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Outside USA - May 2018

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ASHIMA
MOVES
MOUNTAINS
THE PRODIGY CREATING THE FUTURE.
THE NORTH FACE IS COMMITTED TO ENABLING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMALE
EXPLORERS. LEARN MORE AT THENORTHFACE.COM/SHEMOVESMOUNTAINS.
Outside Magazine
Contents
05.18
Features
86 The Survivors
FACES OF CHANGE 2018
56 This Is <
What Adventure
Looks Like
Wilderness therapy has
benefited everyone from
wayward teens to combat
veterans. Can it help heal
victims of sex trafficking?
FLORENCE WILLIAMS
embarks on a backcountry
expedition with Atlantabased She Is Able and
returns with some surprising conclusions.
From Ayesha McGowan, who is
vying to become the first female
African American pro cyclist, to
Elyse Rylander, a travel expert
facilitating outdoor experiences
for LGBTQ youth, these 12 rising
leaders are building a more
inclusive adventure community.
INTERVIEWS BY JAMES
EDWARD MILLS
92 Like the
$SSDODFKLDQ7UDLO
But with More
6WRSOLJKWV
:H·UH+HUH<RX
-XVW'RQ·W6HH8V
Ready for a through-hike
that strings together
city parks, concrete
stairways, and underground tunnels? Fall in
with distance trekker
Liz “Snorkel” Thomas,
unofficial captain of a
fledgling movement
aimed at reinventing
urban recreation.
BY ERIN BERGER
“Black people don’t like the
outdoors.” LATRIA GRAHAM
has confronted this wrongheaded belief her entire life.
She argues that diversity
outside has nothing to do
with desire and everything
to do with opportunity.
78 The Tribes
Y'RQDOG7UXPS
For anyone concerned about
the current administration’s
decision to shrink Bears Ears
National Monument, meet
your new heroes: a crack team
of Native American attorneys
waging a legal battle that
could shape conservation for
generations. BY ABE STREEP
NativesOutdoors
founder
Len Necefer
2
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Benjamin Rasmussen
Outside Magazine
Contents
05.18
'LVSDWFKHV
14 BIG IDEA
No Safety in Numbers:
Nepal instituted new regulations
on Mount Everest. Will they
actually change anything?
BY ALAN ARNETTE
187+(2876,'(5
Tom and Steuart Walton: The
24
46
Walmart heirs are transforming Bentonville, Arkansas, into a
mountain-biking mecca.
20 MEDIA
Rural Reads: Books about families
surviving and adapting in ranch
and farm country. Plus, the new
documentary Mountain.
24 TRAVEL
Pacific Northwest: Rediscover the
34 GEAR
24
32
Used Gear: Why outdoor brands
would love to sell that old puffy
in your closet.
Spring Jackets: The best line
of defense against shoulderseason showers.
Women’s Workout: Everything
to pack for a hardcore lunchtime
gym session.
The Process: Kelli Jones of
apparel-repair upstart Noso
wants to patch you up.
42 FITNESS
Recovery: Athletes are using
48
20
CBD, extracted from the marijuana
plant, as an anti-inflammatory
and to manage pain. Is it the
new wonder drug?
Laird’s Laws: Tips for lifelong
health and fitness from the
big-wave legend.
Nutrition: Grain bowls packed
with power.
Tools: From an ingenious antisnoring device to a guided
breathing system, sleep is the
new life-hacking frontier.
6 BETWEEN THE LINES
108 IN MEMORIAM
&RYHUSKRWRJUDSKE\
JOÃO CANZIANI
20
4
42
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6W\OLQJE\6DYDQQDK%:KLWH
+DLUE\-HDQLH6\IX$WHOLHU0DQDJHPHQW
0DNHXSE\0HJDQ.HOO\
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: J E R E M Y KO R E S K I ; T U R E L I L L E G R AV E N /A U G U S T I M AG E ; K R I S T E N C U R E T T E H I N E S / S TO C K SY ;
J O E Y S C H U S L E R ; R AC H E L H U DAC E K ; J O S H H A N E R / T H E N E W YO R K T I M E S / R E D U X ; P E T R A Z E I L E R ; F I N N B E A L E S
Big Green, from British Columbia’s
surfing to Oregon’s best brewery.
24 Hours: Secret adventures
in New Orleans.
TAKING
AWAY
WHAT’S IN
THE WAY.
Photo: Chris Milliman © 2018 SRAM LLC
THAT’S TRUE ADVANCEMENT.
Ayesha McGowan and Laura King ride the open roads
of West Texas on SRAM RED® eTap® HRD. Between the Lines
Faces of Change
05.18
Last May, we dedicated an entire issue of
Outside to the topic of women in the outdoors. The move was as overdue as it was
historic for us. In the years preceding, readers had filled our inboxes with e-mails asking us to address the gender disparity in our
coverage. We took their concerns seriously,
and the May 2017 issue was a step toward
tackling that imbalance, though we knew we
were far from finished. Every month since,
in print and online, we’ve made a companywide effort to tell more stories about women
and to seek out more women writers, photographers, and illustrators to feature in our
pages. The angry letters have eased a little,
and while there’s still room for improvement,
we’re making progress.
We also undertook that initiative knowing
full well that there was another significant
problem we needed to focus on: While all of
us at Outside like to think of ourselves as inclusive, historically the magazine has done
a lousy job of presenting the true breadth
—CHRISTOPHER KEYES (
@KEYESER)
Feedback
Fuel for the Fire
As Outside Online expands our
coverage of the public-lands debate
and environmental causes, readers
are taking notice.
I love your website. I am an outof-shape, somewhat unhealthy,
63-year-old American Indian woman.
I am also currently the chair of the
National Tribal Caucus, an advisory
committee to the EPA, and have
been a tribal environmental director
for years. I grew up on subsistence
living. I remember my brother catching brown trout just outside Yellowstone and fishing for salmon for
a month near Neah Bay, Washington.
I’m telling you this so you will know
that I appreciate all you report on. It
is near and dear to everything I have
ever lived and worked for. Keep going.
PAULA BRITTON
Willits, California
MERIT BASED
I am a 14-year-old Boy Scout working on my communication merit
badge, and my family has subscribed to your magazine for years.
I have always enjoyed your stories
about amazing places and people
that I would like to see and meet
some day. It’s great that I can dream
and aspire to do all the interesting
things in your magazine. I am hoping
that you could include more family- and teenager-based adventures
that your average youth could participate in. I always look forward to
your next issue.
PATRICK MURRAY
Honeoye Falls, New York
PAY TO PLAY
Point of View
Shooting this month’s feature on the legal fight
to restore Bears Ears National Monument (“The
Tribes v. Donald Trump,” page 78) wasn’t the
first time photographer Morgan Rachel Levy had
the opportunity to explore this region of Utah.
But it was her first visit since the boundaries
were drastically reduced. The site continued to
astonish. “We photographed Valley of the Gods,
one of the culturally significant areas that’s
no longer part of the monument,” says Levy. “It
was one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes
I’ve ever seen. It’s devastating that someone
could even think of exploiting this land. It’s not a
worldview I understand.”
6
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
Good piece on staying fit as we age
(“Endurance Guru Joe Friel Says You
Can Still Be Fast After 50,” online),
but to write off adult-specific stresses is missing a major problem,
especially in an ageist employment
culture. The number-one factor is
time. Athletes over 50 don’t have
much of it, and what little they do
have is typically stolen from someone or something else. What we
need is to start handing out fat early
retirement packages to them, then
see what happens.
PETER BEAL
Boulder, Colorado
F R O M TO P : G R AYS O N S C H A F F E R ; E R I C K R U S Z E W S K I
Plans for Expansion
of perspectives and personalities in
the world of adventure. Specifically,
we’ve had a severe blind spot when it
came to people of color, members of
the LGBTQ community, and people
with disabilities, among others. It’s
not just an Outside problem. Survey
after survey shows that these communities represent a vibrant and
growing segment of the outdoor
population, yet you rarely see them
reflected in the adventure media, industry advertising, or the environmental movement. Seven years ago,
we published a roundtable discussion
on the lack of diversity in the outdoors. One panelist cited a study of
Outside photography that found only
103 pictures of African Americans
among 6,986 photographs published
between 1991 and 2001. We patted
ourselves on the back for our transparency, but I can point to little we’ve
done since to effect real change. Frankly, for
brands and journalists alike, it’s been far too
easy to remain in our comfort zones, returning to familiar places time and again to find
writers, stories, and images.
This month’s issue is a concerted effort
to chart a new path. Its pages are filled with
the kinds of stories we’ve long overlooked,
from an essay by Latria Graham confronting
the misguided idea that African Americans
aren’t into the outdoors (“We’re Here. You
Just Don’t See Us,” page 72), to a profile of the
Native American attorneys leading the fight
against the current administration’s downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument
(“The Tribes v. Donald Trump,” page 78), to
a gallery of activists and athletes changing
the face of the outdoors (“This Is What Adventure Looks Like,” page 56). Like last May’s
special issue, it’s only a first step. Going forward, we’re committed to going beyond our
usual sources when looking for stories, and
we can’t wait to tell them.
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Between the Lines
Faces of Change
05.18
“Back in the nineties, when
Trump was negotiating various
bankruptcies, Ethel Branch,
attorney general for the Navajo
Nation, was castrating horses
and winning rodeo-queen
contests on the reservation.”
Urban-Rural
Divide
—ABE STREEP, PAGE 78
>
Outside TV’s
Outlook series
catches up with
motor-sports
legend Travis Pastrana, one of the
adrenaline junkies
behind Nitro
Circus, for a peek
at the making
of his new film,
Action Figures 2.
The episode premieres April 22.
Due South
In this month’s “We’re Here. You Just Don’t
See Us” (page 72), South Carolina writer
Latria Graham exposes the stereotype that
black people don’t recreate outdoors for what
it is. She also speaks about her love for the
southeast. “This is an area you can’t just drop
in on,” she says. “You have to really listen and
spend time here to understand it.” Some of
her favorite places to do just that include:
1
Hunting Island State Park,
South Carolina
“This barrier island is my favorite place
to unplug. Cell service is spotty, and the
scenery takes my breath away.”
RISK OF
BODILY HARM
WINNER: Urban
2
Everglades National
Park, Florida
“This was my first national park trip and
my first slough-slogging adventure. I had
mud in unspeakable places.”
3
Chimney Rock State Park,
North Carolina
“The incredible views and the trout
fishing make this one of my favorite day
trips in the region.”
4
Weeki Wachee Springs State
Park, Florida
“It may be known for its mermaid shows,
which are exactly what they sound like,
but I love exploring the springs in a kayak.”
“There are
a lot more cars
in the world than
bears, and you don’t
have to dodge a
grizzly every time
you cross a trail.”
SOLITUDE
WINNER: Wilderness
“There’s usually
no one to stop you
from hiking in the
nude. If that’s, like,
your thing.”
CUISINE
WINNER: Urban
Only the Brave
Outside In
For João Canziani, photographing Shelma Jun, Ayesha McGowan, and
Knox Robinson for this month’s cover was a whole new world, literally.
For the shoot’s background, Canziani, Outside creative director Hannah McCaughey, and three set designers transformed a studio into a
wilderness. “It was one of the most complicated things I have done,”
says Canziani, who was born in Peru but now lives in New York City. “But
it was a pretty incredible experience.” There were a few headaches, one
of which involved moving and rebuilding the 15-by-15-foot set three
times to get the lighting and backdrop just right. “Everyone wanted to
kill me,” he says, “but in the end it was for the best.” Canziani’s images
also appear in “This Is What Adventure Looks Like” (page 56).
8
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
Contributing editor Florence Williams hadn’t
cried on a reporting trip as much as she
did while working on “The Survivors” (page
86), a look at a wilderness-therapy program
helping heal women victimized by sex
trafficking. And that’s not something she’s
embarrassed to admit. “I’ve never seen crying as a weakness,” she says. “These women
modeled bravery in a way that was new to
me. We tend to glorify extreme athletes or
pioneering explorers, but they are honestly
braver than anyone I have ever seen.”
“I’ll take a burrito
over the dehydrated
stuff any day.”
NAVIGATION
WINNER: Wilderness
“A dirt trail is easier
to follow than a
thousand linked
turns down alleyways, up stairs, and
across highways.”
OVERALL: Tie
“Just get
outside, folks!”
F R O M TO P : C O U R T E SY O F L AT R I A G R A H A M ; C O U R T E SY O F O U T S I D E T V ; H A N N A H M C C A U G H E Y
What
:H·UH
Watching
For “Like the
Appalachian Trail,
But with More
Stoplights” (page
92), senior editor
Erin Berger joined
distance trekker Liz
Thomas and a gang
of urban throughhikers for part of a
seven-day, 155-mile
expedition across
greater San Diego.
Thomas’s goal is
to change the way
we think about
cities and outdoor
recreation, which
made us wonder:
Just how does
urban throughhiking compare
with its wilderness
counterpart? We
had Berger make
the call.
PLACE NEW. CAMP SOMEPLACE OLD. FIND THE END OF A RAINBOW. DANCE IN THE RA
HAND THROUGH WET GRASS. PARK YOUR CAR AND WALK. SEE THE SUNRISE ONCE A
ROUND YOUR BLOCK. TAKE A HIKE. WATCH THE SUNSET FROM A ROOFTOP. SIT ON YO
ON A SWING. SIT ON YOUR NE
STOOP. SEE W
NDER A ROCK. PLAY ON A PLA
GO PADDLE B
WITH A FRIEND. READ A BOO
TAKE YOUR D
EXTRA-LONG WALK. LISTEN T
UNDER THE S
HOOTING STARS. SIT AROUN
THE BIGGEST
SEE. DO YOGA IN THE PARK.
E
LIFTS STOP. S
ND A TRAIL NEAR THE OFFICE.
RIDE YOUR BI
WALK SPEND AN EXTRA DAY
IN THE WOOD
OOT IN A BOG. RUN A MILE AT
ANY PACE. EX
NEIGHBORHOOD. SPLASH IN
A STREAM. H
AND IN YOUR TOES. PLANT A
TREE. GET A G
JUMP IN A PUDDLE. WATCH T
RISE. HANG O
MOCK. KAYAK WHEREVER YOU
YOUR BOOTS
LL AROUND THE CITY. GET SA
HAIR. JUMP I
S. CHASE YOUR DOG. FROLIC I
YOUR DOG CH
HOT CHOCOLATE IN THE SNOW. COUNT THE STARS IN THE NIGHT SKY. CATCH A SNO
TONGUE. HAVE A SNOWBALL FIGHT. GET MUDDY. LIKE REALLY MUDDY. FEEL THE WIND
OUND YOURSELF WITH TREES. RIDE A CHAIRLIFT IN THE SUMMER. BOOGIE BOARD. JU
A DRY CREEK BED. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES. LITERALLY. GO TO SLEEP IN A TENT.
T. TAKE A FRIEND FLY FISHING. GO TRAIL RUNNING. LOOK FOR A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER. L
. PLAY CATCH
WITH YOUR K
TIONAL PARK.
FLOAT A RIVER
SEATS TO A SHOW. TAKE YOUR BREAK OUT BACK. SIT ON A PIER. HAVE A WALKING M
K OUT A LOCAL FARMERS MARKET. TAKE A WALK BEFORE WORK. TAKE A WALK AFTER
DINNER AND EAT ON THE DECK. JUST HANG OUT IN THE GRASS. MAKE FRIENDS WITH
Take the quiz and see where you stand at REI.com
Big lakes to scenic trout streams to the mighty Mississippi.
Large and smallmouth bass, sturgeon, panfish, northern pike,
muskies, and of course, walleye. It’s easy to lose yourself in one of
the serene settings found only in Minnesota.
P L A N Y O U R M I N N E S O TA VA C AT I O N AT E X P L O R E M I N N E S O TA . C O M
C A L L 1 – 8 8 8 – 8 4 7– 4 8 6 6 F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N
Between the Lines
Faces of Change
05.18
Tuleto Sengeny
(right) and Outside
GO president Sandy
Cunningham
Go With Us
Designing a new adventure requires more than just finding
an amazing experience in a beautiful locale. OUTSIDE GO
has cultivated an ensemble of world-class local guides,
like Tuleto “James” Sengeny. The Maasai elder and naturalist has worked with GO for over two decades and is legendary for his humor and extensive knowledge of wildlife
in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Preserve. To read more
about Sengeny or to book a trip, visit outsidego.com.
James
Edward
Mills
Paper Trail
F R O M TO P : N I C K K E L L E Y; C H A R L I E LOY D ; C A R LY H A R M O N
Last May we published Rahawa Haile’s “Going
It Alone,” about hiking the Appalachian Trail
as an African American woman. Recently, she
took to Twitter to announce In Open Country,
a forthcoming book that grew out of that
article. Below, tweets from Haile and her followers over the past five years chronicling the
journey from AT dreams to book deal.
Sounds Like Progress
We’re launching two new special series on
the Outside Podcast as part of our efforts
to expand our coverage of communities
we’ve historically ignored. In April, publicradio journalist and Outside contributor
Stephanie Joyce began profiling remarkable women from the worlds of adventure
sports and conservation. And in May, we’ll
premier Dispatches episodes on the movement to make the outdoors more inclusive,
hosted by James Edward Mills, author of
The Adventure Gap and this month’s cover
story (“This Is What Adventure Looks Like,”
page 56). Listen to these stories, and all our
new audio offerings, at outsideonline.com/
podcast or wherever podcasts are found.
June 25, 2014
“Appalachian Trail thru-hiking blogs have
replaced short-story collections on my
reading list. I have no idea how these
people do it.”
March 22, 2016
“I love you @rahawahaile. Let’s find out.”
October 3, 2016
“Elelelelelele! I did it! I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine! #Eritrea”
October 3, 2016
“When they tell you black ppl don’t hike
so you climb 2000 miles of mountains bc
representation matters & you are a .”
February 8, 2018
“And then you sell a book about it. (Yes, I’m
crying. I still can’t believe this is real.)”
OU TSIDE MAGAZINE
11
Starting at just $6,000,
it’s easy to find your AWAY.
When you go RVing, AWAY is closer and
more affordable than you might think.
F O L D I N G C A M P I N G TRAI LE R
T RU C K C A M P E R
Follow us on
Twitter &
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Dispatches
Big Idea
05.18
No Safety
in Numbers
MOUNT EVEREST IS
INCREASINGLY DEFINED
BY BUDGET GUIDING
COMPANIES—AND MORE
CROWDING THAN EVER
BY ALAN ARNETTE
14
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
the hundreds of
climbers making plans for spring-summit
attempts on Mount Everest suddenly faced
a new set of rules. In December, the Nepalese government decreed that it would no
longer issue permits to blind, solo, or double-amputee mountaineers for any of its
high peaks. Furthermore, all expeditions
would have to employ at least one Sherpa and
would be forbidden from using helicopters to
reach high camps.
The regulations fit a pattern established
by Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, which in the
past few years has issued a series of proclamations—climbers must announce plans to set
records, trekkers must carry location beacons—that suggest improved management of
its high-altitude peaks. Each new declaration
generates a rash of international news reports
about authorities making strides toward addressing safety at the top of the world. The
truth is a lot more complicated.
Mountaineering is big business in Nepal.
Industry experts estimate that it generates
some $26.5 million in tourism income each
EARLY THIS WINTER,
year, with around $11 million of that coming
from Everest climbers alone. The enduring
obsession of the Western media, including
Outside, with tragic deaths on these far-off
snowy peaks has resulted in a lot of free marketing. Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, perhaps
concerned that all the morbid tales might
drive climbers to Everest’s less used Chinese
side, has gained some control of that narrative by broadcasting more positive developments through the Nepalese press. But the
rules announced to date would do nothing to
mitigate the dangers of climbing Everest even
if Nepal had the resources and conviction to
enforce them, which it doesn’t. (Meanwhile,
in March, Nepal’s Supreme Court stayed the
country’s ban on climbers with disabilities.)
Making a huge, hugely popular mountain
safer is possible. On Alaska’s Denali, fulltime climbing rangers conduct safety checks
of many teams and are mobilized for rescue
operations. On Argentina’s Aconcagua, rangers patrol all high camps, and until recently,
permit fees included the cost of helicopter
rescues. Adopting similar policies in Nepal
I L LU S T R AT I O N B Y
Tatsuro Kiuchi
THE
ALL - NEW
©2018 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Jeep is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.
2018
WRANGLER
Dispatches
Big Idea
05.18
would be a good start. A longer list of true
reforms would include ordering all climbers
to have previously summited a 7,000-meter
peak, requiring nonguides working above
Base Camp to take a course at the Khumbu
Climbing Center (hundreds have done so
since it was founded in 2003), and capping
the total number of climbers on the mountain
at 500 per season, including support staff.
That last policy would both reduce dangerous
crowding and help keep the mountain clean.
Unfortunately, these kinds of rules are less
likely than ever to be instituted on Everest,
owing to the rise of budget guiding companies. Beginning in the early 1990s, Western
outfitters established commercial mountaineering on the Nepal side of the peak by
attracting clients willing to pay as much as
$65,000 to be guided to the summit. That
business model dominated for more than two
decades, bringing an estimated 9,000 paying
climbers to Base Camp. Consequently, Everest earned a reputation as a magnet for the
rich, ambitious, and inexperienced.
As in many markets, savvy entrepreneurs
saw opportunities for disruption. Lower-cost
guiding companies, some founded by Westerners and others by Nepalese, slowly gained
traction by offering Everest climbs for as little
as a third of the going rate among high-end
outfitters. Then came 2014, when 16 Sherpas
died after a serac collapsed onto the Khumbu
Icefall, part of the main route from Base Camp
to Camp I. In the wake of that tragedy, a small
group of Sherpas demanded that the Nepalese government establish regulations that
would improve working conditions, increase
pay, boost life-insurance coverage, and provide a funeral stipend. Ultimately, Sherpas
received a bit more insurance—the minimum
payout was doubled from $5,500 to $11,000—
but not much else.
Partly in response to media attention of
these events, Nepali-owned guiding companies have continued to gain influence and
market share on Everest. The shift away from
foreign control of the mountain is welcomed
by many in the climbing community. Another
positive development: lower-cost operators
are increasing diversity on Everest, attracting
climbers from China’s and India’s burgeoning
middle classes with aggressive pricing. Based
on numbers from the Himalayan Database, in
2010, four Indian and eight Chinese climbers
attempted the mountain, just 6 percent of the
total. Last year, Chinese and Indian clients accounted for 60 of the 199 Nepal-side summits.
Unfortunately, in the absence of substantive government oversight, some of the budget
companies are making Everest more dangerous by flooding the already overcrowded
route with novice climbers led by inexperi-
16
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
enced guides. Any operators charging less
for guided climbs are prone to bolster profits
through scale, booking dozens of clients on
expeditions. (The most respected outfitters
set a maximum of ten.) Putting aside 2014’s
tragedy and 2015’s earthquake-induced avalanche, which killed at least 17 people at Base
Camp, 12 of the 17 climber deaths on the
South Col route between 2011 and 2017 appear to have been clients of budget outfitters.
During last year’s peak season, Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks, known
for bringing large groups of climbers to Everest, allegedly promoted a young support staffer named Sange Sherpa to guide Everest and
assigned him to an older Pakistani client. The
pair reached the summit late in the day and
got into trouble on their descent. They had
to be rescued by experienced Sherpas from
another Nepalese outfitter. Sange later had all
his fingers amputated due to severe frostbite.
Veteran guides are reacting to all this in
different ways. Adrian Ballinger, founder of
the California outfitter Alpenglow, has abandoned the Nepal side of Everest and is instead
leading teams from China. As he explained it
to me, the higher risk from natural dangers
(avalanches, seracs, crevasses), the low standards of other outfitters, and Nepal’s mismanagement add up to an unacceptable environment. Several other prominent guides
have come to the same conclusion, including
Austrian Lukas Furtenbach. Others are staying put. International Mountain Guides co-
The absence
of substantive
oversight has led
to the emergence
of companies
that are making
Everest even more
dangerous.
owner Eric Simonson, whose first expedition
on Everest was in 1982, insists that upgrades
in route-making through the Khumbu Icefall,
and the establishment of dual ropes in areas
prone to bottlenecks, have made the Nepal
side safer, even as the crowds have grown.
Everest remains the ultimate conquest for
many climbers. And while most embrace the
risk of high-altitude mountaineering, few understand that the biggest dangers are all too
often the result of economics, not the forces
of nature. Ultimately, the top priority of many
tourism officials and outfitters isn’t safety. It’s
O
the bottom line.
Alan Arnette has been chronicling developments on Mount Everest since 2002. He
reached the summit in 2011.
