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2127 North Albina Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227


Ready for Anything

Stay Wild

An Afternoon With the Afrovivalist

Story by Megan Freshley // meganfresh.com 

Photo by Sera Lindsey // @portablesera

We met the Afrovivalist on a cold, bright November morning at Forest Park’s archery range, where she practiced a few shots in her “Black and Prepared” t-shirt. “You cannot take this thing on TriMet,” she laughs, as she shows me how to ground my energy and focus on my breath while taking aim. 

She’s got serious prowess as an archer and sees hunting as a core survival skill. But it’s not all bows and arrows. If you spend any time on her website afrovivalist.com, you’ll quickly notice that she is a gun enthusiast. “I go into guys’ houses and see these ridiculous guns all over the living room walls. It’s like toys to them,” she says. “All you need is a pistol and a shotgun.” Seeing as gun culture in the PNW isn’t very diverse, she’s used to blazing her own trail. “Every time I’m at the shooting range, I look around and I’m the only African-American there.” 

I believe in gun control, but it seems clear that If anyone should be able to arm themselves in American society, it’s black women. I wonder if there are other female African-American survivalists in the PNW she’s met over her decades at it? “No. I’m an original, sorry! I haven’t met anyone yet out on the field, out on the trails. It’s kind of sad. I started out going to Meetups. I was always the only person of color, and it was just so sad because I wanted to see more POC who are preparing.”

Sharon, as she’s called by friends and family, is warm, funny, and generous with her time and knowledge. Sure, she could take all her expertise on wilderness and urban survival, hunting, and off-the-grid living and keep it to herself. But instead she’s created a web presence to share what she knows with others. “I don’t just want people of color to be ready—I want everyone to be able to be ready,” she says. “Once I knew this was part of me, I knew I had to share it. My higher power calls me to be an educator. I didn’t know this would become a business venture. It was just a hobby, y’all!” 


The Afrovivalist is not here to save you, but she will teach you how to save yourself. “I need to tell other people because this stuff is a big deal. When shit does hit the fan and I’m the only one sitting on top of that hill, it’s gonna be pretty lonely. At the same time, I don’t want a whole bunch of people coming to me then and saying, ‘I know you’ve got food.’ My thing is: If you’re not going to take care of yourself, what makes you think I should take care of you? Don’t come to my house.”

So as Sharon sees it, we’re all responsible for our own survival and it’s on us to be ready for whatever natural or man-made disasters the future may hold. Like all-the-way ready. It’s not just about stocking up on water, snacks, and a first aid kit—important as those things are. “Start going out and buying some water. Water is your number one thing,” she says. She sets an example by being a walking arsenal even on a simple trip to the park to hang out with Stay Wild. Our photographer Sera said she’s the closest thing to a real superhero she’s ever met, and I can’t disagree. 

Like a post-apocalyptic segment of US Weekly’s “What’s in My Bag?”, Sharon turns out her very normal looking handbag during our meeting to reveal a pretty amazing kit: water, toiletries, a knife, binoculars, snacks, a flashlight, a light-up armband, a first aid kit, and a multitool. This is what she calls her everyday “bug-out bag,” of which she has a few. There’s also a “bug-out” vehicle (BOV) equipped with more of the same—a 1970s model because an EMS (electromagnetic shock) caused by a bomb in the atmosphere could disable modern cars with catalytic converters. The BOV, of course, would head straight to Sharon’s BOL (bug-out location) of choice. 

In Afrovivalist terms, survivalism isn’t just about getting off the grid and building yourself an earthship. It’s also about working with what’s around you in an urban environment. “I want everyone to gain some knowledge on being prepared. Because if you’re someone who wants to stay in the city, be prepared for what might happen here. We’re sitting in Forest Park right now. You can take your skills outside. You can track for prints. You can do a lot without leaving the city.” 

I ask her what I could eat if I got lost in Forest Park. “Morels. Chantrelles. They’re yummy. It’s just about knowing where they are. But harvesting for vegetation isn’t my thing. I would rather hunt.” And without missing a beat, she shows me how to squeeze water out of moss through a bandana. 

During her day job at the Radiation Protection Services for the state of Oregon, Sharon serves on the radiological emergency response team. She’s also a member of the leadership community for the NET (neighborhood emergency response team) with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. So how does she manage to carve out time for self-care while putting so much into keeping Portlanders safe? “I have no idea how I do it all. I just do it.” 

But everyone needs some me time—especially real-life superheros: “Sometimes I leave my computer and go to a space like this with a hammock and lunch in tow, and I’ll find the perfect two trees. I put my headset on, and my dog is beneath me so if anybody comes up on me, they can’t sneak up. I just lay in the trees and have my lunch and drink my coffee and just let it all go. I just take that time for me. I have to.” 


