Brief No. 074


Project: Wilderness Print   Location: United States   Subject: YJ Store

Words by Kyle von Hoetzendorff

This is a print to celebrate and congratulate Wilderness. Congratulations Wilderness. Congratulations Wilderness for being just what you are, not that you need our gratitude. You would be better off without us anyway, the conscious, self-righteous/self-loathing, needy us. You would even be better off without the fawning, in awe, perpetually blissed-out us, the enlightened us, the elevated us. You would just be better off without us, without our tents, our non-motorized vehicles, our horses, our campfire rings, and our buried feces, you would still be you, an even better, cleaner, you, you would be Wilderness just as you were meant to be, absent the blight of consciousness, the acne of sentience.

You don’t need us, that is a fact, and that ability to go it alone, to exist outside of all of our mess is something that, deep down in our souls, we all fully admire about you.

Unfortunately for you Wilderness, you don’t have a choice; you see, there are a ton of us out here. From your perspective we must all pretty much look the same, like a bleak, never-ending field of untrodden snow, but we, each one of us, believes ourselves to special, that we are each a unique snowflake, falling through the atmosphere of life on an individual path of discovery and enlightenment, wanting and consuming the world's bounty pell-mell.

But that’s on us Wilderness, that’s our deal. You get to be the rock, the obelisk, the forever unchanging. Because you are not just a physical place, some cordoned off piece of land that forbids reckless four-wheeling or motorized chainsawing, you are an inaccessible but wholly desirable state to which our minds our drawn. You are Eden before the apple, the land before time, the cause to our effect. We can never understand you, not with this damned language/culture/society business in the way. You are unattainable and wholly desirable and for this we celebrate you. One day we may walk back into the garden and shed all this refuse, but that’s unlikely. What is likely is that we will carry on the way we do, manipulating and crafting our personal trajectories, from time to time doing our best to mimic our idea of you. Wilderness you will carry on without us, exactly the way you have always done.

This print then isn’t for you at all Wilderness. It for us, as a reminder of what is out there, what exists beyond our understanding, what can’t be known, yet demands our attention, our intimate awareness. So we are going to allow ourselves to celebrate you Wilderness, by hanging this captivating honorarium designed by Nathaniel Russell on the walls of our offices, our tool sheds, our kitchens, and our babies rooms. We are going to be inspired by our idea of you, even though you may not care for us one way or another, because Wilderness, like it or not, that's who we are and this is what we do.

Illustration by Nathaniel Russell. Available in the Yonder Journal Store.

Illustration by Nathaniel Russell. Available in the Yonder Journal Store.

Brief No. 73

Mike Cherney on Black Bears

Project: Wildlife   Location: Mythical State of Jefferson   Subject: Ursus americanus

Words by Mike Cherney, photography by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

There’s this sweet gravel loop called MDK which I ride a bunch ‘cause it just has everything and it’s right out the door to catch a quick blast of endorphins. Approaching the summit of the first climb I'm motivated... one with the effort and dialed for the upcoming descent that’ll drop me into Goods Gulch and the climb out over Shoefly. Rolling over the top, shifting into the large gears, gaining speed, tucked and floating on the bike over the uneven terrain, totally in the flow and the moment. Then, wham, out of the brush on my left comes this black bear (Ursus americanus), 10 feet in front of me and already up to speed running breakneck in the same direction I'm going.

For 300 feet it’s me and the bear blasting down the gravel road. I’m hang’n right on it’s ass, holler’n, "Go bear go!" and it's sending up dust like a beer-blurred motocrosser. As quick as it came onto the road, it dove off into the trees and gulch below. Frigg’n super rush of adrenaline, heart rate pinned and a 110 degree left turn just ahead. Made my day.

A few days later I’m testing some cross/adventure tire combos to be ready for Noel’s 'Pain Train Endurance Race' in Oct. So I mount up some other rubber and head back out to that MDK loop to make comparisons. Same route that I raced the bear on, but this time I'm looking very carefully around me as I ride while pushing the new tire combo as hard as I can to find it’s limits. I’m testify'n that a 47mm front tire w/ 35psi is so much more fun than a 35mm @ 55psi.—duh! This loop finishes up with a 3 mile run on Kingsbury Rd. coming off Shoefly, rolling and twisting, always downhill on gravel surface back to town. The fun factor and speeds are very high with the big tires soak’n up the terrain.

