobras (not the malt variety). Tioman is also notorious for insanely fierce and ubiquitous thunderstorms – though with more mosquitoes than Glacier Bay in September. I think the intrepid climbers will feel much happier up on the wall in the 90º heat and 95% humidity... When: Jet to Singapore, bus to the coast, then a boat. Finally, they will measure progress by inches as they employ machetes and flamethrowers to reach the base of the wall (kidding on that last part). The climbing window is last two weeks of October --right at the edge of the beginning of the wet season. How: Please donate to Big City Mountaineers: www.summitforsomeone.org/main.php?page=4&climber=8058 so you too can be a part of Cedar and Lucho’s crazy adventure! That way their once in a lifetime trip will translate into many kids having wonderful experiences outside the city! *The North Face is generously donating $4000 to match the first $4000 donated.* Every $250 to the BCM sponsors a day of outdoor activities for five teens… CW and LR will be documenting with photo/video/words so you can safely and vicariously enjoy in their fabulous quest to help keep kids from suffering wilderness deficit disorder. Thank you! (Don’t forget to check our blog for updates and January 15’s issue for the whole adventure!)
What’s at stake in Bristol Bay : Fertile salmon waters imperiled by Pebble Mine
“So far the salmon still come.They come to a respectful people, a protective people, conditioned by ten thousand years to count on them . . . So long as the rivers flow clean from the snows, so long as the lakes are clean, the river gravels are clean and the rivers are unobstructed, the ten thousand year trust can be honored for as far into the future as the human mind can reach” (Roderick Haig-Brown,The Salmon, 1974: 33). By Samuel Snyder, Ph.D. The Bristol Bay watershed is a place of dreams. Water, water everywhere -- caribou, moose, some of the largest brown bears in the world and amazing pulses of piscatorial life.
For the fly fisher, trophy rainbow trout swim the famed waters of the Nushagak, Kvichack, Koktuli Upper Talarik Creek, their tributaries, and countless other streams flowing down toward Bristol Bay, the lifeblood of Pacific salmon fisheries. These trout stalk the eggs and smolt of all five species of pacific
salmon. These salmon also haunt the minds of avid fly fishers who dream of the tug of a Chinook or Coho at the end of their swing. Over generations we’ve watched salmon ecosystem after salmon ecosystem plummet and die around the Northern Hemisphere, yet Bristol Bay’s waters still teem with salmon runs as strong as they have ever been. With annual returns averaging 30-40 million, Bristol Bay’s rivers provide the genetic portfolio for ecological resilience, economic support and cultural livelihood. In such places, scientists argue that the sheer genetic diversity from stream to stream between separate populations of salmon create an inherent stability in the system – a stability threatened by North America’s largest open-pit copper and gold mine: Pebble Mine. This massive mine has brought the attention of concerned anglers from around the world, many of whom has never, or may never, fish in Bristol Bay, yet they understand the importance of such places for even the imaginations of their angling brethren.The fly fishing crowd, however, is hardly the only set of groups concerned with protecting BristolBay. A close look at the waters of resistance
mine are too many to list: More than 10 billion tons of waste; the potential for tailings dam failure in a seismically active region of Alaska; the detrimental impacts of copper on migrating and spawning salmon; the loss of habitat with the development of roads, pipelines and industry – the impact may be devastatingly severe. Yet, all one needs to know is that the list of reasons to protect Bristol Bay are equally infinite. The diversity of the coalition fighting for the future of Bristol Bay is a testament to the importance of the region. If you, too, are concerned with the fate and future of these waters, join your voice to the chorus of concerns and take a moment to write the EPA or elected officials, and let them know why Bristol Bay must be protected from large scale mining. http://takeaction.savebristolbay.org
reveals a uniquely diverse set of constituents working together to protect common waters, though often for very different reasons. Alaska Natives have fished these waters for as many as 10,000 years, subsisting off of the salmon, moose, caribou, bears and berries. As much as the ecosystem is supported by annual returns of salmon, the cultural identities of Yup’ik, Alutiiq and Dena’ina revolve around the migrations of the majestic salmon. Dating back to the days of wooden sailboats, which were actually fished until 1953, commercial fishermen have pursued the red fleshed sockeye. Bristol Bay’s waters remain so prolific that they provide more than 50% of the annual global sockeye salmon catch. Most recently, thanks to the visions and
hard work of Ray Petersen, the father of the Alaskan Sports Lodge, Bristol Bay is home to a thriving sport fishing economy – one we all look to and dream of when we think of places to swing flies at monster trout, salmon, not to mention grayling or char. Historically, around fisheries issues, the relationships between subsistence communities, commercial fishermen, and sport anglers have not always been collaborative. In this context, however, as a multi-billion dollar industry plans one of the largest copper and gold mines of its kind, these groups have joined forces to face this common threat. They are joined by a long list of traditional environmental groups whose interests range from preservation of biological diversity to securing fishing opportunities for generations to come. While some might want to protect Bristol Bay because it is the most genetically diverse salmon ecosystem on the planet, others hope that future generations can subsist on these waters just as their ancestors have done for decades. Collectively, they all recognize the potential impacts of the Pebble Mine. The threats posed by North America’s largest
At large: Cappadocia: A fairytale land
Some were tall and thin, some ribbed and leaning off-kilter, others short and banded and some looked like spooky medieval castles. I then looked up and noticed the balloons above me, drifting gracefully like they had escaped from a child’s hand. They glided silently over the town, and I stared until the cold morning air forced me to retrieve my guide book from the bottom of my pack and locate the warm hotel we were searching for.
Words and photos by James Cruikshank It was 6:30 am and I slowly wandered around Göreme, Turkey with my companion Carole. We were lost and trying to find our hotel. It was cold and the air was clear and crisp.
I marveled at all the oddly shaped towers that were littered within the town, spread throughout the hillside and down into the valley below.
Cappadocia is famous for its landscape of lava rock formations known as fairy castles – towers, pillars, cones, spires or chimneys. This UNESCO World Heritage area is located in the center of Turkey (Central Anatolia region) which includes the small towns of Urgup, Avanos, Ortahisar, Cavusin, Goreme, and Uçhisar. The area was settled by Christian followers of St. Basil in the second century BC because the nature of the landscape and climate here appealed to these people, believing Cappadocia brought them closer to God.
Valley. In the narrow valley we were surrounded by vibrant trees; poplar, willow, birch, apple, cherry and pear. We hiked alongside a small clear stream breathing in the fresh morning air.
Gradually, the Christians formed communities by digging into the strange rock formations that are scattered throughout Cappadocia. The Cave Suites Hotel was carved into the hillside and surrounded by fairy towers. Our host, Murat, showed us to our cave suite, which was built within a separate twisting fairy tower. It was beautifully furnished with classic Turkish décor -- cushions, rugs on the floor, pottery, wooden carvings and carpets on the walls.
Gazing around the valley, we saw that there were small rooms carved high into the yellow and pink cliffs that had strange religious paintings near windows. Also carved into the soft cliffs were hundreds of tiny arches and tiny windows about a hundred feet up!