Learn more // afrovivalist.com

Surfing with Salmon

Stay Wild

A typical Portland surf trip out to sea and back again

Story by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison // @scrappers

Photos by Sera Lindsey // @portablesera


The Reverend Benny Bob thinks like a wild salmon. He imagines their life at sea feasting on fatty colorful seafood until they return to the freshwater rivers they hatched from to have weird fish sex and die to start the life cycle all over again. The reverend imagines they probably crave one more fatty piece of seafood before their sexy heroic deaths that ensure the survival of their species. He digs up live ghost shrimp from the bay to bait his hook and the ripened salmon eat it up. Then he eats them up. It’s the circle of life. Survive another day. Hakuna Matata!

I try to visit the reverend and eat his smoked salmon when I go surfing on the Oregon coast. He’s a truly inspiring outsider: thinking like wild salmon, making art out of scrap wood, pig farming with scrap food, and surviving outside the social norm-coolness of Portland’s urban growth boundary.


Portland is the hometown of many salmon. Sockeye, chinook, and steelhead are well respected neighbors of hipsters, hippies, and heroin addicts. The fish hatch in our watershed from tiny river pools and hard-working hatcheries. Then they swim out to the Pacific Ocean for 5 - 10 years of living it up. We welcome them home when they return from sea to spawn and die. It’s like a happy funeral with lots of food made out of the deceased. It’s kind of messed up.

Portland is not a beach city, but we are connected to the sea. We have a surf community. We’ve got a Portland chapter of the Surfrider foundation, local surfboard shapers, and a handful of surf shops. 

COSUBE is one of Portland’s favorite surf shops. In addition to selling really cool surfy goods, they serve wild caught salmon on bagels with coffee. They also rent boards and fancy new wetsuits. My wetsuit smells like fish piss and is ripped so cold water flows right into my arm pits. Mine is not the kind of suit I’d offer a new friend like Darrell Mathes

Darrell is a legendary urban snowboarder. He’s an actual professional. He’s one of the epic Vans global snow team riders! He’s not a professional surfer though. He’s kind of a kook (in the best way possible). He’s totally down to splash around in the frothy sea. Darrell, his wife Margaret, and their happy-dog-like-friend Spencer Schubert all met up at COSUBE for coffee, surf gear, and beer growler filling. Coffee + Surf + Beer = COSUBE. Get it? We got it. Let’s go!


The waves are on the other side of the huge and lush Tillamook forest. It takes more than two hours to get to the water sometimes. That’s too long to be trapped in the car, so swinging by the Drift Creek trail on the way there is a good way to get the blood back in your buns. This trail feels like a spa day for the senses: bathing eyes with vivid rainbows of green, messaging ears with the soothing sounds of a flowing creek, and washing the brain free from all that city shit. The suspension bridge swinging over the waterfall is cool too, but the hike there and back is the full treatment.


If hiking is too booshy for your painted princess toes then hit up the Lincoln City Skate Park. It’s a fucking monument to gnar-gnarlyness. It was built in 1999 by Dreamland Skateparks and has been blowing minds ever since. Both Darrell and Spencer are known for their urban snowboarding. Unlike other snowfolks, they look at cement and see opportunity. So they didn’t miss the opportunity to drop in and face the park’s deep bowls, long steep snake run, rails, or the little scrap concrete and brick pool off in the woods.



The sound of skateboards goes silent south of Lincoln City where the sidewalk ends. The forest grows right up to the cliffs eroding into the Pacific Ocean and trees cling on with their roots trying desperately not to fall in. But they do fall in as the ground beneath them is sculpted by wind, water, and time. Otter Rock is one of Oregon’s most beautiful sculptures. It really does look like a giant otter floating on it’s back while surfers roll like kelp in the waves around it.


Otter Rock is one of the most consistent, safe, and lazy breaks in the PNW. It’s totally kook-friendly. You can tell by the beginner’s class stretching and air padding on the shore. Out in the water Darrell, Margaret, and Spencer paddle to catch 5 - 8 foot mellow peeling longboard waves. Spencer caught a super nice ride on a wave that peeled in slo-mo. He found it so appealing that he went bananas. It was all very punny.


The beach has a hardy pile of logs to chill on or build forts with. The log pile stretches down about a mile to Beverly Beach Campground. They have hot showers and yurts to call home after a long day of flopping around in the white water before heading back to the city.


Home is where you lay your head, and when the salmon come back to Portland, they lay their heads down and die. It’s not tragic. It’s heroic. They’ve been on the adventure of their lives, yet they remember where their home is. A typical Portland surf trip, out to sea and back again, is a way to survive like a salmon. 


Stay Wild

Whoa. Vans is releasing their 1st ever global snowboarding video. It's kind of a big fawking deal.

According to Vans Landline is, "Primarily shot on Kodak 16mm film and conveys a raw, behind the lens perspective of the Vans snowboard team as they travel the globe"

You should totally swing by one of the screenings near you!

JANUARY 11 // Innsbruck, Austria

JANUARY 12 // Munich, Germany

JANUARY 17 // Vancouver, Canada

JANUARY 25 // Denver, Colorado // RSVP for free tickets HERE >>>

JANUARY 28 // Beijing, China

FEBRUARY 1 // Seoul, South Korea



LEARN MORE // vans.com/landline