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GUEST CONTRIBUTORS Pauline Ngo Chris Deitrick Maxx Rivas Tommy Crocker Jenny Tague

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EDITOR'S NOTE For many people, the great oudoors is a place to unwind, de-stress and escape the daily grind. It provides space for recreational activities, from picknicking in the park, walking in woodlands, swimming in lakes, hiking trails, to climbing up mountains. Many of us find peace, enjoyment and positive experience whilst outdoors and use it as a means to connect with nature as well as like-minded people. In this issue, you will meet those who have forged close relationships with the great outdoors through their passions, off-the-grid living and making wholesome recipes. So kick off your shoes (or bring them with you) and get outdoors!

Tracey Nguyen @traceynguyen 8



THE CINDER CONE Two connecting, multi-level treehouses with a soaking tub and skate bowl.

63 FIG GALETTES Sweet and savory free-form tart.



SPICED POTATO FRIES Crisp, sweep potato fries with a kick.

A LIFE UPWARD Meet a women climbing boulders over 25 ft. in White Mountain, California.


DISCOVERING TENKARA Travel to Gifu, Japan to discover a traditional method of fly-fishing


PARK BUTTE LOOKOUT Fire outlook in Eastern Washington with pananormic views.

66 ALPINE MUD A white sage, fresh mint, milk chocolate bourbon cocktail.


CALL OF THE WILD Dogsledding adventure in the snowy Artic of the Lapland Wilderness.

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55 ECO-LUXURY PODS Experience the Swiss Alps in igloo-shaped pods.


COFFEE MAPLE SPICED NUTS Nutrient dense snack to fuel your hike. 10

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THERE IS ANOTHER SKY There is another sky, Even serene and fair, And there is another sunshine, Though it be darkness there; Never mind faded forests, Austin, Never mind silent fields— Here is a little forest, Whose leaf is ever green, Where not a frost has been; In its unfading flowers I hear the bright bee hum; Prithee, my brother, Into my garden come! Emily Dickinson

Grace Helmer 12

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Words by Ivana McConnell 14


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Some climbers forgo the ropes, harnesses and opt for bouldering. Bosnian native and designer, Ivana McConnell travels to White Mountain in Bishop, California where large boulders, starting at 10-15 feet high and "high balls" exceeding 25feet high. Ivana relies on her strength, skills and fearlessness to keep her moving.


ouldering is a discipline within rock climbing. Eight handhold just a little too far to the left, and missed the one to ten powerful moves to climb a single boulder from sweet spot on the rock. Something went wrong and I have the ground up, without the use of ropes. The climb is often to find out what it is, make it right, and try again. I need called “the problem," and the sole objective is to start as to put it together with every other move in the sequence. low as possible, then climb over the top without a fall. It It's physical and sometimes attritional, but controlled and sounds simple, and at the outset it can be, incredibly creative. Often, so much of the but it's so much better when it isn't.The inspiration comes from the setting and the challenge is in understanding how to use immersion in the vast and exposed enviSACRAMENTO the various and unique holds on the rock ronment of the climb. I've climbed in the face in order to make it to the top and mountains, in deserts, in woodlands and WHITE MT. climb over. Depending on height, style industrial areas, and each location holds and body type, there exists a multitude of its own unique magic. The backdrop is ways to use the same hand and footholds. often what provides me with the encourCALIFORNIA That's where the real joy of climbing is: agement and incentive to gather together in figuring out the sequence that makes my last drops of energy and try again, if sense for me; the one sequence that, when only so I can be worthy of the landscape executed properly, feels easy and makes me forget all of the I'm standing in. I have to look at the problem and re-think failed attempts that have come before. This could happen the it, use my imagination to find a different way to use my first time I try, but it could also take hundreds of attempts hands and feet- my only tools - and fix them if they aren't and hundreds of falls, each one more frustrating than the last. good enough. I've been told that climbing is a futile exercise and that it can't be an art. At the end of a climb, they tell Falling is an awful feeling. It brings with it the realisation me, there is nothing: nothing is produced, and nothing is that I haven't been good enough. Sometimes I don't react changed. In a way, these people are correct; all that exists at all, other times I scream in frustration and the sound are the emotions that come from sitting at the base of a echoes across the valley. My foot placement wasn't right. boulder for hours at a time, obsessing over the smallest of My hands didn't have enough chalk on them. I caught the foot placements and turns of movement, but there is still no 16


“It's always about trying just that one more time, until all willpower and means of strength have been exhausted and I have nothing left to give, at least until the next visit.”

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“I see creativity as a physical experience: artists wrestle with ideas, battle with frustration, and they feel the adrenaline that comes with getting things right.� 18


“When I finally manage to finish a climb, I don’t have a tangible object to call the product of my efforts. Instead, I’m left with the powerful memory of that moment when every movement came together smoothly. fluidly. beautifully.”