We dropped our packs and Murat quickly prepared two plates with various types of olives, fresh goat and cow cheeses, breads, cucumbers, tomatoes and strong cups of coffee. We filled our bellies with the delicious fresh veggies and homemade cheeses, while we looked at a hiking map of the region. We decided to begin our first day in Cappadocia with a ten mile hike through the Rose and Red Valleys to get a close look at the unusual fairy towers.
the massive fairy castles of Uçhisar to the north, and Cavusin to the south and the huge mountain Erciyes sat impressively to the west. Also visible were many colonies of fairy cones spread throughout the Cappadocia region.
At the Rose Valley trailhead we could see for miles.There were numerous visible outcroppings;
Following the well-trodden trail, we switched backed and forth down into Rose
Then I noticed a small wooden door, twoby-two feet in size, about ten feet above the ground. There were ladders on the rocks that lead to it. We were intrigued and decided to investigate. I climbed up the rickety homemade ladder and pushed open the door. Inside was a small, low room about three feet high, full of droppings and feathers. There were ten tiny light holes and lots of small arches, like individual shelves for ornaments carved into the walls. “What was this place?” Carole asked.
We continued hiking until we crossed small vegetable gardens and an orchard. There was an older Turkish couple watering the fruit trees. I greeted them with a friendly “hello,” and was invited for tea and some lokum, a sweet Turkish snack. We chatted with the couple and found out they had been farming vegetables here for 30 years. I asked them about the small bird loft we had encountered and they told me, “The pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer and people still use the droppings because they produce sweeter fruits.” Once we had finished eating and felt rested we thanked the Turks for their hospitality and continued on the hike.
I replied that it appeared to be a home for someone who had a massive tear in their down jacket and was keeping goats in this unorthodox pen. She looked doubtful, so I took another look around and figured it was ‘for the birds.’ She asked, “But whose birds and what do they do with them?”
After seven miles of hiking through the canyon-esque valley it opened up to a barren moonscape area with an abundance of fairy towers spread around. The pillars themselves were soft and would crumble if you climbed on them. We walked for a few more miles exploring the strange and intoxicating carved-out fairy
chimneys. Within each were homes, pigeon lofts and churches, each with unique archaeological treasures. Some of the churches were open to explore and within were ancient frescos. We found an old house carved into a fairy tower with two rooms on the ground level. In the largest room was a square tunnel that went straight up for about twenty feet. It had notches in the sides for hands and feet to climb. I tried to get a boost from my partner into the tunnel but the attempt ended with me sprawled on the ground. We tried again, but this time I stacked up some rocks,
and was able to ungracefully haul myself into the chimney. I moaned and groaned as I pulled myself up. Once I got my feet established there was twenty feet of unnerving tunnel climbing. I climbed using the chipped-in cuts for my hands and feet. Happily, I reached the top and exited the chimney into a huge well-lit room with two windows that gave a super view up Red Valley, towards Gรถreme. We arrived back at our hotel at 5pm. One of the things I realized from our day hike was that the area that encapsulates Cappadocia and its fairy towers is huge. We did one hike today but there are four major valleys that call to be explored. This is a unique and wondrous place and I saw why it was selected to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. It had been an excellent day, full of amazing sites and unforgettable experiences. Exploring the fairy towers, hiking in the fresh air, and taking in the stunning surreal landscapes were sensually stimulating. After spending the day in Cappadocia I felt as if I had been given a jolt by some fantastic life force. Have you had an adventure recently? Traveled to exotic locales? Drop us a line and share the story! firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuff n’ Things
The quest for perfect hydration enablement
words & photos by J. James Joiner One of the first things I noticed at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Show were the staggering number of companies offering sundry implementations for accomplishing personal hydration whilst on the go. All manner of containers – metal, glass, plastic, even carbon fiber – had been molded, hammered, formed and chiseled (okay, maybe not chiseled) into vessels for liquid and branded. By simply strolling the show and talking to people, I wound up with almost ten containers crammed into my backpack. Two broke, one was abandoned to a down-on-his-luck fellow outside the show, one was a duplicate and yet another was taken by a zombie (those of you who were at the show on Sunday likely know what I mean, for the rest of you, well, you’re better off using your imagination). Here is our breakdown of the five that remain.
Hydro Flask: Made of stainless steel, and coated with a non slip orange paint. Includes a carabiner attached to the top, which is an upgrade for many competitor’s bottles. Holds 24 ounces of liquid, with a vacuumsealed double wall to keep hot hot and cold cold, for an alleged 12 and 24 hours. Hydro Flask recently launched www.fivepercentback.org, a site that enables purchasers of the bottles to donate 5% of the purchase price to a list of non profits. “This is the first one that I got at the show, and the only one I used all weekend. After being banged around, filled, rinsed, dropped, lost, found, used as a jousting weapon, fetched by a great dane and finally rolling the length of an airplane under seats and past feet, I’ve developed something of an affinity for it. It spends a lot of time now weighing down my waders on fishing trips, and is hefty enough for self defense if need be.” www.hydroflask.com $27.99 Camelbak: The company best known for all things wearable hydration has a line of bottles, in case you don’t feel like strapping on a pack to head out on the town. The Groove .6L holds 20 ounces of your favorite beverage, and includes a filter to make sure
you don’t get a case of ick. The Groove is the only bottle of our five that doesn’t need to be unscrewed to drink from, borrowing instead the patented Big Bite valve from their hydration packs, which flips down when not in use. It’s also the only plastic bottle, though it is BPA free. “Reminds me of the Nalgene bottle all the hipster hippies clanked around for years, before discovering that the plastic used included toxic chemicals. Luckily, the Groove is BPA free, and even has that filter built in for added peace of mind. I gave it to my mom, so I guess it worked.” www.camelbak.com $25.00 Klean Kanteen: Just as an aside, why do some companies spell their names funny? Anyway, Klean Kanteen has been at it for a long time, and does pretty good job of dominating the industry with a reputable product. Forged of the same 18/8 stainless steel as the Hydro Flask up above, the ubiquitous 27 ounce Kanteen Classic shown has been a go-to for everyone from moms to mountain climbers. Klean Kanteen is also dedicated to sustainable production, and gives quite a lot of support to various conservation efforts worldwide. “You may notice that the bottle in the picture shows a good deal of wear and tear. That’s because at the show,
instead of a bottle we opted for a stainless steel keg cup, which was good for free adult beverages at Patagonia’s booth, as well as providing donation to www.buffalofieldcampaign.com.Thus I subbed-in one of our families (many) Klean Kanteen’s for the pic. The keg cup is sweet too, bought 11 of ‘em over the weekend.” www.kleankanteen.com $17.95 Liberty Bottle: Liberty Bottle Works is a new company, and they make their bottles right here in the good ol’ US of A from recycled aluminum. The Straight Up bottle holds 24 ounces of fluid, and features their patent pending 1/4 turn click-on/click-off top and a gradually tapered neck to “mimic the smooth pour of a wine bottle”. “I love the story of this bottle, the whole made in the USA / recycled thing. It also holds water really well, which is good. The clickable top does indeed fight off dreaded twistwrist, and they even pledge 1% of sales and working hours to helping nonprofits.” www.libertybottles.com $16.00 Lifefactory: This is the only glass bottle in the bunch, and indeed the only one I came across at the show. Ensconced in a silicone body condom, the heavyweight bottle holds 16 ounces of your favorite drink. Lifefactory aims their products at the general consumer, especially moms and kids, more than others,
hitting the outdoor market by proxy – this is understandable, as one of their empty bottles weighs as much a full metal one. That said, I have to admit I feel the most comfortable drinking out of glass, at least until I dropped it on my toe with sandals on. “These guys have a great idea, I just wish they were a bit lighter. I do like to run with it, as I feel it lends itself to a great upper body workout and saves me time at the gym afterwards.” www.lifefactory.com $19.99
FLY D.I.Y. The Surf Snake
words and images by Chris Kokorda I dream flies. I know that sounds a bit overboard, but bear with me. When I’m done fishing my mind is usually racing from the experience. The details, subtleties, intricacies of the process all fascinate me. How can I do this better the next time?
