Please come enjoy this beautiful new Pendleton Outlet. A sneak peek below!
Enjoy this, out third and last guest post from Greg–for this trip, anyway.
Nighttime in the Grand Canyon adds another dimension to darkness for me.
Towering walls rise up almost a mile above the Colorado River to touch the night sky, soft sand wraps around our sleeping bags in a warm embrace, and the river of darkness between the canyon cliffs overhead is filled with so many bright stars that most nights, the ground is visible without the aid of a flashlight. Darkness in the Grand Canyon is filled with light, and my favorite light comes from the campfire after dinner.
Photo by Nate Pickens
We throw another log onto the bed of half-spent coals in the fire pan, sink deep into our camp chairs…and take a long breath. No rapids to scout, no river to run, no boats to wrangle.
The banter is lively as we replay the day – the heroic runs, the botched lines, and the close calls. Laughter and teasing settles into quiet conversation and reflection as we enjoy the flames of the fire and each other’s presence. Together, we unwind from the challenges of the day. Sometimes the only sound in our circle of camp chairs comes from the flickering fire and the river (and occasionally, snoring from Tony). We listen to the river every second of every waking hour and we hear it in our sleep. Darkness in the canyon is filled with the sounds of the river and laughter from the circle.
When we’re talked out, we fold our chairs, and one by one, leave the warmth of the fire. Sometimes two or three of us take the campfire conversation deeper into the night. The smoke from the fire follows us to our sleeping bags and tucks us in. Our best and our worst is on display in the stressful situations of the canyon and in the solitude of my bedroll each night, I sort through which of those “won the day” – and then I sleep.
Darkness in the canyon is filled with the smoky smell of a campfire and self reflection.
Photo by Izzy Collett
Brightly colored tents sit below the steep rock walls of the canyon. Some are scattered between boulders and sagebrush or even clustered in bunches on the sand banks of the river. They glow with a dreamy light.
Some nights there is a special sound to the darkness as Izzy plays a Native American wood flute while she sits on her boat. The rich low sounds are from a different time and place. Authentic music mingles with the smoke trails and travels up the canyon on its way to the stars.
It adds a richness to the experience that I will never forget.
The darkness in the canyon is filled with the haunting sounds of the Anasazi flute.
Photo by Dave Mortenson
In the daylight, my canvas tent blends with the light tan color of the sand. It’s the same material they used for tents and bags on the 1964 trip we are replicating. I use the tent when there is a threat of rain or I want a break from the strong winds and blowing sand.
When we’re not in tents, we sleep on the open ground with nothing overhead except the stars in the night-sky. The distance we hike away from the river to throw our bags down on shore is in direct proportion to the energy we have left at the end of a day spent rowing heavy boats through heavy rapids. Most of the bags are within 100 feet of the boats on the sand banks above the river. Some mornings we wake up as part of a sand dune and have to shake our way out of our bags.
Photo by Greg Hatten
Many nights we sleep on the boats. It’s my favorite place to spend the night. Down here boats are life… they’re everything. We row them through the valley of death and they deliver us from evil… repeatedly. They carry everything we own and faithfully get us to our next campsite at the end of our rowing day. They “connect” us to the river with a bond that’s hard to explain. We love our boats.
All covered up in our warm blankets, we peek out in the dark and occasionally see a falling star in the night sky as the water gently slaps the sides of the boat and the river rocks us to sleep. On “two-blanket” nights it’s cold enough to see our breath – which makes the blankets feel even warmer and the boats seem even cozier.
The darkness in the canyon is filled with cold cheeks, cold noses and gently rocking boats.
Marble Canyon Tunnel – Photo by Robb Grubb
The darkest dark I found in the canyon wasn’t on the boats at night. It was in an exploratory tunnel drilled deep in the side of Marble Canyon where construction had begun in the 1950s on one of the last proposed dam projects in the west.
A couple of us tied off our boats on river left and scrambled up the loose shale to the mouth of the tunnel – a hundred feet above the river. From that elevated vantage point, the canyon looked spectacular. I tried to imagine a dam in this special spot and couldn’t. We turned from the river, climbed over the railroad ties and boulders guarding the entrance, and crawled through a portal into the heart of the Marble Canyon wall.
Marble Canyon Entry – Photo by Robb Grubb
Twenty feet in and we were covered in darkness. Real deep dark heavy darkness…. an eerie black quiet darkness… and I thought of orcs, and goblins, and the Lord of the Rings. We turned on a laser light, splashed our way through the puddles on the packed-dirt floor and tripped over loose rocks that had fallen in the narrow passageway. Walking with an awkward stoop, we finally reached the end of the tunnel several hundred feet from the entrance. For a moment we turned off the light and just stood there listening to “drip…drip…drip” coming from the dank ceiling and falling to the floor somewhere in the blackness. For the first time in days we couldn’t hear the river – it was silenced by the tunnel and it was deafening.