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physical object which exists as evidence of the hours, days, weeks of effort. After a climb is finished, I can only look back on it briefly before moving on to the next, because the next climb has become the newest obstacle, the unexplored challenge staring me in the face and daring me to be better. Try just one more time, I always tell myself. The next attempt will be the last and then I'll leave it alone. It's always about trying just that one more time, until all willpower and means of strength have been exhausted and I have nothing left to give, at least until the next visit. I see creativity as a physical experience: artists wrestle with ideas, battle with frustration, and they feel the adrenaline that comes with getting things right, that sudden moment of clarity when the idea suddenly falls into place and has a purpose. When I finally manage

to finish a climb, I don't have a tangible object to call the product of my efforts. Instead, I'm left with the powerful memory of that moment when every movement came together smoothly. Fluidly. Beautifully. It's as stunning and fulfilling as any piece of art can be. That elusive achievement is the reason I go back to uncompleted climbs over and over again with the hope that one day, when my body and the moment aligns, I'll get it right. 20


DISCOVERING TENKARA Words and Photos by Daniel W. Galhardo

Upon returning from Japan, my mind was filled with the mountain culture of tenkara, a traditional method of fly-fishing with a long rod and without a reel. I aimed to share my discovery with the people at home. My next journey was founding Tenkara USA.


linging to a mossy rock with half of my body under a wa­terfall, I watched the torrent crash into a small basin fifty feet below, sending mist into the air and soaking my companions. Mr. Futamura observed apprehen­sively. Next to him, Mr. Kumazaki preferred to stare at the pool in front of him for JAPAN any signs of iwana, the wild char found in the mountains of Japan. A fishing rod, box of flies, spools of GIFU lines and tippets were stowed away in my backpack. No reel required. As tends to happen with fishing we lost track of time somewhere along the way. It was seven o’clock in the evening and it would soon turn dark inside this lush forest. After a full day of rappelling, swimming through pools in impassable canyons, climbing over rocks, crossing rivers and massive waterfalls, and, of course, fishing, we were all tired.

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Getting There My trip to Gifu, Japan was a journey of discovery. For two months, I stayed in a small mountain village learning everything I could about tenkara. Truly, I already knew tenkara. Three years earlier, on my first trip to Japan, I introduced myself to this traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing that uses only a long rod, line, and fly—no reel. After returning home, all I could think about was tenkara. With little information and no gear available stateside, I TOKYO took on the task of introducing tenkara to the United States. Since 2009, I have been introducing tenkara outside of Japan. However, despite the knowledge I gained in the last three years, I knew there was much more. Tenkara is a deceivingly simple form of fly-fishing that holds deep historical, cultural and technical layersers. My goal was to immerse myself within the mountain culture of tenkara. 22


History of Tenkara Just as the practice of metalworking appeared independently in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East and among the Incas in South America, evidence suggests that fly-fishing emerged in Europe and Japan independently of one another. Anglers have practiced the similar methods in many other parts of Europe. Yet, unlike the original Western fly-fishing methods, tenkara still lives in Japan. Tenkara was an art of necessity for peasants, not a sport for the idle classes. While the West went to work designing fly patterns, weights, strike indicators, and other gadgets to control the reach of a fly or make the activity “easier,” the typical tenkara fishermen of today adhere to the original practitioners’ thrift and reliance on skill. Most tenkara anglers rely on only one fly pattern, no matter where they fish or what is hatching. As the tenkara philosophy goes, attaining a mastery of skills and technique is more important and efficient than second-guessing fly choice.Although researchers can find numerous Western fly-fishing references going back as far as AD 200 or beyond, in Japan, records of the sport only travel back a few generations before disappearing into the forest along with the original, albeit illiterate, practitioners of tenkara. Even the origin of the name, tenkara, is unknown. The phonetic reading tenkara could give it the meaning of "from heaven." The Adventure I wasted no time getting to the Gifu prefecture, the region of Japan where tenkara possibly originated. Two friends from Tokyo met me at the airport, where we loaded into a Nissan and immediately headed for the moun-

tains. The seven hour drive southwest was a bridge between two worlds, betraying how a mountain culture could have remained unexplored within a country the size of California. Traveling at sixty miles per hour I imagined how, just a hundred years ago, it would take a full day to cover what I did in ten minutes. I could easily envision how a mountain fishing technique could survive here unknown to the population on the coast and the world beyond, for so many years. We arrived in Maze, a mountain village of approximately 1,400 souls in the prefecture of Gifu. Kazuhiro Osaki, who goes by the name Rocky and his wife, Ikum, would host me during my stay. For several years, Rocky and his wife have managed the Mazegawa Fishing Center, a tourist center established on the banks of the big Maze River to promote angling tourism and other activities. Their home was quaint, my lodging a traditional room with its typical grassy fragrance. I visited the fishing center and tried to discover the different layers of tenkara through fascinating interviews and encounters with individuals who have made (and continue to make) its history. In the evenings, I’d try to fish the yumazume, loosely translated as the “evening activity period,” until it got too dark to see. A Living Tradition Perhaps the mountain culture of Tenkara has always been too rich to ever really be at risk of true extinction. Talking to some early Japanese explorers of the tradition, I wonder how close Japan came to losing tenkara. Eighty-eight-year-old Mr. Ishimaru Shotaro heard about my curiosities through the region's social network. He came to

Most tenkara anglers rely on only one fly pattern— no matter where they fish or what is hatching.