Somewhere around age 10, my grandfather showed me how to tie my first flies. He wasn’t particularly accomplished as a fly-tier, but the knowledge he imparted was an inspiration, an epiphany. The pursuit of catching fish, not on bait or lures you buy, but on flies that you design and create yourself. Too cool! So, I’ve been tying flies for a long time, more on than off for the better part of thirty years. Tying is just as much a part of flyfishing for me as casting. Post-fishing analysis often leads me to alter and create flies to improve or suit fishing situations. After a long day on the water, I wind down, with some food and drink, tie a few at the vise, and hit the pillow still tying – so I dream flies. Eventually I try to
put those dreams down on paper. Sketched in pencil, those ideas sometimes become actual flies, conceptualized, developed and engineered to fish. The Surf Snake is a pattern derived from my night fishing experiences on the outer beaches of Cape Cod. One September
evening I was launching big black deceiverlike patterns to 20-pound linesiders in the wash. A two-handed eight weight with a shooting head really lets you cover some water and cast a big fly. I was hooking some and landing a few, but I had dropped several better fish.
I hollered over the roar of the surf to my friend Mahoney in the dark, “Dropped him again, damn it.” He yelled back, “Dull hook – rocks.” Mahoney always knew the skinny. I checked
my fly. Sure enough the point of the 5/0. was scraped and dinged over. The fly I was using was a standard tie with the hook point keeled down. The deep wash we were fishing dictated probing low with a heavy head line. As the fly swung down through the wash, the riptide raked the hook over the rocky bottom resulting in a dull point. I finished out the night constantly re-checking my fly, fighting a few more fish but mostly unable to prevent the hook damage. On my drive home the wheels in my head start turnin’. Food, drink, tie flies, sleep, dream flies, tie more flies, fish – and repeat. The new fly represents a favorite food of beach-going bass, eels! Eight to 12 inches long and rides hook-point up. No more dinged hooks and the big ones are brought to hand. This dream really did come true and Gramps would be proud. Chris Kokorda lives works and fishes on Cape Cod He manages a fly shop and does what he loves. See more of his writing and tying skills in issue one of Fly Bum, out October 15.
by Bennett Barthelemy What refuels your continued passion for photography and what are your ultimate goals professionally? Are you an optimist or like so many photographers are you hedging your bets and doing other types of work as well? I have a quote from Maya Angelou hanging on my wall so I can see it each day: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” My ultimate professional goal is to achieve this, to be doing what I love and making a difference to those around me. This isn’t to say that I am not focused on running my business profitably, it simply reinforces the why. The reality is, if you choose to make this your business, you are in business and will likely have the 80/20 rule where you spend 80% of your time running the business side of things and 20% of your time actually creating imagery. In terms of the industry, I don’t think there is any other way to be than optimistic. Within the photography world, I do what some might consider “other” types of work (i.e., not purely outdoor adventure), but for me these provide diversity in my skill set, structure in my schedule and a variety
that I thrive on. At the end of the day, I love meeting people and telling their stories -- whether that is their love of the outdoors or skiing or climbing or a love story, I believe that these are things worth being documented and beautifully preserved. The market for stills is somewhat retrograde and has been for a while -- new media like motion are building momentum. How are you positioning yourself to survive is this shifting and challenged economy? I think there is room for both. Audio and video can be a great enhancement to still photos and I love the addition. It is especially great for reaching different audiences -- our culture has such an inherently short attention span that these can be useful tools in storytelling. However, in my mind, there is still no replacement for that one still image that makes you stop and say, “Wow!” What are your goals for your stock images?What do you not want to have happen with them? My main goal is to have the work in circulation. Sometimes this is the biggest part of the challenge, because when there is no “deadline,” it can get pushed to the back burner. The worst thing for me is to have great imagery hiding on a hard drive where no one will see it. Who in the photo world do you admire most and why? I have had so many inspirations over the span of my time as a professional photographer. The common thread among them is that they are not afraid to do their own thing, their own way -- even if that is not what everyone else is doing. It takes a great amount of courage and tenacity to disengage from the flock and stop copying the way things are “supposed to be done,” but I truly believe this is the only way to be satisfied and happy with the career we have chosen. What image of yours, or what experience did you have that provided
the turning point for when you said,“That’s it, I am going to be a professional photographer?” I think it has been a combination of the life experiences and amazing people I have encountered in my 13-plus years of living abroad in four different countries and the 50-plus [countries] that I have visited. I briefly considered joining the “mainstream” and getting a “real profession” (i.e., doctor, lawyer, dentist) but at the end of the day, I don’t think any of those would have suited me as well, nor could I have made more of a difference. When a 3-star General in the Army tells me that he is “living vicariously” through me, I know I am doing something right. Advice you care to offer to aspiring photographers? There is no set formula to succeeding at this (anyone who tells you there is, is probably trying to sell you something.) At the same time, if you decide to pursue photography professionally, be professional. Immerse yourself in the community (one of the best parts of the job) continue to learn and master your craft (read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell) and always be open to the possibilities around you. Most of all, be willing to have an independent and tenacious spirit. www.lisaseaman.com www.storylensinc.com www.tandemstock.com
ProFile is a new regular feature that focuses on professional adventure photographers, their lives and their work.
