• Nordic Norms, or Finding Friluftsliv Here’s what I figured: Karoline’s tale was part of a bigger picture, a sort of Norsk version of how life should be lived, what with that rapturous and idiomatic notion of friluftsliv, the joy found in an outdoor lifestyle, and allemannsretten, the ability of every Norwegian to free-range across the land, fences be damned. But in pursuit of what? Their bliss, apparently. Brad Rassler 7721 words December 20, 2019
  • Eternal Bliss or Bust ZHO BA! We are walking at last in the land of the lotus, looking for the jewel, or something, anything really, after the ordeal of getting here: the warp journey to Shanghai, then west again to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and then the twelve-hour trundle on a train painted the green of a placid […] Chip Brown 9184 words December 3, 2019
  • The Seven-Cigar Trout THIS IS a true story. It’s a tale of unusually large brown trout, sewage, weird mayflies, floods and droughts. If you choose to doubt any part of my tale, question the size of the trout because that part comes from the lips of a lifelong fly fisher. But the other stuff comes from careful observation […] Tom Rosenbauer 3900 words September 10, 2019
  • This Land WHEN I’M IN BOISE I drink with Brian Ertz at the bar in the basement of the Idanha Hotel, where in 1907 prosecutors terrified for their lives holed up during the trial of socialist labor leader William Dudley “Big Bill” Haywood. It was the heroic era of militant unionism, mass strikes, and violent repression, and […] Christopher Ketcham 1322 words July 11, 2019
  • The Responsible Economy IN MY three-quarters of a century of stupid stunts, I’ve had enough near-death experiences that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to die someday. I’m not too bothered by it. There’s a beginning and an end to all life—and to all human endeavors. Species evolve and die off. Empires rise, then break apart. Businesses […] Yvon Chouinard 1435 words April 29, 2019
  • Inside Rock WE WILL HAVE NO GRANITE countertops in our house. What they have to say offends us, in their rectilinear absurdity, their often ugly and artificial colors, and their human-made shine. We like to eat upon stone, but not inside our own house. When I see these stoned counters in other people’s houses, they seem, in their shape and their function, like places of business or places of death. They make me wonder what really counts indoors and outdoors. Michael P. Cohen 2665 words April 25, 2019
  • Your Favorite Extreme Athlete is Moonlighting as a Motivational Speaker “THE JOKE IS ‘Hey, I’ve climbed Everest; now I’m a motivational speaker,’” Conrad Anker told me after I observed that there’s been a noticeable uptick in climbers – many of them former dirtbags and non-Everest types — delivering positivity platitudes and business bromides to Fortune 100s and other paying audiences. Anker, an alpinist of some […] Brad Rassler 4114 words January 28, 2019
  • Derelictus in Flagrante “SURFING AFFECTS YOUR LIFESTYLE,” writes former pro surfer Mike Doyle in his autobiography Morning Glass, “like no other sport I know of…The surf is only good at certain times…If you’re a serious surfer, you have to design your life around it.” Vince had suggested the book, remembered Doyle as an interesting figure. So, I’d picked […] Daniel Duane 3947 words November 12, 2018
  • The Public Ownership of Fred Beckey Immortality of narrative is dependent on the mortality of beings,” humorist and ecocritic Michael Branch told me one day when I described Beckey's career. “I mean, that’s how our stories really fill the holes that our lives occupied. Physical death is the first day of the rest of your life if you’re a folk hero. Brad Rassler 13028 words October 30, 2018
  • Will the Real Fake John Muir Please Stand Up? EVERY TIME Chautauqua season rolls around, I feel compelled to rant about this bizarre cultural practice, which Teddy Roosevelt once called “the most American thing in America”—never mind that this honor deserves instead to be shared by baseball, blues, and bourbon. Chautauqua is defined by its practitioners as “a public humanities educational event in which […] Michael P. Branch 2614 words August 8, 2018
  • The Last Ride: One Hitchhiker’s Oral History I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER my first ride. When I was a young teenager, growing up in southern Oregon, my dad and I used to hitchhike back to our car after we’d boated down the Klamath, or the Rogue, or the Umpqua. I didn’t hitchhike by myself until I was 17 or 18, and it wasn’t […] Michelle Nijhuis 4438 words July 18, 2018
  • Ticktock, The World Clock Never Stops From such a simple beginning the idea and measurement of time quickly becomes complex and vastly more complicated. Most people assume they are capable of grasping the concepts of a minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade and even a century, and how their lives are lived and measured in those terms. But a millennium is more difficult and a galactic year (about 230 million terrestrial years) is beyond imagining... Dick Dorworth 2279 words April 26, 2018
  • Snowmaking in the Time of Drought THAT THE SIERRA might not be so very nevada one day might have been inconceivable to the Spaniards who named the range, or to members of the Donner Party who struggled through house-high drifts, or to those World War II-era entrepreneurs who built ski lifts reaching to the tops of Mammoth Mountain, Tahoe's Slide Mountain, Mount Lincoln, Heavenly Peak, and Squaw Peak. But Sierran snow seems to have become more fickle. Although there have been the hallelujah winters Brad Rassler 4937 words February 17, 2018
  • Walking I WISH TO SPEAK A WORD for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, […] Henry David Thoreau 12322 words October 12, 2017
  • Ashes into the Shadow of Arrows “There is a Paiute proverb to the effect that no man should attempt the country east of the Sierras until he has learned to sleep in the shade of his arrows. This is a picturesque way of saying that he must be able to reduce his wants to the limit of necessity. Those who have […] Brad Rassler 1142 words September 11, 2017
  • Hells Canyon Revival And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless. – Linda K. Hogan Our task is to enter the dream of Nature and interpret the symbols. – E.L. Grant Watson THIS CANYON does […] CMarie Fuhrman 4779 words August 23, 2017
  • Winging it in the Russian Far East BEYOND THE WING of the Aeroflot twin-engine plane unfolds a tapestry of green tundra and mottled muskeg, the wetlands sliced into crescents by dark arcs of old river channels. Timbered strips of spruce and fir fringe these waterways. A village of perhaps a couple hundred ethnic Russian and native Udehe people looms in the crook […] Doug Peacock 4816 words August 1, 2017
  • Time for a Tree House ACTUALLY, HANNAH AND CAROLINE never really asked me to build them a tree house. I came up with that idea myself, got them attached to it, and then pretended that my efforts were strictly for their benefit. But their spontaneous enthusiasm provided the necessary cover for me to do what every grown man secretly wants to […] Michael P. Branch 1899 words May 10, 2017

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