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News

The Way of Shibui

Stay Wild

Inspired by Snow Peak Way

Story & photos by Brooke Jackson

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Cuisine is so ingrained in the culture of adventure that tastes and smells elicit emotions from journeys passed. Take, for example, the s’more. A simple combination of three delicious ingredients that when combined together immediately recalls memories of late night campfires, smoky smelling garments, and sticky fingers from happy, messy faces. With the increased interest in recents years of ultralight camping, food is not untouched from the pound shedding trend. Majority of backpackers and diehard overnight campers aim for dehydrated meals and protein bars, leaving an animalistic craving for “real food” by the end of most adventures. Seeing some easy solutions to this lacking nutritious trend, the authors of Dirty Gourmet: Food for Outdoor Adventures aim to change the way we eat when outside.

While attending the Snow Peak Way in Portland, OR, which is a special weekend camp out tradition brought over from the companies Japanese roots, author Emily Nielson demonstrated a few of her favorite recipes from the book. Organized into several categories, the cookbook covers options for everything from day hiking to car camping and even ultralight backpacking. During the Snow Peak Way workshop, Emily prepared a vegetarian rice dish consisting of red bell pepper, avocado, lemon and pumpkin seed, all topped with a fresh dressing made from scratch. Her meal was paired with a desert that was as easy as melting chocolate with jam to create a berry fondue and spread on the ever classic graham cracker.

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The workshops at Snow Peak Way not only showcased the possibilities for nutritious meals like those found in the Dirty Gourmet cookbook, but also exhibited the aesthetic flair of Japanese Shibui and how it can be incorporated into the outdoors. Shibui is the Japanese word which refers to a particular simple, subtle and unobtrusive beauty. In many ways, Snow Peak highly values and exhibits Shibu in their production, gear, and company culture. While at Snow Peak Way, the embodiment was evident at first glance when a drink of whiskey was ordered.

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Sunotry Whisky was invited to the event and was pouring their liquor served on the rocks all night, yet the beverage would take anywhere from 5-15 minutes before ready. The reason for this was the effort of crafting the ice for which the whisky would be served with. Bartender Johnny would start by taking a massive square chunk of solid ice that had been custom ordered from PDX Ice. With either an impressive knife or a small axe, Johnny would begin shaving the ice and polishing with a rag as he made headway. The end result was spherical perfection. With ice so pure it looked like glass, Johnny would carve a perfect circle which fit just barely within the size of each titanium mug. With a slow pour of cascading whiskey, the sphere altered from clear to hazy and cooled the liquor as it settled. Now why would a bartender go through all this effort for every shot of whisky ordered? His response; “that’s Shibui.”

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From cooking to whisky, gear to destination - add a little Shibui to life and enjoy a new palette of adventure.

If Not You, Who?

Stay Wild

48,861 Acres of Recovery

Story by Brooke Jackson

Photo by Alin Dragulin // @alindragulindotcom

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Graceful trees shade the dirt trail leading to a tranquil local swimming hole. An ideal outing for hot days, hikers are rewarded with waterfall views and chilly creek swims. Many consider the hike more of a stroll and therefore choose to endure the journey with minimal necessities such as flip-flops and sunscreen, unaware that today is going to be unlike any other. In a flash, an ignorant flick of the wrist, the burst of a childish firecracker, thirsty brush ignites the Eagle Creek Fire. 


The Eagle Creek Fire, which began September 2nd, 2017, is still causing heated discussion (pardon the pun). Ignited by a 15-year-old boy and his friends, the fire eventually conjoined with the Indian Creek Fire to ultimately affect 48,861 acres of the Columbia River Gorge area. Flames engulfed the area for roughly three months before the fire was declared contained. Yet as any hard-to-learn lesson in life, a silver lining does exist. Do not begin singing a eulogy for the Gorge, for it is alive and growing.

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The carcasses of fallen trees play tribute in an inevitable life cycle, providing necessary nutrients to the surrounding community. Mushroom hunters are gleeful in the spread of morel shrooms booming unlike before. Bird watchers may rejoice, as new neighborhood friends are attracted to the area because of the burn. Woodpeckers drill out new homes while olive-sided flycatchers feast amongst the growing bug population. In his article “Rebirth of a Forest,” Cory Eldridge writes, “This is why scientists call large snags and logs legacy trees. They are an inheritance for the young forest from the old. The fire in the Columbia River Gorge didn’t take away that inheritance. The fire gave it.” 

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However, the work to rebuild does not lie solely on the shoulders of the Gorge inhabitant species. Many volunteer organizations have come together in an effort to continue the Gorge recovery process as the Gorge Trails Recovery Team. The team consists of the Trailkeepers of Oregon, Washington Trails Association, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association. They welcome volunteers to assist with the vital restoration process. 