Mountain Khakis Teton Flannel Shirt
Fishpond Tundra Tech Pack I like to take pictures. I also like to fish. Hence, I like to take pictures of fishing. This is where the problems usually start.You see, I don’t like the thought of dunking thousands of dollars-worth of gear into the drink, so to speak. This is where Fishpond’s Tundra pack comes in handy. It’s a waterproof backpack that has just the right amount of storage space to hold just
Stuff n’ Things
MK Teton flannel Fishpond Tundra pack
Angela Schwarz photo
It’s dark, it’s cold, and you’re alone. Again. The leaves rustle softly overhead, a normally gentle sound made ominous by the velvety night, the scuttle and squeak of small animals conspiring to overwhelm your suddenly fragile sense of well being. Arms wrapped across your chest, nestled as far back into the semi-warm confines of your truck, you close your eyes, fingers worriedly, unconsciously, kneading the soft cuff of your shirt. Then it hits you. You aren’t alone. Enveloping you, snugly hugging your torso with a warm safety, a comforting weight, is your trusty flannel shirt. Like a babe with its blanket, your coat of cotton armor repels the darkness, the cold, the spilled coffee, absorbs the discomfort of being alone alongside the splashed beer of too much good company. A faithful companion, ready for adventure when you are, the open road or stream, but not afraid to hunker down and weather the storm when need be either... It’s allegiance cannot be tested, cannot be questioned. A flannel shirt, a good flannel shirt, is so much more than some colorful frock, some lumberjack’s uniform, some testament to a grungy music scene from your youth. One could argue that a companion such as this
is worth far more than its weight in gold... Can a price be put on such allencompassing comfort? Perhaps, perhaps not. But THIS shirt, aptly dubbed the Teton flannel for those towering behemoths that beckon adventurers of all kinds, the first such offering from Mountain Khakis, will only set you back a mere $79.95. Maybe money can buy happiness. www.mountainkhakis.com
the right amount of camera gear -- and some incidentals like a hoodie and even a special spot for rod tubes. It also has a detachable chest pack that doubles as a shoulder bag when you don’t need the freight train storage capacity. It boasts a foam fly tray, extra pockets, plenty of loops to hook things to and some padding cut just right to let the air flow through – both chest and back pack. It even has a spot for your water reservoir of choice, in case you need to stay hydrated while roaming the back country, and an expandable mesh front cover for waders or what-have-you. MSRP: $239 www.fishpondusa.com
Livinâ€™ the slack life
Walking the line. Slackline, that is.
Emily Sukiennik, US Pro Team athlete from Moab, UT Photo by Jared Alden
by J. James Joiner
Core muscles tense, arms are thrown wide, one leg akimbo as the other bounces back and forth with the thin nylon line, supporting your weight and damned for it, tossing like a drunken ship’s captain in a gale.Your eyes focus ahead and down, intense with concentration.Then it all falls apart.Your legs go one way, the rest of you another, and you fall to the blue gym mats, the dull wet thud of failure hanging humid in the air around you. Welcome to slacklining. Originally popular with climbers and other hard-core outdoor enthusiasts, slackliners stretch a cord or piece of nylon ribbon between two trees or rocks, balancing and tightrope walking for fun and fitness. But the sport now finds itself taking many faces. Do a search on the Internet and you’ll find people that practice yoga on them, stretch them between seeming impossibly long distances at heights that would quickly give pause to all but the staunchest of avian critters, and, well, it’s the Internet, so we’ll leave some of the more exotic applications to your imagination. “It started out as a rest day and then became training for climbing,” says world-class climber Cedar Wright, who notes that while the sport has roots in tightrope walking, it really gained ground with the famed climbing scene in Yosemite. “It teaches you about balance and knowing yourself, which is a key to help you in every aspect of life.” One facet that is rapidly gaining in popularity is tricklining, in which a slightly wider strap is used, slung lower to the ground, upon which all manner of tricks – from flips to stalls – are done. A wholly unique subculture is spinning out, similar to the ones found in board sports. At the forefront of tricklining is Gibbon, a slackline manufacturer from Colorado who puts on demonstrations and contests around the world, including the Gibbon Games World Cup.
J. James Joiner
As an aging skateboarder, I was immediately intrigued by the variety and acrobatic finesse of tricks being performed. Flipping through the air and landing catlike upon the line, curling and contorting their bodies about the slim piece of fabric, the tricks take on a visceral intensity I don’t think you can find anywhere else. Unlike skateboarding, which requires you to ride upon the board and manipulate it into different flips and slides while staying aboard, tricklining has no intermediary:You are the skateboard.
Lewis notes that the relatively young sport’s popularity is seeing an upswell in popularity. “The community of slackliners globally is currently exploding, especially the world of tricklining. And competitions like the Gibbon Games have become an important part of the evolution of the sport. A mom tries her hand at slacklining during the OR Show. Photo J. James Joiner When we can gather a large number of good trickliners who can “Slacklining, in general over the last five train together and help each other, we can years, has become more than a sport or a all learn faster; and more importantly invent hobby for me, it has slowly developed into new tricks and styles. Others can then take a quintessential part of my everyday life; a what we create into their own slacklives and lifestyle I have deemed the “slacklife.” It has help evolve the sport.” become so important to me that I have even tattooed it onto my left forearm,” says Andy “ After slacklining on an almost daily basis for Lewis, a professional trickliner and holder five years now, it has made me more physiof several world records. “If I’m not actually cally confident, sharp like a tack mentally slacklining, training, competing, highlining, or traveling to do a slackline show, I’m plan- and fast to react to any situation,” says fellow pro Jon Fait. “Slacklining makes me feel like ning and preparing for my next slacklining there is nothing in life I can’t achieve. It is the adventure.”
perfect cross-training tool for any sport. It blows p90x out of the water when it comes to muscle confusion and it’s fun for all ages.” “ Being a top athlete in the world of slacklining is the best thing ever to happen to me,” adds Lewis. “The places it takes me and the people it introduces me to will inspire me forever. Being a part of, being inspired by, and helping inspire the community of slacklining is where I see myself for the rest of my life. The funny thing is, I think everyone in the community feels exactly the same way. Slacklife forever!”
J. James Joiner
Kayaking for humans words and photos by Bennett Barthelemy I had been shooting whitewater kayaking for six months before I actually got in one. I have always thought that in order to shoot a sport well you have to practice it yourself. Kayaking was not something I was really drawn to, but doing shoots with the Wells brothers (“The Highly Acclaimed” Aug/Sept) and seeing the passion and precision Todd and Brendan showed for the sport got me inspired. Nearly four times drowning has left me with some post-traumatic stress for sure and more than a little hydrophobic. When I found out Todd’s summer job was teaching kayaking classes, I decided to sign up. Though only 19, he has boated on a few continents and at a pretty cutting-edge level. Todd Anderson, the owner of the Columbia Gorge Kayak School is no slouch either. His accomplishments are similarly impressive. First at Oregon Cup Freestyle, First at Little White LVM Giant Slalom, Second at
Homestake Creek Extreme Race, First at Teva 8-Ball Sprint, featured in Tao Berman’s “Pulse” Video, as well as Nate Herbeck’s “Toxic Waters.” I imagined that if I wanted to get into kayaking and ever had a chance of doing anything real than these were the guys to learn it from. Kind of like getting lessons on public speaking by Obama and Conan O’Brien. During the lessons on the Klickitat the Todds were articulate and incredibly patient. I had watched Todd launch off 80-foot waterfalls but here he was genuinely dedicated to making people the best kayakers they could be in the short time they had there. The only hint they gave at their resumes was the way they casually floated backward down the rapids to watch us gumbies, offer advice and round up paddles and paddlers in the event of the inevitable upset. I felt light years away from getting my roll and it was crystal clear that was the major pre-req for doing anything above a II+ rapid. The Klickitat River is fed by the second biggest mountain in Washington, the hulking
Mt. Adams to our north. This section of river we were on was perfect for learning because it had some good waves, big water but low consequences for flipping and wet exiting. I got to do the section of river twice, first in a duck -- a sit-on-top kayak. And a few weeks later, after a roll lesson in the small pool, I got to try it my flash new boat -- a Mamba 8.0 with a creek set-up. I really have no idea what I just said, but the boat is a really pretty blue and white and I was promised it could handle all those gnarly drops that I will likely only ever dream about. I scored a stylish Bomber Gear dry top and spray skirt. I learned that the designer, Rick Franken, had been a climber in a previous life and new something about bar tacks and employed many of them on the pull tab of the skirt that keeps water out of your boat. His gear is designed with dedication to integrity and strength. If nothing else, I vowed I would become an expert at wet exits -- pulling the spray skirt to swim a rapid as opposed to rolling your boat over whilst underwater. I was right. I was expert at finding that tab in the dark swirl of a monster rapid. Rolls are ridiculously difficult to put together the first
8,000 times you try them, unless you’re that guy or girl -- the one in a million who gets it in the first 10 minutes, leaving the rest of the class seething as you come up grinning ear to ear. Bastard.You know who you are. I was definitely sucking hard at this Houdiniesque maneuver to escape the spin cycle so I continually reminded myself that I did look pretty smooth in my flash new boat and kit -- even if I were swimming behind it most of the time. Surprisingly, I found it really fun to swim rapids. Just before our lunch stop I flipped again and swam. A wave from the side caught me off guard, my hips and knees were likely too rigid to absorb the shock, my paddle carving air instead of water. Post-lunch we made it through a bit more class II and then eddied out to slack water as T squared said we were at the bailout point if anyone did not want to run McDonalds, a big class III-something I had never seen from the inside of a kayak. Nobody took the option to bail so there was no way my ego would let me do it. I wanted to puke. My health insurance wouldn’t kick in for another week. I didn’t have to do this for the story, did I?