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“Tenkara puts our minds in an interesting paradox. Time flies as we experience the joy of fishing, yet it slows down as leaves rustle and water runs. Fast is balanced by slow to keep us present.”

the fishing center to meet this gaijin (foreigner) who was so interested in his Tenkara. He guessed it was 1934 when he began watching a Tenkara angler near his hometown of Hagiwara. He explained that approaching a stranger to ask about his techniques simply wasn’t done at the time. Keeping a subtle distance, Shotaro-san followed the angler for an entire summer, periodically going off on his own to try out the techniques he observed. This is how he learned Tenkara, then taught others in the area, and is now often referred to as a Tenkara meiji, or “Tenkara master.” Without any records to prove otherwise, Shotoro may have been the first Tenkara teacher in the country. I asked him why today’s young people think fishing is difficult despite the availability of books, magazines, and videos—even though Shotaro-san taught himself the practice simply through observation. He responded simply, “There were a lot more fish back then.” Mr. Shotaro described how at that time, when the damming of the rivers that accompanied Japan’s industrialization was far from complete, he often caught 100 fish a day, with a personal record of 150, numbers common and somehow sustainable among the professional Tenkara anglers of the time. Mr. Shotaro once got lost in the mountains for a week. While his family worried, he didn't. He survived the week foraging for wild mountain vegetables (sansai), mushrooms and catching trout. When I met him, Shotaro-san couldn’t trust his body the way he did a decade earlier. His legs

Line 11ft.

Rod 11ft. 90˚

Tippet 5ft.






Hackle is shut Hackle is opened

Show off fly Favorite spot 26


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started giving out three years ago, and since that time, he had not visited the water. Nonetheless, one hour of talking about Tenkara was just too much for him to bear. As he had done a hundred times in our conversation, every time he remembered a story about fishing and his youth, he smiled. But this smile was different. I could tell he wanted to fish again. In a very soft voice Shotaro turned to his nearby student and said, “Tsuri o shi-mashoo!”—“Let’s go fishing!” After helping him put on waders, his student and I assisted Mr. Shotaro into the waters of the Maze River. Mr. Shotaro said he wanted to fish with me, since he didn’t know if he’d ever have another chance. With a new vigor, his casting was fluid and precise, the manipulation of the flies enticing. In a stretch of river that had yielded few fish in the two months I was there, Shotaro-san got a fish to rise on his third cast.

Kotsuzake is primitive and raw. Preparing and drinking it is an act of homage to the principle of not wasting the resources nature provides.

Tenkara with a Twist Two months went by faster than the glimpse of a rising trout. But I was happy I had found the time to fish a little on a daily basis. I enjoyed incredible encounters with old masters, meetings with craftsmen, a very enjoyable time with my hosts and their friends, and a lot of fishing, too. But I also craved adventure. The same isolation early tenkara fisherman enjoyed was a little more difficult to achieve in modern Japan. So we took to the challenge with canyoneering shoes, neoprene wetsuits, ropes, and harnesses, and our Tenkara kit, mixing fishing with what is known as “shower-climbing,” a mix of canyoneering with climbing waterfalls. It seemed Tenkara and shower-climbing were made for each other. By conquering wild and remote waters, we would earn our right to practice Tenkara there. We set off on an expedition that took us to rugged mountain streams, far from the masses that leave many streams ravaged and devoid of fish.

raw. Preparing and drinking it is an act of homage to the principle of not wasting the resources nature provides. After separating the bones from the meat, we placed them over the coals of the fire to lightly roast and bring out oils and flavor, then immersed them into the warm sake. The result is sake with subtle and tantalizing fish flavors—all part of the Japanese mountain culture, and now a personal practice if I must eat a trout that I catch. The Cliff-Hanger Back on the treacherous, wet rock face, a small over-hanging cluster of bamboo far to the left started to seem more reasonable the longer I clung immobilized by the waterfall. I normally would never trust plants to hold my weight over a fall that could potentially kill me, but at this point, adrenaline dictated my actions. I grabbed a bamboo stalk and slowly shifted the weight off my feet. Before I knew it, I was underneath a large waterfall. I placed my trust in a root system that was out of sight under a thin veneer of soil. The mist from the waterfall made it hard to see ahead. Through the patch of bamboo and other vines, I finally topped the cliff, beaming in relief that I was stable on the earth.The others followed me and I gave my hand to assist them. Under heavy rain, I wrapped an anchor rope around an ancient tree lying across the stream. When Futamura-san reached the top, he looked down at the pool below with a nervous smile and said, “Good job; difficult climb.”

Out here, I finally felt the spirit of Tenkara fishermen from eras gone by: They disappeared into the forests for weeks at a time, camping and fishing the streams, drying caught fish, and finally, when the catch threatened to be too heavy to carry out, headed back to the village markets. We planned to build a fire by the river, where we would cook a trout “shioyaki-style”—only sea salt coating the skin, a firm branch serving as a skewer. And we would drink kotsuzake, a drink that, as I have come to appreciate, is underpinned with ceremonial and philosophical significance—though one shouldn’t picture a neat Japanese tea ceremony. Kotsuzake is primitive and 28

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CALL OF THE WILD Words by Stephanie Payne 30


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Stephanie Payne's dogsledding adventure takes her to the Lapland Wilderness in northern Sweden. Her first taste of dogsledding came with a side of powerful joy—free from the noise of the city, completely alert to all that surrounded me and swooned by the song of the sled dogs in the snowy Arctic north.