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: B I L L S T E V E N S O N /A U R O R A ; C H R I S T I A N KO B E R / R O B E R T H A R D I N G /A L A M Y; A L E X T R E A D WAY/ R O B E R T H A R D I N G /A L A M Y; KO N D O R U K / S H U T T E R S TO C K
Clockwise from top left:
Navigating the Khumbu Icefall;
going up; Everest Base Camp;
a meeting of Sherpa guides
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WON’T PAY
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GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2017 GEICO
Dispatches
The Outsider
05.18
Single-Track Minds
HOW A COUPLE OF HEIRS TO AN AMERICAN RETAIL DYNASTY
ARE PUTTING BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS, ON THE FAT-TIRE MAP
BY ANDREW TILIN
parks his bike and surveys
the surrounding terrain. Where I see modest
hills sheathed in uninspiring winter brown,
he sees cycling gold. “The return on investment that we’ve had,” says Walton, kicking at
the Arkansas dirt with his mountain-biking
shoe, “proves that building urban singletrack
is a great model for rural America.”
In case you’re wondering: yes, Tom is one
of those Waltons, grandson of Sam, founder
of Walmart. And the modestly contoured Arkansas hills he’s hyping—maximum elevation maybe 1,500 feet—neighbor Bentonville,
headquarters of the $500 billion company.
The 34-year-old and his brother, Steuart, 36,
are both cycling nuts, and they’re trying to do
for mountain biking what the family business
did for retailing: change everything. Today
they’re giving me a cycling tour of their progress toward that goal—specifically, a portion
of the 163 miles of Arkansas trails in and
around their hometown that they’ve commissioned through the Walton Family Foundation. All told, they’ve helped pour some
$74 million into cycling infrastructure for
the region.
It’s an ambitious plan, and you have to admire what they’ve created. Back on our bikes,
I attempt to follow as the brothers effortlessly whip through local favorites like AllAmerican and Rocking Horse. Every trail we
ride is clearly marked, categorized (“gateway,”
“flow,” “technical” ), and, like ski runs, graded
for difficulty. The classifications describe the
riding profile of every path. Some have jump
lines, others have rock gardens, still others
feature one perfectly smoothed berm after
another. “We talk about Bentonville as a ski
town for bikes,” Tom told me before our ride.
“Steu, do we have time for Master Plan?”
says Tom as we reach a fork in the trail.
“It’s Friday, T Dubs,” says Steuart. “Go.”
There’s little question about how the brothers got their passion for bikes and being outside. The Waltons are a cycling-centric family
who put a premium on outdoor experiences.
When Tom and Steuart were boys, their parents didn’t keep a TV in the house. Their
uncle Rob, a former Walmart chairman, is a
veteran roadie. Their dad, Jim, chairman of
the board of family-owned Arvest Bank, loves
the dirt. Steu and T Dubs go both ways, and
they always figure out a way to mix riding and
travel—even on a recent trip to Azerbaijan.
True siblings, they try to crush one another
on climbs.
Like a lot of rural America, Bentonville
(population 47,000) remains small enough
to enjoy close proximity to undeveloped land
TOM WALTON
18
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
that’s ripe for trail use. And because the network is being built from scratch, trails can be
situated minutes from downtown hotels, restaurants, and bike shops. Many of them might
be beginner-friendly, but each is a blast and
easy to access. “The barriers to entry for our
kind of riding are all lower,” Tom tells me as we
cruise a jumpy stretch of trail called Ozone. It
runs right alongside Northwest A Street in
town, an intentional move aimed at inspiring
passing drivers to imagine themselves on a
mountain bike.
All this investment has earned Bentonville
a surprising amount of attention from the
mountain-biking industry. In 2016, the town
hosted the International Mountain Bicycling
Association World Summit. This year it plays
host to Outerbike, a massive demo event normally staged in fat-tire meccas like Crested
Butte, Colorado, and Moab, Utah. It’s also
attracting tourists. According to a 2018 BBC
Research and Consulting study, cycling generates $51 million annually for area businesses,
including $27 million from out-of-state visitors. Both Tom and Steuart tell me repeatedly
that their goal is to provide a model for other
rural towns with similar access to greenspace. Their foundation shares its formula for
measuring the economic impact of cycling
investment with any interested community.
Indeed, an “Arkansas effect” has already been
felt within the fledgling trail-building industry. Nowadays trail designers and their bulldozing employees can’t keep up with demand,
installing singletrack everywhere from Alabama to New Mexico.
Neither brother has a day-to-day role at
Walmart. Tom, a graduate of Northern Arizona University, runs Ropeswing, a local
hospitality company. Steuart has a law degree from Georgetown and owns an aircraftmanufacturing startup. But you can’t help
but think that they’re keeping the family
business in mind as they funnel money into
Bentonville’s cycling infrastructure. Walmart
is rapidly shifting to e-commerce, which
means courting the brightest minds in technology. Bentonville still has some distance to
go to compete with attractive startup locales
like Denver, Seattle, and the Bay Area, but
the younger Waltons seem bent on changing
that. Tom has opened several upscale restaurants downtown, including Pressroom and
Preacher’s Son. In 2012, the brothers donated
nearly $300,000 each to Keep Dollars in Benton County, a political organization that successfully campaigned to change their home
county from dry to wet.
What’s certain is that Tom and Steuart’s
Tom and Steuart
Walton are both
cycling nuts, and
WKH\·UHWU\LQJWRGR
for mountain biking
what the family
business did for
retailing: change
everything.
goal of making the region a cycling destination doesn’t end with tourism. They want
Bentonville to be a magnet for the cycling industry, too. In February, the Runway Group, an
organization the brothers created to develop
quality-of-life initiatives in the region, hired
Brendan Quirk as its cycling program director. Quirk cofounded Competitive Cyclist, a
successful e-commerce site that launched in
Little Rock. According to the group’s press
release, he’ll be responsible for “positioning
Northwest Arkansas as a leading region nationwide for the incubation and recruitment
of cycling-related brands.”
The industry has responded, although the
siblings’ strategy remains a little hazy. Right
now the only other cycling-related company
associated with Bentonville is tiny road-bike
maker Allied Cycle Works, which will relocate there from Little Rock in the fall and is
partially owned by the Walton brothers’ firm
RZC Investments. And last year, RZC spent
a reported $225 million to purchase Rapha,
the iconic London-based apparel company
that has a cult following among affluent road
cyclists—a curious match, given the brothers’
previous focus on mountain bikers. So far,
Tom and Steuart aren’t planning to move
Rapha’s U.S. headquarters from Portland,
Oregon, to Bentonville.
In fact, the brothers were cagey when I
asked about the thinking behind the purchase.
“You know, we kept all the leaders in place,
because we believe in what they’ve done so
far,” Steuart told me ahead of our ride. “We’ll
introduce them to northwest Arkansas and let
them figure out what works best here.” He may
as well have said, “Who knows?”
For now, Tom and Steuart Walton seem
to prefer being viewed simply as benevolent
ambassadors for their favorite sports—and to
spend as much time as possible spreading the
gospel about their ever expanding trail network. As we finish our ride on a mellow stretch
of buffed-out Bentonville singletrack, we roll
up on a group of school-aged kids on foot.
“I’ve got one question for you,” Tom tells
them. “Where are your mountain bikes?”
From left: Tom
and Steuart
Walton
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Trevor Paulhus
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
19
Dispatches
Media
The Wright
family’s next
generation
HIGH NOTE
A MOUNTAINEERING
FILM FROM DOWN
UNDER THAT’S LIKE
NOTHING YOU’VE
SEEN BEFORE
BY SVATI KIRSTEN
NARULA
Nowheresville
TWO NEW NONFICTION BOOKS BY STAR JOURNALISTS EXPLORE
A CHANGING WAY OF LIFE IN RURAL AMERICA
BY CRAIG FEHRMAN
WHEN YOU LIVE far from the city, it can feel
like there are only two options: move or be
forgotten. Yet a pair of new books—one set
in the red-rock canyons of Utah, the other in
the pastures of Pennsylvania—suggest a third
possibility: adapt.
In The Last Cowboys ($27, W.W. Norton),
John Branch tells the story of the Wrights, who
settled in southwestern Utah 156 years ago.
Today patriarch Bill Wright tends to a couple
hundred cattle. He and his wife, Evelyn, have
13 children and a herd of grandchildren; each
year the family reunites to brand the new
calves. Branch, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter at The New York Times, describes the
action expertly—the noise, the dust, the smell
of scorched flesh. “It smells like money,” one
participant says.
Maybe, but it doesn’t bring much in. Branch
runs down the factors that make life increasingly hard for midsize ranches—drought, corporate competitors, environmentalists. But
the Wrights have a surprising solution: the
rodeo circuit. Bill’s boys earn millions riding saddle broncs. While rodeo cash props up
the livestock, it also drains the drama from
Branch’s ranching chapters. The Wrights are
now a rodeo family who happen to raise cattle.
The subjects of Eliza Griswold’s Amity and
Prosperity, which arrives in June ($27; Farrar, Straus and Giroux), have far less money
20
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
and far bigger problems. Like the Wrights, the
Haney family have remained in one place—
southwestern Pennsylvania—for generations.
Stacey Haney is a single mom who works as
a nurse at the local hospital. She embodies
both the old rural economy (living on a farm)
and the new one (entertaining an offer from a
fracking corporation that wants to set up operations near her land).
Griswold, an Outside contributor and an
acclaimed poet and journalist, sifts through
Haney’s reasons for finally deciding to sign
a lease with the billion-dollar outfit. Haney
knows the region needs jobs, she’s tired of all
the war over oil, and she wants to build a structure to protect her family’s show animals.
Things go wrong immediately. The rumble
of heavy trucks appears to damage her house’s
foundation, the water goes bad, and she and
her kids become terribly, mysteriously sick.
Griswold narrates Haney’s response to the
fallout, and the reaction from her pro-fracking
neighbors, in lean, captivating prose—it’s part
legal thriller and part medical mystery. Mostly,
though, it’s a tragedy. If we could turn outrage
into electricity, Griswold’s book would power
the planet.
Both authors succeed in avoiding country
clichés and reveal not only why rural Americans must adapt, but also the reasons they
might want to.
Mountain, a new documentary by Australian
director Jen Peedom,
is more like a concert
than a movie. That
makes sense, given its
conception as a visual
collaboration with the
Australian Chamber
Orchestra. Scenes
unfold without plot or
context, keeping the
focus on high-altitude
cinematography,
handled by mountaineer-filmmaker Renan
Ozturk, and the score,
created by ACO artistic director Richard
Tognetti. There is no
dialogue, just Willem
Dafoe’s gravelly voice
reciting a threadbare
script by Robert
Macfarlane, author of
the climbing memoir
Mountains of the Mind.
“Some people don’t
really get the film at
all,” says Peedom, who
also directed the 2015
documentary Sherpa.
“For others it’s like a
religious experience.”
Screening this
month at the Telluride,
Colorado, Mountainfilm festival, Mountain
has become the thirdhighest-grossing Australian documentary
since it hit theaters
there last fall. The
combination of jagged
peaks and violins is
thrilling. It includes the
unmistakable shape
of free soloist Alex
Honnold high on a wall
and footage of crowds
on Mount Everest.
(“This isn’t climbing
anymore. It’s queuing,”
Dafoe deadpans.) A
montage of volcanoes
spewing lava shows
how the world’s peaks
first rose up from the
ocean floor—and how
mightily things have
changed since then.
As Dafoe tells us,
the mountains “were
here long before we
were even dreamed
of. They watched
us arrive. They will
watch us leave.”
'21·70,66
“The things we stand
for as climbers—trust,
values, honesty—are
EHLQJHURGHG:H·YH
got to bring that back,
from our public lands
to native rights to
how we interact with
other humans.”
—CONRAD ANKER, SPEAKING TO EVAN
PHILLIPS OF THE FIRN LINE PODCAST
(SEASON TWO IS OUT IN APRIL)
F R O M L E F T: J O S H H A N E R / T H E N E W YO R K T I M E S / R E D U X ; R E N A N O Z T U R K
05.18
Everyone’s on a much longer leash here.
Wy om i n g i s w i d e - op e n p o s s i bi l it y. You n e v e r f e e l f e n c e d i n , t i e d
d ow n or re s t r a i n e d i n a ny w ay. S o y ou c a n bre a k f re e a n d f i n d t h e
c l a r it y t h at b e c k on s , f rom r u g g e d m ou nt a i n t o t r a n qu i l l a k e t o
m e a n d e r i n g t r a i l . Fre e d om i s w a it i n g . Wh at’s h o l d i n g y ou b a c k ?
Dispatches
3DFLÀF1RUWKZHVW
05.18
7KH%LJ*UHHQ
IT’S TIME TO GET REACQUAINTED WITH THE
PNW—HOME TO MASSIVE MOUNTAINS, LUSH
RAINFORESTS, EMPTY ISLANDS, AND THE
GREATEST OYSTERS YOU’LL EVER TASTE
J E R E M Y KO R E S K I
BY TIM NEVILLE
24
Haida Gwaii,
British Columbia
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
3DFLÀF1RUWKZHVW
05.18
a
b
f
e
a, c. Oregon’s Vintages
Trailer Resort
b. Christian DeBenedetti
of Wolves and People
d, f. Hot Springs Cove
e. Surfing Tofino
c
d
GET SOAKED
TASTE THE TERROIR
LOCAL SALT
Hot Springs Cove, British Columbia
Wolves and People, Oregon
Lydia Ricard, surfer
Comprised of a half-dozen pools within
6,600-acre Maquinna Marine Provincial
Park, Hot Springs Cove is nature’s way of
telling us we’re loved. Most people visit as
part of a whale-watching day tour out of
nearby Tofino, but we suggest you hire an
Ocean Outfitters water taxi ($160 roundtrip; oceanoutfitters.bc.ca), wait for the
crowds to leave, and spend the night. After
disembarking at a small dock, you’ll hike
a mile through moody rainforest to the
springs, which spill from a ten-foot waterfall and combine with flood tides to reach a
perfect 104 degrees. You can’t sleep at the
springs, but a small first-come, first-served
campground is located near the dock. Want
more comfort? Get a stateroom aboard the
five-cabin InnChanter, a 1920s heritage ship
with a fireplace, which is moored in Clayoquot Sound (from $115; innchanter.com).
In 1996, Outside contributor Christian
DeBenedetti scored a prestigious fellowship
to study beer, traveling through Europe and
Africa as part of his research. He channeled
everything he learned into his brewery,
Wolves and People, which opened in May
2016 in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. DeBenedetti’s creations take advantage of the surrounding agricultural bounty, incorporating
hazelnuts and wild yeast from his family’s
farm in addition to locally grown white
truffles and golden raspberries. Best of all,
the brewery is only about 65 miles from the
coast, making it a worthy stop between clam
chowder missions. Stay in a refurbished 1957
Airstream at the Vintages Trailer Resort, in
Dayton, where cruiser bikes come standard
($95; the-vintages.com). Cap your ride at the
brewery and enjoy a crisp saison in the beer
garden, which is festooned with patio lights.
Perfectly positioned on Vancouver
Island’s western shore, Tofino remains
one of the best year-round surf spots
on the continent. “We’re lucky,” says
Ricard, a 25-year-old instructor with
Surf Sister, an all-women company that
offers lessons. “All of our breaks have
sandy bottoms, so you can get lefts and
rights.” A six-minute drive from town will
take you to two of her favorites, North
and South Chesterman, which are well
sheltered during storms. Another winner? Long Beach, in the 200-squaremile Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
“It’s awesome being out there with
the whales,” says Ricard. Next on her
agenda: the annual Queen of the Peak
festival, a women-only surf competition
in Tofino this September. Register via
queenofthepeak.com.
26
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: B R YA N R U P P ; S T U M U L L E N B E R G ; A N D R E A LO N A S ; C O L D S M O K E A P PA R E L / S H AY D J O H N S O N ; B R YA N N A B R A D L E Y; R YA N C R E A R Y/A L L C A N A DA P H OTO S /A L A M Y
Dispatches
3DFLÀF1RUWKZHVW
a. Fat biking in Bandon
b. Haida Gwaii art gallery
c. Mendocino
d. Elrite at the wheel
e. Mendocino coastline
f. Ocean House, Haida Gwaii
05.18
a
b
c
f
e
d
WALK ON WATER
FOLLOW THE TIDE
CLAIM YOUR TRAIL
LOCAL SALT
Haida Gwaii Archipelago,
British Columbia
Bandon and Brookings,
Oregon
Mendocino Coast, California
Sebastian Elrite, fisherman
Ocean House, an inn owned by
the Haida people that’s opening
this month off Moresby Island,
offers a view of the Haida Gwaii
region that few ever see. The
floating 12-room seasonal lodge
will be barged up the Peel Inlet
from Vancouver to the island,
where it will be moored among
the misty cedars and Sitkas until
late summer. Book a three-night
stay and head out each day to
scope bald eagles in the rainforest, tour native villages, or
launch kayaks and paddleboards
into the fjords to spy on orcas.
Each night, chefs fill your belly
with fresh salmon and crisp
greens, washed down with complimentary local wine. Afterward a massage will prepare
your muscles for the next day.
From $3,500 for three nights,
all-inclusive; oceanhouse.ca
A trip up Highway 101 is on
every long-distance cyclist’s
dream list. Even better: ride the
coast on a fat bike. You can grab
one at South Coast Bicycles
($50; southcoastbicycles.com)
in Bandon, then pick a starting
spot along the Oregon coastline,
where four new routes have
opened between Lakeside to
the north and Brookings to the
south, each up to 20 miles long.
Our favorite ride might be the
12-mile Banana Belt Loop, which
runs from Cape Sebastian State
Park to singletrack-ringed Lola
Lake, with options to cruise
through arches and pedal out
to sea stacks during low tide. At
day’s end, head back to Gold
Beach for a Pistol River pale ale
at Arch Rock Brewing. Stay in a
beachside cabin at Ireland’s (from
$149; irelandsrusticlodges.com).
The 1,200-mile California
Coastal Trail is about half
complete, and some of its most
spectacular day hikes run along
the gnarled shores of Mendocino
County. Plot out your adventures using the web-based app
from the Mendocino Land Trust
(mendocinolandtrust.org). The
group recently unveiled the Pelican Bluffs Trail, which runs for
a little over two miles through a
forest of Bishop pines, home to
endangered mountain beavers.
The 2.3-mile Peter Douglas
Trail, completed in 2016, now
gets you access to the wildly
remote Lost Coast Trail, winding
for 53 miles through Sinkyone
Wilderness State Park and King
Range National Conservation
Area. Rent a 1930s cottage with
a fireplace at the Stanford Inn,
an eco-resort on Mendocino Bay
(from $308; stanfordinn.com).
Elrite knows a good oyster. The
49-year-old Eureka, California,
resident has spent the past two
decades tending his Bucksport
bivalves in Humboldt Bay. “This
is the sweet spot,” he says of the
location. Rich nutrients waft in on
ocean tides and give his AquaRodeo Farms oysters “a briny
burst with a melony finish.” When
he’s not leading tours and handing
out samples, you can find Elrite
enjoying the topside bounty of
the surrounding region. For hikes
in Redwood National Park, he
recommends the 7.6-mile Skunk
Cabbage Trail, north of Orick,
which wends through coastal rainforest to a secluded beach. Prairie
Creek Redwoods State Park is
also worth a visit, he says. On its
9.2-mile James Irvine Trail, you’ll
pass the 50-foot-high walls of
Fern Canyon, used as a location
in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
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OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: DY L A N VA N W E E L D E N ; K R I S TA R O S S O W ; R I C K H E M M I N G S ; E R I N KU N K E L ; F I N N B E A L E S ; H A I C O / K Y L E R VO S
Dispatches
BRANDED CONTENT
Camping
outside of
Tucson, AZ
Latino
Outdoors
founder José
González
A sunset
hike for
inspiration
HOW LATINO OUTDOORS IS RETHINKING THE
WAYS THEIR COMMUNITY GETS OUTSIDE
osé González
appreciates the ability
to get away. The 37-yearold founder of Latino
Outdoors, an organization
that’s building a national
community of like-minded
Latinos and Latinas
who enjoy and advocate
for being outside, loves
to leave his ofice and
the congestion of San
Francisco Bay Area, where
he’s based, and head out to
the mountains and desert
to relax, think, and plan.
That was the case
recently as González
traveled to Tucson,
Arizona where he and
other members of Latino
Outdoors grabbed a
30-foot RV and headed to
Saguaro National Park for a
weekend of camping.
Parked under the stars
but with all the amenities
of home right inside the
RV, González, along with
Xitlaly Reyes, the Tucson
program coordinator for
J
Latino Outdoors, Lupe
Sotelo, an intern at Saguaro
National Park and outings
leader for González’s
organization, and Claudio
Rodriguez, a Tucson local
and organizer for Tierra
y Libertad, huddled and
shared ideas for how they
might all expand the reach
and effectiveness of their
organizations. “Sitting in
the RV; it’s like a campire,”
González says. “The night
grows colder, and that
draws people closer. That
closeness, in turn, starts to
generate dialogue among
everyone.”
González, who migrated
to the U.S. from Mexico
when he was nine years
old, has always been
drawn to nature. In
2014, he launched Latino
Outdoors. “Our basic
premise is ‘Estamos aquí’,
‘We are here.’ And by that
we mean that the Latinx
community has been here
in the Western United
States for hundreds of
years, and the landscape
belongs to us as a culture
as much as it belongs to
anyone,” he says. “That’s
the message that we’re
trying to get out to the
people. That this national
park, where we are right
now, is ‘our’ park as well,
and with that comes a
sense of opportunity and
also responsibility.”
Latino Outdoors also
understands that the
concepts of “nature”
and “outdoors” might be
different for many Latinos.
Instead of nature being
something they would
travel to, many Latinos
grew up in nature, either
in rural North American
communities, or rural
communities throughout
Central and South
America. So, while the
organization’s immediate
programming is to draw
more people to public
lands, it also advocates
for creating more urban
green spaces closer to
underserved Latino
communities where
access can be a barrier.
To that end, the group
now has chapters up and
down the West Coast, in
the Southwest, and even
in New York City and
Washington, D.C.
For González,
having the RV was a
perfect middle ground
for everything his
organization advocates.
It allowed him and his
colleagues to push out
beyond their communities,
but it also made things
Go RVing
easy. No one had to worry
driving ive separate cars,
or about tents or erratic
weather, and instead they
could just travel together,
get up in the morning,
go for a hike, come back,
make lunch, get ready to
take in one of Arizona’s
spectacular sunsets, and
spend the evening inside
warm and comfortable.
With the RV, González
says, “you’ve got beds for
everyone, a bathroom,
a kitchen, all your stuff,
yet whenever you want
to teleport yourself into
nature, all you have to do is
step out the door.”
has everything you need to
start an RV adventure. To find dealers and
rental companies, please visit gorving.com.
To see more highlights of José and crew’s
RV adventure, head to outsideonline.com/
latinooutdoors.
Dispatches
3DFLÀF1RUWKZHVW
05.18
a–b. Bainbridge Island
c. Bainbridge’s L’Atelier TR
d. Mount Rainier
e. McCloud Falls, California
f. Belcampo
GET MAROONED
Twenty-eight-square-mile Bainbridge
Island sits just across Puget Sound from the
nation’s fifth-fastest-growing major city. It
has a rep as a bedroom community for Jeff
Bezos’s Amazonians, but we’re not buying it:
with lonely roads that are perfect for biking,
killer new restaurants, and no fewer than
seven wineries, this place encapsulates just
about everything that makes the Northwest
great. Base yourself out of the eight-room
Eagle Harbor Inn (from $180; theeagleharbor
inn.com), a 15-minute walk from the ferry
terminal, and load up on Liège waffles at
L’Atelier TR, a chocolatier and bistro that
opened in September. Take a hike through
the firs and madrones of 240-acre Grand
Forest, or rent a ride from one of the two
nearby bike shops and spend the day spinning country lanes to places like Fort Ward
Park, home to a secret World War II naval
base. Feeling thirsty? Tour Bainbridge runs
winery and history tours every day in summer (from $69; tourbainbridge.com).
a
b
f
c
e
d
CUT IN
Siskiyou County, California
At the far north of the state, along the Oregon
border, Siskiyou County has no shortage of
adventure. Folks come to backpack for days
in the 517,000-acre Trinity Alps Wilderness
or to wander along the frothy McCloud River
Trail to a series of cascading falls, some as
high as 50 feet. You, however, should come
to up your grilling game: at Belcampo Meat
Camps in Gazelle, students spend three days
learning how to butcher lamb shoulders and
pork chops, cooking them over an open-flame
wood fire, and receiving expert instruction
in sauces, stews, and bone broths, all while
glamping on a more than 20,000-acre organic
farm. Each morning, guests take hikes around
the property in the Mount Shasta foothills.