I’m reflecting on bears and the lack of seeing them this time around. A quarter mile before the road goes back to paved and into town, I get this big black dot in the far left of my vision... big black dots are not usual in the woods. Brakes duly applied and rolling to a stop, I see two bears standing in a spur road, check’n me out about 30 yards off. Mama bear is giving me the evil eye and cub bear slinks behind mom, peaking out to see what's gonna happen. I’m talk’n calmly to them, asking if they are finding water and enough food, they're look’n at me. A few moments go by and I guess mama bear feels I’m no threat and turns the cub and self up the spur and away they go.

Now I've lived in bear country for 14 years, I ride constantly in the backcountry and if I see a bear or three every year I feel fortunate. The first five years I saw zero bears and was think’n, how rad was everyone else getting when they told me their bear stories? Now just in the past three days I’ve seen three bears, and I raced one of them down the road. And, I had never before spotted a cub. Payback for 5 years of no bear sightings, or is there sump’n unusual going on ‘round here?

Black Bear Facts

Information prepared by Andrea Hess, American Bear Association

Did you know that although they are called black bears, colors can range from black to cinnamon brown, silver-blue and, occasionally, even white? The white bears are called "Spirit" or "Kermode" bears.

Ten Fast Facts About Black Bears

  1. eat mostly berries, nuts, grasses, carrion, and insect larvae
  2. have color vision and a keen sense of smell
  3. are good tree climbers and swimmers
  4. very intelligent and curious
  5. can run up to 35 miles per hour
  6. weigh an between 125 to 600 pounds
  7. go without food for up to 7 months during hibernation in northern ranges
  8. usually give birth to 2 to 3 cubs during the mother's sleep every other year
  9. can live over 25 years in the wild (average age in the wild is 18)
  10. are typically shy and easily frightened

Habitat Preservation

Black bears have lost over 60% of their historical range. As human encroachment increases, preserving large areas of undeveloped land where bears and other animals can thrive is vital. Crucial components include adequate sources of food and water, denning sites such as rock crevices, hollow trees, and dense vegetation, contiguous travel corridors with sufficient cover for protection from poachers, harassment, and associated dangers from human development.

Avoiding "nuisance" encounters in Bear Country

Black bears are highly intelligent and adaptable. This species has a great capacity to live in close proximity to people. Unfortunately, many bears are shot needlessly because of unfounded fear and human carelessness. Led by a keen sense of smell, bears will naturally gravitate to potential food sources found in unsecured garbage, bird feeders, orchards, farm crops, beehives, outside pet food, and organic compost piles. FOOD AND FEAR DRIVE BLACK BEAR BEHAVIOR. Therefore:

Properly store or secure all odorous food/non-food items. Use plastic bags to seal in odors and store garbage inside buildings. Use electric fences around hives, orchards, and compost piles. Attach spill pans to bird feeders and hang out of reach (10 feet up). Clear away dense brush and protective cover from yard.
Don't surprise a bear; black bears tend to be nervous and easily frightened. They can cause injury if suddenly startled, cornered, or provoked. Warn a bear you are coming by occasionally clapping or using bells. Use caution when hiking in windy weather, downwind, along streams, through dense vegetation or natural food areas, and when approaching blind curves where a bear may not hear, see, or smell you.

Should you encounter a black bear

  1. Stay calm - DO NOT RUN (running may elicit a chase response by the bear).
  2. Pick up children so they don't run or scream; restrain dog; avoid eye contact and talk in soothing voice.
  3. If the bear stands up, he is NOT going to attack but is curious and wants a better sniff or view.
  4. Back away slowly; if bear chomps jaw, lunges, or slaps ground or brush with paw, he feels threatened.
  5. Slowly retreat from area or make wide detour around bear; don't crowd or block bear's escape route.
  6. Note: Bear attacks on humans are extremely rare. A person is 180 times more likely to be killed by a bee and 160,000 times more likely to die in a car accident. Most injuries from black bears occur when people try to feed, pet, or crowd them. Bears will nip or cuff bad-mannered humans, as they will bad-mannered bears. They are very strong and powerful animals; bears should always be treated with caution and respect.

Brief No. 72

Rope Swing

Project: Essays   Location: Saco River, ME   Subject: Rope Swings

Words by Derek Stackhouse, photo (Washougal River) by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

The Saco River winds from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, through Southern Maine, emptying into the sea at Saco Bay. Behind its bucolic banks, though, lies a grim history, one that elicits whispers of an “Indian curse.” Local legend goes that in the summer of 1675, a group of white settlers tossed an Indian boy from the Sokokis tribe into the river to see if native children were in fact born able to swim “like dogs.” Enraged Sokokis chief Squandro swore that three white men would perish in the river’s waters annually for the deed. The tale is such an integral part of life in the region that in 1947, after a summer of no casualties, the front page of the local newspaper declared “Saco River Outlives Curse of Indian Chief.”