n 1925, a deadly outbreak of diphtheria threatened illness upon the people of a small town in northern Alaska. The anecdote needed to combat the illness lived more than two thousand miles away, at a lab in Seattle, Washington. U.S. officials knew they needed to act fast and smart to save the people of Nome, a coastal town well-known for its gold prospecting opportunities. The only aircraft that was ARCTIC CIRLCE available was broken, and so the serum made its way by train from Seattle to Nenana, Alaska, then by sled dog the SWEDEN rest of the way northward to the coast of the Bering Sea. 20 mushers and 150 dogs crossed the Northern Territory, saving the town and surrounding towns from the outbreak. In the home stretch into Nome was a dog named Balto, who miraculously stayed on course amid whiteout conditions. He and his musher, Gunnear Kaasen, were celebrated in North America—and later the world—for their act of heroism in what is now called the “Great Race of Mercy.” Growing up in Seattle, I’d learned this story early on; as an adult, I had the opportunity to learn the culture of dog sledding and its centuries-long history first hand. Long after the great race of Balto and partner dog teams to Nome—more than 40 years since the first race of the Iditarod—I learned how and why for hundreds of years, dog sled was the best and the only transitory method of bringing supplies, human

communications, and people throughout the polar regions in both North America and Northern Europe. In Lapland, I was all leashed up with my team of four Alaskan huskies – two in the front, born trailblazers trained to lead since puppyhood, and two in the back, the team dogs who follow the leads. Balto, LAPLAND WILDERNESS Dixie, Tristan and Bella were ready to whisk me away, (one of my lead dogs was named Balto, imagine my luck!) Our guide led the train with eight dogs on her sled, there were eight other sledders on our team, and one other team with the same configuration was leashed up along our right-hand side. A Swedish outdoorsman driving a snowmobile with a trailer draped in reindeer hide cushioning our supplies brought up the rear. When you are as far north as the Lapland Wilderness, high above the Arctic Circle, proper attire is heavy-duty, astronaut-worthy wear capable of shielding harsh weather for long periods of time (temperatures this time of year, March, hover around -11° Centigrade/12° Fahrenheit.) The wind is the deadlist and cuts cold through your bones. My face All sounds beyond the deranged thoughts of adventure that fly through your head and the sound of freezing wind gusts in your mind’s ear are deafened by the muffle of ski caps, balaclavas, hats and fur-lined hoods. Once those sounds fall silent is when the song begins and the adventure starts. 32


You cannot hear the sound of the starting bell, you just see the fist rise up ahead and there goes our guide. The dogs take off and the song stops and then, total silence. There is whiteness everywhere.

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Balto, a Siberian husky named after the lead dog that carried the serum to Nome during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic.

Eight day sledding adventure on the King's Trail in the Lapland mountains.

The canine athletes start to get amped up. One lead starts pushing ahead with excitement, then his running mate joins, like two happy golden retrievers trying to break free of their leashes to chase a squirrel. The rest of the dogs start barking and howling and jumping forth then all of the dogs sing out. From the muffled sound created by my sturdy outfit is the most wonderful sound of wild dogs I have ever heard. They are ready but we are not, and as the last details are worked out by the guides — the tightening of loose ropes, the unravelling of tangled lines the excitement has found a climactic crescendo in this tiny corridor of Arctic forest where we howl from. The final clicks of the harnesses on the last group of dogs ring and the tennis ball is thrown, the guide is their master and the snowy Lapland Wilderness is their lap pool. You cannot hear the sound of the starting bell, you just see the fist rise up ahead and there goes our guide. One sled, two sleds ahead of me, I’m off, and hopefully, the rest of the team is behind me. I hear the guide in front of me whistle loudly to the dogs as a signal to go. The dogs make their stance and on the last loud sound of the bell, leap forward cohesively. 34


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My first taste of dogsledding came with a side of powerful joy— free from the noise of the city, completely alert to all that surrounded me and swooned by the song of the sled dogs in the snowy Lapland Wilderness.

As I kick up the steel brake that I have been forcefully leaning on, I secure a solid stance on my sled. The dogs take off and the song stops and then, total silence. There is whiteness everywhere. For the first five minutes, I just laughed. No one would hear me, so I just kept laughing harder and louder until it felt really good inside. I was howling as loudly and excitedly as those dogs were just before took off. It felt so good. After a few minutes of sledding, I felt pretty good, pretty solid. “I’ve got this!” I thought. I started getting a little cocky, took a little air over a bump, took one hand off the sled to pick up the secondary brake that allows slowing, rode on for a bit… then I bit it. I totally flew! I soared through the air like a flying Wallenda into a four feet snow bank. Instinct guided my gaze up the hill to make sure that another sled wasn’t about to run me over. Safe. My second thought was: “oh, no, no, NO — my dogs!!” Of course they kept running, as dogs like to do. Instinct of the sledder in front of me guided her to take her own sled with her right hand, grab my runaway sled with her left, and hang on for dear life, hoping that the dog teams would run together instead of in opposite directions. Our guide on the snowmobile flew by like an Arctic superman, just in time to make the rescue. You see, there are plenty of heroes while sledding — the snow, your team, the support of your dogs, your

guides, yourself. Later, I asked Stefan (the Arctic superman) if he still fell from his sled. “It’s like riding a bike,” he says, “once you know how, there is not much of a reason to fall off.” This candid segue seemed like a good time to ask other questions I wanted to know everything about the dogs. We talked about the morning feeding of beef mixed with animal blood and commercial food that delivers enough fat to their system to give them energy, strength, immunity and warmth needed for hours (sometimes days) of running through harsh winter terrain. I wanted to know more about the guides who train the dogs and love them every day. They told us stories about their ancestors, the Sami people (who also span northern Finland and across Siberia); how the winter season meant each year that they could cover more ground at a faster pace by crossing over frozen lakes. Today, the Sami live in traditional homes, but rely on both snowmobiles and dogsleds, depending on the task. Mostly though, snowmobiles are used for utilitarian functions, while sleds are most commonly used for sport. And that is how my first taste of dogsledding came with a side of powerful joy—free from the noise of the city, completely alert to all that surrounded me, swooned by the song of the sled dogs in the snowy, beautiful Lapland Wilderness, and a belly laugh that I’ll never forget. 36

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STOPPING BY WOODS Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost

Grace Helmer 38


Double treehouse in Skamania, WA

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THE CINDER CONE The Cinder Cone Treehouse, sits on Foster W. Huntington's family land in Skamania, Washington and comprises of two big separate structures connected via a 25-foot suspension bridge. Bolted between massive Douglas-Fir trees that sits a top a hill, the wooden abode offers incredible views of the surrounding wilderness.