Camps start June 15 and include women-only
and family-friendly options. From $900;
belcampo.com/meatcamp
LOCAL SALT
Jess Matthews, climber
Matthews has been guiding for the past four
years with RMI Expeditions, the oldest and
most prestigious climbing outfitter on Mount
Rainier. She’s glad to call the place home
come spring each year. “A lot of people in the
Northwest put up with the winter just to have
the summer,” says the 35-year-old. “Summers
here are spectacular.” To date, Matthews has
logged 32 summits of the 14,410-foot peak
and scaled its flanks more than 70 times.
When family and friends visit, she takes them
paddleboarding on Alder Lake or hiking around
Rainier’s Sunrise Point. But if they’re looking
for something more ambitious, Matthews
suggests the trek up to Hogsback Camp, at
the toe of Mount Baker’s Coleman Glacier.
It’s a lung-busting route that gains more than
2,000 feet in a couple of miles.
30
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
C l O C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: K R I S T I N E A N D E R S O N /A L A M Y; J E T TA P R O D U C T I O N S / B L E N D I M AG E S /A L A M Y; TA E T R A N ; J U S T I N M U L L E T/ S TO C K SY ; A D R I / S H U T T E R S TO C K ; C O U R T E SY O F B E LC A M P O
Bainbridge Island, Washington
WASTE NOT,
WANT NOT...
AT RAINBOW® SANDALS WE ENDEAVOR TO REUSE AND
RECYCLE OUR EXCESS MATERIALS IN PRODUCTION.
HERE ARE A FEW OF THE THINGS WE DO:
- EXCESS GLUE UP IS PEELED OFF OUR LAMINATING
TABLES AND THROWN BACK IN THE MIXER TO MAKE
MORE GLUE.
- RUBBER DUST COMING OFF OUR BELT SANDERS IS
COLLECTED AND REUSED AS A SOLUTE IN OUR GLUE
SOLUTION. ALL OUR GLUE IS APPLIED IN CONTAINED
AREAS AND SCRUBBED CLEAN OF VOC’S.
- WE FIX AND CLEAN OLD SANDALS AND DONATE THEM
TO THE HOMELESS, VICTIMS OF NATURAL DISASTERS,
ORPHANAGES AND OTHERS IN NEED.
OUR GOAL REMAINS PRODUCING HIGH QUALITY SANDALS THAT DON’T END UP IN LANDFILLS. WE BELIEVE
BROKEN AND OLD SANDALS WILL EVENTUALLY END UP
IN OUR RIVERS AND OCEANS IF THROWN AWAY AFTER
THEY WERE WORN. WE GIVE ALL CUSTOMERS AT OUR
FACTORY OUTLET A 10% DISCOUNT IF THEY BRING
BACK THEIR OLD RAINBOW® SANDALS TO DONATE TO
OUR REPAIR • REUSE • RECYCLE PROGRAM.
— JAY “SPARKY” LONGLEY, FOUNDER/CEO
Featured on the Left: Sandals from our Repair • Reuse
• Recycle department finding their way onto the feet
of orphan children in Tanzania, South Africa via Small
Steps for Compassion. SSC is a unique loving home
that provides a supportive family to orphan children
in the community around them by reinventing the way
of taking care of parentless children. Learn more at
smallstepsforcompassion.org
+RXUV
a. La Petite Grocery
b. St. Charles streetcar
c. NOLA Paddleboards
d. Pontchartrain Hotel
e. Bearcat Cafe
f. In the French Quarter
05.18
a
b
f
c
e
Take It Easy
NEW ORLEANS IS
DESERVEDLY FAMOUS
FOR ITS FOOD. BUT THE
CITY’S MANY WATERWAYS,
BIKE PATHS, AND GREENSPACES ARE WORTHY,
TOO—AND WILL HELP YOU
EARN THOSE BEIGNETS.
(healthy) and Bad Cat (less so)
options. Give in to sin and order
the barbecue shrimp and grits.
10 A.M.
Sign up with NOLA Paddleboards
to check out Bayou St. John in
Mid-City. The canal is lined with
historic homes and abuts 1,300acre City Park. From $37 for 75
minutes; nolapaddleboards.com
d
($8 per hour; bluebikesnola.com)
and hop on the Lafitte Greenway. The 2.6-mile converted rail
corridor drops you in the French
Quarter, but cycle on to explore
Crescent Park, a 20-acre riverfront greenspace.
French bistro fare. Be sure
to reserve a table in advance—
executive chef and owner Justin
Devillier has been nominated
for the James Beard Award
five times (and won it in 2016).
lapetitegrocery.com
4 P.M.
9 P.M.
At Bacchanal, a wine-shopcum-courtyard-hangout in the
bohemian Bywater area, pick up
a bottle on the way in and choose
a spot close to the stage for live
local music. bacchanalwine.com
Start your morning with a
quick 1.8-mile run around the
loop in Uptown’s Audubon
Park, filled with herons, egrets,
and centuries-old oaks.
Head to Parkway Bakery and
Tavern for a locals’-favorite
po’boy. Top it off with a weddingcake-flavored snowball—New
Orleans’s version of shaved ice—
at nearby Pandora’s.
Drop your bags at the Pontchartrain Hotel, reopened in 2016
after a $10 million face-lift. The
Garden District property blends
blue-blood style and New Orleans
funk—the lounge features a
portrait of native son Lil Wayne
with a slice of the restaurant’s
signature Mile High Pie. From
$143; thepontchartrainhotel.com
8 A.M.
1:30 P.M.
7 P.M.
Hit up Bearcat Cafe on Jena
Street for breakfast, where the
menu is split between Good Cat
It’s time to ride. Grab a Blue
Bike from the city’s recently
launched bike-share program
Formerly a neighborhood market,
La Petite Grocery serves up a
distinctively New Orleans take on
BY CHENEY GARDNER
12 P.M.
6 A.M.
32
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
12 A.M.
End the night with—what else?—
beignets from Café Du Monde in
the heart of the French Quarter.
The 156-year-old landmark is
open 24 hours, so we won’t judge
if you count it as breakfast. cafe
dumonde.com
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P L E F T: S C OT T S U C H M A N ( 2 ) ; J E F F L A K E Y; C H R I S T I A N H O R A N ; F E L I C E H A H N ; K R I S T E N C U R E T T E H I N E S / S TO C K SY
Dispatches
THE ENDE AVOR YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WANTED.
OR MAYBE YOU DID.
DRIVING YOU BE YOND YOUR IMAGINATION.
I’LL HELP YOU RE ACH FAR OFF PL ACES.
AND CRE ATE MEMORIES YOU'LL KEEP, LONG AFTER YOUR RETURN.
I’M COLOR ADO. AND I’LL SHOW YOU
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE TRULY ALIVE.
Get the guide at COLORADO.COM
Dispatches
Used Gear
05.18
Reduce,
Reuse, Resell
WHY OUTDOOR BRANDS
WANT TO HAWK YOUR OLD
EQUIPMENT ONLINE
BY JOE JACKSON
LAST FALL, Patagonia and REI began selling
previously owned gear online. (Word has it
that the North Face may follow suit.) To be
clear, used-product sales aren’t untrammeled
ground for these brands; REI has been holding
Garage Sale events for its members for years,
and Patagonia makes returned items available
to employees at deep discounts. But an online
store dedicated to secondhand stuff is new
territory for both companies. REI dipped a toe
in last October when it launched Used Gear
Beta, a redistribution platform for its best
gently used returns. And Patagonia’s program,
part of its Worn Wear initiative, lets customers
exchange older Patagonia apparel and equipment for store credit. Both companies vet the
products, and acceptable items are cleaned
and prepped for resale.
Sites like eBay and GearTrade have long
given people an easy way to sell used kit, but
the decision by outdoor-industry heavyweights
to jump in is about more than just marketing
or a novel way to monetize returns. Patagonia, for one, sees the potential for real profit.
Phil Graves, Patagonia’s director of corporate
development, expects the new market to
account for a double-digit percentage of the
brand’s overall business by 2023. And, as with
most trends these days, he believes younger
consumers will drive that growth. “Millennials
care deeply about environmental and social
aspects when making purchasing decisions,”
Graves says. Matt Powell, vice president of
market-research company NPD Group, echoes
that view. “This is very much an extension of
where millennials are in terms of shopping.
They’re more likely to buy used products.”
Not to mention that the markdown is usually
around 50 percent.
Neither Patagonia nor REI would disclose
sales margins, but Powell believes that the
secondhand model is viable. If a company as
large as Patagonia can generate 10 percent of
its business from products it doesn’t have to
make from scratch, that strategy is bound to be
adopted by other outdoor brands—and other
industries. Graves says he was recently on a call
with the vice president of a home-furnishings
company that’s exploring a model similar to
Worn Wear for its products.
And while convenience-obsessed millennials are spurring the changes, sites like Patagonia’s and REI’s make buying used gear more
appealing for everyone. It’s certainly better
than rolling the dice on Craigslist.
34
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
Tricks of the (Lightly Used) Trade
Before you pull the trigger on a piece of previously owned kit, take a tip
from Josh Sims, owner of the Gear Fix consignment shop in Bend, Oregon
DO: Compare prices. “On eBay, each listing shows previous listings of that
product and what they went for,” Sims says.
'21·7 Buy used helmets or climbing gear. A helmet that looks OK may
be internally unsound, and ropes can suffer unseen core shots that make
an entire safety system likely to fail.
DO: Embrace the gross. “Hats, gloves, and footwear are three product
categories that you can get really great deals on, because of the ick factor,” Sims says.
'21·7 Buy used underwear. That’s just too gross.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Rachel Hudacek
THE
ALL - NEW
©2018 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Jeep is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.
2018
WRANGLER
Dispatches
Spring Jackets
05.18
Gimme Shelter
YOUR BEST DEFENSE
AGAINST SNOW, SUN, AND
EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
A
BY KELLY BASTONE AND
PETER KOCH
A. Outdoor Research
Optimizer $399
BEST FOR: Redlining
Most winter hard shells
are oppressive in balmy
conditions—or when
hiking uphill regardless
of the weather. But the
waterproof and feathery
Optimizer proved to be
tough enough for ski tours
and airy enough for spring
showers. Credit Gore’s
new Active fabric, which
is more durable and 20
percent lighter than older
versions. 12.9 oz (men’s) /
11.6 oz (women’s)
B. Mountain Hardwear
Touren Hooded $350
BEST FOR: Summit bids
This soft shell is so accommodating, we forgot
we had it on—even atop a
blustery ridge near Colorado’s Continental Divide.
The hood, front, and upper
arms are made of Polartec
Power Shield, which seals
out gusts, while the back
and underarms feature a
thin stretch-woven material that dumps heat. 1.2 lbs
(men’s) / 1.1 lb (women’s)
C. Black Diamond
StormLine Stretch $149
BEST FOR: Dodging rain
Supple, stretchy seamtaped fabric kept us from
feeling Saran Wrapped in
the 2.5-layer StormLine.
We found it comfortable,
and the elasticity let us
reach for handholds during scrambling ascents.
Although the proprietary
membrane isn’t as breathable as some shells, it
vents well enough to keep
sweat tolerable. 11.3 oz
(men’s) / 7.9 oz (women’s)
D. Arc’teryx
Sawyer $425
BEST FOR: Concrete
canyons
Features of mountain
jackets—waterproofing,
comfort, an articulated
cut—are just as appealing
in the city. So Arc’teryx
merged them with urban
styling, lengthening the
hem and swapping in somber sidewalk tones. The
Sawyer is a men’s jacket,
but women lauded the fit.
15 oz (men’s)
36
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
B
C
C
D
P H OTO G R A P H S B Y
Inga Hendrickson
E. Salewa
Agner Engineered
DST $200
BEST FOR: Rubbing
elbows with rocks
We didn’t worry
about babying this
soft shell when scaling Joshua Tree’s
coarse granite and
Smith Rock’s welded
tuff. It’s made from
PFC-free DWR, with
abrasion-resistant
Cordura yarn seamlessly woven into
the stretch fabric at
the shoulders and
elbows. 12.2 oz
(men’s) / 10.2 oz
(women’s)
E
F. Gore C5 Gore-Tex
Shakedry 1985 $300
BEST FOR: Wet rides
This featherweight
performance shell is
the second generation to use Shakedry,
a paper-thin, twolayer fabric that
wears its waterproof
membrane on its
exterior, eliminating
the need for stuffy
outer fabric with
wet-out potential.
The upshot is that
it’s incredibly light
and super breathable. 4.9 oz (men’s
and women’s)
G. Marmot Eclipse
EvoDry $250
F
G
BEST FOR:
A greener spring
This all-purpose
hiking jacket is the
first to use EvoDry,
an eco-friendly, PFCfree DWR treatment
that’s molecularly
bonded to the yarn,
so it never washes
off. It’s combined
with a 2.5-layer shell
made of recycled
nylon. All that tech
worked brilliantly,
keeping us dry in a
downpour. 13.4 oz
(men’s) / 12.3 oz
(women’s)
H. Icebreaker
Coriolis $220
BEST FOR: Comfort
on the run
Say goodbye to
that crunchy,
clammy sensation.
This windbreaker
had us feeling fine
on long, chilly spring
training runs, thanks
to a soft, wicking,
odor-resistant merino
lining paired with a
breathable, weatherresistant nylon face.
13.5 oz (men’s) /
12.7 oz (women’s)
H
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
37
Dispatches
:RPHQ·V:RUNRXW
Patagonia Women’s
Switchback bra $49
For high-intensity training, this is your support
network. Thick crossback straps limit bounce
for A to C cups, and
sweat-wicking mesh
fabric prevents chafing.
05.18
RYU Vapor Long Sleeve
pullover $67
This is our new favorite
layering piece. The ultralight, seamless fabric
creates a snug fit, and
a built-in antimicrobial
treatment means you
can wear it a few times
before washing.
Sweat Equity
TRAINING ESSENTIALS
FOR BUSY NINE-TO-FIVERS
BY CARLY GRAF
A. R+Co Death
Valley travel-size
dry shampoo $17
Tailor-made for
the perennial lunch
crusher, this dry
shampoo quickly
removes sweat and
restores volume.
A few sprays and
you’re ready for your
afternoon meeting.
APL Women’s Techloom
Pro trainers $140
During circuits, the
Techloom Pro’s light,
flexible upper keeps you
moving fast. Afterward,
the classy knit means
you don’t have to change
into street shoes.
B
A
B. Fitbit Flyer
earphones $130
Sync these Bluetooth buds to
your Fitbit Ionic
or phone to crank
tunes from your
wrist. Built for the
long haul, they’re
rain- and sweatproof and have a
six-hour battery life.
C
D
Lululemon Everywhere duffel $148
Like a lot of smart gym
bags, the Everywhere
has a laptop sleeve and
separate compartments
for clean clothes, dirty
clothes, and shoes. And
unlike most, its glossy
exterior makes it suitable for the office.
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OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
C. Eating
Evolved Coconut
Butter Cups $3
Your sweetsnacks habit gets
a performance
reboot with these
coconut cups.
Made with chocolate beans and
coconut butter,
they’re chock-full
of healthy fats to
help you refuel and
recover on the go.
D. S’Well Traveler
bottle $35
This triple-walled,
16-ounce bottle
will keep your
coffee hot for 12
hours or ice water
cold for 24.
Athleta Up for
Everything leggings $89
Compression meets comfort in these lightweight,
high-waisted leggings.
They’re breathable for hot
yoga and snug for a speed
workout, and they include
four zip pockets.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Inga Hendrickson
INTRODUCING THE NEW AMPHIBIOUS
FOOTWEAR FROM VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS
VIBRAM.COM
Dispatches
The Process
05.18
“IN 2015, I HOPPED a barbed-wire fence while I was hunting and ripped my brand-new $400 Pata-
Patch Job
NOSO’S KELLI JONES IS
BUILDING AN OUTDOOR
BUSINESS WHILE REDUCING
WASTE, ONE SCRAP OF
NYLON AT A TIME
AS TOLD TO GORDY MEGROZ
40
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
gonia Fitz Roy down parka. I cut a piece of duct tape in the shape of a heart and put it on my coat,
but I didn’t like the way it looked. Nylon gear rips all the time, and I had lots of tears in my clothes,
so I started buying materials online that I would cut into heart and star patches. In the tram line at
Jackson Hole, people kept asking me about them. I was working in accounting but eventually realized that this was a business opportunity.
I launched Noso Patches on Indiegogo in August 2016, asking for $15,000. I raised just over that,
which bought me 600 yards of fabric and got the website up and running. I did $20,000 in sales the
first year and $52,000 last year. Now I have two sales reps, and I think we can do $150,000 this year.
Right now most of my day-to-day is product development and trying to make people aware of
what we do. Through a blog on the site and social media, I show people what I’m making. I’m always
reaching out to companies to ask them to donate material that will otherwise just get thrown out.
The average American tosses away 70 pounds of textiles annually. If a critical mass of people start
patching their gear instead of trashing it, that has an impact.
I still own an accounting business. I use both sides of my brain on a daily basis. Accounting is very
left brain—analytical, logical, objective. Noso is where my right brain kicks in: it’s creative, imaginative, and expressive. As much as I love accounting, it’s important for me to do something for myself
that I’m really passionate about. Noso lets me tap into my creative side.”
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Lindsay Linton Buk
HANDCR AFTED WITH MORE
THAN TEQUILA IN MIND.
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LEARN ABOUT OUR COMMITMENT AT
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Dispatches
Recovery
Cannabis
sativa
05.18
Charloe’s
Web
Everyday
CBD Olive Oil
$40
Hydro Therapy
Floyd’s of
Leadville
CBD Hemp Oil
$85
ATHLETES ARE DITCHING IBUPROFEN
FOR CBD, AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
EXTRACTED FROM THE MARIJUANA
PLANT. IS THIS BUD FOR YOU?
R AC H E L H U DAC E K ( B OT T L E S )
BY GRAHAM AVERILL
ANDREW TALANSKY is almost always sore. The
29-year-old spent seven years as a professional
cyclist racing for Slipstream Sports. He recently
switched to triathlon and now spends hours
training both on and off the bike. “I’m using
muscles I haven’t used in years,” Talansky says.
“My body is constantly inflamed.” Many athletes
in his situation rely on common pain relief like
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P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Kirk Jones
AND
B
G
N
I
K
S
U
RC
A
M
E
H
T
D
S AN
R
E
H
T
O
R
B
OOD
W
E
H
T
:
G
N
FEATURI
Dispatches
Recovery
05.18
ibuprofen, but when Talansky strained a hip
flexor last fall, he reached for a bottle of cannabidiol (CBD), an extract from the cannabis
plant, instead.
“I took it for a couple of weeks, and there
was a noticeable difference immediately,” Talansky says. “And it wasn’t just that my hip
was feeling better. I was less anxious, and I
was sleeping better.”
Marijuana has long been considered an
alternative pain medication, with THC, the
principle psychoactive compound in the plant,
getting most of the attention. CBD is another
active component and could offer some of
the same medical benefits (anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic), but without
the side effect of getting high. CBD interacts
with serotonin and vanilloid receptors in the
brain, which affect mood and the perception
of pain. It also has antioxidant properties. The
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed
CBD from its list of banned substances in
January, which prompted many professional
athletes, including ultrarunner Avery Collins and mountain biker Teal Stetson-Lee, to
eschew ibuprofen for CBD. Some believe it’s
a safer alternative to drugstore pain relievers
and anti-inflammatories.
Research on CBD has been slow to accumulate, largely because the federal government
considers marijuana a Schedule I drug—the
same classification given to heroin and LSD—
making it difficult for researchers to gain access to it for study. And because many states
have already legalized the drug for medical
use, pharmaceutical companies have little
incentive to conduct costly clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy. (CBD remains illegal in
several states that have yet to pass medicalmarijuana or CBD exemptions.)
Still, the market for CBD is booming. According to a study by the Brightfield Group, a
market-research firm based in Tampa, Florida,
hemp CBD generated $170 million in revenue
in 2016. With annual sales growing at a rate of
55 percent, it’s poised to be a $1 billion industry by 2020. Charlotte’s Web, which bottles
the extract in Colorado, is one of the largest
producers in the industry. Talansky’s CBD of
choice comes from Floyd’s of Leadville, also in
Colorado, which was launched in 2016 by former pro cyclist Floyd Landis. Floyd’s of Leadville markets its products directly to athletes
looking for a natural recovery supplement.
“Think of your 40-year-old endurance athlete
who wants to feel good when he wakes up in
the morning,” Landis says. “That’s our target.”
Landis uses CBD to manage pain from a
hip replacement he had in 2006. He relied
on WADA-approved opioid-based painkillers for years, both before and after he was
stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory
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for using synthetic testosterone. Eventually,
Landis leaned on pot smoking to kick his opioid habit, and in 2015 a friend in the burgeoning marijuana industry suggested Landis try
CBD instead.
“It’s the only thing I use now,” Landis says.
“I try not to oversell it, because I don’t want to
sound insane. But if you can stop taking other
pain medications, if you have a natural solution, that’s probably the better option.”
There is research to back up his enthusiasm. A 2008 review by GW Pharmaceuticals
examined two decades’ worth of preclinical
studies and animal trials before concluding
that CBD can be a successful tool for pain
management without many adverse side effects. A 2016 study by the University of Kentucky examined CBD’s effects on arthritic
rats and found that the compound reduced
inflammation and overall pain. Some studies
have also labeled it a neuroprotectant, suggesting that it has the ability to bolster the
brain against the damaging effects of concussion. More than a dozen countries have CBDbased medications on the market, including
Canada and Israel, but in the U.S. advanced
clinical trials are still in their infancy.
“There is overwhelming evidence that CBD
can be effective for mitigating pain,” says
Jahan Marcu, chief science officer with Americans for Safe Access, which works to legalize medical marijuana. “But we haven’t seen
the full clinical trials necessary to understand
exactly how it works.”
Prospective CBD users should keep in mind
that the scientific community still has a lot to
learn about the drug. For instance, there have
been no studies on recommended dosage for a
given ailment. There’s also no scientific consensus about how effective CBD is compared
with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or
naproxen. That could change soon: at least 20
clinical trials examining the medical benefits
of CBD are currently under way in the U.S.,
including a $16 million effort by the University
of Miami, which is looking into CBD’s effects
on brain trauma.
Beyond these questions, there’s also growing concern about the quality of the products
currently for sale. Because the federal government considers CBD an illegal drug, the
industry is underregulated by the FDA, with
little third-party oversight. A 2017 study published in The Journal of the American Medical
Association found that 69 percent of the CBD
products tested didn’t contain the amount of
cannabidiol indicated on the label. Most CBD
companies don’t sell through retail outlets;
they reach consumers online.
“You can’t really trust what you’re buying
over the Internet,” says Ryan Vandrey, who
researches cannabis at Johns Hopkins Uni-
CBD could
offer some of the
same medical
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analgesic) without
the side effect of
getting high. It also
has antioxidant
properties.
versity and coauthored the 2017 JAMA study.
“After purchasing every CBD oil you could
buy, we found that a number of companies
were selling products that contained almost
no cannabidiol, and others contained THC.”
While there are many unknowns, anecdotal
and preclinical evidence for the efficacy of
CBD continues to build. Vandrey is conducting an ongoing survey of more than 1,000
users of marijuana products, many of them
with CBD, and his initial findings suggest that
the majority have seen overall improvement
in terms of pain relief, sleep satisfaction, and
anxiety reduction, though the cause remains
unclear. And a growing number of athletes like
Talansky believe that aiding recovery without the long-term side effects of ibuprofen
(such as increased risk of heart failure) or the
addictive qualities of opioids is a step in the
right direction. “I haven’t taken an Advil in
months,” Talansky says. “For any athlete who
O
trains hard, that’s saying a lot.”
Before You Buy
The lack of industry standards can
make purchasing CBD risky. If you plan
on stocking up, here are some basic
questions to keep in mind.
> Is it legal where you live? Most
states have passed some medical
marijuana or CBD exemptions, but it’s
completely illegal in four states: Idaho,
South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.
> Has it been tested by a third
party? Independent labs check for
potency, pesticides, and residual
solvents. If the company doesn’t list
these results, move on.
> Does the company make unsubstantiated claims? CBD has not
been proven to kill cancer cells, halt
Alzheimer’s, or treat schizophrenia.
Avoid products that promise to cure
everything that ails you.