Today, on a leisurely inner tube trip down the calm stretch of the Saco between tiny Buxton and Hollis, Maine, one need only scan the shores to see the variety of human uses for such a waterway. The West Buxton Hydroelectric Plant, a mid-century monument to the desire to harness the water’s power, still operates just upriver from sprawling residential lawns and the uniform green of Salmon Falls Country Club. These manicured expanses continually interrupt vibrant green banks of forest. Here, working class families who have farmed the land or moved timber down the river for generations live alongside moneyed retirees and professionals looking for some relaxation. And finally, just across from the golf course’s ninth fairway, stands that ubiquitous totem of adolescent abandon: the rope swing. … More in this Brief

Brief No. 71

Slash Piles

Project: Essays   Location: Black Hills, SD   Subject: Slash Piles

Words by Kyle von Hoetzendorff, photo by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

The term Slash Pile is evocative and ambiguous. Context is important.

The Rock and Roll context

'Slash Pile'. It is hard for me to believe this wasn’t a term used by roadies during the Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction world tour. To what specifically it would reference has yet to be determined in an anthology of those times, but I have a few ideas. 'Slash Pile' could easily have been a term used by envious roadies when noticing that once again Slash was buried under a bevy of buxom and lascivious groupies. They could have said for example, “Man did you see that Slash Pile last night? How does that dude even breathe in there?” or, “Hey bud what happened to your elbow?” ”I slipped on the wet spot from that Slash Pile this morning and slammed it on a Marshall cabinet.” 'Slash Pile' could also have been used as a term of pity, one that plays upon Slash’s voracious alcohol and substance use as in, “Did you see that Slash Pile last night? Poor guy lost his top hat when he tumbled down the stairs of his tour bus.” I am confident that a future tell-all will get to the bottom of this mystery.

… More in this Brief

Brief No. 70


Project: Technical Briefs   Location: Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories, Canada   Subject: Aliphatic polyamides

Words by Ryan Liverman1, photograph from Arctic Red River Outfitters by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

Every now and again I hear someone bragging about how the technology in their newest piece of kit got its start in the space program. Velcro, invisible braces, and solar cells are all fantastic and NASA deserves credit wherever it can get it. Shoot, if astral provenance can reinforce a purchasing decision or dehydrated ice-cream can get another kid interested in science I’m all for it. But it’s worth noting that not all worthwhile inventions have such an auspicious start. For example, I believe the facts will clearly show that nylon has had a dramatic impact on our lives with little to none of the recognition showered on any of the many fancier or more flashy inventions like Velcro which, let's be fair, is ultimately applied to quite a few pedestrian or mundane tasks, like the securing of diapers for feckless parents.
… More in this Brief

  1. Ryan Liverman lives in Portland, Oregon. He likes his coffee black, his mornings quiet, and your children off his lawn. []

Brief No. 69

Conversations with a Black Bear

Project: DFKWA   Location: Somewhere near the Chetco River   Subject: The Scott and Yonder Journal Coalition

Oh hello, who is that over that by that huckleberry bush, I didn’t hear you coming!

Silly me. I’m such a silly bear. Me with my head in the clouds, halfway through this dead baby deer I tripped over on the way to the river for my morning drink. I’m crepuscular, that means I like to eat in the early morning and late afternoon, when the light is low and faint, needless to say it takes me a while to wake up. But where are my manners?! What kind of carrion do you like the best, hmmm? You look like the small intestines type, am I right? Why don’t you bring some of those delicious berries over here and visit with me for a minute. There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about, and, well, the whole thing makes me a little bit sad.

Do you know about capital W Wilderness, have you heard of this? I love it. I like big Wilderness and small Wilderness, old Wilderness and new Wilderness, placid Wilderness and vibrant Wilderness. I mean when it comes down to it, I just can’t get enough of Wilderness, period. I just love it so much. But what about you? I mean you are here, and you do have a fawn’s foot in your mouth and berry juice dribbling down your chin, talking to a silly ole bear! But seriously YJ-guy, how do you feel about Wilderness? … More in this Brief

Brief No. 68

US Route 93

Project: YJ Playlists   Location: Eastern Idaho, on the other side of the landslide   Subject: Roadtrip Playlist #1: Goldbug & Kirkham

As compiled, auditioned and vetted by Daniel Wakefield Pasley, Sara Elise Nylin, Ginger Lee Roberts and Trevor Jose Botas over the course of three days—March 14th, 15th and 16th—somewhere, anywhere and everywhere between Portland, Hermiston, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Missoula, Salmon, Goldbug, Chalis, Craters of the Moon, Mormon Bend, Lowman, Kirkham, Garden Valley, Boise, Ontario, Baker, La Grande, Pendleton and the Dalles.