We shimmied back out the portal, slid down the shale pile back to our boats and spent a quiet afternoon rowing through the beautiful rose colored walls of Marble Canyon.
Marble Canyon – Photo by John Schroeder
That night, I reflected again about what the trip in 1964 meant to river runners like us. That trip and those guys made a huge impact by shining a bright light on the beauty of the canyon. Their pictures, their videos, and their words inspired millions of people to take a closer look at the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and for the first time, many of them saw this place as much more than just a source for water.
The darkness in the canyon is filled with passion.
Last of the Three Part Series by Greg Hatten
A heartfelt series of guest posts from our friend Greg Hatten begins this week.
March of 2014 was a deadly month in the Grand Canyon for river runners. The water level was well below average and even the most experienced boatmen saw water dynamics they had never seen before. Low water created new hazards – holes were deeper, drops were sharper, jagged rocks that rarely see sunlight punched holes in our boats and holes in our confidence.
An accomplished group of nine kayakers just a few miles ahead of us lost one of their team mates to the river below Lava Falls. There was a another serious accident in the group two days behind us midway through the trip.
Some of our wood boats were damaged, a few of our rubber rafts flipped, oars and ribs and teeth were broken, a helicopter rescue was required for a member of our team on Day 4. After 280 miles and 24 days on the water, we reached the end of the Grand Canyon and all agreed we were ready to do it again…as soon as possible.
We are a band of wood boat enthusiasts who came to the Grand Canyon in March to re-run a famous trip from 1964 with our wood dory replicas, our canvas tents and bedrolls, our Pendleton wool blankets, and a couple of great photographers to capture the adventure.
Fifty years ago, that trip played a crucial role in saving the Grand Canyon from two proposed dams that were already under construction. If THAT trip had not happened, THIS trip would not have been possible and our campsites would be at the bottom of a reservoir instead of beside the river. River running on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon would’ve been replaced by “Reservoir Running in Pontoons,” as most of the Grand Canyon would’ve been hundreds of feet under water.
We are celebrating the success of the trip of ‘64 and paying tribute to those men who left a legacy for future river runners like us to run the big water of the Colorado through the Grand Canyon in river boats. We are brought together by Dave Mortenson, whose dad was one of those pioneers.
“Who we are” is easier to answer than “Why we do this.” There are moments on trips like these, when we are at the crossroads of chaos – where adventure and wonder intersect with danger and consequence – and the outcome is uncertain. THAT’s what makes it an adventure. I can only speak for myself – but here’s my shot at answering “why…”
I do this because the Grand Canyon takes my breath away. The first time I saw it from the bottom looking up, I fell in love with this place and was absolutely amazed by the size and beauty of the canyon. Everything is bigger, deeper, taller, more colorful, more powerful, more everything than anyplace I have ever been.
I do this because the Colorado River tests my physical ability as a boatman like no other river I have ever boated. This is one of the most powerful rivers in North America and when that strong current bends the oars I’m rowing and I feel the raw force shooting up my aching arms and across my tired back, I’m electrified and anxious at the same time.
I do this because the rapids on this river test my mental ability as a boatman. My friend and veteran Canyoneer Craig Wolfson calls it “Nerve.” Scouting severe rapids and seeing the safest “line” to run is one thing – having the nerve to put your boat on that line is another. Most of the difficult rapids require a run that puts your boat inches from disaster at the entry point in order to avoid calamity at the bottom. Everything in your “experience” tells you to avoid the danger at the top – but you mustn’t. Overriding those instincts and pulling off a successful run is a mental tug of war that is challenging beyond belief.
I do this because of the bonds we form as a team of 16 individuals working and cooking and rowing and eating and drinking and laughing together for 280 miles. We problem-solve together, we celebrate together, we look out for each other, and we find a way to get along when every once-in-awhile the stress of the trip makes “some” of us a little “cranky.” Sometimes, we experience the most vulnerable moments of our lives together. These people are lifetime friends as a result of this adventure.
And finally – I do this because it brings out the best in me. My senses are better, my mind is clearer, my body is stronger and I like to think I’m friendlier, funnier, more generous, and more helpful down in the Canyon. It makes me want to be this open with people up on Rim when I get back to my regular routine. It’s hard to articulate but for me, the place is magic.
Next….. You can read in detail how we carefully “scout” and how we the run the violent rapids of the Colorado in hand-made historic wooden boats made of ¼” plywood. If we make a mistake we pay a heavy price – which you will see in “Running A Rapid.”
Finally…. You can read about camp life on the Colorado. What it’s like to sleep in the canyon for a month. How we cook, clean, relax, and get re-charged for a challenging day on the river. There are beautiful night-time shots for you to enjoy in “Camp in the Canyon.”