I asked Todd A. how it was to swim. “Risky. There are some rocks.”
Snap! My moment of clarity was complete as the waters got huge and roiling. I was one with the river, the mountain snow, the We had long lead-in through some minor salmon, the insane waterfall huckers! I was rapids and a lot of time to think. A few weeks doing it! I braced, I boofed, I blasted through back, I had summited Mt. Adams, the source a curtain of crazy whitewater, I had it! And of this river as well as the White Salmon in then I was head ruddering, wet exiting and the next drainage to the west. If I survived, grinning my way through the rapid and damn the plan was to shoot Todd and his brother it if it wasn’t fun as hell -- and I had a moboating the White Salmon later that day. The ment! snow I crunched on the summit would end up in these rivers. I watched a salmon pulled I found my glass ceiling in a class III rapid. from the riffles by a fisherman and though of It will take some serious work and dedicathe Condit dam that was tion and time I don’t have right now to get slated to be yanked to restore the fish to their my roll down and crash through it. I tasted it original home. My brain was spinning facts though, by god, and I’ll be back! and old conversations to me. Todd A. was telling me how “the sport has seen a decline Later that day I would give Todd Wells my in the past ten years and I hope to be a part boat for the shoot on the Green Truss section of helping regain growth in whitewater kaya- of the White Salmon. I wanted him to put king. I want to educate people about whitesome good juju into my boat from those epic water and make the learning process safe and big drops of Big and Little Brother and BZ enjoyable for all new kayakers.” Then there Falls. He managed a few good dents from was this eco-activist kayak dude Andy I just boofing off rocks and as I trace them with a learned about and his time-lapse dry finger I can dream of one day adding my photos. own to them. I have an expanded sense now
of what it is like to be in the water and that can only help as I try my best to capture the intensity of the sport with word and image, and share the passion that the Todd’s and Brendan have for it. I am excited to finally have gotten back into a boat and to get to see the world in a new way, to feel a part of something greater -engaging a few more parts that make up the whole for a clear picture. Watersheds, wilderness and ecosystems. I get to employ new muscles and techniques and learned cool lingo like “boof.” I know, without a doubt, that salmon would prefer not to have dams in their way as would most kayakers. Roll on!
Andy Maser- Eco-Activist and Athlete “My work isn’t just about going out and having an adventure. It’s about using stories of adventure and exploration to tell a greater story and accomplish something greater.” Andy Maser is young visionary upping the ante for sponsored outdoor athletes by using his expertise in a sport, his growing celebrity and mad skills as a film maker to bring attention to the health of rivers and the greater eco-systems that surround them. He has four new videos coming out about the Elwha and Condit dam removals in Washington State. Maser is excited about the recent trend in dam removals for two good reasons. “For a hundred years sections of the river were gone so no one knows what they look like. The White Salmon will become a different river. From a recreational standpoint it’s awesome. It will create new whitewater -- someone will get a first descent of a river that has been kayaked hundreds of times. Salmon runs will be restored as well as the eco-system. To check out Maser’s efforts to document the rebirth of a dammed riverwhitesalmontimelapse.wordpress.com
Stuff n’ Things: Double down.
Bennett Barthelemy photo
Cameras, like photos, tend to be subjective. Recently both James and Bennett acquired Panasonic’s GF2 micro 4/3 camera, and found they had surprisingly divergent experiences. Yay. By Bennett Barthelemy As an adventure photographer I love being part of the action -- documenting in the moment, shooting stills. For years now I have dreamed of owning a compact version of my trusty D700. Something that wouldn’t slow me down quite so much on 10,000-calorie days in the mountains. Panasonic’s micro 4/3 has won me over. Uber-paranoid to ever leave the workhorse (beast) behind, I have sacrificed knees, back, the chance to make
it back to basecamp before darkness and carried an extra 10-plus pounds of equipment to not miss a shot. No more! The GF-2 provides a publishable shot for an 11x17 photo at 300 dpi -- fine for editorial. Perhaps even cooler than the compact, fatigue-reducing size is the fact that it can get the shot I want without shutter lag that normally occurs with cameras of this size. What is the single best thing about this camera? The Intelligent Auto mode, without a
doubt. Near dead-on exposures and shockingly little time required to post-process the images. On snow with sky and shadows, rock texture and even detail in shadows the IA mode allows me to shoot from the hip one handed or with outstretched arm and I don’t
have to think about tweaking dials or checking histograms. I can stay in the moment and simply shoot, guaranteeing the probability of getting a better shot in scarier and more dicey situations and allowing me to have the camera out and be shooting when it wouldn’t be safe for me to do so with the D700. Overall the quality of the GF-2 is good enough to make it the go-to camera for gnarly situations allowing me to finally be comfortable enough to leave the beast behind.
