Commentary

Adventure Activism, Commentary, Film Festival, Mountain Film / 23.05.2011

Mountain Film inspired me to be a writer for good. I actually came to the world of journalism predisposed to telling stories about people working toward the benefit of others and the preservation of our planet. But the annual celebration of adventure culture in Telluride, Colorado has helped to focus my attention and create a conversation about how we all might do good in the world, to ask the question: how are you making the world a better place? As a reporter I’m prompted also ask that question of...

Banff, Commentary, Film Festival, National Parks / 03.11.2010

There’s a fine line between dreams and destiny. Indulge in one, insist upon the other and both are inevitable. *

Just arrived at the 35th Annual Banff Mountain Film Festival!  This my second year attending and I couldn't be more excited. Just like before I’ll be reporting on the events surrounding this celebration of adventure culture and sharing the stories behind the athletes, artists and activists that inspire awe through film, literature and graphic images. But this time, by invitation of the Banff Center of Mountain Culture, I’m here as part of the program.
Commentary / 11.09.2010

Jarrow sat listening to NPR on the verge of tears. I didn’t care. I had a job to do. It was a beautiful fall day in Duluth, Minnesota. Two hours earlier I ran along the shoreline of Lake Superior. The cool breeze and the warm sun felt good on my skin. I was glad to be alive as I bounded up the stairs to my regular hotel room. I called it the Willy Lowman Suite at the Lake View Inn. Dripping with sweat I slammed through the door, grabbed the towel I’d set on a chair, flipped on the radio and headed to the bathroom for a shower. I was just about to turn the water on as sounds of mayhem came peeling through the report on “Morning Edition.” Something horrible had happened.
Commentary, Diversity, Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Retailer, Summer / 03.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_3787" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="OR director Kenji Haroutunian (left) walks the show floor with DOI Sec. Ken Salazar"][/caption] After 20 years in the industry I can’t recall a cabinet level executive ever attending the Outdoor Retailer Show. Those with long standing memories may prove me wrong and I’ll stand corrected. But I believe that the address of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to the biannual Outdoor Industry Association breakfast meeting was a truly unique occurrence. His position in the Obama Administration not withstanding, Salazar’s visit to OR is important for other reasons. As a person of Hispanic ancestry and the direct representative of the first African-America president of the United States for the first time in our history, federal policy for the protection of our public land, air, water and natural resources is being guided predominately by people of color. Salazar brought with him a message from the White House that stands not only as a sign of a strong relationship between our industry and the U.S. Government, but it may also serve as a rare opportunity to finally bridge the divide between outdoor recreation and ethnic minorities in our country who fail access it.
Commentary / 14.06.2010

It just wasn’t going to happen. Shamane and I turned the newly built chair every-which-way, but there was no getting it up the stairs and through the narrow door from the basement.

“I hate to tell you this hun,” she said. “But I think you need to take the arms off.” My wife is every bit as smart as she is beautiful. Twelve years of marriage has taught me not to argue. Repeatedly muttering a single syllable expletive, I backed us down the steps and skulked over to my workbench. The precision Japanese handsaw I cherish would make quick work of this. After two solid weeks on an extended Joy Trip I spent my first Saturday at home building an Adirondack chair. The simple but classic design is a one-day project I could knock out in 8 hours from first cut to finish. The practice of woodworking is a wonderfully active meditation that frees the mind while transforming thought into reality. Ironically, the creation of this comfy lawn chair was a roundabout way of settling my overloaded brain to contemplate and then report on the many adventures I discovered in my recent travels.
Commentary, Gardening / 20.03.2010

Despite two inches of new snow overnight the spring growing season in Madison officially began today. The annual Eagle Heights Community Garden Seed Fair opened to a capacity crowd of hobby gardeners eager to till the soil in the warmer days yet to come.

“I am SO pumped for this!” said our plot mate Jennifer Harrington. “We’re gunna have SO much yummy produce.” My wife Shamane and I share a patch of land about two miles from our home with friends near the University of Wisconsin campus. More than 1,300 plots are available for area residents to grow a modest garden of vegetables or flowers. The cost is a mere $35 for the season. And local organizers during the fair provide an assortment of seeds free for the taking.