W or ds

by Fos ter Hu ntington


hen Foster Huntington quit his design job in 2011, he didn’t have a plan except to buy a VW van and drive far, far away from New York City. After wandering the country, publishing multiple photo books, and coining the popular hashtag #vanlife, he’s proven that overhauling your life can be a beautiful adventure. In 2014, Huntington decided to put some roots down. Or rather, build some up. The 27-year-old gathered a group of friends and started planning a treehouse in western Washington, near the Oregon border. “I have always loved treehouses. So I thought it was time to build a big-boy one, ” said Huntington. A year later, The Cinder Cone was complete. The multi-level structure consists of two connected treehouses, a soaking tub, and a skate bowl, smack dab in the vast wilderness of the Columbia River Gorge.Huntington still works as a social media consultant, a freelance photographer, and a blogger, but doing it all from the treehouse makes life a bit more sweet. “I could’ve bought a house,” he told The New York Times. “But this is so much better. For me, it’s realizing a childhood dream.” While the treehouse is certainly cool, what is even 40


“I feel like it’s important to live in a place that’s inspiring to live— and in this day and age of the Internet you can kind of work from anywhere.” 41 | PERCHED | Issue 1

“I’ve been travelling for the last three years and I wanted to set up a home base. I like living in a really small space, like in my camper and a treehouse kind of seemed like a good evolution of it.” 42


more incredible are the numerous wood burning hot tubs scattered around the area and the reinforced concrete skate park that was carved out from a nearby hill. Of course, an idyllic little paradise like this is not easy or cheap. Cinder Cone Treehouse took Huntington and his construction team that comprised of his family and friends a year to build, and cost $170,000 USD. That of course, does not include the price of the land which happened to be free for Huntington.But the photographer and blogger who says his surroundings inspire him to be more creative is not concerned. He is living his dream. Huntington hopes he can encourage others to do the same and has even published a book that outlines his experience and serves as an instructional manual for those that wish to build their own dream (tree)home. It’s an escape, for sure, but not a fully off-the-grid one as Huntington explains: “People have these notions that you have to move into the city but you really don’t. I have Wi-Fi here and full 4G internet. And that’s all I need to make a living, so I could be here or I could be in Manhattan and it’s way cheaper to do what I’m doing here.” He adds: “It’s just about being inspired by what’s around you. That’s what the treehouses are about to me.” Getting tasked with roofing the Octagon on a windy day was hard work, not to mention scary, he said, but “you had an unbelievable view anywhere you looked. It was certainly my dream job.” Siegel and Korsmo planned to do more work on the outdoor shower, but because Huntington wanted to film them, they were waiting. They would work in perfect light. Meanwhile, Huntington ascended into the trees. At the top of an increasingly steep staircase was a platform made of red cedar. Opening the door of the Studio, Huntington

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noted that both treehouses have wood stoves, allowing him to stay hunkered in, even during the Pacific Northwest’s cold, stormy nights. Inside, the space was toasty and light-filled, decorated in a cabin-y version of Young Bachelor. A shelf by the door held Huntington’s cameras and lenses; his iMac sat on a simple desk against one wall, a surfboard propped next to it. Large windows looked straight into green-needled limbs. Huntington regards the Studio as his work space and the Octagon as his bedroom; he regards the small house his mother built, 100 feet away, as a source of electricity and plumbing. To get to the upper treehouse, he raced across a kind of ladder lying almost flat across the sky to another tree that supported yet another platform. From there he dashed across the swinging rope bridge to the Octagon’s door. Built on top of a volcano, the perch afforded him an expansive view of the valley, creating the awesome sensation

of being not 35 feet off the ground but 1,000 feet up. When a strong wind whips across the Cinder Cone, as it would that night, the whole structure — bridge and tree and treehouse — sways and creaks. “It’s not exactly to code,” Huntington said with a laugh.That evening, he manned the parrilla, an open-flame grill popularized by South American gauchos. He stoked hot coals and threw on some steaks, burgers, yams and asparagus for his guests as they relaxed on the hamock. Huntington wanted to document the process of building The Cinder Cone and will be publishing a book of photos. Huntington is looking for $30,000 worth of funding on Kickstarter so that he can complete filming, and finalizing the layout as a resource for others. On his Kickstarter for the book, he describes the project as multi-functional: “Think of it as one part instructional book, one part photo book, and one part tiny homes book,” he writes. 44


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PARK BUTTE LOOKOUT Words and Photos by Heather Pogue

A hike to the Park Butte fire lookout on Mount Baker, Washington, tracks the forgotten history of the sparse towers that were once manned year round. Throughout the American Northwest, some are now restored as overnight shelters for solace seekers.


t's only September, but with rapid drops of temperature, it feels overwhelmingly like January. My husband, Andrew, and I are halfway up a trail in Mount Baker's back-yard in Washington. The flowers show signs of mortality, their normally bright, fuchsia-colored blossoms dried up into a brown, crusty shell. The open meadows are less vibrant than normal for this time of year. The flowers came and are almost gone, signs pointing toward the end of summer, though it barely just began. We sweat abnormally and drink water profusely. We are on a mission to spend the night in the historic Park Butte Lookout. The hike is a steady uphill climb to the top, where we can see Mount