Nay. by J. James Joiner I got the GF2 because my trusty Canon s95 went to a watery grave and I had to spend several weeks in repair limbo before its replacement graced my P.O. Box. I admit I was drawn to the promise of a point and shoot’s near-pocketability coupled with the interchangeable lens magic of an SLR. That, and it came in candy apple red. I got mine with the kit 14-45 (28-90mm equivalent) lens and added a 45-200 (90-400), both image stabilized. I was ready to rock. Or so I thought. First crack out of the box, I ran around like the excited schoolboy with a new toy that I was, shooting away at anything and everything, dialing in the custom (I use that term loosely) menu settings and just basically getting a feel for things. Shaking with anticipation, or perhaps a sugar high, I uploaded the quickly brimming SD card into Lightroom and peered in to peep the magic. At first, I assumed I just wasn’t doing something right. Images were grainy, out of focus and colors were flat. Luckily, I had been shooting RAW, and managed – after a lot
of post-processing – to pull some “keepers” from the bunch, but I was a bit disappointed, to say the least. I chalked it up to learning the peculiarities of a new camera and left it at that. The next day I was shooting the Newport Folk Festival and brought the GF2 along as a backup/aside to my “real” camera. It was outdoors, bright sun, middle of the day... I figured I could get winning images with my phone. Got home beat Sunday night, uploaded images, then crashed face first on the bed and didn’t move until Monday morning. Poured some coffee, scooted in my chair and set to work sorting and toning images. It’s at this point that I pretty much gave up. Every image over ISO 400 was noisy and grainy. Colors were bad. The autofocus appeared to have been designed by orangutans. Maybe I just shouldn’t have a touchscreen camera? Of nearly 300 images, about 20 made it through post-processing and came out as vaguely acceptable. On a whim, I decided to compare to my trusty s95’s images, and was shocked (well, not really anymore) to find that a pointand-shoot camera, costing hundreds less,
completely blew the GF2 out of the water as far as image quality, relatively high ISO noise and color. To be fair, one thing I have to give the GF2 is that it captures an incredible amount of detail, especially in darker areas. The problem is you can’t really tell unless you zoom way in, almost “pixel-peeping,” because the colors are so flat. Still, incredible detail, as long as conditions are perfect and you’re shooting at ISO 200 and f9. Considering the Olympus PEN series is held in such high regard, I’m not sure how Panasonic managed to drop the ball so badly.
Gogol Bordello Photo J. James Joiner
Fishing for, and catching, memories.
words and photos by Louis Arevalo Thirteen years ago my dad passed away only days before I married Suzanne. It was around this time that I asked her father, Mike, to teach me to fish. The lessons began slowly. Evenings were tying knots and afternoons were hours of casting. Both were done while he explained fly patterns and hatches. He would tell me about different rivers and eventually he took me to them. Fishing started on the lower Provo River and after what seemed like forever, I began to hold
my own. Mike must have thought I was okay because he continued inviting me. On the way to the rivers we’d discuss flies, books, life and politics, but once at the water we were silent. We would stagger in, adjust our balance, then cast and be with our thoughts. It was through this ritual that we became friends and he became a father figure to me. One summer day, Mike and I fished on the Big Wood River south of Ketchum. The spot where we started had someone fishing every twenty feet or so, but Mike didn’t care. He just snuggled right in and began casting. He preferred to be around people when fishing. Before his first heart attack he might have chosen to be more secluded, but after it he felt safer with a crowd. I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy being so close. After an hour I’d seen no trout. I had no nibble, no nose, nothing. Mike had caught one earlier with a dry fly, but now he was nymphing (wet fly fishing). This meant the fishing wasn’t good. I dipped my hat in the water and sat on the bank. Mike swapped nymphs and worked his way up and down. Another hour passed before he joined me.
“It’s too hot… It might improve later when things cool down.” He offered almost as an apology. When we fished new places together he felt a responsibility to make sure I caught something. Sensing his concern I suggested we try a spot down the road which had a short hike through the brush. Mike didn’t like hikes. It was the safety thing.
used was his, but he wouldn’t have any of it. “No, no. Let’s see… I can just use what I have. It’ll be alright.” At the water I gave Mike space and began
The following day we drove south, out of the mountains and into the plains. Fields of alfalfa and potato replaced the subdivisions. The novelty shops and restaurants were gone leaving cattle and sheep ranches. I was doubtful when we pulled off the highway, but as we crossed the bridge I saw the sage brush fall into the marsh, in its place stands of cattails appeared along with a slow moving creek filled with watercress. The scene was idyllic.
He shrugged. “Alright, but I think we might be coming back here.” “F$#@!” It was a roaring scream from the bushes behind me. Mike never used that word. He had snagged his rod in a thicket and snapped it right above the joint where the two pieces slide together. I was mortified. I‘d insisted that we hike out here, he had followed reluctantly and now this. “What do you want to do?” I asked sheepishly. “Do you want to use this rod? I can just hang out… Take some photos.” It was actually his rod. Pretty much all of the gear I
hand. He was smiling. The casts seemed tight and the trailing fly wobbled, but he managed the landing, presenting the fly softly where he wanted it to go. That afternoon I got skunked while he pulled in fish after fish.
nymphing using an unbroken rod. Within one or two casts I had a fish on. The fight was short lived as he threw back the hook, but it was a good sign. After spooking all the fish out of the hole I looked upstream. Mike, standing beneath a cluster of cottonwoods, was casting a dry fly. He was using the top half of his broken rod and a bunch of line stuffed in his vest that he worked with his left
While suiting up, we talked to a few guys who were wrapping up their day. When asked what seemed to be working for them they were vague. I took it the fishing was tough. Mike agreed with a knowing glance. As we carried on, one of the guys produced a cutting board filled with cheese, salami and crackers.
“Please, have some.” He offered. Mike declined, saying something about not needing to add anything to his robust gut. “Ah, you’re not even close to being fat.” He held the board closer. With a grin Mike responded, “You know people get sent to prison for lying that bad.” There is something about how the water presses against you when you wade in. It holds you firm, but gently. When you finally climb out you have the tendency to fall forward from leaning against the current for so long. The slow movement of the creek was comforting. I was in up to my stomach for most of it, trying to look small to the fish upstream, but they could see my line and weren’t fooled. I saw fish swaying in my wake so close that if they wouldn’t have darted off when I reached down I could have touched them. I dipped my hat several times, not only because I was hot, but in order to absorb the place. We quietly stood in the water while the air cooled and the shadows grew tall. We both caught nothing. That was the best day fishing I’ve ever had.
After the divorce I expected to lose Mike as a friend, but life doesn’t work that way. At first our encounters were awkward, then cordial and eventually friendly again. We continued to exchange books, talk politics and I still sought his advice. Last June the man who taught me how to fly fish died. Suzanne found his body lying in the backyard. John Michael Harsha did not survive his fourth heart attack. I don’t want to think of that. It’s better not to dwell on our disagreements, disappointments and heartache. Instead it’s better for me to think about the peaceful moments, the laughter and shared love. To remember competing with the ospreys for trout on the Madison or going way out on the Lamar with bison our only company -- that’s what I want. Feeling the spring sun on the waters of the Green and the cold days of winter along the Provo will help me recall his energy. Summer nights can find him wading in the magic of Silver Creek and on fall days, when the trees are brilliant, I will see Mike casting quietly, peacefully, on the Blacksmith Fork.
photo Bennett Barthelemy / Tandemstock
Dave Wiegand sprays some slush on a late season run.