'LVSDWFKHV/DLUG·V/DZV
05.18
Basic Training
THIS MONTH WE KICK OFF
A NEW FITNESS COLUMN
BY SURFING LEGEND
LAIRD HAMILTON. FIRST
UP: HIS FIVE RULES FOR
PERFORMING AT YOUR BEST.
No more scraping by on four or five
hours. For top performance, shoot for
seven to eight (or, in my case, nine) every
night. To support the recovery that happens
overnight, I drink chaga tea before I turn in,
which kick-starts the anti-inflammation
process. And since overheating in bed frequently leads to restless sleep, I use a ChiliPad, which slips underneath the sheets
and drops to a temperature as low as 55
degrees to keep me cool.
2. FUEL YOUR BODY
Simple whole foods have powered our
bodies for generations. You can’t game the
system with meal replacements, fake ingredients, or fad diets. Start to think about food
as a fuel source and you’ll see real results. It’s
tempting to make nutrition feel restrictive.
But rather than count calories or macros in
a meal, I simply avoid most processed foods
46
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
and focus on the distance between its origin
and my plate. If the distance is short, I’m OK
with eating it.
3. SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
You don’t need to make peak performance
your full-time job like I have, but you should
think of it as an all-day mentality that goes
far beyond the gym. It requires near constant
attention and a holistic approach to health.
I spend about 40 hours per week training.
People think they have no time, but I’ll crank
out squats while dinner cooks or hop on my
foam roller while watching TV. I’ll even flow
through a few mini breathing sets when I
have to work from a desk.
4. CHALLENGE YOUR WEAKNESSES
My asymmetries have always plagued me
and are largely a result of surfing for so many
years with the same lead leg. That’s partly
why I started paddleboarding—to develop
strength on the other side of my body. Don’t
shy away from the things you’re worst at.
Focus on mobility if you lack range of motion.
Incorporate endurance efforts if you’re a
natural power athlete. This rule also applies
to areas like mindfulness and nutrition. Add a
ten-minute meditation to your weight-room
routine, or put more veggies on your plate
if you’re a chronic carbo-loader. Without
a well-rounded approach to health, you’ll
always be limited by your greatest weakness.
5. FIND YOUR CREW
One of your biggest assets is the company
you keep. I’m at my best when I’m around
people who value health and performance
the same way I do. We experiment with
workouts, debate recovery methods, and
share our go-to health podcasts and books.
If you can take the time to listen to and learn
from that group, you’ll find that it challenges
you to improve.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Ture Lillegraven
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TOAD-STRANGLER:
A term for an especially heavy downpour, most
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COW-QUAKER:
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SIZZLY SOD-SOAKER:
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MIZZLING:
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Rain that falls while the sun is
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SMIRR:
What the Scottish call a ine,
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Dispatches
Nutrition
05.18
DO THE MATH:
Grains
+ protein
+ veggies
+ spices
+ crunch
+ toppings
= all-day energy
Grain Bowls
for Dummies
BY PETER VIGNERON
GRAINS
This is your base,
so choose wisely.
Quinoa, bulgur, and
barley are complete
proteins and full
of iron and good
carbohydrates.
THE RIGHT combination of flavors and
ingredients can transform the humble grain
bowl into a supermeal, especially for timepressed athletes looking to pack in nutrients.
“It’s some of the easiest food you can eat,”
says chef Kelly Newlon, cofounder of the
meal service Real Athlete Diets. Start with
Newlon’s foolproof formula, then customize
with your favorite components.
PROTEIN
Omnivores: Newlon
suggests elk, darkmeat chicken, or
buffalo sourced
from local farms. If
you’re vegetarian, fry
an egg and give your
bowl a breakfast-
TAKE THE GUESSWORK OUT
OF FUELING AND FOLLOW
THIS SIMPLE FORMULA
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burrito theme with
black beans and pico
de gallo.
VEGGIES
Anything goes here,
but crisper choices
like kimchi, pickled
sprouts, or cucumbers
are a great way to
add texture.
SPICES
To boost flavor
and fat content,
cook the grains in a
broth enhanced with
anti-inflammatory
ingredients like
turmeric, ginger, or
mushroom powder.
“The liquid you use
can be as exciting as
the grain itself and
adds layers of taste,”
says Newlon.
CRUNCH
Nuts and seeds
are packed with
unsaturated fats
and amino acids—
especially useful
for vegetarians and
vegans. Peanuts and
pine nuts offer bold
flavors, while flax,
hemp, or sesame
seeds bump up the
fiber content.
TOPPINGS
To finish things off,
Newlon recommends
a nutrient-filled
flavor booster like
vinaigrette made
with miso, mustard,
or cashew butter. If
you prefer something
dry, garnish your bowl
with seaweed, lemon
zest, and fresh basil,
cilantro, or parsley.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Petra Zeiler
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Dispatches
Tools
05.18
The Sleep of
Your Dreams
A MORE RESTFUL NIGHT IS JUST A
WIRELESS SNORE-NEUTRALIZING
SOUNDSCAPE GENERATOR AWAY
BY JANCEE DUNN
ACCORDING TO the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, a third of us don’t get
nearly enough shut-eye. Our collective bleariness has spurred a $41 billion market for gadgets and accessories promising more—and
higher-quality—sleep. In my eternal quest for
downtime, I tested some of the most promising ones. Here’s how they stacked up.
Eight sleep tracker $299
This mattress topper fits under a sheet and
“turns any bed into a smart bed,” according
to Eight. While I dozed, the sensor-studded
pad gathered data like heart rate, periods
of deepest slumber, and number of tosses
and turns. It was easy to use, and I liked
the warming feature, which let me set each
side of the bed to a different temperature.
REM Score: 8 (out of 10)
Dreampad pillow $149 and up
The Dreampad uses mellow soundscapes
to help you power down. Connect the device
to your phone via Bluetooth or USB, and the
pillow emits soft music, audible only to you
as you lay your head down. There are ten
tracks on offer, ranging from the New Agey
“Harmonic Continuum” to “Seaside Strings”
(ocean waves plus viola). I didn’t drift off any
faster with the Dreampad, but it did help me
fall back asleep when I woke up at night.
REM Score: 6
Smart Nora Wireless
Snoring Solution $299
My eight hours of restful bliss are frequently
interrupted by my husband’s snoring. The
Smart Nora relieves me of the need to nudge
him. When the bedside audio sensor detects
a respiratory disturbance, it slowly inflates
the culprit’s pillow, gently shifting them into a
freer-breathing position. My husband sometimes woke up briefly but was soon asleep
again. For me it was heaven: one night I even
checked to make sure he was still conscious.
REM Score: 8
Nightingale Smart Home
Sleep System $149
The Nightingale is next-level knockout tech.
Two app-enabled units wrap the room in a
blanket of warm ambient sound. You can
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
Hannah McCaughey
also program the system to provide weather
and traffic information when you wake up.
The only downside: in standby mode, it emits
a faint hum.
REM Score: 9
went to bed 20 minutes earlier than usual”)
and even competitive with other sleepers
(“People similar to you sleep an average of
seven hours five minutes”).
REM Score: 7
Tomorrow Sleeptracker $89
Roughly the size of an iPhone, this slim
monitor slips neatly under your mattress to
analyze REM cycles and breathing patterns.
When it’s getting near time to rise, a smart
alarm will wake you during a light stage of
sleep. It will also e-mail you a daily log and
tailored tips. After one night of restive slumber, my recap chided me to cut that out: “If
you’re not asleep in twenty minutes, get out
of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing.” I was soon obsessed with my
performance (“Well done! Last night you
2Breathe Sleep Inducer $180
This sensor looks flimsy, but it was the
most effective aid I tested. It pairs with an
app and guides your inhalations and exhalations with somewhat cheesy but nonetheless soothing music. When the gadget and
I fell out of sync, a soft voice discreetly
corrected me. It took a week to get used to
the comically deep breaths, but it worked:
once my breathing was aligned, I was out
in minutes. And shortly after it senses that
you’re fast asleep, the app shuts down.
REM Score: 9
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
55
56
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
2018
Out side
FACES of
CHANGE
This Is
What
Adventure
Looks
Like
Thanks to a bold movement
led by activists and athletes,
the outdoors at last is on
its way to becoming a more
inclusive playground.
It’s about damn time.
INTERVIEWS BY JAMES
EDWARD MILLS
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
JOÃO CANZIANI
From left:
Ayesha
McGowan,
Knox Robinson,
Shelma Jun,
Krystle Ramos,
Mikhail Martin
2018
Out side
FACES of
shortly after I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in
anthropology. I took a minimum-wage job at the local gear shop, Recreational Equipment, Inc. At that time, there were about a dozen REI stores nationwide, gas was 97
cents a gallon, and my tuition was $850 a year. With a rent-controlled apartment near
Telegraph Avenue, I felt like I had it made. I drove a Suzuki Samurai 4x4 with a gear rack
mounted on the spare tire. With friends from work, I skied in Lake Tahoe and hiked all over
the Sierra. I learned to climb in Yosemite. I raced triathlons and marathons. Life was good.
As an African American man in my early twenties, I defied convention to become a successful outdoor professional. In 1992, I landed a job at the North Face as an independent
sales rep for a territory in the upper Midwest. Calling on shops in Milwaukee, Chicago,
Minneapolis, St. Louis, Des Moines, Sioux Falls, and Fargo, I was the face of the brand
in these cities for almost five years, and I went on to work for a number of other outdoor
companies. Along the way, I encouraged people of color to participate in the activities I
loved while pushing brands to grow their business by reaching out to people they’d long
ignored. More often than not, my efforts were thwarted by dismissive senior executives.
“James,” they’d say, “that’s just not our market.”
This assumption was rooted in the dominant cultural narrative about who enjoys
adventure. Gear catalogs, advertising campaigns, films, and articles in magazines like
Outside typically presented the outdoors as a place for white people, most of them men.
At the turn of the millennium, I decided to do something about this, pivoting from sales to
journalism. I wrote about the achievements of people like the buffalo soldiers, African
American members of the U.S. Cavalry who started patrolling Yosemite in the 1890s as
some of our first national park rangers, and Sophia Danenberg’s historic 2006 Mount
Everest climb, when she became the first black American to reach the summit. The more I
looked around, the more obvious it became that the world of adventure was—has always
been—far more diverse than we’d been led to believe. The stories of people of color, Native Americans, those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community just weren’t
being shared widely in the outdoor community.
Finally, that’s changing. But not because the outdoor media and the outdoor industry
woke up. What happened is that underrepresented groups took control of the narrative.
Utilizing digital platforms, they’re speaking for themselves. Organizations like Outdoor
Afro, Latino Outdoors, and Out There Adventures have begun stripping away the presumption of a white, male, heterosexual experience. Even more importantly, by unapologetically presenting their unique points of view, they’ve shined a light on a rich heritage
of adventure and environmental stewardship that has been there for generations.
Many of these change makers are just getting started, their endeavors evolving as they
adjust strategies and reassess goals. As they run, ride, paddle, ski, and climb throughout our nation’s public lands, they manifest a profound sense of belonging. Collectively,
they are at the forefront of a rising national movement toward an inclusive outdoor community. They are the changing face of the outdoors. Here, in their own words, are some
of their stories. —J.E.M.
58
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
CHANGE
DANIELLE WILLIAMS, 31
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Founder of Melanin Base Camp
I got into the outdoors through the
military. I grew up an army brat—my
dad was air-defense artillery, my
mom was an army nurse. I jumped
out of my first plane at age 20, when
I was in Harvard’s ROTC, and was
commissioned in the Army two
years later. People think of skydiving
as an extreme sport for adrenaline
junkies, but for those of us who
didn’t grow up hiking or climbing, it’s
another way to appreciate nature. I
started jumping recreationally in
2011, and that summer was magic.
Every weekend I’d camp out at a
drop zone with new friends. I moved
to Alabama and traveled all over the
South—Georgia, Mississippi, Florida,
Virginia, South Carolina.
A few years later, I met a small
group of African American skydivers,
all former military. We decided to set
the unofficial record for the first allblack star-formation skydive, and
from that Team Blackstar Skydivers
was born. We got a logo and started
to grow. We’re now 270 people in
six countries—black, white, Latino,
Asian, anyone excited about encouraging diversity in skydiving.
In the Army we have a saying,
“Look outside of your foxhole.” Skydiving is my foxhole, and I wanted
to learn about people of color in
other adventure sports. So in 2016,
I started an Instagram account called Melanin Base Camp as a place
where we could come together
Initially, the idea was to promote
diversity in adventure sports, but as
we got more popular I realized that
what we really need to improve
is representation. Storytelling matters, and we often get left out of
the stories America tells about the
outdoors. We need to challenge
that—not to edge others out, but to
demonstrate that people of different shades are out there.
DON CARRINGTON
My career in
outdoor adventure
began in 1989,
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2018
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FACES of
CHANGE
KNOX ROBINSON, 43
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Cofounder of Black Roses NYC
ELYSE RYLANDER, 27
BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON
Founder of Out There Adventures
I had my lightbulb moment in college. I was taking a queer theory class, and one day the
professor invited two graduate students to talk about a writing space they’d created for
LGBTQ kids. I’d noticed this disconnect between my queer friends and my outdoorsy
friends, so being 20 years old and thinking I could change the world, I wrote my senior
thesis about how to build an organization that gets queer kids into the outdoors.
After I graduated, I worked as a commercial wilderness guide in Alaska for a couple of
years, then came back to Seattle and got to work turning my thesis into Out There Adventures. We received our nonprofit status in 2014, and ever since it’s been full-on trying to raise
money and get programs going. Our courses are similar to what teens get in standard outdoor education, except that queers are in the majority. We also weave in time to talk about
the nuances of being a queer person and how that gets reflected in the natural world. One
of our sayings is “There’s nothing straight about nature.” Just look at the reproductive processes and life cycles of many plants and animals. Even the horizon line is slightly curved.
Most of our outreach is through presentations at schools and groups, and we’ve had
more than 100 students in our programs so far. It’s rare for a young queer person to attend
one and say, “I love going outside! I want to do it all the time!” They come because it sounds
fun. Then they get there and the magic happens. They see adults and kids who look like
them doing this. That’s a profound experience for youth who’ve been told that there’s a
specific way that you need to be in order to be a part of a community. After an afternoon
of climbing or backpacking or sea kayaking, they walk away with a different sense of self.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
P H OTO G R A P H B Y BENJAMIN RASMUSSEN
I tie everything I do to culture. It’s
my frame of reference. Rather than
thinking of running in an empirical
sense—heart rate, finishing times,
personal best—I think about the
fabric of what keeps us enraptured
by what is a pretty basic pursuit.
My dad did the occasional 10K or
half marathon on weekends. I grew
up believing that this was one of
the tenets of a man’s life. I started
running in high school. Edwin
Moses loomed pretty large back
then, and I thought I was going to
be a hurdler, but that didn’t pan
out. I was into distances early on,
mainly because I was so slow.
We started Black Roses NYC
as a membership-based running
collective. We are performance
oriented, but we’re grounded in
New York City street culture. We
believe that running can be a
connective force in our communities. Running to a bar or a dim sum
restaurant in an outer borough
is as important to us as training.
Our name comes from a reggae
song that was popular in the
nineties. We love the provenance
of the tune—it’s a dancehall
classic. On a thematic level, we
celebrate the idea of the rarest
flower in the garden, the one you
never see. It speaks to people of
African descent, but I have no
problem with people from other
backgrounds running in our group
and enjoying the mix we create.
We must consistently endeavor
to support and even proselytize
the image of black health. That’s
crucial. We need to talk about
cardiovascular-disease rates, but
also mental and emotional wellbeing. Running is a bedrock for
health. Moving unfettered through
space, in our communities or on
trails—on a good day, it’s the very
essence of freedom.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y JOÃO CANZIANI
2018
Out side
FACES of
MIRNA
VALERIO, 42
RABUN GAP,
GEORGIA
Ultrarunner
62
My freshman year in high school, I decided to try field hockey. I had never been on a team or done anything physical outside of PE class other than play with my friends on the streets of Brooklyn. Now I was
at this all-girls boarding school, and the first day of tryouts began with a mile run. That was a shock to
my system. Then we had to do a timed mile and two and a half hours of drills. It was so painful, but joyful at the same time. I began running early in the morning before practice. I loved it. My size was never
an issue. I ran to get stronger.
After college at Oberlin, I moved back to New York and started entering road races. I took a running
class. In 2011, I ran my first marathon. Two years later I did my first ultra, and I’ve run nine others since.
I’ve failed to finish some races, including the 2017 TransRockies Run, which is a six-stage, 120-mile event
in Colorado. I made it through two stages and over 12,540-foot Hope Pass, but I was going so slow that
I pulled myself out. I decided to go at whatever pace I wanted and take pictures. I’ll definitely go back.
I have a huge following now on Instagram, and people come to me with questions or encouragement.
There’ve been negative things written about me, too: some folks say that because of my weight, I’m
not really an athlete. They’re writing this literally while I’m running marathons and ultras. My message
is be active with the body you have. I think what bothers some people is that I’m unapologetic. We live
in a society of expectations and norms, and people can be threatened by something that’s different.
But I continue to show them. I show up—for myself and others.
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
BRYAN MELTZ
CHANGE
If it’s outside,
anyone’s invited, and everyone belongs. It doesn’t
matter where you come from, only that you come often.
So grab your old friends, your new friends, and your
four-legged friends, and join us in the world’s biggest
playground. Because the outside is calling, and
we’re all in.
2018
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CHANGE
SHELMA JUN, 35
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Founder of Flash Foxy
At first we were just some black dudes who climbed. There were about five of us, and we’d
see each other at the Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym, where almost everyone else was
white. I grew up in Queens, which is one of the most diverse places on earth, so when you
come from that and go into a space that’s very homogenous, you’re like, Whoa! What’s
going on here?
Somehow that turned into Brothers of Climbing. We’d be at the gym and call out to each
other: “BOC! BOC!” We didn’t have a plan, but we knew we wanted to do something. We
set up makeshift competitions. We made BOC T-shirts. We wanted it to be a talking point,
for people to ask us, “What does that mean? What are you about?” The answer when we
first started was that we wanted to see more black people in the sport. As time went on,
we realized that it wasn’t just black people. A lot of different groups have been left out.
Fast-forward to today and we’re doing events and meetups that allow people to come
into the gym at a lower cost. In New York City, a day pass is $30, which is crazy. And that
doesn’t include gear rental. We’ve partnered with Brooklyn Boulders to put up a climbing
wall at Afropunk, a huge art and culture festival in the city. We partnered with Brown Girls
Climb to create Color the Crag, a gathering that celebrates diversity in climbing.
If we can at least give new people the opportunity to try the sport, we’ve done our job.
People of color are trendsetters in other areas of pop culture, and I think the same will
happen in climbing. We just need to create a gateway to bring in a little soul.
I was born in South Korea, which has
a big culture of hiking and camping.
My family immigrated to Orange
County, California, when I was five,
and on family vacations we mostly
drove to national or state parks,
mainly because it was affordable. I
was introduced to adventure sports
in high school. But it wasn’t until a
period of recovery following shoulder
surgery that I got into climbing. I
wasn’t able to do anything where I
might fall on my shoulder, and a
girlfriend invited me to the climbing
gym. You can’t really fall if there’s
a top rope.
I got my master’s in urban planning
at UCLA and came to New York to
start my career, taking a job at an
affordable-housing nonprofit, then an
organization that works in community-based design. I also found an
amazing crew of women climbers, and
in 2014, I started an Instagram
account called Flash Foxy to post
pictures of us. The idea was to celebrate women climbing with other
women. We got a lot of positive
feedback, and thousands of people
began following us. It was exciting,
because conversations around diversity in the outdoors weren’t really
happening back then. But I had an
organizing background, and I felt like I
needed to act on the potential to
move things forward. So we started
the Women’s Climbing Festival. I
thought it would be 40 women
hanging out in the eastern Sierra. But
when we announced it, about 300
women wanted to attend. A few
months later, I quit my job. The 2017
festival sold out in under a minute,
and we had 800 women on the wait
list. This year we’re putting on events,
clinics, and trips across the country.
The more women there are in
climbing, and the more diversity, the
better the sport will be. It’s going to
create a richer culture. I’m excited to
see that play out.
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P H OTO G R A P H S B Y JOÃO CANZIANI
MIKHAIL MARTIN, 28
QUEENS, NEW YORK
Cofounder of Brothers of Climbing
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
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CHANGE
RUE MAPP, 46
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro
LEN NECEFER, 30
DENVER, COLORADO
Founder and CEO of NativesOutdoors
I come from the Navajo Nation. My family is in Arizona and New Mexico, and they are traditional healers and farmers and ranchers. A lot of my early outdoor experiences were
passing time while herding sheep. We would scramble around, look for medicinal plants,
and dig up roots. When I went to college in Kansas, I started mountain biking and trail running and climbing. But I found that so much of the outdoor community’s relationship with
nature was about conquering it. That felt empty. I grew up with practices that are based
on an ethic of reciprocity with the land. Everything you take, you give something back. We
were also taught the history of places through stories that have allowed us to live in them
for thousands of years. We weren’t just out there to have fun.
For my doctoral research, I looked at how cultural values toward the environment inform
our preferences for energy resources like solar, wind, and fossil fuels. Later I worked for the
Department of Energy on policy and technical assistance in Native communities. One of
my biggest takeaways has been that culture plays a significant role in our relationship with
the outdoors and land management, and it is often unquestioned. That understanding
motivated me to create NativesOutdoors, which I launched in March 2017 with an Instagram account, sharing photos of Native people engaging in outdoor sports. I wanted to
normalize recreation in my community, because the prevailing imagery out there does not
include us. The platform has evolved to include storytelling by Native people and geotagging social-media posts of adventures with indigenous place names in order to start
conversations about the history of an area.
If we can get more Native people participating in outdoor sports, we’ll bring our values
of stewardship with us. Within my community, I’m an advocate for recreation as a vehicle
to learn about the land and carry on our traditions.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
In the beginning, the idea was to share
our experiences with a blog and a
Facebook page. Because of my art
history background, I understood the
power of stories and images to change
narratives. I’d been the only black
person on a lot of hikes and camping
trips, something that many African
Americans have endured. It gets tiring.
We asked our audience about this, and
we listened and grew. Over time we
crafted an organization that evolved
into, How can I find other people like
me who like to do these things? We’ve
trained more than 60 volunteer leaders
in 28 states who connect thousands of
black people to the outdoors through
recreational activities.
The thing that really surprised us was
how we enabled everyday folks to see
their leadership potential. That turned
out to be such a gift—a rolling wave of
blessing not only for our organization
but for individuals who now have an
outdoor identity. It can be “I’m an architect and an outdoor leader,” or “I’m a
real estate professional and an outdoor
leader,” or “I’m a preschool teacher and
an outdoor leader.” We’re really helping
people to say, “I’m someone in my
community who can create change. I
can be supported in this network to be
more fully who I am.” That’s exactly
what happened for me.
P H OTO G R A P H S B Y BENJAMIN RASMUSSEN
P H OTO G R A P H B Y JOÃO CANZIANI
KRYSTLE
RAMOS, 31
LOS ANGELES,
CALIFORNIA
Director of programs for
Community Nature
Connection
For me, going outdoors is about being with family. In the Latino community, we want to share experiences
with the people closest to us. When I was a kid, we focused on that instead of anything competitive, like
getting to the top of a peak. My father worked in the parks and rec department in Los Angeles, and he
always knew where to go.
In college I started heading farther into the mountains, and after graduation I got a few jobs taking kids
camping. Pretty soon I was working for 11 different companies, traveling all over the place. In the summer
I led trips in Thailand and Costa Rica, and the rest of the year I was in the Santa Monica Mountains, the
Los Padres National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park.
At Community Nature Connection I do similar work, but as a decision maker and with more resources.
Our goal is to bring underrepresented communities into the outdoors, both as visitors and as part of the
workforce. We offer field trips for schools, public day programs, overnight camps, professional development, and rides to the beach or mountains to eliminate transportation as a barrier. Our staff reflects the
diversity of the communities we serve. Last year we reached 6,600 people in the Los Angeles area. For
many, it was their first time camping or seeing the ocean.
With new staff, a big part of our training is helping them understand that our job is to provide experiences that our audience wants. That means being flexible. You might want to build programs around trails
or big physical objectives, but people need to be allowed to spend time in nature in their own way.
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CHANGE
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
P H OTO G R A P H B Y JOÃO CANZIANI
AYESHA
MCGOWAN, 31
DECATUR, GEORGIA
Cyclist and creator of the website
A Quick Brown Fox
When someone calls me a pro
athlete I hesitate, because that’s
not how I see myself. I was a biking
advocate first. When I moved to
New York City in my twenties, I
joined a group called We Bike NYC,
which empowers women cyclists
through training rides, workshops,
and events. I took a track clinic with
them, and I had a great time. After
that I was invited on a group ride in
Central Park, and I showed up
wearing jean shorts and a tank top
and riding a steel Raleigh with a milk
crate on the back. It was me and all
these fit white women in racing kits.