Ah, the serape. Just looking at it makes you happy. This blanket reads modern, but it has been around a long time.
The serape’s roots are in the Mexican weaving tradition, but it is now common to both Spanish and Native American textiles. Here’s a photo of a Native family in a historic Babbitt Brothers wagon with a serape peeking over the edge. This was taken in the Southwest, where the Babbitts plied (and still ply) their trade.
Colorful, sturdy and functional, this blanket shawl was part of life in the traditional Mexican home. It could serve as clothing, bedding and shelter!
The serape is known by many names throughout Mexico, including chamarro, cobiga, and gaban. It can be woven of a variety of materials and patterns but is generally lighter in weight. Different regions use different palettes, from the elegant neutrals of the Mexican highlands to the bold gradients of Coahuila.
Pendleton’s serapes are woven of 82% wool/18% cotton in bands of gradient colors to achieve that beautiful eye-popping dimensional effect. This is your perfect spring and summer blanket, just waiting to be invited along wherever you go.
All made in the USA and available at www.pendleton-usa.com .
A brand builds a base in many ways. Pendleton has been around long enough that we have fans who’ve been shopping with us since the second World War. We also have generations of brand fans who have come to us through vintage shopping.
That’s why were were especially excited to be featured in the in-store publication of Buffalo Exchange.
And, they have an accurate shirt label guide on the last page.
We’d like to point out that the “2000s” example is from The Portland Collection. On Menswear, the label you’ll see is more like this one:
Thanks, Buffalo Exchange! If you are a vintage shopper, please check them out.
Through February 28th, Pendleton’s history is on display at the Oregon Historical Society. This beautiful building on Portland’s South Park Blocks is very near Portland State University and the Portland Art Museum. Sounds like a great day downtown, doesn’t it?
The exhibit is a fun way to learn just how Pendleton is woven into Oregon’s history. The desk on display was an old oak roll-top from our corporate headquarters. It was reserved for use by the mill manager when he made his way to Portland from Washougal. Our current manager may have opened a laptop on it a time or two, but times have changed and the desk sat unused for decades.
As we approached the 150th anniversary of the opening of Thomas Kay’s mill, our visual manager, Shelley Prael, decided to incorporate the desk into a display at a sales meeting. When she opened the drawers, she found them full of items belonging to Thomas Kay’s nephew, C.P. Bishop, who used the desk in the old Bishop’s store in Salem.
Numerous treasures, including his college yearbooks, journal and eyeglasses, were accessioned into our archives. But don’t worry, some are on loan to the exhibit, along with other artifacts and a timeline that takes you from 1863 to the present.
More information here.
Ah, Olympic fever. Despite mixed reactions to the USA uniforms (thanks to Lizzie for this post) and some alarming tweets from the press about the hotels, we’re still excited for the official opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Most fans have been watching the skating and snowboarding, enjoying the games in advance of the opening ceremonies.
Of course, Pendleton has an Olympic connection. In 1932, we won the commission to provide blankets to the Olympics. Here is a photo of the blankets leaving on a train for Los Angeles.
There are several known colorways for these blankets. In our archives, we have only one, with a very warm color scheme. There are also a light blue and a brights-on-white patterns out there, but we haven’t been able to track down examples. There might even be more. Here is our archival blanket.
That’s a VERY CLOSE close up, isn’t it? Even so, the label is worn enough that you might want the label’s text:
100% Virgin Wool
PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS
PORTLAND, OREGON U.S.A.
Olympic fever is nothing new, and Pendleton traded on it with themed displays.
In the displays, mannequins wear tasteful blanket coats that look modern. We are not sure if those were sewn and offered for sale by Pendleton, or sewn just for display to encourage consumers to get creative with the blankets. Pendleton did manufacture labeled blanket coats for women over the years, but our first women’s sportswear line debuted in 1949 with our 49’er jacket as the centerpiece.
It has been a winter of winters here in the US, so as you sit back and enjoy the competition this year, we hope you stay warm. And if you have an example of the other colors of the Pendleton blankets, drop us a line! We would love some color photos.
This beautiful car is part of the new Portland Express, or, as 1859 magazine calls it, “The most Portland train car ever.”
With an array of makers’ good that include Pendleton wool slipcovers, typewriters, bottles of Oregon rain, chocolates, papers and more, this is one club car you won’t want to miss. Check out more photos here.
The Portland Express celebrates the AMTRAK expansion between Vancouver B.C and Eugene, OR. Details on booking here.
With the first day of winter just around the corner, it’s only fitting that we say hello to this year’s Father Winter. Resplendent in a robe of Feather Storm wool fabric, he carries a dream catcher. His natural feathers and fur trims are gathered by the craftsman who makes him for us here in the USA.
He looks beautiful displayed with one of our snow globes.
Hope your season is fun and full of the special things that make it happy.