August in Alta
I woke up with my head throbbing. Attributing this to a general lack of sleep, coupled with the healthy imbibing of carbonated alcoholic beverages the prior evening, I did my best to shake it off. Cold water splashed on face, coffee drunk, eggs and bacon consumed – all to no avail. It wasn’t until my second time hiking the flight of stairs that separated my sleeping quarters from the random necessities in the back of the rental car that I realized, stopped and gasping for breath, that perhaps it was the altitude.
words & photos by J. James Joiner
Less than 24 hours ago, I had been at home packing for the Outdoor Retailer Show – a home located squarely with sea level. Here
now, within the mountainous confnes of Alta, Utah, I was easily 8,500 feet higher. Air is markedly thinner here and my already disenfranchised brain wasn’t getting enough. Head spinning, I took a moment to gasp like an asthmatic, collapsed into the repurposed lift chair that adorned our host’s front porch. The famed ski resort’s parking lot sat below, and beyond was green grass, blowing wild flowers and jutting rock. The August sun gleaming, reflected off white pockets of snow. Snow? It took my nearly hypoxic mind a moment to register the crusty remnants of last winter’s bounty -- a far cry from the late-summer, 90-degree, clothsoaking humidity that hung heavy and low over New England. It took only a moment more to recognize the potential. Within an hour or two of phone calls willing participants had been found. It’s not a hard sell to get ski bums to suit up for snow, no matter what time of year. Fast forward another 24 hours, and we’re bouncing up the gravelly moonscape of an access road, climbing higher and higher into the already thin air, finally grinding to a dusty stop in a parking area. We hike the remaining mile or so up, past increasingly larger patches of melting snow, brilliant wildflowers, serenely munching deer, busily buzzing insects and a vacant-but-soon-to-be-bustling restaurant. The chute is long
and thin, an inverted, elongated triangle dropping between two peaks, starting in the cold gray stone above and ripping a white path through the tree line. Missy and Susannah unload their packs, slipping off flip flops in exchange for hard plastic boots, appraising the dirty, ice chunked snow. Not perfect, certainly, but hey, even in Utah some is better than none in August. I trudge around the sidelines looking for shots while they begin the admittedly more arduous task of trudging, skis attached, towards the top, moving sideways like slat footed crabs. After being rousted from my first pick of a vantage point by a voraciously insistent cadre of red ants I settle in a couple yards farther up, sighting in a few shots with the wide angle, doing my best to get as much vibrantly hued grass and Susannah Bone skids to a stop as Missy Schwarz drops a knee.
flowers in the foreground as possible. I can see them parked at the top now, quaffing a preparatory Coors Light. Just below them comes another figure, this one suddenly descending at a rapid clip, switchbacking across and down. He plummets past my nest, cinematically spraying a blast of icy slush as he goes, and I realize then that the trip was worth it even if I never made it to the trade show. Life is about getting out, being out, adventure â€“ the happy accidents and sideways journeys that rear their heads, momentary distractions from the status quo. The trick for me is to link these moments together, find a way to make them the norm, hopefully without ever losing or skewing the perspective to recognize them when they come along.
Dogs of the Outdoor Retailer Show
Whatâ€™s better than a tradeshow dedicated to stuff you love? Why a tradeshow dedicated to stuff you love full of dogs of course! There were pooches at every turn this year, hereâ€™s a few of our favorites.
J. James Joiner photos
Stuff n’ Things
Maureen Eversgerd photos
by Bennett Barthelemy Ok, I admit it. The first thing I did when it got shipped to my door was put it on and take ridiculous pics of myself, post them on Facebook and laugh my ass off. I must admit I was a bit confused that a company would market such an item to a more dedicated outdoor enthusiast. A quick glance at www. selkbagusa.com and it looks as though the models were taking themselves pretty seriously. A sleeping bag suit, complete with arms and legs, it’s designed for form and function – emphasis on fun.
a.k.a. The magic bag of unadulterated happiness
When I put the Grimace/Teletubbie/Barney suit on it instantly made me happy. I then felt guilty when I couldn’t take it seriously enough to shoot and review the bag without laughing at the wonderful silliness of it all.
We spent the better part of a day at a giant sand dune on the Oregon Coast sliding down the massive dunes to the shock and awe of the army of little kids that ran stunned and slack-jawed past as we traded turns with a never-ending variety of back somersaults, belly slides and back slides down the slopes. We even shared the Selk’bag with smiling tourists, each wanting a go and admitting how jealous they were that they didn’t own one. The day contained more smiles and laughs than any in recent memory. As far as a review, the guilt mounted. What could I say other than the reactions from fellow dunesliders were priceless and that it was warm? That my mind was flooded with fun ideas for
photoshoots? It is not insanely practical but as a lower-priced sleep bag it is comfy and delivers. I don’t think it necessarily outshines competitors in the practicality, utilitarian, or craftsmanship arena for a sleeping bag but it is good enough. What it will do, unless you are catatonic, is give the wearer and those around some of the most fun they have had in a really long time — kid fun, sure, but more importantly the adult variety. We take ourselves way too seriously!
...Welcome to my Happy Ideas Lab. Now in the 4th generation, the 4G Selk’bag is temp rated to 45 degrees and comes in kid sizes and a variety of adult sizes. 3G is heavier and warmer, to 35 degrees and both versions sell between $89 and $149. Check out the website www.selkbagusa.com for sizing, specs and how to get yours.
I felt a sense of reprieve wash over me when I clicked on the Chilean creator, Rodrigo Alonso Schramm’s bio last night while prepping this review...
What’s important is to be happy “al tiro”…solve things differently, many times with nothing simpler than a smile. Ideas and people who make us laugh carve our souls and we never forget them...
Bennett Barthelemy photo
Essential moves: Warming up, cooling down by Cindy Joiner Warming up refers to the preparation of the body for exercise. By increasing the intensity of exercise too quickly, you limit your performance and risk possible injury and abnormal heart responses. To prepare the heart and muscles for the demand of exercise you should slowly and gradually build up the intensity. This allows the heart to pump more blood and oxygen to the muscles and connective tissues and raises the internal temperature of the body. An increase of blood flow to the muscles also makes them more flexible, allowing for greater range of motion which helps in the prevention of injuries and maximizes performance.
A warm-up may cause mild sweating, but it shouldn’t leave you fatigued. This usually takes no less than 10 minutes and most times, you can just start your activity slowly. For example, if you’re going for a run, start by walking and then go into a slow jog or alternate walking and jogging until you feel sufficiently warmed up. If you are going for a bike ride start slowly and gradually increase your speed and intensity. To warm up for strength training, move your muscles and joints through the movement patterns you’ll do during the exercise without weights first, then add them after warming up. Should it be raining or cold out you might want to perform all or part of your warmup inside. In this case I like to start with the core strengthening exercises I mentioned last month, followed by standing back and forth leg swings, standing leg swings across the body, hip circles like you’re doing the hula hoop (go in both directions) and then some jumping jacks, kettle bell swings and/ or jump rope. There are many ways to warm up the key is to find a routine what works best for you. The purpose of the cool down is to slowly
lower your body temperature, heart rate and breathing following exercise. If you stop your activity suddenly with no cool down, your blood will pool in your muscles and veins causing swelling, pain or even dizziness. By allowing your heart rate to drop slowly, you re-circulate blood back to the heart, skeletal muscles and brain.Your breathing, blood pressure and body temperature will then return to normal. This slow descent in intensity also aids in getting rid of lactic acid and other waste products which helps the recovery process by reducing the potential for muscle soreness and stiffness. The best cool down is to perform a lower intensity version of the activity you just did. Think of it as the warm up in reverse. As in the warm up, this too should take at least 10 minutes. Too often people neglect these two important aspects of the workout. However, to perform optimally and lessen your vulnerability to injuries the warm up and cool down should be an important part of everyone’s regimen.