We started doing laps, and they
were like, “You’re really moving.
Maybe you should consider racing.”
That was the spark. A year later, I
took fifth place in my first race. My
ultimate goal is to be the first
African American female cyclist on
the pro tour. This year I came really
close to landing a contract with a
team, but it didn’t work out.
The thing is, I never once considered the possibility of becoming a
pro cyclist when I was a kid. I grew
up in New Jersey right around the
corner from Rutgers University,
which has a cycling team and hosts
a big annual race. I went there for
three semesters before transferring,
but it wasn’t until seven years later,
after I’d begun racing, that I discovered this. The information just
isn’t accessible enough to everyone.
With A Quick Brown Fox, I’m trying
to create a space where women of
color can tell stories about riding
bikes. I’ve also started a virtual ride
series that people can sign up for
through the site. You can go as fast
or slow as you want, and indoor
trainers count. The idea is that
anyone and everyone can do this.
We’re working together to break
down the barriers standing in the
way of just riding your bike.
JUAN MARTINEZ, 33
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Cofounder and program director of the Natural Leaders Network
In 2008, Richard Louv, who wrote Last Child in the Woods, invited me to a conference,
where he asked me why people of color weren’t more involved in the movement to connect children with nature. I told him we don’t feel empowered. We don’t have a platform.
That was the moment things shifted for me.
I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where many of the people able to take care of
their families were gang members. I got into my share of trouble as a freshman in high
school but found my way into the Eco-Club, which led to some life-changing experiences.
I enrolled in a summer session at the Teton Science Schools in Wyoming, helped the Sierra
Club establish an environmental-leadership academy, and took urban youth backpacking
for Outward Bound Adventures. But at that conference, I saw a need to bring the methods
of community organizing to the outdoors. That’s the goal of the Natural Leaders Network,
which some friends and I created in 2009. We provide training, support, and peer-to-peer
mentoring for a diverse group of emerging leaders so they can develop action plans to
boost access to nature in their communities. We’ve trained more than 300 leaders in
47 states and are inspiring the next generation of nature-smart change makers.
P H OTO G R A P H B Y BENJAMIN RASMUSSEN
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
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2018
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DANI BURT, 33
SAN DIEGO,
CALIFORNIA
Women’s World
Adaptive Surfing
champion and
physical therapist
70
I was riding my motorcycle down Palomar Mountain, in San Diego, and I went into a deceptive turn too
fast. I was in a coma for five weeks. The surgeons didn’t want to tell me that my leg was gone until I could
talk. I was 19 years old, and I thought my life was over. But my friends kept coming back. That lit a fire
in me. Getting my independence again through physical therapy was huge. I thought, What a cool job to
help people through that. I got my doctorate in 2015, and now I work with some of the same therapists
who helped me.
I’ve been a skateboarder and bodyboarder since I was a tiny thing growing up on the Jersey Shore. I
started skating again several months after my accident and was invited on a U.S. tour with other adaptive
athletes. From there I got into snowboarding and began competing. But I found myself really wanting to
get back into the ocean. This was 2008, when there wasn’t a lot of support for adaptive surfing, and you
couldn’t find a prosthetic made for the water. So I ended up getting a grant and working with a prosthetist
to design a surf leg. Once I was done with school, I had time to really train, and I entered the first World
Adaptive Surfing Championship, placing 16th overall. After that I competed all the time, and last year I won
the women’s world title.
In my work, I see people going through the same things I did. I can let them know that it’s going to be
OK and that they’re not alone. That’s one of the best things about the adaptive surf competitions—being
around other people like you. It’s not about our disability. It’s about our ability.
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
MICHAEL BRESNEN
CHANGE
I DON’T
WAIT FOR
RESPECT,
I REEL
IT IN.
Get your ish on at
There’s a common misconception that black people don’t love
wild places. L A T R I A G R A H A M , a southerner with deep
connections to farms, rivers, and forests, says the problem
isn’t desire but access—and a long history of laws and customs
that have whitewashed our finest public lands.
We’re
Here.
You Just
Don’t
See
Us.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
2018
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FACES of
CHANGE
The author in
Croft State Park,
Spartanburg,
South Carolina
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73
When I type “black people
don’t” into Google, statements like “black people
don’t like to work” and “black
people don’t travel” show up.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
But again, the reasons for this are really
more about history than desire. In that same
survey, 16 percent of African Americans said
they hadn’t visited a national park because
they thought the parks were unsafe. (Less
than 5 percent of non-Hispanic whites responded this way.) Why is this number so
high? I believe it’s partly because of the
Park Service’s history of discrimination.
Shenandoah National Park was guilty of
this shameful practice as late as the 1940s,
hanging wooden signs at certain spots that
identified PICNIC GROUNDS FOR NEGROES.
Signs on some bathrooms said they were for
white women only.
These days I tend to visit a Park Service
site approximately once every two years, but
that’s because there aren’t many national
parks close to where I live: Spartanburg,
South Carolina. I’m now 31. I didn’t visit my
first, Everglades National Park, until I was
26. But I’ve been a disciple of landscapes for
as long as I can remember.
IN MY EARLY YEARS we lived on the edge of
Nashville, Tennessee, our days spent in nature. We played in a creek that ran along our
property, examining tadpoles and catching
bugs we found in the backyard, stowing them
in mason jars, and poking holes in the lid so
our specimens could breathe. We swung
from the gnarled limbs of a peach tree, forcing petals to fall prematurely, violent streaks
of pink strewn across a freshly mowed lawn.
I was a Girl Scout, my younger brother a
Boy Scout. We often tagged along on each
other’s camping trips, accompanied by our
father, a veteran woodsman. My brother and
Many national parks were created as an escape
from urban sprawl, at a time when urban was
shorthand for blacks and immigrants. They were
designed to be clean and white, and if we let the
data tell the story, that’s how they’ve stayed.
My family has always had a cultural connection to the outdoors—our relationship
with the land is the cornerstone of a shared
history. When we tell stories, we remember
the years by what the weather was like. (I
graduated from Dartmouth, in New Hampshire, in 2008, at the beginning of the Great
Recession. That year, I remember, it hailed
six times in Spartanburg County.) For us
land ownership is a point of pride. What we
have isn’t much, but it’s ours, and to us that
I wanted to be artists. My father’s goal was
to make sure that, whatever we decided to
do, we’d be self-sufficient, always capable
of feeding ourselves.
When I was ten, in the summer of 1997, my
father was lured back to South Carolina: the
iron in his veins was calling. We landed in the
suburbs of Spartanburg, but most of my free
time was spent at the bottom of Newberry
County, in Silverstreet, population 162.
Corn and soybeans had taken over the
P R E V I O U S PAG E : C O U R T E SY O F L AT R I A G R A H A M
When I add “camp,” I get a Guardian article
called “Why Don’t Black People Camp?”
BlackAmericaWeb.com, a news site for African Americans, features a list of “22 Things
Black Folks Don’t Do.” Number two is “Go
camping or hiking.” Seven is “Go to national
parks.” Later comes “Swim” (#17), landing
just ahead of “Eat tofu” (#19).
There’s reality behind some of these beliefs, but the big takeaway—that black people
dislike the outdoors—is wrong. I’ve loved
the woods and wild places all my life, and
the same is true for my family and friends.
According to a 2016 poll by New America
Media’s Next 100 Coalition—a group of civil
rights, conservation, and community organizations working to bring diversity to national
parks and other outdoor spaces—we’re not
alone. Seventy percent of those surveyed, all
people of color, said they regularly participate in outdoor activities, including hiking,
camping, photography, and picnicking. In
that same poll, 57 percent of respondents said
they’d visited U.S. public lands.
So why do these stereotypes persist, despite statistics and visible evidence that prove
otherwise?
In part it’s because African Americans
don’t always go where white people do.
Swimming? Pools used to be segregated in
the South and other parts of the country,
so it wasn’t easy to join a team and practice your freestyle kick. Skiing? Not in the
cards if you’re poor and live in an inner
city. Beaches? In many places, blacks were
banned by law or custom. And national
parks weren’t especially welcoming, either;
many were created as an escape from urban
sprawl, at a time when urban was shorthand
for blacks and immigrants. The parks were
designed to be clean and white, and if we
let the data tell the story, that’s how they’ve
stayed. In 2009, the National Park Service
did a comprehensive survey of the American
public, consisting of phone interviews with
more than 4,000 participants. According
to their data, African Americans comprised
just 7 percent of visitors.
feels like freedom. Our 15 acres of farmland,
houses, and trees—along with a nearby lake
where we have access—has given my family
somewhere to hunt, fish, explore, and play
outdoors. It’s where my dad found a renewed
sense of purpose as a small farmer.
If you cut me, my blood would be the color
of the red-clay hills my family has walked
and worked for four generations. We were
shaped by the soil, which is red from its iron
content but also, in my mind, from the violence of southern history. The land fortifies
us, makes us strong, and the deep scarlet
dust clings to our bodies like mist on the
nearby mountains.
My father, in his youth, thought farming
would be his undoing, so he left, part of the
mass exodus of rural black men and women
who went off in search of something better—college, a corporate job, new places for
new dreams. He eventually came back, which
allowed me a reconnection that has been one
of my life’s greatest blessings.
C O U R T E SY O F L AT R I A G R A H A M ( 5 )
landscape by then, Clockwise
tended in neat little rows from top left:
Graham’s
near the highway, cloak- mother, Meling the countryside with inda; her grandgreen. Two streets over mother Mary
Emma and
from the main road, the father, Dennis;
idyllic rural setting is at Florida’s
replaced by something Disney Princess
Half Marathon;
more rustic. Over here, on a run with
the street signs are cov- her brother,
ered in kudzu. Cars that Nicholas; at the
site where Marno longer run list to the tin Luther King
side, jacked up, tires in Jr. wrote “Letter
the air. Deserted barns, from Birmingham Jail”
slowly being absorbed
back into the forest, occasionally burp the damp, earthy, rotting
smell of soil. The rust on metal roofs blossoms and spreads during summer like the
honeysuckle clinging to my grandmother’s
mailbox. We’re impossible to find if you
don’t know where to look. We don’t mind.
This is my inheritance, and I adore it. As
children we spent our time crisscrossing a
network of back roads that even the police
didn’t come down unless you called them or
there was a warrant out. This is home—the
Graham family compound, where most of
my aunts and uncles own property adjacent
to the two-story, yellow and white house
where my grandmother still lives.
This is where I did all my sustenance and
survival training under the watchful eye
of my father. I learned about herbal medicines from my grandmother, committing to
memory knowledge that never made its way
to the page. I tended hogs with my uncle and
cousins. I learned what it meant to provide
for myself through hard agricultural work,
my body sunburned and tense from building barbed-wire fences to keep the cows
away from my ripening cantaloupes. I spent
muggy, itchy summer days in long-sleeved
clothing, picking okra.
My eagle-eyed father could spot a pecan
tree amid a thick grove of other species while
lighting a cigarette and steering his goldcolored truck with his knees. He had hands
the size of baseball gloves and a way with a
knife that I never quite mastered. He loved
the land even when it didn’t love him back.
My father had a special affinity for fishing,
and for him, being outdoors meant you had
to accomplish something—the outing had to
involve finding food or checking off a chore,
like routine fence maintenance. A walk
through the woods would yield a shirttail full
of muscadines or a baseball cap stuffed with
blackberries, the brim forever stained with
juice. Generosity, love, and care all revealed
themselves in his woods.
I WOULD NOT experience real backcountry wilderness—the kinds of places Outside
celebrates—until I went off to Dartmouth
in 2004. That’s also when I started learning
about the various things that black people
don’t do.
I’d never run up against these assertions
before. In the mostly white suburb where
I went to school, being black meant being
different, yes, but the real split was between
rural kids and the affluent kids from the
other side of town. This rivalry played out
every year at a high school football game
between Dorman (rural) and Spartanburg
(city). We would come to school dressed in
overalls and clanging cowbells, with the occasional upperclassman driving a tractor in
from the farm. In this setting, being black
meant being hardworking and capable, not
subservient. My parents encouraged anything I wanted to try. I knew how to sew and
shoot before I knew how to drive.
At the start of college, I began to feel ambivalent about where I came from. In the
larger American culture of that period—the
early days of Facebook—southern was code
for stupid and black meant second-class.
This was the first time I heard that black
people don’t do the outdoors. Later, when
I had to complete a 50-yard swimming requirement for graduation, I was told that we
don’t swim either, the way women were told
we weren’t interested in STEM classes.
I took a wilderness-rescue course one
winter, in breath-snatching cold that left
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
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ZORA NEALE HURSTON saved me. Years be-
fore I discovered the serene but spare poetry
of Lucille Clifton and the devastating prose
of Jesmyn Ward, Hurston, an anthropologist
and Floridian who published mainly in the
1930s, was the first writer who made me feel
that there was still a place for me outside. In
books like Mules and Men, she made literature out of life in a way I’d never read before.
She gave me a means to understand all the
death and destruction I read about in history books, and the role that race and class
played in it.
Hurston talked about wild places and true
things, about men and women I recognized,
and my skin prickled with their familiarity.
I wanted to be a bold adventurer like her—
setting off in her car, gun in the glove box,
connecting with endangered people who
those in power would rather stayed silent,
knowing that if they talked they would tell
terrible truths.
That’s how, at age 26, I found myself in the
Everglades, on a trip with my parents, at a
time when my father was suffering through
the late stages of terminal cancer. It was February 2013, and the first time we’d ever attempted a trip like this together. When I was
a child, Great Smoky Mountains was the park
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
closest to where I lived. We passed it plenty
of times, but always on the way somewhere
else. In Nashville, my parents held corporate
jobs in retail management. If they were able
to get two days off in a row, we often piled
into our slate Mitsubishi and headed for the
Graham family homestead. The trip took
eight hours each way, no time for detours.
When we moved back to South Carolina,
we ran a farm and produce stand that became a year-round obligation. A long road
trip to someplace like the Grand Canyon,
Yellowstone, or Olympic
National Park was out of the
question.
Geography is one of the
largest impediments to overcome. National parks are not
evenly spread across the
U.S. Certain chapters in our
country’s history—including
westward expansion, which
involved the takeover of Indian land that often became
national parks—explain the
disparity.
According to the 2010
census, 55 percent of respondents who identified
as black lived in the South,
which has only nine national
parks unevenly scattered
throughout the entire region, including Great Smoky
Mountains in Tennessee, Hot
Springs in Arkansas, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and
Shenandoah in Virginia.
Then there are the Biscayne,
Everglades, and Dry Tortugas parks, clustered together
deep in South Florida. In the
extreme southwest corner of Texas—which
barely counts as the South—sit Big Bend and
Guadalupe Mountains.
The states of Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia don’t have any national parks at all. For most people living in
those areas, visiting a national park means
at least a day’s drive. Park visitors also must
find places to eat and sleep, at a time when
most African American survey respondents
list time and money as two of the most significant barriers to getting outside.
SPENDING A WEEK in Everglades National
Park, my parents and I explored Chokoloskee Bay and tramped through the swamps
right outside Everglades City, talking to anyone who would talk to us. We were slightly
disoriented by the feeling of exploring a
place that we’d only read about in books, but
we got in the swing soon enough. We spotted
red-winged blackbirds and roseate spoonbills—and, of course, my father saw them
first. We took a tram tour into Shark Valley.
We stopped at every café along the Tamiami
Trail, hoping that something would soothe
my father’s taste buds, burned dull from the
chemotherapy pills he was taking. (Frog legs
did the trick.) Herons, egrets, and cormorants kept us company as we tried to figure
out where we should head next.
During that trip, we never camped on park
Zora Neale
Hurston
property, instead staying in either a bedand-breakfast or a KOA site. I wasn’t sure
how to go about getting a camping reservation in the park on short notice, and I needed
to know that my father had easy access to
medical care if he needed it.
My dad was more worried about our
safety. Born in 1951, he grew up in the Jim
Crow South, where segregation was law—
sometimes enforced with fists, handcuffs, or
a rope. For all the progress America had made
by 2013, he couldn’t shake the memories.
During his youth, racist local laws, discriminatory social codes, segregated commercial
facilities, and racial profiling by police made
it impossible to relax in public spaces.
Back then people of color could be embarrassed, insulted, or killed for subjective
infractions like being too successful, “uppity,” or in the wrong town after dark. These
fears were solidified by the brutal murder
C A R L VA N V E C H T E N / B E I N E C K E R A R E B O O K S A N D M A N U S C R I P T L I B R A R Y/ YA L E U N I V E R S I T Y, U S E D W I T H P E R M I S S I O N O F T H E VA N V E C H T E N T R U S T
my eyelashes frozen. The snow was up to
our armpits as we practiced different ways
to carry an injured friend out of the woods.
Over the years, I would traverse the Green
Mountains and the White Mountains. I made
my way to the top of Mount Washington with
people from my geography class.
Often feeling marginalized a thousand
miles from home, I searched for some way
to understand my heritage amid the landscape of history. In high school, we’d read
the traditional canon of old dead white men,
and there was no room for my people in that
picture. When African American literature
entered my consciousness, it was all about
urban spaces, created by writers who, as
a result of the Great Migration out of the
South, lived in cities like Chicago and New
York. I needed to give voice to my experiences, too, and their urban revelations were
at odds with what I knew.
Nobody cared about stories like mine,
I thought, and by extension nobody cared
about me. Professors could smell the desperation, the sour hint of terror-sweat on
my skin. Still, my body could not endure the
erasure of my ancestry, of the adventurer in
me. There were weeks when I couldn’t sleep
at all and found myself outside, walking
through uninhabited places, waiting for the
sun to rise, unsure if it ever would. Hemmed
in by tall gray walls of granite, I wondered if
this even counted as living.
of 14-year-old Emmett Till in the summer
of 1955. His alleged crime? Making a lewd
advance at Carolyn Bryant, a white Mississippi storekeeper, who decades later admitted that she’d lied.
When someone threatens your life, you remember. When I was in college, I took my father to a South Carolina apple orchard where
you paid for a set amount of apples that you
picked yourself. Halfway through our excursion, the owner emerged from the trees holding a shotgun, accusing us of taking more
than our fair share. She was willing to shoot
us over a few apples we didn’t even have.
If there’s one thing about being black in
America that scares me still, it’s how quickly
circumstances can deteriorate. One moment you’re a customer, the next a robber.
Every time I watch black people bleed on TV,
bodies slumped on pavement, I realize how
easily it could have been me. Almost every
person of color does this. In Richard Wright’s
1935 poem “Between the World and Me,” the
narrator, a black man, enters the woods and
stumbles upon a scene where another black
man has been tarred, feathered, and burned
can Camping Report, 42 percent of African
American campers say they feel more welcome in the outdoors compared with the
past. Camping among Hispanics, African
Americans, and Asians continues to increase, with nonwhites now totaling onefourth of all campers—which is double what
it was in 2012, the first year it was measured.
We might not be in national parks, but we’re
at the lake, at private campgrounds close to
home, and in state parks.
Disappointment comes with the desire
to see results quickly. People who monitor
the statistics can tell you the cost of everything—the programs and outreach initiatives—but don’t necessarily understand
the value. A child’s first exploration of the
natural world isn’t quantifiable. It’s hard to
put a price on learning to read the sky or the
ability to smell the wind and distinguish the
scents it brings.
I believe it will take another generation
of progress to change the perception people
have about how people of color relate to the
outdoors. If there are stalls in that progress,
it might take two. Perhaps the best metric of
Born in 1951, my dad grew up in the Jim Crow
South, where segregation was law—sometimes
enforced with fists, handcuffs, or a rope. For all
the progress that’s been made in America, he
couldn’t shake the memories.
alive. In the middle of the poem, a metaphysical transformation occurs: Wright inhabits the body of the victim and feels the
experience of being lynched himself. Something similar had happened to an uncle of
his, decades earlier. Like Wright, black people know instinctively that bad things happen in the woods.
EVEN THOUGH the passage of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 prohibited racial segregation in public facilities, tensions persist—
if not at an institutional level, then certainly
among individuals. In a 2016 study by the
Pew Research Center, 43 percent of blacks
said they believed that America would never
make the changes needed to give them equal
rights with whites. Only 11 percent of whites
expressed doubt that these changes would
come. I don’t want to be in that 43 percent.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of
the outdoors, and recent data is encouraging.
According to KOA’s 2017 North Ameri-
change is word of mouth—or, in the age of
the Internet, a strong social-media presence
showing African American people enjoying
all the places that, previously, segregation
didn’t allow us to go.
We are doing it. We are out there. We always have been. My Instagram feed is filled
with people of color tackling V12 climbs, ascending mountains, teaching their children
how to read the sky. Those images appear
alongside Audubon Society and National
Park Service photos of all the places I plan
to go one day.
That evidence is part of why I keep stacking my money, planning for another good
vacation in the national parks. At times
it’s the only weapon I have against despair.
I’m able to do everything my ancestors
couldn’t—that’s the structure of my resistance. I swim in public pools and lounge on
public beaches because they couldn’t dare.
I am constantly working to figure out how
to make you acknowledge me as American,
too. I refuse to be seen as poor and powerless, and I attempt to approach each day with
a boldness and vulnerability that leaves an
imprint on somebody. I continue to penetrate spaces where I’m not expected to be,
hoping someone else will see me and know
that they can be there, too.
FOR HISTORICALLY disenfranchised peo-
ple, some healing has to happen first, and it
occurs when our lives are treated with dignity, respect, and care. That is what causes
us to challenge vigilante violence and hateful
rhetoric. We are still working our way toward
reconciliation. I believe it will have to take
the shape of restorative justice.
People of color are still often left out of the
conservation decisions and planning that
affect their communities. Creating equitable outdoor experiences means dedicating
money, energy, and resources to programs
that have been denied us for decades. For
this to happen, well-meaning white people
must abandon the post-racial, colorblind
fantasy they would like to believe in. The
hardest part of my fight is combating the
white majority’s fear-stained imagination
about what they believe black people are, as
opposed to the reality of who we are.
Spare me your empathy if it does not come
coupled with institutional change. Support
the initiatives and institutions that help
people of color get out there, like the nonprofit Outdoor Afro and the National Park
Foundation’s African American Experience
Fund. Help reframe the discussion about the
outdoors. Highlight the stories of the buffalo
soldiers, who became some of America’s first
park rangers. Tell the children about Harriet
Tubman’s ability to interpret the weather. Be
unafraid of the historical contexts that hold
weight in our country. Explore and overturn
those caricatures that are deeply embedded
in the mythology we perpetuate about the
unjust portions of our history. Having an
integrated outdoors means embracing all of
America—complete with its messy origins,
complicated backstory, and currently murky
future. It might mean allowing someone else
to claim what you believed to be your exclusive birthright.
When you hear about what black people
don’t do, know that the statistics are only
part of the story and can be counterproductive to the future of African Americans in the
outdoors. It’s time we change the story we’re
telling. Realize that we, as a diaspora, are just
as multifaceted, complex, and diverse as the
national parks we are starting to explore. O
LATRIA GRAHAM ( @LATRIAGRAHAM)
HAS WRITTEN FOR THE GUARDIAN,
ESPNW, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES.
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
77
2018
Out side
FACES of
CHANGE
Last December, when the Trump administration announced its decision
to shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a crack team of Native
American attorneys armed themselves with a lawsuit that ensured tribal
voices will lead the legal battle to overturn it. A B E S T R E E P reports
on a historic case that will reverberate for generations.
The
Tribes
v.
Donald
Trump
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
Utah’s Valley
of the Gods,
formerly part
of Bears Ears
National
Monument
P H OTO G R A P H S B Y
MORGAN RACHEL LEVY
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
79
Ethel Branch,
attorney general for the Navajo Nation, sits
on a leather couch in a Salt Lake City production studio, sipping bottled water and keeping a close eye on the television screen. Every
few minutes, she picks up one of two iPhones
laid in front of her to tap out an e-mail. It’s
December 4, 2017. She’s been waiting for this
day for eight months.
A few miles away, at the Utah State Capitol, the President of the United States stands
at a podium beneath a mural that reads
PEACE WITH THE INDIANS . Looking at the
cameras, Donald J. Trump makes a rough
attempt at humor, allowing that, before arriving, he called “all of the friends I have in
Utah.” President Trump asked them a crucial question about today’s announcement:
“Will it be at all controversial? They all told
me no.” He turns and flicks his eyebrows up,
lips funneled in mock bewilderment. In the
studio, Branch’s colleague Jonathan Nez,
vice president of the Navajo Nation, paces,
emanating anger.