  1. Django Django – Django Django Hail Bop
  2. WhoMadeWho – Brighter Inside World
  3. Debruit & Alsarah – Jibal Alubna ٥. جبال النوبة
  4. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe, You're Not Good Enough
  5. Dornik – Something About You
  6. Karin Park – Highwire Poetry Restless
  7. Kate Boy – Northern Lights
  8. Disclosure – You & Me (feat. Eliza Doolittle) [Flume Remix]
  9. Shy Girls – Without
  10. Niki & The Dove – The Drummer
  11. Petite Noir – Disappear
  12. Labyrinth Ear – Humble Bones
  13. Mathew Dear – Her Fantasy
  14. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator

Brief No. 67

Turnagain Mud Flats

Project: Yarns   Location: Collective Consciousness   Subject: Mud

Words and Photographs by Jen Kinney

The road south of Anchorage is drawn like a blade between sea and mountain. We were speeding along it, Don grinning as he gunned it through a rain-slick curve and told me his tale. He wound up in Alaska because a friend had told him fantastic stories: land up here for the taking, squatter’s rights to dream of, a lavish minimum wage. Don and this buddy, who in the time it took them to plan the trip had gone and acquired a family, drove up from Nebraska in a full Winnebago, with Don’s BMW motorcycle hitched to the back. A sharp turn, a slick road, and the bike, his get-a-away, was dashed against a wall of rock and ruined. The stories weren’t true. The promises broke. Stunned at a payphone in Anchorage, Don hung up too proud to dial the numbers and ask the favors that could get him home.

He laughed telling me this, decades later, still in the state of his exile. By the time he had saved up enough dough to buy an alarm clock radio and a guitar, he no longer wanted to leave. The night we met I had just touched down in Anchorage, where Don picked me up at the airport and drove me to work as a waitress in his fish and chips restaurant. I hadn’t thought to ask many questions about him or the restaurant or the town, just took the job and flew, so when I arrived that night, the landscape was clean and unburdened by stories. Don’s, spat wryly from the side of his mouth, were the first I heard. Above us, the mountains were flat, thin sheets of paper. At their feet was the narrow, mud-choked inlet of the Turnagain Arm. It was so named in warning, Don told me, by Captain Cook after his expedition discovered they could not sail through it to the ocean. The only hope of escape was to turn back they way they came. … More in this Brief

Brief No. 66

Bushwhacking in British Columbia

Project: Mountain Hunting   Location: The Toolies   Subject: Bushwhacking

Words and photographs by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

The first day of my summer vacation, in the Skeenas.

We are fanned-out and bushwhacking through a square mile or so of riparian bramble—otherwise known as Grizzly Bear Habitat—in an attempt to locate a yellow and blue bundle, the contents of which are an inflatable raft and a foot locker-sized plastic box in which there are many large golden blocks of discount cheese, Crystal Light packets and cardboard cartons of off-brand/generic/discount Power-type bars. The bramble is thick and sharp, the ground is uneven and hummocky, the mosquitos are Hitchcock-thick, it’s 97 degrees fahrenheit. We beat the ground at our feet with our boots, walking sticks, shotgun barrels, rifle butts, hoping for the sound of an inanimate thunk. The gnarliest sections of bush, the sections through which we’re forced to crawl, tunnel, climb, burrow and fist, are dense like a wall. A hairy/tangled/brushy/bushy wall, but a wall all the same. In regards to height, density and penetrability; the thicker sections of bush are more closely related to the object into which the Crash Test Dummies in the Volvo Safety Centre drive, than say for example a trail on which humans walk. … More in this Brief

Brief No. 65

Men's Penury

Project: Essays   Location: Canyon de Chelly, AZ   Subject: Broken Down

Words by Richard Ellis, Photograph (Highway 22 headed north to Black Diamond, Alberta) by Daniel Wakefield Pasley

We were rolling along just fine till we hit that plaintive chord change, from F-sharp to G-sharp minor that promises release, but always fails to deliver. Gram Parsons's reverie of brass buttons and green silks is unsteady in the light of day, It was a dream much too real, to be leaned against too long. That was the moment when that seam of misery, fevered with tragedy in Florida and lullaby-ed away by a pharmaceutical Morpheus in a motel in Joshua Tree, rippled out one more aftershock and brought us to a halt. The lights went out, the engine ran down, the alternator firing to a long gone beat. … More in this Brief

Page 1 of 812345...Last »