The Eye Twirling burning steel wool along a breaker wall at Lake Superior. Taken during the â€œblue hourâ€? where for a brief time after dusk the sky glows electric blue. Photo Matthew Peterson
This Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel is happily posing after accepting his bribe: a dried banana chip. Photo Matthew Peterson
Brighton : 0 Porcupine : 1 Photo J. James Joiner
Photo J. James Joiner
Early morning striper fishing Photo J. James Joiner
M.Ward at the Newport Folk Festival photo J. James Joiner
Monsoon Sunset over Horseshoe Bend. Photo Willie Huang
A dog lounges on a solar dj booth in Alta, Utah. Photo J. James Joiner
The Wood Brothers perform at the Narrows Center For The Arts. Photo J. James Joiner
Tilt / shift image of street performer Daniel Forlano mid-show in Warner, N.H. Photo James Joiner
Tilt / shift image of early fall sunset, Cape Cod. Photo James Joiner
Blind Pilot is one of those “you have to hear them” bands. The ones that make you
excited to tell your friends about. They just released their hauntingly joyous second album, aptly dubbed We Are The Tide, a album that has the band swelling from two to six members and bringing their folky, Americana sound along for the ride. We sat down with founding member and drummer Ryan Dobrowski for a few questions before they launched their supporting tour.
Quick bit of history, as I know it’s been talked about a lot. How did Blind Pilot come about, and how did you grow from a two piece to where you are now? Blind Pilot started as a way for Israel and I to play music and travel by bike. We had spent a summer in college busking on the streets of Newquay, England, and we wanted to recreate some of that energy. We made some home recordings, packed our bikes up with instruments and CD’s, and started pedaling down the west coast playing everywhere from bars to campsites. We ended up having such an amazing time that we came back and recorded 3 Rounds and a Sound. It was in the recording process that we met most of the rest of the band. Once we heard all of the songs with the added arrangements, we wanted to hear them live as well. When we started touring we
brought out the other 4 musicians, Kati Claborn, Luke Ydstie, Ian Krist, and Dave Jorgensen. We have played so many shows together at this point that it would be weird if one of us wasn’t there. It very much feels like a 6 piece band now. We Are The Tide was recorded with all of you... How did the process change, and what about your song structure / sound do you think is the most different now that there are more of you? Even though the songs are still centered around Israel and his guitar, I think the songs have expanded quite a lot from the first record. The actual writing process didn’t change drastically from the first album, but I think knowing that all of these musicians and instruments were going to be included in the recording allowed for certain parts to get bigger in dynamics than what we had done before. We didn’t get carried away though. There are still a lot of pretty subtle and intimate moments on the record. How long did it take to record the new album? What would you say was the hardest thing to overcome in that process? It was about three months from the time we started recording to the time the record was mixed, but getting to that point took a lot longer.
We toured quite a bit on the first record and when we finished we were kind of expecting/expected to turn another album out pretty quickly. Things had changed quite a bit for us since being just a couple guys on bikes so it wasn’t as easy as we would have liked. I think the hardest part was to just get into the frame of mind to create again. Performing and creating feel like very different processes to me and I think we had gotten pretty good at the performing part of things. All of the sudden we needed to switch gears to create again. I can’t really speak for Israel, who writes the songs, but I think this was probably the hardest part. I think we will try to keep both parts active throughout this next touring cycle. Over the couple of years, you guys (and gal!) have gotten to travel the world, playing to larger and larger audiences. What has been the highlight thus far? How about the biggest challenge? We have been pretty fortunate to play some beautiful places and to some pretty large crowds, but for me I think the highlight is when we play a smaller room filled with people and everyone
is sweaty and singing along. Those shows are my absolute favorite. They might not always have the best sound, but the exchange of energy makes up for it. The biggest challenge is probably about three weeks into tour if we have done a lot of shows in a row. We are all pretty easy going people, but if you haven’t been sleeping or eating as well as you should, it is pretty easy to get a little crabby. It’s good to know each other as well as we do now because you learn to live with each other in a small space for a long period of time. Some things just aren’t worth getting that upset about.
You’re launching a huge tour in support of the new album, on a new tour bus. Will you tell us a bit about it?
I think it is going to be great. People get really excited about the bus which is cool. A lot of people wave to us or want to take their picture in front of it. New album, new tour...What comes next? We will have a lot of touring to do next year as well, but we are planning a writing excursion in Telluride as well as a bike tour through Europe, both of which I am very excited about. www.blindpilotmusic.com
J. James Joiner photo
The bus helps out that sleeping and eating thing a lot. We took it out on a shorter run about a month ago and it was by far the most fun I have had on tour. Except for maybe the bike tour. It feels less like a bus inside and more like a moving log cabin or a boat. We bought a 1971 Crown school bus and Luke and Kati rebuilt the inside with all of this beautiful old wood that was donated to us. It isn’t the fastest vehicle in the world and has minor breakdowns here and there, but we each have a bunk and there is a kitchen so we don’t have to just eat at truck stops. This will be the longest tour we have taken it on and
words & photos by Bennett Barthelemy Seeing the Portland-based band Sassparilla live is a full sensory experience. Washboard, washtub bass, cigar box guitar and slide steel guitar, a legion of harmonicas... it’s a synergistic blend of genres from bluesy, bluegrass jams that build up from modestly swaying grooves to Pogues post-punk style rages with lead guitarist and lead singer “Gus” soon standing on his chair red-faced and sweaty with fingers screaming across the strings. Between smiles he yells the lyrics in unison with a packed house at the Laurelthirst that is flowing into the street. The band’s free Laurelthirst Public House happy hour shows have garnered a cult-like following. With so many folks dancing you are also bound to get someone’s beer flowing onto your feet.
I imagine the band as a kind of gateway drug to help expand the ears and hearts of its listeners so that they might incorporate a much wider array of musical styles and expand their auditory horizons and roots knowledge of Americana music. Gus shared with me later that a flagship song like “Devil” -- which you can hear cued up at www.sassparilla.info – “feels really good to play and people connect to it because we do.” I think I like to watch them play (yes, my girlfriend and I are groupies!) because Sassparilla is all about the music and about the connections the artists bring to the fans at live shows. They are in the crowd playing, sharing stories, sharing drinks before, during and after. Gus admitted that the vast majority of his songwriting inspirations come from stories told by folks in bars. A couple weeks later those stories percolate down and get written “in about five minutes.” “Honestly, everyone has something to give back and music seems natural to
all of us,” Gus says. “We played a show in Ashland and someone told me after that we don’t play music the way it is supposed to be played anymore. I took that as a huge compliment. “Uh oh, these are the questions I hate, about passion and creativity. One of the artists we get compared to a lot, and I think it’s fair, is Tom Waits. Blues, Bluegrass, Tin Pan Alley, ragtime, he blends it all and makes it his own. We do the same. “We play a festival and some kid is out there dancing to us that maybe never heard of the blues before and would never listen to it,” he says. Go to Sassparilla’s website (www.sassparilla. info) for upcoming concert dates and give ’em a good listen, or better, get to a show!
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Cedar Wright on 4o hour push at El Capitan, Yosemite. Photo courtesy Cedar Wright