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The Heart of the Mountains

Russian VOGUE traveled to Central America for a dramatic editorial, “The Heart of the Mountains,” and they brought along some Pendleton beauty.

Below, a Pendleton Serape (in black) and Compass Stripe blanket:

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And the Heroic Chief backpack in this shot:

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Serape and backpack available at pendleton-usa.com.

 

 

Porter Magazine and the Basket Dance

Net-a-Porter’s third issue of Porter Magazine features our blankets in a beautiful way. Basket Dance and Spider Rock never looked so stunning.

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All model shots courtesy  PORTER magazine.

Getting Creative with the Rig

As most of our blog readers know, we have a wonderful resource for fabric in the Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon. One of our customers went custom on his truck, and we thought you’d like a view. He didn’t want to give us his name, but he was kind enough to give us the photos. This is pretty awesome, yes?

 

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Mad for Mad Men

As much as we dislike half seasons, the decision to spread Mad Men’s last episodes over two years puts off the inevitable, painful farewell to a fascinating show.

We’ve seen Pendleton on Mad Men’s men, in robes and Topsters. Peggy disguised her pregnancy under the waistband of an ever-higher Pendleton reversible skirt–or Turnabout as it was called back then.

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The early seasons captured an iconically Pendleton look. The characters seemed to step right out of a Ted Rand illustration.

 

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Time has passed in the world of Mad Men, and the characters are wearing miniskirts and bell bottoms. As always, the costumes are pitch-perfect.  And, as always, we will be watching–for just as long as we can.

 

 

New Pendleton Outlet in Somerville, MA–and it’s a beauty!

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Please come enjoy this beautiful new Pendleton Outlet. A sneak peek below!

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Night in the Canyon by Greg Hatten

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.

1_Nate_PickensPhoto by Nate Pickens

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

6_John_SchroederPhoto by John Schroeder

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last of the Three Part Series by Greg Hatten

Running a Rapid in the Grand Canyon by Greg Hatten

Time for another guest post from our friend Greg Hatten, in which he replicates a run from the 1962 trek down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This one is exciting, so hold on.

We scout the big ones – the ones you can hear for a half mile before you can see – the ones that sound like a freight train when you stand beside them.  The ground trembles.  Their names are spoken with respect and dread around the campfire at night and over coffee in the morning… House Rock, Hermit, Hance, Granite, Bedrock, Crystal, Lava…

1_credit_-John_SchroederIzzy & I Scouting a Rapid   photo credit:  John Schroeder

Just above Granite Rapid at mile mark 94, we pull our boats to shore on river-left, tie up, and hike down the river over unstable river rocks to “scout”.    It’s rated a 9 + on a scale of 10 by Larry Stevens in his River Runner’s Map and Guidebook to the Colorado River – one of the most difficult on the river.  Halfway down this rapid is one of the largest and most violent holes we have seen on the trip.  We stop at the midpoint of the rapid to have a closer look.  We watch, mesmerized, as water pours over a huge boulder we cannot see and then dives ten feet down with so much force it creates a wall of water that slams back upriver to create a turbulent cauldron and a suck-hole that we must avoid.  We are transfixed and for a long moment we can’t look away.   I wonder to myself, if a boat got sucked into that, would it EVER come out?

Scanning the river for a possible path through the rapid (the “line”) we speak a boatman’s language of laterals, V-waves, pour-overs, eddies, and cheater lines.  There is a seriousness in our tone this morning as we dissect the rapid and discuss what we see.  I love the banter, I respect the experience, I trust the judgment of these teammates.

Two days ago my boat was swallowed and flipped in an ugly hole at Grapevine – a Class VIII.  My boat took a beating and so did my confidence.  It’s on my mind as the hole in front of us thunders away and we continue to search for the “line.”

