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Month: March 2013 (page 1 of 2)

Meriwether & Whiskeyjack

I have admired the work of Meriwether of Montana and Whiskeyjack Paddles for awhile, both owned and operated by Danny Brown from Whitefish, Montana.  Danny recently got in touch with me, and we discussed the axes and paddles that his respective companies craft in Northern Montana.  Meriwether, in particular, also provides a number of other products that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on, including the Meriwether Flask, which I included in December’s gift guide.

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I was curious about how the paddles and axes were crafted, particularly the axes.  Having done little woodworking myself, I had assumed – like many others I know – that axe handles should be made of hickory, the strength of which is renowned.  Meriwether of Montana crafts their axe helves with maple and walnut, which are cut into strips and carefully laminated. This laminated construction is known for its strength, which Danny illustrated with the example of glulam beams, widely proven to be stronger than solid sawn counterparts.

Whiskeyjack paddles are also laminated, incorporating 25-50 individual pieces of cedar, which are cut and painstakingly glued back together.  The result is a paddle that is both light and strong, made for backcountry paddling.

After my interaction with owner Danny Brown, I understand more fully how much effort goes into these axes and paddles.  They are truly works of art, and Danny and team are clearly working hard to produce some very quality pieces of functional craft.  I look forward to stopping in on them on my next trip to Montana (a field test might be in order!).

Below are some photos Danny sent me of both the production process and the products.

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Spring at Silver Falls

We spent this past weekend at Silver Falls State Park, one of the most beautiful locations in Oregon in my opinion.  A big birthday weekend for my lady, and there was no better place to spend it.

With a beautiful lodge and other structures that date back to the CCC and WPA projects of the 1930s and 1940s, there is even more to see than the well-known, epic waterfalls.

Camping in the spring can be unpredictable, and so it was for us.  It was 65 and sunny on Friday, 42 and DUMPED rain all day on Saturday, and snowed on Sunday morning.  And we enjoyed every second.

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Thank You, John Denver

The upcoming John Denver Tribute (4/2/13) is not only packed with great renditions of John Denver classics, but also supports the work of The Wilderness Society.  I have to admit, I have always felt that the world would be a much better place if everyone walked around humming John Denver songs.  But we can now actually help protect wilderness by listening to John Denver.  Wilderness protection deserves such a soundtrack.  Preview below…

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The Bob.

I received my “The Bob” T-shirt today from the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, a clever way to celebrate both the man and the Montana wilderness area that bears his name.  I have previously posted about Bob Marshall, certainly one of the most interesting figures of wilderness preservation and conservation history that this country has produced, and definitely an inspiration to myself and countless others.

Go get a T!  I have a feeling these might go fast.  I also recommend Bob Marshall’s biography, A Wilderness Original.

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NPR Remembers Aldo Leopold

NPR ran a nice little story yesterday about perhaps the greatest conservationist in U.S. history, Aldo Leopold.  Have a listen, here.

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” — A Sand County Almanac

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