Branch’s face registers patient, precise
focus. She’s here to tape an interview with
MSNBC after the president’s speech. She
wears a black blazer, a matching skirt, and,
on her left wrist, a turquoise bracelet. At
38, she oversees a Navajo Nation criminaljustice system that extends throughout
Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Back in the
nineties, when Trump was negotiating various bankruptcies, she was castrating horses
and winning rodeo-queen contests on the
reservation. She went on to graduate from
Harvard Law School and the university’s
Kennedy School of Government, and took
over the tribe’s Department of Justice at 36.
On screen, the president tries to convey
the significance of today’s proceedings. “I’m
a real estate developer,” he says. “When they
start talking about millions of acres, I say,
‘Say it again?’ ”
Say it again: Bears Ears, a landscape
marked by two mesas climbing out of the
Utah desert, geologic high marks overseeing
a sacred region of canyons and cliff dwellings. In 2015, five tribes, some of which have
long been at odds—notably the Hopi and the
Navajo—formed the Bears Ears Intertribal
Coalition, an effort to protect the area.
That work was rewarded in December 2016, when outgoing president Barack
Obama created Bears Ears National Monument using the 1906 Antiquities Act. The
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
protected area encompassed more than 1.35
million acres of the Colorado Plateau, sloping upward from the desert floor at Valley
of the Gods to the piñon and juniper forests
of Cedar Mesa and then north to the Bears
Ears buttes themselves. The Clovis people
hunted here as early as 13,000 years ago, and
the Ancestral Puebloans built cliff dwellings
in the canyons. The great Navajo leaders
K’aayélii and Manuelito were born near the
Bears Ears buttes. The region’s canyons are
home to an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites dense with rock art, hogans, granaries, pots, and baskets.
President Obama’s proclamation gave
the tribes an advisory role in managing the
monument. It also spelled out the name of
Bears Ears in the Hopi, Navajo, Ute, and Zuni
languages. For the tribes, that acknowledgement was a historic event; it marked the
beginning of a cooperative plan to share indigenous knowledge with all comers.
But as soon as Trump took office, Utah’s
Republican congressional delegation began
to apply pressure, seeking to overturn the
glinting, she said, “The earth needs us, it
needs to heal,” and the crowd responded
with a deep roar. Someone raised a sacred
eagle staff behind her. Then she issued a
challenge to President Trump. “I want him
to visit Bears Ears. Take off his shoes, take off
his socks, and squeeze the dirt with his toes
and feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth.”
Trump did none of that. And it will soon
fall to Branch and her legal colleagues to try
and block his proclamation, to continue
the centuries-old war for Native American
rights while arguing the most consequential
public-lands case in a generation, one that
could determine the limits of presidential
authority on much of America’s wild estate.
For 20 minutes in the television studio,
Branch is silent as a lake. Her inscrutable expression cracks just once. It happens at the
beginning of Trump’s speech, when he turns
to Orrin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah,
who has fiercely advocated for downsizing
the Bears Ears monument. “You meet fighters and you meet people that you thought
were fighters, but they’re not so good at
fighting,” Trump says. “He’s a fighter.”
Branch’s eyes lead the rest of her face into a
wide smile, the kind that’s not entirely warm;
Branch sometimes kept a sleeping bag in her office
in order to head up to Bears Ears. She felt that
something powerful was protecting the region—
something, she says, “that transcends the law.”
designation. In April 2017, Trump signed
an executive order instructing secretary
of the interior Ryan Zinke to review 27 national monuments, including Bears Ears
and 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase–
Escalante, also in Utah, which Bill Clinton
designated in 1996. Trump has flown here
today to follow Zinke’s recommendations to
shrink both monuments. Grand Staircase–
Escalante will be cut in half, while Bears Ears
will be reduced by 85 percent.
Two days ago some 5,000 protesters, the
vast majority of them Native, poured into
Salt Lake City. Branch was the first speaker to
address them. Standing on the capitol steps,
she introduced herself in Navajo and talked
about “the potency of our prayers and the
potency of our ceremonies.” Her sunglasses
the kind that telegraphs, Bless your heart.
A fighter.
At that, Ethel Branch laughs out loud.
NATALIE LANDRETH doesn’t listen to the
speech. She knows what’s coming. She
spent the weekend skiing near her home in
Anchorage, Alaska, and consulting a document counting the Chickasaw who in 1837
were sent on the Trail of Tears, where many
of Landreth’s ancestors perished. It’s motivation for the coming fight.
But now it’s Monday, Bears Ears day. Landreth steps into her kitchen, makes a pot of
coffee and a piece of toast. It occurs to her that
the Hopi Tribe just swore in its new chairman on Friday. That means on his first day
in office, the new tribal executive, a former
Branch at
Bears Ears
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
81
radio DJ, will be suing the president. When
Landreth reaches for her toast, she sticks her
hand in her coffee. Too much adrenaline.
Landreth is 44, a star attorney for the
Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit
group that represents the thorniest cases in
Indian country. NARF was born of the civil
rights movement, an organization created to
defend those who had binding treaties but
few lawyers to enforce them. It was founded
in 1970 by a group of tribal leaders and fiery
young attorneys in California, who were
soon joined by author and native-rights
activist Vine Deloria Jr. In his 1969 classic
Custer Died for Your Sins, Deloria called the
law “a trap for the unwary and a dangerous
weapon in the hands of those who understood how to use it.”
In short order, NARF turned the law into
a weapon for Native Americans, using it to
prevail over the states of Maine (in a precedent-setting case that upheld previously
unrecognized tribes’ claims to land taken
by the state) and Washington (in a seminal
fishing-rights case). In 1973, its attorneys
successfully pushed Congress to reverse the
policy of tribal termination, begun in the
1950s to rid sovereign tribes of federal services. NARF also won a series of cases that
led to the 1990 Native American Graves and
Repatriation Act, to stop museums from
incentivizing grave robbers. NARF calls its
litigators modern-day warriors.
The group is now headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, with satellite offices in Anchorage and Washington, D.C., and has 17
full-time attorneys. “The best Native lawyers in the whole country work for us,” says
John Echohawk, the organization’s executive
director. “And everybody knows that.”
Landreth was hired on at 29 and has since
chalked up a record that includes just one
loss. “I look at Natalie as a transcendently
great lawyer,” says Charles Wilkinson, one
of NARF’s first attorneys, who teaches at
the University of Colorado Law School and
has written numerous books on Native sovereignty and the law.
NARF’s lawyers have been busy since
Trump’s inauguration. “It’s like being in
a fort under siege,” says Landreth, “and
wondering, When are we going to get some
water?” On January 24, four days after his
inauguration, the president signed an executive order green-lighting the Keystone
XL and Dakota Access pipelines, among
other infrastructure projects, disregarding
the historic Standing Rock protests with a
pen stroke. Shortly afterward he revoked
an Obama executive order giving Alaskan
tribes a say in managing 112,300 square
miles of the Bering Sea. In February 2017, as
politicians from Utah began pushing for the
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
revision of the Bears Ears monument, three
of the tribes on the Bears Ears coalition—the
Hopi Tribe, the Pueblo of Zuni, and the Ute
Mountain Ute Tribe—asked NARF to represent them. The Navajo planned to represent themselves, and the Ute Indian Tribe
used Fredericks Peebles and Morgan, which
serves as its general counsel.
Back in Anchorage, the phone starts to
ring: reporters looking for quotes. Landreth
takes this job; she’s as outspoken as Branch
is circumspect. A couple of days ago, during
a press conference anticipating President
Trump’s proclamation, she upstaged senator
Tom Udall of New Mexico and Patagonia CEO
Rose Marcario, firing away about the historical looting in Bears Ears (“Certain people
seem to treat this area as though it is a bank”)
and fact-checking the Utah congressional delegation’s rhetoric about how Trump
and Zinke were merely returning lands
to locals. “The Bears Ears National Monument was created by local people,” Landreth said, “regardless of what you may hear
from Senator Hatch.”
is the first president to attempt to shrink a
monument since the act was passed.
“Whether the president has the authority
to do that is a very significant question,” says
Mark Squillace, a public-lands expert and
law professor at the University of Colorado.
“If the court decides that the president does
have that authority, it really creates a lot
of chaos in public-land management.” On
the other hand, Squillace says, if the court
determines that the president has the authority only to create a monument, and not
to modify an existing one, “then lands are
protected. And that’s a big deal.”
THE ATTORNEYS have had a draft of their
complaint ready to file for nearly a year.
Echohawk convened NARF’s legal team in
February 2017. Landreth’s location in Alaska
was an inconvenience, but he wanted her
to work the case. He also tapped Matthew
Campbell, a 36-year-old member of Alaska’s
Native Village of Gambell who grew up in
suburban Denver and came to NARF in 2013
after following a winding path in his younger
Campbell came to NARF in 2013 after following
a winding path in his younger life. “I became
interested in the law,” he says, “because I had
run-ins with the law.”
The tribes’ complaint hinges on the Antiquities Act. The statute gives the president
authority to create a national monument in
order to protect objects and sites of significant interest, provided that he designates
“the smallest area compatible with proper
care and management of the objects to be
protected.” Since it was signed into law
by Theodore Roosevelt, presidents have
shrunk more than a dozen monuments,
notably Washington’s Mount Olympus National Monument, which Woodrow Wilson
downsized by half during World War I in
order to source timber for military supplies.
(Congress later protected most of those
lands as Olympic National Park.) But those
early modifications were never challenged in
court. In 1976, Gerald Ford signed the Federal
Land Policy and Management Act. While the
law itself didn’t directly address whether or
not a president could modify monuments,
the final House report on the legislation
noted that it “specifically reserves to the
Congress the authority to modify and revoke withdrawals for national monuments
created under the Antiquities Act.” Trump
life. “I became interested in the law,” he says,
“because I had run-ins with the law.” He’s
now half of a legal power couple; his wife,
Nikki Borchardt Campbell, is executive
director of the National American Indian
Court Judges Association.
The lawyers wanted to file suit within
hours of President Trump signing his proclamation. Now, watching the screen in Salt
Lake City, Branch says, “He still hasn’t
signed it.” The team can’t make final edits
until the proclamation’s language is official.
No one is sure yet whether Trump will repeal
Bears Ears entirely and replace it with two
smaller areas, or make a dramatic reduction.
Finally, after an extended preamble,
Trump sits down at a large desk surrounded
by the Utah delegation. To his right are
Hatch and representative Chris Stewart; to
his left, representative Rob Bishop, governor Gary Herbert, and Mike Lee, the junior
senator. Just outside the inner circle stands
Rebecca Benally, a San Juan County commissioner and member of the Aneth chapter
of the Navajo Nation, which has shown support for the reduction. Zinke stands behind
Trump, and just in front of him, unsmiling,
is a Navajo elder in traditional jewelry. Seeing her, Branch says, “Poor lady.”
Branch keeps asking to view the language
in the proclamation, but it’s not yet publicly
available. She’s shuttled into a television
studio to tape the MSNBC interview. “They
think that talking to one Native American
person, one Navajo person, constitutes
consultation with the Navajo Nation,” she
intones, “and they’re gravely mistaken.”
Hours later, after the extent of the reduction becomes clear, Campbell edits the suit
from NARF’s Boulder office while Branch
rushes off to another press conference and
then to the airport, where she’s the last to
board the plane. By the time she lands in Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Hopi Tribe, et
al., v. Donald J. Trump, et al. has been filed
in D.C. District Court.
BOTH THE TRUMP administration and the
Utah congressional delegation often make
the case that those who live closest to Bears
Ears oppose the Obama designation. San Juan
County’s three commissioners—Benally;
Phil Lyman, a descendant of a Mormon pioneer who arrived in the area on the 1880 Hole
in the Rock Expedition; and Bruce Adams, a
white rancher—have vociferously objected
to the protection of Bears Ears. Benally has
repeatedly suggested that a monument
designation could inhibit the gathering of
firewood, despite the fact that the Obama
proclamation explicitly allowed the practice.
Benally’s voice has proven problematic for
the Native coalition. Aneth is the only one
of nine Navajo chapters with land in Utah
that has opposed the monument; Benally’s
stance gives the Utah delegation’s NIMBYism a sheen of credibility. But monument
supporters say the region’s politics does not
accurately reflect its population. San Juan
County has been the subject of scrutiny over
racial gerrymandering for decades. In 2012,
the Navajo Nation filed a suit claiming that
the county had failed to redraw its districts
in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.
A federal district judge has repeatedly sided
with the tribe. Should the suit, which Branch
is overseeing, hold up, San Juan County could
soon have a majority Navajo commission.
But for now, all three commissioners have
characterized federal land management in
the area as overreaching. On December 2, as
Branch was issuing her challenge to President Trump in front of a roaring crowd of
thousands, Lyman spoke to a group at the
San Juan County courthouse, in Monticello.
He assumed a polite and restrained tone even
as he invoked dire threats. Using a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson, he warned of
a day when “our children wake up homeless
Campbell in
NARF’s Boulder,
Colorado, office
on the continent their fathers conquered.”
Lyman used the word conquered three times,
then walked off to applause.
The Bears Ears dispute concerns more
than just ruins. It addresses the question
of whose voice rings out loudest, of whose
history is prioritized. San Juan County is an
area larger than Connecticut, with a population of around 17,000. The northern half is
dominated by the heavily Mormon towns of
Blanding and Monticello; to the west lies the
red-rock country of Bears Ears. Its southern
and eastern portions are primarily Navajo
and Ute. The county has resources—oil near
Aneth, uranium in White Canyon—but over
the years, the negative impacts of extraction
have seriously affected local Native Americans, in the form of contaminated ground-
water near a uranium mill in White Mesa and
dozens of oil spills that have flowed into the
San Juan River’s tributaries.
There is a third economic engine—
tourism, in the form of off-roaders and
desert rats looking to follow the footsteps
of Edward Abbey and Everett Ruess. Still,
traffic has always been thin compared with
areas farther north, in Canyonlands and
Moab, or west, toward Lake Powell. For adventure purists, the region has long been
an empty sandstone heaven. Author Craig
Childs has traversed the area for decades,
often on his own. At first he was opposed to
a monument. “The idea of having the place
hardened by pullouts and trailheads didn’t
at all appeal to me,” he says. “But when I
step away from it and look at it from a larger
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
83
perspective of time and decades and centuries, I think it’s something that is more about
preserving sacred and incredible landscapes
for a longer time frame.”
For decades, white residents of the region
made a habit of pothunting—searching for
artifacts—near Bears Ears. To Navajos, that
sounded a lot like grave robbery. In 2009, the
FBI and agents of the Bureau of Land Management conducted an elaborate pothunting
sting in the Four Corners region that ended
with 23 arrests and 12 indictments. Shortly
after being arrested, two people committed
suicide, including Blanding’s main doctor,
James Redd.
The events heightened the anti-federal
sentiment within Blanding; for many Navajos, they also solidified the importance of
protecting the region’s antiquities. In 2010,
Mark Maryboy, a Navajo leader who in 1986
became the first Native San Juan County
commissioner (he served four terms), decided to do something about it. Along with
Gavin Noyes, a white community activist,
Maryboy interviewed some 75 Native citizens, asking what they wanted to see around
in April 2015 in Bluff, Utah, Maryboy acknowledged to Hopi and Zuni leaders that
their ancestors had preceded the Navajo at
Cedar Mesa. “Welcome home,” Maryboy
said. People wept.
Members of the fledgling Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition soon started traveling to
Washington, D.C., where they found a willing audience in the office of interior secretary Sally Jewell. In July 2016, Jewell went to
Bears Ears and came away impressed by the
coalition’s proposal.
That December, she sent President Obama
a memo recommending the designation of
Bears Ears National Monument. Just after
Christmas, Obama did just that, creating a
monument that preserved existing grazing
leases and mining claims but banned future
mineral activity. Hatch and Bishop almost
immediately began referring to it as a land
grab. During President Trump’s first week in
office, Hatch, the chairman of the powerful
Senate Finance Committee, said the president was “eager to work with me” on Bears
Ears. In March, one of his aides e-mailed
Zinke’s staff a map that would “resolve all
Landreth likened the environmentalists’
pile-on in the months leading up to Trump’s
proclamation to “a high school party— if I’m
not invited, I’m going to die.”
Bears Ears. The answer was fairly uniform:
most wanted some protection for the region’s sacred sites.
Meanwhile, environmental groups including the Conservation Lands Foundation, based in Durango, Colorado, and the
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA)
had been seeking to protect the area as well.
Maryboy recruited other Navajo, and in
2012, he and Noyes launched a nonprofit organization called Utah Diné Bikéyah (“people’s sacred lands” in Navajo). At first, UDB
tried to work with Utah politicians to protect
the Bears Ears area. Congressman Bishop
was then soliciting input on a bill called the
Public Lands Initiative, which he pitched as
a compromise. But UDB never felt that he
took the group’s proposals seriously, and the
bill failed to gain any traction.
Since 2010, UDB had been reaching out
to tribes with ancestral ties to the Bears Ears
region. Initially, the Hopi, Ute Mountain
Ute, and Zuni were wary, since the effort
was led by Navajos. The animosity between
the tribes is centuries old, but in a meeting
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
known mineral conflicts,” reflecting the desires of a program that funds public schools
through oil and gas leasing and other development. Meanwhile a uranium company that
operates a mill just outside the monument’s
boundaries started lobbying Zinke’s office.
In May 2017, Zinke traveled to Bears Ears,
where he scolded a Native protester who
kept asking him questions, holding up a finger and telling her, “Be nice!” When the Interior Department released a video showing
him riding a horse in the area, Ethel Branch
noticed that someone held the reins for him
as he mounted. What kind of cowboy does
that? she wondered.
That September, The Washington Post
published a leaked copy of Zinke’s review
of the 27 monuments. The memo acknowledged that protected areas can generate
tourism revenue, but also stated that in
some instances the “jobs and the resulting
revenues from tourism do not necessarily
offset the lost or forgone revenue resulting
from the limitations placed on land development.” No examples were cited. It acknowl-
edged that Interior had received 2.8 million
public comments, overwhelmingly in favor
of keeping the monuments, but said that
those comments were mostly generated by
nonprofits. “Too often,” the memo read, “it
is the local stakeholders who lack the organization, funding, and institutional support
to compete with well-funded NGOs.”
The review was catnip for President
Trump—written with a conspiratorial whiff
but lacking any cited sources, privileging
the perspective of aggrieved locals, and animated by the notion that wealth comes out
of the ground.
“YOU HAVE THIS identity issue,” says Campbell. “This living-in-two-worlds issue.” He
is talking not just about himself but about
his profession. For Native litigators, the job
is not only to win. It’s to faithfully and sensitively convey a client’s worldview in a venue
that’s often unfriendly to that perspective,
to demand respect for that position so that
the court elevates it.
According to Landreth, “Microsoft’s lawyers, for example, don’t say, ‘Well, our culture dictates that this software is sacred.’ You
have to figure out how you’re going to litigate
it while at the same time protecting your clients and their culture and religious views.”
Together, Campbell, Landreth, and Branch
represent a new generation of legal advocates
for Indian country. They came to the work
from different places—suburban Denver, the
consumer panoply of Orange County, California, and an Arizona ranch with no running
water or electricity.
“It’s powerful to see young Native American attorneys defend the sovereign lifestyles
of tribal people,” says Heather KendallMiller, a NARF attorney from Alaska and
one of the handful of Native women to have
argued in front of the Supreme Court.
In high school, few would have pegged
Campbell as a legal power broker in the
making. He was a disinterested student in
Littleton, Colorado, and attended Fort Lewis
College, in Durango, which offers Native
students a tuition waiver. (The college once
tried to eliminate the waiver, but in 1973,
John Echohawk helped win a case that kept
it in place.) Campbell graduated with a GPA
of 2.8, and after college he applied to law
schools but didn’t get in. He was working at
a gym in Durango when he received a flyer
in the mail advertising a prelaw summer institute for Native students at the University
of New Mexico. In Campbell’s recollection,
it emphasized that a weak academic record
was not disqualifying.
“I was like, Wow, this is really speaking to
me,” Campbell says. In Albuquerque, something flipped inside. He excelled in his stud-
ies, and at the end of the summer course several law schools expressed interest in him.
He chose Arizona State University, which has
one of the best Indian law programs in the
nation, and there he met his wife, Borchardt.
Branch and Landreth, meanwhile, met
at Harvard in the late 1990s. Branch was an
undergrad, Landreth a law student. Tall and
poised, Landreth was the daughter of a Navy
sailor; she’d spent her early childhood on a
remote Aleutian island but was raised in Orange County after her parents divorced. Her
mother wanted her to have the best education possible. “We had the fanciest public
schools,” she says, “and the cheapest apartments.” Upon arriving at Harvard, she met
a white girl from Montana who suggested
that Landreth shouldn’t tell anyone she was
Native. Instead she started attending meetings of Harvard’s Native American Program.
“Whether you were an urban Indian or reservation Indian, it didn’t matter,” she says.
“You had this common history.”
One day during her senior year, Landreth
saw a poster advertising a speech by attorney general Janet Reno, who came to discuss
the fledgling Office of Tribal Justice. Landreth, an art history major, attended the talk
and was so moved that she approached Reno
after. “I want to work with you,” she recalls
saying. Reno connected her to a colleague,
who offered Landreth an internship in the
new office. Her employer thought Landreth
was already in law school. “I didn’t know
how to find anything in the Department of
Justice library,” Landreth says. The next year,
she was accepted to Harvard Law.
Branch also had something of an awakening in Cambridge. Not regarding identity—
she was pretty clear on that. But she never
knew why her family and neighbors lacked
electricity and running water. The town of
Leupp, Arizona, close to her family’s ranch,
was too small to accommodate a high school,
and Native history wasn’t taught in nearby
Winslow. During her sophomore year at
Harvard, Branch took a class on the history
of the American West. When the teaching
assistant outlined the basics of the Indian
Wars—the forced marches and the dispossession, the origins of historical trauma—
the circumstances back home began to make
more sense.
One day in another history tutorial, the
lecturer had the class read a book examining
the settling of the frontier from the indigenous point of view. It was bloody enough
that one young woman started to tear up.
Another student argued that there were bad
characters on both sides and that Native
Americans had blocked progress. The lecturer looked to Branch. Branch crisply laid
out the definition of genocide and applied it
Branch
(left) and
Landreth
in 1998
to the work of the Texas Rangers. The lecturer suggested she take up law.
Landreth, meanwhile, clerked for an
Alaska Supreme Court justice before heading to Los Angeles to work in entertainment
law. It was lucrative, if exhausting. In 2003,
she saw a job opening at NARF, applied, and,
together with her fiancé, an army engineer,
moved up to NARF’s Anchorage office, where
she took a steep pay cut. The couple married
that December; three days later, her husband
deployed to Iraq for 15 months.
Landreth went to work underneath Kendall-Miller. Her first oral argument came in
a case concerning several coastal Alaskan
tribes’ claims to aboriginal fishing and hunting rights in the wake of the Exxon Valdez
spill. She appealed a district court decision
and found herself arguing in front of the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals en banc—
meaning that all 11 judges grilled her at once.
She prepared diligently, argued, then heard
nothing for more than a year. When the ruling finally came in, she lost six to five.
Landreth found out about the verdict the
day her son was born. Later she reviewed the
case over and over. “That was the worst,”
she says, “feeling like you came so close,
like what could I have done better to get that
sixth person?” Kendall-Miller saw it differ-
ently. “I recognized immediately that she
had great, great talent.”
In 2008, a new intern joined NARF’s
Alaska office: Ethel Branch, in her fourth
year at Harvard Law. From there she went to
private firms in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, specializing in tribal issues. In 2015, the
Navajo Nation reached out to Branch, asking
her to apply for the position of deputy attorney general. Midway through the process,
she received a different offer: attorney general, overseeing a staff of 88. Branch packed
her bags and moved into a place in the Navajo capital, Window Rock, Arizona, with
her mom and three nieces, plus two dogs and
a cat, all female. Her mother does the laundry and keeps everyone fed. “Otherwise,”
Branch says, “it would be a wolf’s den.” Recently, she got into her Nissan Pathfinder to
find dark stains on the ceiling. Her mom had
used the passenger seat to transport an alpaca with a bloody nose.