While some may read about the fire and quickly jump aboard the “not my Gorge, not my problem” mentality, there is a most important lesson to be learned here: Leave No Trace matters. The rules and regulations put into effect within natural, protected areas are there for a reason. Believe it or not, park rangers and land management bureaus do want you to enjoy the natural spaces they protect. They also want those areas to be around for future visitors to enjoy. 

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Volunteer for Recovery

Trailkeepers of Oregon: trailkeepersoforegon.org

Pacific Crest Trail Association pcta.org

Friends of the Columbia Gorge: gorgefriends.org

Washington Trails Association: wta.org


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This story was made with help from our friends at Danner Boots @dannerboots // danner.com

Fish We’ve Yet to Catch

Stay Wild

Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club 

Story by Madeline Weinfield // @madolionw
Photos by Peter Crosby // @pbcrosby

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It’s raining quite hard among the wild lilac bushes and incessantly growing Japanese Knotweed of Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club, but a dozen or so of us are trekking along the Willowemoc River clad in the club’s set of Stutterheim raincoats, looking for medicinal herbs and other wonders of the property.

This is a sort of summer camp for adults—a self-selecting group of mostly city residents who are seeking adventure, escape, and fly fishing in the Catskill Mountains. At breakfast—an exuberant spread of Swedish-style essentials—most of the weekend’s 17 guests have already conquered a good part of what they came here to do. More active before 9 am than most adults are in an entire weekend, some have gone running or fly fishing, stopped at the farmers’ market, or baked in the wood-fired sauna on the river. All this despite the previous night’s meal—fire roasted mountain trout and root vegetables with copious amounts of Catskill Brewery beer, wine, and the summer’s first rosé, served on the riverfront under the stars. Even in the morning, everything is still coated in a magic that seems to have sprung from this air.

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But behind the facade of this perfectly curated adventure in the woods, is the ardent effort of the owners, Mikael Larsson, Tom Roberts and Anna Åberg, friends transplanted from NYC by way of Britain and Sweden,  who’ve poured their wilderness and aesthetic passion and know-how into Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club, which is in its first full season this summer. The intoxication of their dream hangs over the five acre wooded and river-front property. Based on the old-school fly fishing clubs historically ubiquitous in this part of the Catskills, LMFFC is their realization of that tradition but with a modern edge. Despite being far from the old guard of a predominantly male fishing club, LMFFC retains an air of exclusivity in that their weekend spots disappear within days of opening.

The skill level varies with some weekenders already adept in the art and physics of fly fishing, while others are tying their first fly. The majority of guests are couples, but a pair of brothers, a set of friends, and a life-wise solo traveling woman round it off. Together we have the feeling that we’ve all met before—a feeling that intensifies with the hours, and in the evening with drinks around the campfire. We’re encouraged to unplug, to wander, sleep, relax, and connect. For the most part cellphones are left behind, out of charge and out of range.

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Most of what one could want is here—home-cooked meals by incredibly talented friend and trained-chef up for the weekend, Georgina Morante-Galicia, campfires, a hammock, a canoe, and even a tipi with a disco ball. The weekend is peppered with friends and Catskill veterans—a yoga instructor who teaches us in a meadow, a fly fishing instructor with the patience of a saint, a conservationist who has been living off the grid since the ‘80s, and a naturalist who picks leaves of trees and implores us to taste. 

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Tom and Anna have an almost child-like beauty and they float around the property visibly radiant in their creation. This is a dream fulfilled. After years in the city with the novelty of urban weekends wearing away, they came to the Catskills seeking a greater connection to the outdoors. What they’ve created—originally intended for their own weekend use—has blossomed organically and rustically to near perfection. 

A self-taught fly fisherman, Tom is now as involved in the sport as any fishing veteran. “To be a good fly fisherman,” he tells me, “you have to understand the dynamics of the river.” He fixes the line of someone knee-deep in the river. Lights hang in the trees. In the distance logs are added to the fire that fuels the sauna. How lucky they are to live and breathe this. How lucky they are to stay. 

The rest of us pack our bags, say our goodbyes, and start the drive back to the city. At night we’ll dream of all the fish we’ve yet to catch. 

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Fresh Pants

Stay Wild

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Our friends at Outerknown have just released some fresh new pants. The S.E.A. (Social Environmental Accountability) JEANS are made in the cleanest denim factory in the world. These jeans are so clean that even a wild bunch of North Shore Lifeguards were caught wearing them.

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If you care about clean water and sustainable goods made well you should probably pick up some S.E.A. Jeans over here >>>

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Read more about Outerknown goods in our upcoming Water Issue!