Baker sprawling before us with emaciated pools of shallow water and red dirt staining the meadows in the foreground. The bright reds, oranges, and coppers are signs of mineral-rich soil and the fingerprints of the receded glacier on a slowly transforming landscape. We pass small groups of hikers, many with dogs, and come across a few larger Boy Scout and summer-camp parties. It seems the lookout towers fascinate young and old, serious thrill junkies, but also solace seekers. Two years ago, I had no idea fire lookouts even existed. After moving to Seattle, I became obsessed with them when a friend mentioned there were numerous towers across the Northwest. Built as 46


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“It seems the lookout towers fascinate young and old, serious thrill junkies, but also solace seekers.� 48


early detection and suppression stations for forest fires, the lookouts housed fire-lookout workers, who lived in them full time. Usually set on the highest pinnacle, with a 360-degree view of its surroundings, the lookout tower provided a prime viewing platform with sight lines as far as the eye can see. Being an architect, I was fascinated by their iconic design, beautiful in its functionality and frugality, and a new typology for me. Most lookouts are made of wood and must withstand very harsh climate conditions, being located so high and exposed to the elements. So I respect the simple, straightforward design engineered for easy duplication and constructability. Thick layers of paint have been applied to the wood, protecting its wear

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from the weather and, hopefully, extending durability. The wooden windows no longer open, since they've been permanently sealed to halt the snow and rain damage, but the shutters still function with some old-fashioned elbow grease. Contrasting today's cheap construction and design gimmicks, the towers reflect an authentic practicality that I can aspire to communicate with my architecture, and they are a humbling reminder of how we should be building our homes and cities, reclaiming a simpler time where objects and things did not rule our lives. The lookout towers in the United States were first erected after the Great Fire of 1910, which burned three million

acres of forest in Washington, Montana, and Idaho. The fire resulted in more regulations and protocols from the U.S. Forest Service, implemented to prevent this tragedy from happening again. The Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed towers all across the nation in the decade following the Depression. During World War II, human lookouts also served as enemy aircraft spotters, especially on the West Coast. After about 1960, more advanced technology made most of the towers obsolete. Fires were no longer fought via human observation, but instead with radios, aircraft, and finally Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with satellite technology. As a result, the lookout towers were no longer of use, and many fell into disrepair. Our Park Butte Lookout was built in 1932 and was in service until 1961. Its style is known as an L-4, a square fourteen-foot by fourteen-foot wood cab atop heavy timber posts with a cedar-shingled gable roof and operable shutters protecting a full width of ribbon windows at each side. It was the most popular live-in lookout design and one that was replicated across the Northwest. It perches majestically on the peak of boulders, like Foucault's perfect panopticon, watching all of nature from its roost. What's fun about lookout hikes is that the towers come into view not long after you set out on the trail up the mountain, hinting at the reward that awaits, though there is still much elevation to be gained before reaching the summit. I look upward to seek a vantage point, stealing glimpses of the perfectly square object perched and waiting for my arrival, and I know it will be well worth the sweat. Many of these lookouts are kept in working order by local volunteer groups or organizations dedicated to preserving them. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Park Butte Lookout is maintained by the Skagit Alpine Club, a group of mountaineers who service the exterior, occasional-ly clean inside, and stock it with the bare necessities for emergencies—or even forgotten matches. I appreciate the remaining lookouts even more for this reason; they have that element of home to them because knowledge-able caretakers conserve their special historical and spiritual ambience. It's an inspiration to us all to treat other people and things with just as much tender care. Once ascended, my usual concerns are a memory: The bustling urban life I live in Seattle is far away, and I slip into nature's meditative rhythm. There are no deadlines, only observations and reflections. There are no agendas, only submitting to the mountain's siren song. Layers are peeled back, noise stops, nonessentials dissipate. Time becomes the passing sky, clouds, and breeze, not numbers

“ The tower reflects an authentic practicality and is a humbling reminder of how we should be building our homes, reclaiming a simpler time where objects and things did not rule our lives.� 50


The question of what to do next is replaced with almost no thoughts at all as I easily succumb to nature's nonexistent curriculum.

on a clock or phone. I replenish myself with water and food not because it is noon, but because I listened to the thirst or hunger rumbling in my stomach. The question of what to do next is replaced with almost no thoughts at all as I easily succumb to nature's nonexistent curriculum. As the sun set on Mt. Baker and the surrounding mountains, we introduced ourselves to the lookouts night time residents – a young couple from Sedro-Woolley. They had been at the lookout since noon, but gladly agreed to let us sleep on the balcony. The night was calm and relatively warm as we made dinner and scanned the lookout register. When the PNT came up, the couple mentioned that the registers were full of thru-hikers and I soon found the familiar signature of trail names dating back many years. It seems that Andrew and I weren’t the first PNT hikers to detour for the night. Andrew brewed a big pot of water outside during sunset and we sat sipping tea and eating soup. At star rise, we set our cameras up for some shots of the Milky Way. The evening haze disappeared and various celestial bodies danced above our heads. Our new friends had never seen nighttime photography in action, so Andrew and I happily chatted about the process. As long as they would stand in for models, we said, we would happily share our photos with them. As the nighttime chill set in, Andrew and I set up our sleep systems on the east facing balcony of the lookout and tucked in for the night. Sunrise would come early, and none of us planned on missing it. I fell asleep with River breathing softly by my head, billons of stars above and the distant lights of Bellingham twinkling on the horizon and warm food in my belly.