At work, Branch oversaw an ongoing dispute with the Environmental Protection
Agency over the 2015 Gold King Mine spill
that turned the Animas and San Juan Rivers
copper and polluted Navajo Nation agricultural waters. She also launched a whitecollar-crime initiative that hasn’t exactly
ingratiated her with continued on page 96 >
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
85
The Georgia
women hiking
in Colorado’s
Indian Peak
Wilderness
86
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
P H OTO G R A P H S B Y
MIKAELA HAMILTON
2018
Out side
FACES of
CHANGE
The
Survivors
When you take former victims of sex trafficking into the
wilderness for a few days of roughing it, know this: they’ve
seen worse. F L O R E N C E W I L L I A M S goes on a trip
organized by Atlanta-based She Is Able and learns that
one size of adventure therapy does not fit all.
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
87
Asta spent
her first night
in Colorado sleeping in an outfitter’s warehouse, replaying in her head the bear growls
she’d learned online. She wanted to be ready.
Although she’d slept outside plenty of times,
usually under a bridge, she’d never camped
in the mountains, and she was, to say the
least, apprehensive.
“I’m a little nervous, OK?” she says the
next morning, practicing how to stuff her
winter sleeping bag into the bottom of her
loaner pack. She’s wearing leggings and a
loose sweatshirt; her long hair hangs straight.
“I was homeless for four years in Atlanta, so
this is a new adventure,” she says. “I was
afraid of the streets and the men, but this is
different. It’s the mountains I’m intimidated
by. Bears, lions, mountain goats, cheetahs—I
don’t know, bugs, snakes.”
“Are you really more afraid of bears than
men?” I ask.
“I know how to survive back there. This is
unknown territory.”
Asta’s southern accent is strong. Her
body, she says, not so much. In addition to
her fears about wildlife, the 34-year-old is
worried about being out of shape, about not
being able to carry a 40-pound pack, about
holding up the group. And, oh yeah, about
the cold October blast that’s expected to
move in from the north, dropping nighttime
temperatures into the low twenties.
For Asta and five other women who’ve
traveled here from Atlanta, this four-day
backpacking trip in the Colorado wilderness
is part reward and part recovery. (The participants’ names have been changed to protect their privacy.) They are nearing the end
of various yearlong residential treatment
programs for women who have lived in the
grip of substance abuse and sex trafficking.
Today the group woke up in the Denver
warehouse of Expedition Backcountry Adventures, a company commissioned by the
one-year-old Atlanta-based nonprofit She
Is Able, which connects women from various recovery centers with outfitters that can
take them into nature. The women on this
trip range in age from 20 to 38. They are not
the image many of us have when we think of
victims of sex trafficking. They are all U.S.
citizens, for one thing. Four are white; two
are African American. Most were born and
raised in Georgia; a couple were brought there
by their pimps.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
To listen to the women’s tales, which they
shared last night over plain burgers and plastic cups of water, is to hear a litany of broken
promises and broken hearts—pimps who
refused to bail them out of jail, husbands or
boyfriends killed or imprisoned. They have
all been neglected or abused by their parents,
and in some cases watched as their own children were taken away by the state.
Between the forecast and the predators,
this expedition is looking like yet another
ordeal. Today the group will try rock climbing for the first time. Then we’ll hike into the
Indian Peaks Wilderness, which borders the
southern end of Rocky Mountain National
Park, to spend three nights in the backcountry. The women will be tested by the fickle
weather of the Rockies in autumn—and so
will the philosophy of wilderness therapy
itself. How much can you recover from psychological scars if you’re still profoundly
traumatized? What if you’re way more easily
freaked out than most people who shoulder a
pack? And what if you don’t want to triumph
over nature and the elements so much as get
a decent night’s sleep, experience some calm,
and maybe learn to love yourself again?
Fears can be outsize when you’ve spent
much of your life afraid.
FROM THE BEGINNING, Asta’s life wasn’t
so auspicious. Her mother was mentally ill,
she says, and her father was a sexual predator. She was adopted by her grandparents as
a young girl. The rest of her childhood was
pretty typical: suburbs, school, church. She
had a daughter when she was 20 and a son five
years later, but his father ended up getting
deported to Mexico. She became addicted
to crack and alcohol, and, she says, “got the
wrong attention from a man.” He pimped her
out through online classified ads for dating
and escort services.
Atlanta is an epicenter for sex trafficking, generally defined as a transaction that
involves force, fraud, or coercion. According to an Urban Institute report, the city’s
underground sex economy totaled $290
million in 2007, the most recent year for
which figures are available. Many of those
offered up on escort sites are minors. Local
advocate Mary Frances Bowley, founder of
the residential program Wellspring Living,
calculated in 2007 that the city’s monthly
population of underage trafficked girls hovered around 395. Many, she said, were expected to see eight to ten clients per night.
“Your ad is put up,” Asta explains. “And
men can call and request you, and then they
come to your hotel room and you have incalls and out-calls.” For her, she says, using
drugs meant that decision-making wasn’t
really an option. “My choices were made for
me, but I allowed that door to open and then
I couldn’t close it.” She lost custody of her
two children—her daughter to live with the
girl’s father and her son to adoption. After
four years, she fled to a different set of pimps
and became a street prostitute.
Eventually, Asta was rescued by a worker
from a Christian ministry, who scooped her
into an outreach van from under a bridge. She
endured two weeks of near coma-inducing
detox before entering a residential addiction
program. Three other women on this trip are
from the same center, and two are from another Atlanta facility. Both places are affiliated with Christian evangelical groups.
This lends the trip a prayerful tone. Last
night, Tamara, 31, talked about losing custody
of her six-year-old son, who now lives with
her grandparents. She started crying quietly.
“Can I pray for you?” asked a woman
named Kris. Tamara nodded. Kris offered
her hand.
“Lord, please help heal every crevice of her
broken heart. Help renew her mind during
her absence from her son. Meet her where
she is at, whether it’s in a warehouse or on a
mountaintop. I know, God, you have a purpose for her life.” Tamara sobbed harder,
then Kris started to cry, and pretty soon the
whole group, including the guides, were
sniffling amid piles of sleeping bags and Nature Valley granola bars.
Asta climbing into that rescue van, Kris
riding out withdrawal: that was bravery.
These women don’t need to scale a mountain
in a blizzard to gain a sense of achievement.
But coming to Colorado required an unusual
leap of faith.
“I don’t welcome or receive. I push away,”
said Asta. “I’m a runner.” She didn’t mean
the sport.
AS WE PACK UP for the trip, game faces are
back in place. The women pull on hiking
boots, colorful knit hats, and fleece jackets,
all of it donated, over their street clothes.
“Girl, you look good in yellow,” says one.
Elise Knicely
(second row,
Next come the backright) on
packs, hoisted into place
founding She
Is Able: “A
amid much groaning. We
voice inside
pile ourselves and our packs
said, ‘E, this is
into a roomy white van
what you’re
made to do.’ ”
parked out back. “The van
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
89
is new and needs a name!” says our guide,
Chelsea Van Essen. “What shall we call it?”
“Betty White!” yells Tamara.
“Yes!” replies Chelsea.
Although Chelsea, a chipper, curly-haired
26-year-old, has worked with sexually
abused women before, this is only her second
trip as a leader for Expedition Backcountry
Adventures, and it’s the first time the outfitter has worked with trafficked women.
Before loading up the van, Chelsea and
fellow guide Hope Swearingen, a 23-yearold part-time mental-health coach, sit the
ladies down in a circle for a briefing.
“One thing we want to focus on as a theme
of the trip is safety. Every day we will let you
know what’s coming,” says Chelsea, who has
a social-work graduate degree focused on
trauma from the University of Denver. “If I
feel like I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t
feel safe, right? I am going to ask you before I
put my hand on your shoulder, and if you say
no, that’s awesome! We’re going to respect
that. We recognize that if you don’t feel safe,
then nothing else is going to happen, this
power of healing in nature. None of that can
happen if our brains are not fully safe.”
This fierce defense of emotional safety
may seem completely sensible, but it’s a
radical departure from the way many adventure programs are run. Chelsea, along with
other, primarily female outdoor educators,
are drawing from a small but deep vein in
feminist social science suggesting that the
standard story line of “grow through toughness, conquer the peaks and find yourself”
just doesn’t work for populations who have
suffered long-term psychological trauma.
“It has to be understood from the get-go
that this is not going to look like a quoteunquote normal trip,” Chelsea tells me. In
some ways, it is less than normal: fewer
miles, fewer vertical feet, fewer vistas. But
before long, it will turn into more of a field
test than anyone expected.
One thing the women are quite used to is
group therapy. After months in rehab, they
are so good at it that the trip leaders don’t
always feel the need to step in. “I’ve learned
to let the women do most of the talking,”
says She Is Able founder Elise Knicely.
In one year of operation, Elise—largely on
her own—has commissioned 14 excursions
in several states, taking some 100 women
on day trips and overnights. Last year, with
a budget of just $80,000, she drew heavily
on volunteers and partnerships with safe
houses. At 27, she has proved successful raising funds, bringing in sponsors, and recruiting a well-connected board. As someone
with no training in trauma care, though, Elise
says it’s easy for her to become invested—
perhaps excessively so—in the women’s lives.
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
“I’m a very empathetic person,” she says.
“Sometimes I return from these trips emotionally hungover, truly, for weeks.”
At first glance, Elise seems the polar opposite of her charges: tall and wispy, regally
poised, an Alpha Chi Omega with crisp outdoor gear and a confident stride.
“I like your cap,” Kris says to her later.
“What does that mean, Patagonia?”
“Oh,” says Elise, smiling. “It’s an outdoor
brand. I used to work in one of their stores.”
She played a lot of sports growing up outside Atlanta and worked as a camp counselor
during college at the University of Georgia.
At 23, during a solo trip around the world,
she landed in India, where she shadowed
an organization fighting sex slavery in the
slums of Mumbai. There she met young
women forced to live in caged rooms. “Those
encounters changed my life,” Elise told me.
She went back to Atlanta and accepted a
job doing corporate consulting. On weekends
she took women from a sex-trafficking safe
house hiking, then canoeing. The response
was overwhelming.
“Oh crap, that got real fast,” she recalls of
the decision to quit her corporate job. “But
how the heck do I begin to turn this into
something bigger and more constructive?”
Why did Elise think that a few hours or
days in the woods could help course-correct
a near lifetime of abuse, addiction, poverty,
and exploitation? At first it was just intuition layered with sorority-girl optimism.
She’s like Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods combined with Wild’s Cheryl Strayed. Then she
started reading research showing that time
in nature can help such women develop the
tool kit they need to heal: self-regard, peace
from the hypervigilance associated with
trauma, and better, more connected relationships with friends and family.
Her doubts receded. She decided to found
She Is Able in January 2017, offering three
levels of outdoor adventure—from half-day
trips to multi-day overnights, depending on
how long the women had been in recovery.
“A voice inside said, ‘E, this is what you’re
made to do.’ ”
BETTY WHITE’S first stop on our way to
the trailhead is Clear Creek Canyon, which
saws up into the Front Range from Golden.
The morning is cold, and when we arrive
the women huddle behind the van to pull on
more layers and lace up their climbing shoes.
At a crag called East Colfax, named after a
boulevard in Denver that passes through an
area known for street drugs and prostitution, we meet up with our climbing guide,
Aleya Littleton. Diminutive, energetic, and
infinitely patient, 32-year-old Aleya is an
adventure therapist who specializes in sex-
ual trauma. She has already fixed ropes on
three short routes, and she helps the women
into their harnesses.
“I’m just going to watch,” says Kris, gazing
up at the rock.
“Me too,” says Asta.
“It’s your choice,” says Aleya. But she has
soon made participating irresistible. “Listen
to your body,” she says. “You’re going from
a horizontal world to a vertical one, so use
your muscles in a way you don’t usually use
them. Settle down into your legs, shift your
weight. If I breathe and find my center, I can
zoom out, open my focus. If I’m anxious,
that focus closes down.”
With Littleton belaying her, Tamara practically jumps onto the wall, giddy with the
task, a natural.
“You are crazy!” calls out Rochelle, 32.
But then she too starts to climb on the next
route, slowly but steadily.
A third woman, Kim, the youngest of the
group at 20 and a recovering alcoholic, grins
and starts up the last route. After a bit she
looks down and calls out, “I’m rock climbing,
y’all!” She looks out over the rocky canyon,
where the nearby creek rushes past ruddy
willows and yellow aspens.
An hour later everyone has climbed, some
twice, to much hugging and high-fiving.
The guide gathers the women into a semicircle. The sun has entered the canyon, and
a breeze blows upstream. The women are
blinking happily in the light, like they can’t
quite believe they’re here.
“What was that like for you?” asks Aleya.
Rochelle speaks first. “I noticed that once
I started trusting, it got a lot better,” she says.
“What are the odds I’m going to fall down
the side of a mountain? Pretty low. When
you said, ‘Take little steps,’ that really ministered to me. Baby steps. That is a truth bomb.
Baby steps.”
Asta is nodding. “I’m the only one who tells
me that I can’t do something. I tell myself that
too much.”
“Yeah,” says Kim. “I can help other people,
but I’m so bad at helping myself.”
“I was reminded that I’m going to be OK,”
says Kris. Then she starts to cry.
Climbing as metaphor may seem obvious.
You have to trust the person holding your
rope. You have to find your breath. You move
one step at a time while also looking ahead.
You pull yourself up and cheer each other on.
But the banalities of these points don’t make
them less profound, and the benefits—from
both the mental and physical effort—reach
unexpected places.
As Aleya explains it, healing trauma is
complicated. That’s because the brain wants
to hold on to memories of danger. “They’re
separate from linear, logical thought pro-
cesses,” she says, “so your nervous system
acts like it’s happening now or is about to.”
Simply talking about traumatic memories
doesn’t fully work, because it engages only
those neural pathways associated with logic
and speech. Healing involves both separating fearful emotions from bad memories and
bringing the nervous system back to the safer,
quieter present. “Trauma healing happens
not only through talking, but also through
integrative nonverbal therapies,” Aleya says,
referring to both movement and mindfulness. These happen easily in adventure
sports, as long as they feel relatively safe.
Still in their harnesses, the women have
taken more risks than they expected. But
trust is an unfamiliar feeling. They don’t
trust others, and they don’t trust themselves.
Before she enrolled in her current program,
Asta had already experienced relapse once,
returning to the streets and the bottle after a
is obvious: the sky is dumping graupel. This,
Chelsea explains to the wide-eyed Georgians,
is a combination of snow and sleet.
“Well, this is not what I was expecting,”
says Kris. “It’s 90 degrees in Atlanta.”
We munch some apples, layer on raingear,
and drape our packs with Smurf-blue covers
that look like giant shower caps. The trail is
narrow and smooth, a yellow brick road of
fallen aspen leaves. Over the next few hours,
we walk and stop and walk again. There are
clothing adjustments, snacks, blister repairs.
Asta and Rochelle need to rest at the top of
gentle rises. We are near 8,500 feet. “Oh Lord,
this pack is heavy!” groans Rochelle.
The fact that she is even feeling her body
is progress, according to researchers like Julie
Anne Laser-Maira, a trafficking expert and
associate professor at the University of Denver. “They’ve been through so much brutality,” she says. To survive those experiences,
The tough-it-out-to-toughen-up plotline
is so familiar, we all assume it’s true. Many
wilderness-therapy courses conform to the
narrative, a male-centric, quasi-militaristic
hero story that says that what doesn’t kill
you, yada yada.
few weeks in a safe house. “It’s always a step
away,” she says.
Kris has never gone this long—a year—
without a drink or methamphetamine since
her life started unraveling 12 years ago. She
turned to meth as a way to keep her weight
down after her third son was born, and she
got sucked into prostitution to pay for the
drugs. Sexually abused from the age of 11,
she never felt that her body was worth protecting. Ultimately, she started dealing. She
went to prison twice. The last time, her mom
agreed to bail her out if she entered longterm rehab. That was just over a year ago.
At one point, Kris asks the guides, “Why
are you doing this to help people like us?”
“We’ve screwed every person over, burned
every bridge,” adds a woman named Joy.
Hope, passing out the last of the granola
bars, responds, “I know the power the wilderness has. I can’t keep this to myself.”
IT’S AFTERNOON by the time we arrive at
the Monarch Lake trailhead—our gateway
to Indian Peaks—and it’s clear that these
will be low-mileage days. The first challenge
women often dissociate from their bodies.
Rochelle knows this well. “I came to a
place where I had to be OK with being raped,”
she tells me. “I had to be OK with it because it
happened every single day for a really, really
long time.” Rochelle says she was basically
held captive as a sex slave for a year in Boston,
then became a street prostitute and meth
addict. She tells me this with bright eyes
that, she says, were vacant not long ago.
Today she is scanning a marshy area off the
trail that looks a little moosey to me. A few
minutes later, sure enough, we see a mother
and an adolescent moose about 100 feet
away. The women fall into a huddle of exclamations and whispers.
“This is my first time ever seeing a moose
in person!” says Tamara.
“Same!” says Kim.
No one pulls out a cell phone, because
they are not allowed to have them in rehab—
one of many restrictions they agree to as
part of their treatment. Life back there reverberates into the mountain in other ways.
That first night, Kris wouldn’t zip up her
sleeping bag because she didn’t want to feel
trapped by it. The women go off to pee or
collect water or firewood only in pairs, partly
because they don’t like being alone out here
and partly because it isn’t permitted in their
treatment centers.
It takes us over two hours to hike the three
miles to camp, following Buchanan Creek
and crossing into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. White patches of snow glow like spotlights on the forest floor. The temperature
keeps dropping, and it’s getting dark. We set
up tents, and eventually dinner is ready: thin
bean soup. I figure this is the first course, but
it’s the whole deal. Chelsea and Hope look
apologetic and whip up some Nutella on tortilla wedges for dessert. We heat water to fill
bottles that we slip inside our sleeping bags,
then wrap our bodies around the hot plastic
and try to sleep.
According to the usual outdoor-therapy
script, we’d all wake up feeling a little vulnerable, then gradually assume a mantle of
fist-pumping, we-made-it-through-thenight badassery. The idea that pushing our
limits builds character is as old as the hills.
John Muir embraced it. So did Teddy Roosevelt. The tough-it-out-to-toughen-up
plotline is so familiar, we all assume it’s true.
Many wilderness-therapy courses—along
with Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School, the Eagle Scouts—
conform to the narrative, a male-centric,
quasi-militaristic hero story that says that
what doesn’t kill you, yada yada.
But for trauma therapists like Chelsea and
academics like Denise Mitten, who chairs the
master’s program in adventure education at
Arizona’s Prescott College, it’s time to rethink the old tropes. They want less Daniel
Defoe, more Katniss Everdeen. Not content to
be the lone victor, you’ll recall, Katniss chose
to hold Peeta’s hand, and together they freed
the slaves of Panem. Well, OK, I guess that’s
kind of militaristic. But you get the idea.
In the U.S., there is a legacy of woodsfor-hoods programs and spartan canyoncountry marchathons for troubled teens and
young adults. Some of these are more compassion based than others, but most share
a central theme of overcoming challenges.
According to Mitten, recovery may happen
in those programs despite the hardships, not
because of them. “People always talk about
risk taking and challenge, but I don’t think
those are the agents for change,” she says.
“There’s still a patriarchal creep in a lot of
these groups of getting out of your comfort
zone, but in general they’re geared toward
people who are already comfortable. What
about people who aren’t comfortable?”
Mitten knows of just a handful of progressive groups specializing in wilderness experiences for women continued on page 98 >
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
91
2018
Out side
FACES of
CHANGE
An energized group of explorers are bringing the spirit of wilderness
through-hiking to American cities. Record-breaking distance trekker
Liz Thomas and others are altering how we see urban spaces and inviting
folks new to the outdoors along for the fun. B Y E R I N B E R G E R
Like the
Appalachian
Trail, But
with More
Stoplights
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
It’s after
sunset and
we’re
somewhere
near San Diego’s Goodan Ranch Sycamore
Canyon Preserve, about 135 miles into the
San Diego Trans County Trail—a 155-mile
route that winds through wilderness and
state parks, then into the heart of the city. Liz
Thomas and a few of her friends have been
hiking and camping for the past five days.
They started on January 10 at the Salton Sea,
near California’s Coachella Valley, and in less
than 24 hours they’ll finish at the Pacific
Ocean via Torrey Pines State Reserve. I met
up with the group just before noon to walk
part of today’s 27-mile stretch with them.
But we’ve hit a roadblock, literally. It’s a
four-lane highway that we’ll need to cross
and then follow in order to reach our final
food stop of the day: a Costco off Scripps
Poway Parkway. There’s no great alternate
route, and walking the narrow shoulder of a
busy highway in the dark? Inadvisable.
“This is the urban equivalent of cliffing
out,” says Thomas as she and her friends
consult various navigation apps and a map
by headlamp.
Such are the risks of urban throughhiking, which entails piecing together 50
miles or more of footpaths through places
never designed for trekking. Few do it better
than Liz “Snorkel” Thomas.
Thomas was given the trail name Snorkel
on the Appalachian Trail, after a night spent
slumbering with her head inside her sleeping
bag. (Condensation from her breath wetted out the interior.) She’s best known for
breaking the women’s unsupported speed
record on the AT in 2011 and for pioneering new long-distance wilderness routes,
completing them quickly and often solo.
But in the past few years, the 32-year-old
Japanese American, who grew up in Sacramento, has picked up another title: Queen
of Urban Hiking. She’s the perfect ambassador, possessing serious cred, an uncanny
navigational sense, a confident stride, and a
quick-to-laugh manner.
Day hiking within city limits isn’t a new
concept, of course. There are guidebooks
detailing trails in cities from San Francisco to
Atlanta. But Thomas has pushed the pursuit
further, mapping out routes as long as 200
miles from one corner of a city to another
Thomas hiking
under the Knott
Memorial Bridge
in San Diego
P H OTO G R A P H S B Y
and using infrastructure like stairways and
public art to rack up elevation gain and provide something approximating a vista. She
started in 2013 with a 220-mile through-hike
in Los Angeles called the Inman 300, named
for one of its creators, Bob Inman, and the
initial number of stairways it included.
Among other efforts, she has since hiked 60
miles through Chicago, 200 miles in Seattle,
and 210 miles in Portland, Oregon. In 2015,
she trekked the 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on the 50th anniversary of
that historic civil rights march.
CA THERINE LEDNER
“After your first wilderness throughhike, there’s this post-hike depression a
lot of people go through, seeing this huge
divide between living life on versus off the
trail,” says Thomas, who is five foot eight,
has powerful calves, and is wearing a plaid
shirt, an olive green hiking skirt, and bright
orange sunglasses. “I know through-hikers
who walk 200 miles every summer and in
the off-season sit at their desk and don’t
consider walking their city.”
Urban through-hikers are part of a larger
national shift as outdoor recreationists
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
93
expand the idea of what counts as adventure
and people without ready access to wilderness—the majority of us—look for ways to
participate. In the past few years, millions of
dollars have been invested in climbing gyms,
running and biking clubs have launched in
seemingly every zip code, and meetups like
Mappy Hour, GirlTrek, and Outdoor Afro,
which bring together enthusiasts outside
active adventure hubs, have expanded their
ranks. Cities like Miami and Austin, Texas,
have developed miles of greenways—paths
set aside for biking, running, and walking.
Eventually, Austin plans to connect 400
miles’ worth of regional trails.
Meanwhile, a small, ad hoc group of dedicated urban hikers have created routes of
their own, the pinnacle of which are multiday endeavors that take them far beyond the
official pathways. They’re slowly gaining
converts via Facebook and shared GPS coordinates, and if their evolving definition of
outdoor recreation goes mainstream, it could
mean healthier cities for all of us. What if
your entire city became your park?
THOMAS’S San Diego Trans County Trail
group includes Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa,
Mike “Ayce” Unger, and Naomi “the Punisher” Hudetz. Before I meet up with them,
they managed to tick off ten miles that
morning. They requested that I bring snacks
and drinks, and when I find them, in an
agreed-upon tunnel, they collapse onto
sleeping pads and demolish my offering of
watermelon and Cheez-Its. “It’s like feeding
pigeons,” Thomas says.
Now they’ve begun mentally moving on to
the Costco, which is 17 miles away. “We’re
gonna make some bad decisions there,”
Thomas says.
The group chimes in. “Polish sausages!”
“Salad. With kale.” “A 12-pack of kombucha.”
“And then we hit up all the samples.”
As we resume walking, it feels as though
we encounter the urban equivalent of a new
biome every hour. Leaving the tunnel, we
see teens hiking in basketball shorts; then we
wander hills dotted with building materials
but no discernible construction. This feeds
into a dirt road where we pass what sounds
like a tropical-bird sanctuary before climbing
a not-quite trail up a hill strewn with golf balls
and rusted metal. At the top, we look down at
a sprawl of trucks and shipping containers.