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Moments later, or so it seemed, I was back behind my camera stealing some shots of the brilliant sky as the mountains lit up before me. The lookout towers are remote. However, some have cell phone reception at the top, which makes for interesting observations as we relax on the deck reading, writing, and reflecting. Hikers come up huffing and puffing because the last stretch of the trail is perhaps the hardest. The gravel trail gives way to larger boulders that require a scramble, and the climb is steeper than the average grade on most of the hike. The lookout is perched on these boulders, lifted with stubby wooden posts so it floats slightly above. After taking in the awe-inspiring view, many visitors to the lookout immediately pull out their cell phone and snap photos; a few even have selfie sticks to capture their group with the stunning mountain backdrop. Our most pleasant encounter happens in the hottest hour of the afternoon. We had just come back from a mountain lake swim and climbed back up to the porch. It takes us a while to notice someone sitting at the shaded side of the balcony. We manage to sneak around the corner to find a man and his binoculars, no cell phone or selfie stick. We begin talking, and before long we exchange contact information and look forward to meeting again. It amazes me what happens when we put our cell phones away and embrace the existence around us. Beautiful and inspiring moments are always presented to us. Will we stop and pay attention or move too fast and miss them? Perched on a fire lookout, you see more than the view.

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“ Once ascended, my usual concerns are a memory: The bustling urban life I live in Seattle is far away, and I slip into nature's meditative rhythm.� 56

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bout a one-and-a-half hour drive from the Geneva airport, you find yourself in the village of Les Cerniers, Switzerland at the foot of the Dents-du-Midi mountain range (the base of the Swiss Alps) ready for your stay at Whitepod.Stopping in at reception, you check in, pick up your backpack, map, headlight, snowshoes, and walking sticks, then start the twenty-minute jaunt to the “pod camp.” With a dedication to environmental conservation, this hike is part of the fun! And when you arrive, you see that these domes are just as luxurious as any valet-equipped hotel. With stunning views, stylish interiors, and a variety of activities available, you’ll never want to leave your Whitepod dome! Enjoy homemade pastries and pies baked with locally-produced food, private ski slopes, and chic Swiss-made furnishings, all while keeping your carbon footprint minimal! The domes are scattered across the hillside like a couple of snowballs These luxurious guest

suites are wrapped in a geodesic dome with a bedside panoramic view of the Alps in all their breathtaking beauty. They are perfectly arranged with a darling wood stove surrounded by cozy decor that echos nature with animal throws and log furniture pieces. Each pod comes with its own private bath and personal wrap around deck space. The common chalet is just footsteps away, inviting and spacious constructed top to bottom of exposed timber. A gorgeous stone wall runs through the center, guiding your eyes upward to the loft lounge with bar.Indulge yourself in your very own spa located inside the pod house with Finnish sauna and Japanese bath. Or head to the chalet for a relaxing message. All their products used in treatment are the natural Italian brand Lakshmi and essential oils from Oshadhi. While I was heading to the resort, I tried to figure out the atmosphere of the pod and what I discov-

ered was just beyond my expectations. After a short walk in the snow to breathe the fresh air, I entered in one of the “bubbles”.Decorated in an alpine style, each pod is actually a cosy suite by itself with a large bed, a mezzanine, a modern bathroom, a small lounge corner and a wood-burning stove. Anyone with an adventurer’s soul will be happy to keep the fire burning, even at night, to wake up at sunrise and see this amazing view… probably one of the best ways to start the day. Lost in nature, there is always enough to do: snowshoeing, sledding, skiing, dog sledging, paragliding and some more relaxed options such as enjoying a sauna or a massage.With its sustainable vision, the resort combines luxury and ecology to limit its impact on the environment. It definitely offers the ideal setting for a nature retreat. Each pod is anchored to a wooden platform offering a furnished terrace in which to enjoy the views beyond. standard rooms are furnished with a king-sized bed, fully fitted bathroom with toilet and shower, wood burning stove, kettle and mezzanine floor where an additional single bed can be place; while the family room features the same amenities, its mezzanine has the capacity to hold two extra beds for young children. each pod can comfortably accommodate 2-4 individuals. Large bay windows allow ample amounts of sunlight to flood through to the interior of each pod, providing a dramatic panoramic backdrop of the surrounding natural context. as a result of its location, the ‘whitepod eco-luxury hotel’ offers a diverse program of outdoor activities for guests to engage in during their stay, offering a nice balance between camping and holiday retreat. We’ve admired Whitepod from afar for a while now, and they have been featured on top glamping lists. So if you are thinking about your next vacation with your family, the whitepods will offer a wide range of activities and relaxation. Still having


doubts about this winter escape? We ask hotel manager, Josiane Kuehn-Trost to answer some questions about these little domes of perfection: WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THE PODS COME FROM? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE BEHIND THEIR SHAPE?

The geodesic dome is the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. It is able to cover more space without internal supports and actually becomes proportionally lighter and stronger the larger it is. These domes are easily constructed and energy efficient. Their geometry allows for proper circulation of ambient air with very little energy input.They also fit in perfectly with the surrounding area, making them the ideal structure for a summer and winter retreat. Blending in with the environment, you feel like you’re right in the midst of nature when you stay in one of these geodesic domes.