Full disclosure: today’s scenery isn’t particularly inspiring. Especially for this group,
most of whom are triple-crowners, which
means they’ve completed each of the three
major wilderness through-hikes—the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and
the Continental Divide Trail. This trip was
an introductory taste of urban hiking for
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O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
“I know throughhikers who walk
200 miles every
summer and in
the off-season sit
at their desk and
don’t consider
walking their city,”
Thomas says.
most of them. “We’ve taken an easy pace and
longer breaks,” Hudetz says. “It’s been fun.”
LaRuffa adds: “It’s an interesting way to see
how cities treat their public lands and their
urban interface.”
At 7 P.M. , we cliff out at the four-lane
highway. Weighing our options, we decide
to call it a night. It’ll be safer for the group to
find a new route in the morning. We pull out
our phones, book hotel rooms a few miles
away, and cram into a Lyft that carries us to
an empty Indian restaurant in a strip mall.
Bail-out options like this are one major
difference between urban and wilderness
hiking. While the number of miles covered
each day is similar—ranging from 15 to 30—
lodging is usually a friend’s couch or a hostel.
Food is often from a corner store, a burrito
joint, or the nearest all-you-can-eat restaurant. Resupply drops aren’t really necessary,
and the availability of public transit means
you’re never stranded. On this trip, the group
camped five nights and stayed in a hotel one
night. Navigation requires only a smartphone or GPS; Thomas uses the Gaia app.
Purists will scoff at the uncomplicated
logistics, but Thomas isn’t a snob. She
doesn’t see urban routes as second-class
substitutes for wilderness. Cities have historical landmarks, murals, plenty of access
to greenspace, and some of the country’s
10,234 state parks. Urban through-hikes
incorporate these elements. Sometimes
they’re mapped out with specific goals in
mind, like Thomas’s 100-mile Denver BrewThru, completed in March 2017, which hit 65
breweries in eight days.
“Urban hiking draws in this whole crowd
of people who don’t want to go into the
backcountry, or do but can’t get there,” she
says. Or they feel like they don’t have the
skill set for a multi-day backpacking trip or
the cash flow for all the sleeping bags, camp
stoves, and 60-liter backpacks. “It’s a cool
way to still explore,” she adds. “There’s a lot
that’s the same as wilderness hiking: mapping, exploration, meeting new people,
seeing new things.”
The best established urban hikes are currently out West, in cities like Los Angeles,
Seattle, and Portland. The routes have one
thing in common: lots of tall public stairways, a physically challenging feature. In
fact, Thomas credits her discovery of urban
hiking to a “renaissance of people who are
super interested in stairways.” Three such
enthusiasts are Bob Inman, Andrew Lichtman, and Ying Chen, who together created the Inman 300, America’s first urban
through-hiking route, connecting about 350
By speed-hiking and then blogging about
new urban routes on her website (see “Go
Your Own Way,” right), Thomas has brought
awareness of the activity to core hikers. But
who she really wants to attract are folks who
don’t consider themselves hikers at all. Many
of those people are among the 80.7 percent of
Americans who live in urban areas, just a bus
ride away from the next great concrete trail.
“Cities depend on flow,” says Mindy
Thompson Fullilove, professor of urban
policy and health at the New School in New
York City. “The more you get people flowing
to places that surprise them, the healthier
a city is going to be.”
SENIOR EDITOR ERIN BERGER ( @ERIN
EBERGER) WROTE ABOUT GIRLTREK IN
MAY 2017. SHE ONCE HIKED 50 MILES
THROUGH ST. LOUIS.
THOMAS AND HER group finish their San
GO YOUR OWN WAY
Diego Trans County Trail hike the next day
at 3 P.M., after winding through the suburban Sorrento Valley and Torrey Pines neighborhoods and traversing office parks and
strip malls containing hookah bars and coffee shops. Just beyond marshy Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, they end up at the rocky
shore of Torrey Pines State Beach, where
Thomas snaps a selfie.
Plenty of serious hikers have caught the
urban bug. Michael Yadrick, a plant ecologist living in Tacoma, Washington, put
together a 65-mile route in Seattle with
15,000 stairs. Some ultrarunners have completed it in a day. Dan Koeppel, a writer who
Want a taste of city hiking?
Follow these steps. —E.B.
Thomas doesn’t see urban routes as second-class
substitutes for wilderness. Cities have historical
landmarks, murals, plenty of access to greenspace,
and some of the country’s 10,234 state parks.
public stairways in Los Angeles. Thomas was
happily ticking off wilderness trails in 2013
when Lichtman reached out to her, hoping that the well-known hiker would bring
some cred to the route as Inman worked on
his Guidebook to the Inman 300. “It was my
off-season, so I thought it could be training—and at least it was warm,” Thomas says.
“I ended up really liking it in a way I didn’t
necessarily think I would.”
She completed the Inman in just over
five days and enjoyed the experience of the
neighborhoods melting one into the next as
she trekked through them. Inman agrees. “I
hate the different barriers that go up in this
city, assumptions like, ‘Don’t go there, you’ll
be killed,’ ” he says. “It really isn’t like that.
Urban walking has a way of making the city
seem smaller.”
ary, she embarked on a 60-mile Brew-Thru
of Bend, Oregon, that also targeted public art
and landmarks—and that sidewalks can be
just as meditative as trails.
“We don’t need to divide up our world in
terms of mountains being the place of solace,”
Thomas says. “If we lived in walkable cities,
we’d start thinking of all places as places of
O
solace.”
lives in Los Angeles, started running and
hiking stairways to train for an attempt on
California’s Mount Whitney. From 2009
to 2015, he organized a two-day, 35-mile,
multi-staircase L.A. hike called the Big
Parade that eventually attracted hundreds of
participants.
Koeppel tells people that to reach the
highest level of urban hiking, they need to go
on Google Maps and create their own route.
“In a city, there are a million ways to get from
point A to point B,” he says. “You can choose
the prettiest route, the fastest, the hardest.
It’s very creative and individualistic. It’s kind
of a radical idea.”
While Thomas considers herself an advocate for better hiking access and more walkable cities, she also wants to show people
just how much fun she’s having—in Febru-
Join a group.
Meetup, Facebook, and Gociety
are a few good places to start.
Looking to join an organized hike?
Members of the San Diego Trans
County Trail Facebook group plan
a large group trek each winter and
provide downloadable GPS files
of the route.
Try a known hike.
For options in Los Angeles, download Guidebook to the Inman 300
at outsideonline.com/inman300.
Dan Koeppel keeps an archive of
maps for many of his walks on
Facebook, under the Big Parade
page’s events section. A map for
the Seattle Stairway Foot Tour,
a 65-mile route with 15,000 stairs,
is available at outsideonline.com/
seattlestairs. Liz Thomas posts
maps and information about
through-hikes she’s completed
in Portland, Denver, and Chicago
on her website at eathomas.com.
And Mountaineers Books publishes a number of urban hiking
guides, such as Seattle Stairway
Walks. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that advocates
turning unused rail corridors into
recreation trails, maintains the
TrailLink database, which includes
nonwilderness route options.
Piece it together.
Contact your local transportation
bureau for walking or cycling maps.
(Portland, Oregon, has superlative
ones.) Then add elevation: the
website Public Stairs has maps for
dozens of cities. Connect everything using Google’s My Maps feature, which lets you share routes.
05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
95
BEARS EARS continued from page 85
Navajo power brokers. Soon after coming on
board, she began attending meetings of the
Bears Ears coalition. She found herself traveling up to the high desert, once camping
between the twin buttes under a full moon.
On another trip, her elementary-schoolage niece sang a traditional song about the
region. Branch sometimes kept a sleeping
bag in her office in order to head up to Bears
Ears. She felt that something powerful was
protecting the region—something, she says,
“that transcends the law.”
THE TRIBES WERE hardly alone in prepar-
ing a complaint. In the Trump era, the gears
of liberal outrage have spun freely, providing
a boon to the bottom line of environmental and social-justice organizations across
the country. By April 2017, when President
Trump signed the executive order launching Zinke’s monument review, everyone
from Earthjustice to the Natural Resources
Defense Council to Patagonia was exploring
lawsuits over Bears Ears. Visits to the monument spiked, and UDB prepared to sue as
well. For Branch and the NARF lawyers, the
outcry was welcome. But the team wanted to
keep the tribal voice separate from that of the
environmental groups.
“In an ideal world,” Branch says, “it would
be cool to work together. But we’re dealing
with very different interests.” Campbell
echoed that sentiment. For her part, Landreth likened the environmentalists’ pile-on
in the months leading up to the proclamation to “a high school party—if I’m not invited, I’m going to die!”
Landreth’s primary concern was that the
tribes respond first. “It’s the first truly Native American monument,” she says. “Let the
tribes talk about how fucked-up it is that the
one he goes after is the one run by Indians.”
The other plaintiffs respected that. After
The Hopi Tribe, et al., v. Donald J. Trump, et
al. was filed on December 4, two other coalitions of nonprofits held off for a couple of
days before filing their suits in federal district court in D.C. Landreth was pleased.
One suit was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, SUWA, and nine
96
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
other environmental groups represented
by Earthjustice. The other was brought by
UDB, the Conservation Lands Foundation,
Patagonia, and a group of archaeological and
conservation organizations. Meanwhile, two
other nonprofit coalitions sued to block the
halving of Grand Staircase–Escalante.
Each of the complaints addresses presidential authority under the Antiquities Act
and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. But they differ in regard to the
antiquities at stake. The environmental
groups’ complaint emphasizes “outstanding
opportunities for sightseeing, hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, spiritual reflection, and other outdoor activities.” The suit
brought by UDB and Patagonia references
both Bears Ears’ archaeological sites and its
spectacular climbing.
The tribes’ suit reads differently. It is,
of course, full of legalese. But it also notes
that the Zuni consider water to be “similar to the blood of their mother” and states
that “Hopi ancestors buried in the area
continue to inhabit the land.” Another passage reads: “The Bears Ears landscape also
has seminal importance in Navajo songs,
prayers, and healing ceremonies that have
unique and close ties to the Bears Ears region, its flora and fauna, and its historical
and spiritual qualities, including the Anaaji
(Enemy Way), the Dinéee (Wild Game Way),
the Dzilkíji (Mountaintop Way), and the
Hozhooji (Blessingway), which seeks to restore and revitalize hózhó (harmony, beauty,
and balance) for the individual for whom the
ceremony is performed.”
“If you read a thousand other complaints
in federal court,” says Landreth, “you will
not see one that looks like that.”
But once the suits were filed, the press
filled up with stories about Patagonia—both
its lawsuit and its home page, which the
company altered to read, simply, “The President Stole Your Land.” The narrative proved
easier for reporters to digest.
“I love Patagonia,” Landreth told me afterward. “I’m sure they’re great people. My
sense is theirs is a voice people would listen
to.” She paused. She liked what the company
did on its website, she said. “But at the same
time, it made me kind of sad. Anything we
said about looting or sacredness of the land in
50-plus interviews never received that level
of penetration. What are we doing wrong?”
lawyers representing the administration
could conceivably argue that Obama didn’t
adhere to the act’s mandate to protect only
“the smallest area compatible.” But, says
Squillace, “That’s a very tough argument,
because the plaintiffs are going to be able to
show all kinds of objects that were intended
for protection by the Obama administration
that are now outside the protected area.” In
February, in fact, a team of scientists announced that they’d discovered a bed of
Triassic phytosaur fossils—an early crocodile—in an area of Bears Ears that had been
stripped of protections; the fossils are located in the Chinle formation, parts of which
also contain uranium.
Still, Zinke’s final report, made public in
December, suggests that previous presidential overreach is an animating idea behind the revised monument. It also suggests
that extraphysical and even environmental
concerns should not affect the creation of
monuments. “Throughout the review,” he
wrote, “I have seen examples of objects not
clearly defined in the proclamations. Examples of such objects are geographic areas including viewsheds and ecosystems. Proper
use of the Act should specifically identify the
‘historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric
structures, and other objects of historic or
scientific interest,’ and the quantity of land
necessary to protect each object, if any.”
In January, the Department of Justice requested that the case be moved from D.C. to
Utah, on the grounds that the monuments
are located there. “Both parties are trying to
get to the friendliest forum they can find,”
Squillace told me. At press time, judge Tanya
Chutkan, an Obama nominee, had yet to decide on that motion. She did, however, rule
on the federal government’s motion to consolidate the suits into one. Chutkan grouped
the suits together as The Hopi Tribe, et al.,
v. Donald J. Trump, et al. for the purpose of
scheduling, but agreed with the plaintiffs
that the tribes could file their own briefs and
argue separately.
How long all this will take is unknown. The
fight is, in the words of John Leshy, a former
solicitor at Interior, “a pretty straightforward kind of case” from a litigation point of
view. But it’s hugely consequential, potentially dictating the stability of America’s 117
national monuments—and pitting an indigenous worldview against that of a real estate
developer from Queens.
IF THE PLAINTIFFS’ cards are on the table,
the federal government has not shown its
hand. According to the University of Colorado’s Squillace, the government will have to
argue “implied authority”—that the president has a power that’s not articulated in the
Antiquities Act. The Department of Justice
ONE TREASURE IS nearly impossible to find
in Bears Ears: a map of the original 1.35million-acre monument. Because Trump
took office just a month after Obama’s announcement, little infrastructure has been
added. There are no Bears Ears National
Monument signs in Bluff. According to
Friends of Cedar Mesa, a local environmental group, use of toilet paper at the smattering of ranger stations and outhouses in the
area has increased in the past year, indicating significant growth in tourism. But Bluff
won’t be rivaling Moab in the near future; it
still has just a few lodges and restaurants that
are open occasionally. And those who wish to
access the monument still need a good set of
jacked-up tires and some local knowledge.
On February 2, a 60-day temporary
moratorium on mining claims in the Obama
monument expired, meaning that anyone
with a couple hundred bucks can show up,
put some sticks in the ground, and claim
mineral rights, just as they could for decades
prior to December 2016. But the price of uranium is low; despite dire warnings from the
environmental community, the race to stake
new claims has not yet heated up.
The next day, on February 3, Ethel Branch’s
Pathfinder hurtles out of Bluff toward Bears
Ears. The road is empty. Branch and a Hopi
friend, a former Marine named Alfred, are
driving to see some ruins. Alfred steers up
the Moki Dugway, a steeply switchbacked
road that climbs to Cedar Mesa. They keep
driving until they can see the twin mesas of
Bears Ears. Far to the southwest looms the
shadow of a curved mountain.
“Navajo Mountain,” Branch says.
“Hopi Mountain,” Alfred corrects her.
They laugh. Alfred started visiting Bears Ears
in the eighties. Branch never came as a kid.
“We couldn’t go 40 miles without the ranch
truck breaking down,” she later explains.
That afternoon, Alfred turns onto a cratered dirt road leading toward Cave Towers,
an Ancestral Puebloan site in Mule Canyon.
There’s a crunch, and it sounds like the right
rear wheel has bottomed out. Branch and Alfred step from the car to find they have a flat
tire. But there’s only so much daylight. The
tire can wait. They walk out and find a sign
asking that hikers visit with respect. There
are two misspellings. A disappointed Branch
wonders aloud if she has a Magic Marker
back in the car.
She and Alfred continue on, and after a
few hundred yards they come to a yawning
canyon. At its head are a number of ancient
towers made of red rock and mud—perhaps
defense outposts. Branch stays away from
the ruins in accordance with Navajo custom. A few hundred yards beneath the towers, Alfred points out some small structures
tucked into the cliffs—Puebloan homes. The
walls have holes, he says: spaces for arrows.
The people here were guarding something of
great value.
Swallows dive in and out of the canyon
walls. Alfred hikes back to change the tire.
Branch sticks around a little while longer. She walks to the lip of the canyon and
pauses. “You can hear it,” she says, and sure
enough there’s a gurgle. At the bottom of the
canyon, far beneath the towers and settlements, there’s a clear spring bubbling with
O
life. Something to protect.
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ABE STREEP
( @ABESTREEP) WROTE ABOUT
PATAGONIA AND THE FIGHT OVER
PUBLIC LANDS IN SEPTEMBER 2017.
Volume XLIII, Number 4. OUTSIDE (ISSN 0278-1433)
is published monthly, except for the January/February
double issue, by Mariah Media Network LLC, 400
Market St., Santa Fe, NM 87501. Periodical postage
paid at Santa Fe, NM, and additional mailing offices.
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05.18 O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E
97
SURVIVORS continued from page 91
with trauma. They include Idaho-based
Higher Ground, which runs trips for women
veterans, and the Colorado-based Women’s
Wilderness Institute, which runs LGBTQ and
other programs. Aleya, our climbing guide
on this trip, is planning to open an adventure-therapy center that will include courses
for women suffering from post-traumatic
stress disorder.
“Nature should put you in a comfort zone,”
adds Mitten. “People with PTSD, they don’t
even have a comfort zone.”
THIS MORNING along Buchanan Creek,
ease and repose are not exactly on offer.
Water bottles left outside our sleeping bags
have frozen. The forecast is calling for snow
tomorrow. Then there’s the matter of last
night’s Dickensian rations. Kris, in her unzipped bag, nearly froze. Joy confided in me
that she was terrified of the dark. (“It was
pitch-black, and the trees started screeching. And I felt like somebody was coming.”)
“This just kind of sucks,” admits Elise at
the morning fire. “This trip for y’all is about
healing, and if that’s not what’s being accomplished, then we as leaders need to reassess
and make decisions, and we can’t do that unless we’re hearing from everyone.”
“All right,” Asta volunteers, “I’m a little
overwhelmed. Sleeping on the streets is way
different. I thought maybe I had a little bit of
an understanding, but it’s definitely different. This is real camping.”
“I mean, this is joyous to be out here,” adds
Kris. “The scenery is amazing. But last night
was pretty miserable. I’m like, What have I
gotten myself into?”
So while Hope brews oatmeal, Chelsea jogs
back to the trailhead to find some cell reception and see about amending the plan. Meanwhile, the women do yoga in down jackets,
raid the peanut butter to bulk up their oatmeal, stoke the fire, and watch the pine needles sizzle. When Chelsea returns two hours
later, she gathers up the group.
“OK, new plan!” she says. Instead of continuing along to a second campsite, we’ll use
this one as our base camp and go on a day
hike. Tomorrow morning, before the worst
98
O U T S I D E M A G A Z I N E 05.18
of the storm hits, we’ll hike the three miles
back out and head for a cushy retreat center
for our last night. And we’ll buy more food.
The women express relief and delight. No
packs today! A waiting bed!
Later, Chelsea tells me why she felt the
urgent need to pull the plug on a third, colder
night out. It comes down to neurobiology.
Everyone has a window of tolerance, she
explains, in which they feel emotionally
stable and can stretch and grow. “This is
where you can stay connected to your frontal lobe, which is where social connections
can happen, and abstract thought, creativity, self-concept, and meaning making.”
People who’ve experienced trauma can go
into a state of hyperarousal, becoming anxious and on edge. Or they may experience
hypo-arousal, which can look like listlessness and depression. Either way, emotions
hijack the controls. “Their windows shrink
quite a bit,” Chelsea says. “Their windows
are really small.”
By midday, though, we all seem to have
entered some sort of bliss bubble. The clouds
have cleared, the temperature has warmed to
the fifties, and the positive benefits of nature
arrive on cue. We smell the vanilla bark of a
ponderosa, walk across a log bridge over a
fast-flowing creek, and picnic in bright sun.
Over bagels and canned salmon, I sit with
Rochelle, who has an easy laugh that belies
her life before treatment. I ask her how she
feels today. She smiles and groans.
“I am feeling a little bit exhausted,” she
says. “But I am honestly doing a lot of selfreflection.” One thing she’s noticing is more
physical sensation, not all of it pleasant. It’s
a good reminder that she didn’t always take
care of her body, and now she wants to. “It’s
like a loving type of awareness, you know?”
This is one of the main reasons that being
active and outside—in a full-sensory environment—can be so powerful. Although there’s
not much research on how long these benefits last, healing from trauma is a long, slow
process, says University of Denver’s LaserMaira. On a trip like this, mind and body finally
start to come together again. The hope is that
survivors use that base to keep themselves
safer and healthier moving forward.
Although She Is Able doesn’t formally
follow up with participants, the idea is that
they’ll remain in touch and continue to support each other. For example, Elise and many
of the other women will soon be attending
Tamara’s graduation from her treatment
program, though that’s still hard to picture
from their chilly streamside perch.
WHEN WE ARRIVE back at the trailhead the
next day, snow is falling. We board Betty
White and head to 110-acre Toth Ranch,
a Christian retreat center nestled into the
rangy slopes of Hot Sulphur Springs. The
main house is warm, with picture windows,
deep plush sofas, and a hot tub. Kris looks
around and starts crying, and Chelsea has to
tell her it’s OK, she is worthy of this place.
The afternoon is spent reveling in hot
water, walking to a pond, and cooking up
Thai noodles and Nutella cookies. Satiated
and toasty, hair freshly washed, the women
settle in for the evening debrief.
True to form, it isn’t long before the tears
and the prayers kick in. As the moon rises
and the wind blows against the barren poplars, Elise talks about the many times she felt
burned-out this year, desperately seeking
funds, facing enormous self-doubt. She has
agonized over whether to remain as executive
director or move to the board level. (In several
months, she will indeed hire a new director
with experience treating victims of trauma.)
“It’s been really hard,” she says, sniffling,
“but watching you guys, the genuine conversation and the realness that’s happened
here, you can’t beat it. And so you guys have
made me want to keep going. This is why I’m
here. And how cool, you know?”
All the women tell Elise to keep going.
“I know there’s six of us who have walked
down a dark, dark path,” says Kris, who only
18 months ago crashed a vehicle into a gas
station while being chased by a U.S. marshal.
“None of us thought that we’d be sitting here
today. If you had asked us a couple years ago,
the answer would’ve been no. I mean, this is
something that I will never forget.”
“I got a lot out of this,” starts Rochelle,
“even the very uncomfortable parts of not
being able to breathe and my back hurting
or my muscles aching or not getting sleep or
whatever, like the uncomfortable stuff.” She
takes a deep breath. “It just sent messages to
me like, Wow, my body is actually a responsibility.” Heads are nodding, slowly.
“I didn’t know that I needed any healing
physically, or that there was deep, deep, deep
wounding there.” Now she is crying, but she
keeps going. “And I had never grieved the
loss that it had caused me. And I realized that
my body has never—you know, like, I never
really claimed it as mine.”
Outside the big windows, the snow keeps
falling on the mountains we just left, where,
it seems, the women also deposited a few
shards of themselves, bits that needed to
be abandoned. Rochelle looks out over the
range. “I took back my body. I realized it could
O
be mine.”
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FLORENCE
WILLIAMS ( @FLOWILL) IS THE AUTHOR
OF THE NATURE FIX. SHE WROTE ABOUT
GIRL SCOUTS IN MAY 2017.
VA IL
COL ORA DO
JUNE 7-10
2018
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Outside Magazine
In Memoriam
05.18
Andrew Tilin (1965–2018)
Andrew Tilin, who died on February 17, started working as an editor at Outside in 1991, when the magazine was still based in
Chicago. He was a bright and laughing presence in a gray-sky city that wasn’t always conducive to the sports and adventures we
wrote about. He also set an example: pushing back against urban life to stay in shape by running, riding his bike, and zipping all over
town on in-line skates. (Rollerblades? Hey, it was the nineties, and he meant it when he self-identified as a fitness geek.)
When Outside moved to Santa Fe in 1994, Andrew—who grew up in San Francisco—was at home again in the expansive West,
and he led the charge as people discovered that New Mexico was a paradise for hikers, cyclists, and skiers. He operated on a different
level—over the years, he took on grueling events like the Leadville Trail 100 mountain-bike race—but he would play with anybody,
and he was an excellent and patient teacher, beloved by those he rode and worked with.
Later in the decade, Andrew became a freelancer and wrote several classics for the magazine, including stories about the deadly
coexistence of reckless drivers and vulnerable bicyclists, the healing exhilaration of riding after a divorce, the debut of clothing
retailer Nau, and “I Couldn’t Be More Positive,” an adaptation from his book The Doper Next Door, in which he explored the
underworld of amateur-bike-racing cheats by taking testosterone for a year and then competing himself. When he died, he was
finishing up a story about two bike-loving heirs to the Walmart fortune, which you can read on page 18.
Andrew moved to Austin, Texas, in 2011, where he joined a local bike club called Gruppo VOP. Our friend was snatched away
decades too soon, at 52, hit by an out-of-control truck while he fixed a bike tire on the side of the road. We will miss him forever.
We will honor who he was by working hard and enjoying life in ways that surely would have made him smile. —ALEX HEARD
108
P H OTO G R A P H B Y
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