The design choices made for these pods have a lot to do with the gorgeous landscape around them. With a focus on showcasing the beautiful mountain environment, everything is kept simple and neat. The color scheme is neutral 60

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with creams, grays, and reds, and the layout is minimal and cozy. This is also a reflection of Switzerland’s natural aesthetic. The majority of the pods’ furnishings are clean-lined, Swissmade items which fit perfectly into this minimal style. These pods are often described as your own personal cocoon, and tuck you in while offering an incredible vista through front facing windows



Whitepod offers dogsledding, snowboarding, skiing on private slopes, hiking, paragliding, snowshoeing, outdoor lessons, cooking lessons, wine tasting, igloo construction, rockclimbing, horseback riding and snow scooting. There’s also ping pong, badminton, and a variety of outdoor games available. For those who like to take relaxation to another level, there is a spa, heated outdoor pool, sauna and yoga.

For the most part, the interior designs stay the same in summer and winter, but there are a few seasonal decorations that are added to reflect the weather. The outside of the pods changes from white in the winter (blending in with the snowy mountain) to green in the summer. HOW DID THE SHAPE OF THE PODS AFFECT THEIR DESIGN?

The guests of Whitepod love the domes’ huge windows offering fantastic views. The wood stove is also a very special feature and adds to the pods in both a stylistic and functional way. For the most part, guests love how simple and natural the designs are. WHAT ARE SOME ACTIVITIES OFFERED?

There were certain parts of the circular design that were a bit difficult to style, but playing around with form, the owners were able to figure out a way to make everything work. Their main goal was to stick with the simplicity put in place by the pod’s shape and materials. They also knew that the bed should be facing the large windows looking out at the mountains and down into the valley. 62

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HOW I SHALL DINE Gently blow and stir the fire, Lay the mutton down to roast, Dress it nicely I desire, In the dripping put a toast, That I hunger may remove: Mutton is the meat I love. On the dresser see it lie, Oh! the charming white and red! Finer meat ne’er met my eye, On the sweetest grass it fed: Let the jack go swiftly round, Let me have it nicely browned. On the table spread the cloth, Let the knives be sharp and clean: Pickles get and salad both, Let them each be fresh and green: With small beer, good ale, and wine, O ye gods! how I shall dine. Johnathan Swift

Grace Helmer 64


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FIG GALETTES A rustic fig galette with a simple butter crust, a layer of marmalade, and quartered fresh mission figs. Enjoy it with rose-honey whipped cream and peach jam. A free form tart that is easier than pie.

FOR THE GALETTE INGREDIENTS 4 discs cornmeal crust 他 cup peach quick jam 6 black mission figs 2 tablespoon heavy cream

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 400*F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper 2. On a heavily floured surface, roll or pat out each disc to about 5-6 inches in diameter. 3. Thinly slice and arrange figs onto the galettes 4. Fold and press edges inward. Brush edges lightly with cream. 5. Bake for 14-18 minutes. While baking, make rose-honey whipped cream. 6. Allow to cool slightly and top with floral and sweet cream.

FOR THE CORN MEAL CRUST INGREDIENTS 4 discs cornmeal crust 他 cup peach quick jam 6 black mission figs 2 tablespoon heavy cream

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 400*F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper 2. On a heavily floured surface, roll or pat out each disc to about 5-6 inches in diameter. 3. Thinly slice and arrange figs onto the galettes 4. Fold and press edges inward. Brush edges lightly with cream. 5. Bake for 14-18 minutes. While baking, make rose-honey whipped cream. 6. Allow to cool slightly and top with floral and sweet cream. 66


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ALPINE MUD A comfort cocktail infused with whole milk, White Sage & Wild Mint Tea and fresh mint leaves, whipped in some melted semi-sweet chocolate to create a “muddy� chocolate milk with a fresh, outdoorsy twist.

INGREDIENTS 2 cups whole milk 3 White Sage & Wild Mint Tea Bags About 2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, torn 10 oz. semisweet chocolate chips 1 oz. bourbon per 8 oz. tumbler Whole mint leaves for garnish 2 cups of ice

DIRECTIONS 1. Add milk to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. 2. Remove from heat and steep teabags and 1 tbsp. of the torn mint leaves for 10 minutes. 3. Remove the teabags and bring the milk to a light simmer. Remove from heat and strain into the bowl of chocolate chips, stirring until the chips are melted. 4. Add the used teabags to the chocolate milk along with the rest of the torn mint leaves. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 5. Remove teabags from the bowl and pour mixture into a glass pitcher or jar. At this point, you can store it in the fridge or use right away. 6. Fill up to six chilled 8 oz. tumblers about 3/4 with ice. Pour a shot of bourbon into each glass, then add your infused chocolate mix to fill. You can transfer the contents to a shaker at this point, or stir to combine. Garnish with fresh mint leaves 68


COFFEE MAPLE SPICED NUTS Before heading out on a hike, fuel your body with this delicious and nutrient dense staple. These mixed nuts are sweetened with maple syrup and tossed with spices. A hint of fresh ground coffee gives you the energy you need for your next adventure.

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INGREDIENTS 1 cup each of walnuts, pecans and almonds 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons maple syrup

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the nuts to sheet. Spray the parchment paper with a little bit of cooking spray. 2. Add the mixed nuts to the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. 3. In a medium bowl, mix together the coffee, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. 4. Remove the nuts from the oven and add them to the bowl with the spices. Drizzle on the maple syrup and mix until all the nuts are evenly coated. 5. Pour the nuts back onto the baking sheet and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate or jars to allow them to cool. Serve or store in a tightly sealed container for up to two weeks. 70 72