There are big rocks all the way down the left side which appear and then disappear with the crashing waves.  At this low water level those rocks would tear our boats to pieces… left side is not open today.  We look at the middle run but everything coming down that V-wave is getting sucked into the hole-that-must-be-missed, so it’s not an option either.  The only path we see at this level is a far right run where a ridge of water is formed by the current careening off the canyon wall.  The run requires a boat balancing act on a tight wire of white water that’s uncomfortably close to the canyon wall.

2_credit_Dave_MortensonPortola popping out of the hole – Photo credit:  Dave Mortenson

The hard part is getting up on that water ridge in the first place.  There is a hole above the ridge on the far right side of the river formed by the first steep elevation drop.  If you can put your boat half in the hole and half out of the hole, it will pop your boat out and fling it right on top of the ridge for a twenty second thrill ride to the bottom.  Hit the hole too far right & you’ll get sucked into it.  Skirt the hole too far left and you’ll miss the ridge and be swept into the V Wave and the big dangerous hole we must avoid.

We are all agreed – it’s a far right run.

After the scout, it’s a quiet walk back up to the boats.  We are alone with our thoughts and visualizing our moves and I pose the question to myself… again… “why am I doing this”?

3_credit_Dave_MortensonPortola riding the ridge  Photo Credit:  Dave Mortenson

Robb goes first – he’s been rowing since he was four years old and makes every rapid look easy.  He gives us confidence as he hit the exact line we talked about and has a splashy ride down the ridge.  Perfection.  He pulls into an eddy below the rapid and sets up for rescue as a safety precaution.

Steph is next – he’s rowing the Susie Too – a remake of the original from 1962 and a twin hull of my boat, the Portola.  He takes the Susie Too over the first big drop and disappears.  His line is a little too aggressive – his boat is too far into the hole at the top.  The power of the hole grabs his right oar and almost pulls him out of the boat.  The force is so strong it springs the brass oar lock and releases the oar which is now useless in his hand.  He slams the oar back in place just as he gets spit out of the hole, a little sideways and twisted, but up on the ridge none-the-less.  A quick correction and he rides the ridge like a bucking horse although dangerously close to the wall.  Nice!!

4_credit_Izzy_CollettExploding wave   Photo Credit – Izzy Collett

I tighten my life jacket, put on my helmet, and row quietly to the other side of the river several hundred feet above Granite.  The approach to the infinity edge is slow.  Too slow.  Too much time to think about my disaster at Grapevine.  I snap back to the moment and reach the edge where I can finally see down the steepness of the other side and know for the first time that my alignment is spot on.

This is the nerve that Craig Wolfson talks about.  I’m lined up to hit one hole so I can miss a bigger hole and it’s only two days and twelve miles after almost losing my boat and my passenger in a hole that looks a lot like these.

5_credit_Izzy_CollettSliding down the backside   Photo Credit – Izzy Collett

I drop over the top and everything speeds up – now I’m racing for the edge of the hole on the right.  Half in half out – I hit it perfectly and I keep my right oar up away from the turbulence (thanks Steph).  I’m rewarded by a clean exit from the hole and a little air as I get deposited right on top of the ridge of water.  I ride the waves as they explode under my boat and shoot me down the other side.  The canyon wall is cozy and I feel like it’s inches away from the tips of my oars.  I go speeding by the hole-that-must-be-missed on my left. It’s so close I can touch it with my oar.

6_credit_Dave_MortensonSpeeding by the big hole – Photo credit:  Dave Mortenson

One more big wave at the bottom and it’s over.  In 20 seconds.  Wow…and then I remind myself – “THIS is why we do this!!”

That run at Granite restored my confidence – which would be tested repeatedly over the next 190 miles.  Three days later I would flip in Upset Rapid – Class nine.

 

7_credit_Dave_MortensonPortola flips in Upset – Photo credit:  Dave Mortenson

It had a bigger hole than Granite on the day it got me…but THAT’s another story.

8_credit_Dave_MortensonPendleton Blankets drying – Photo credit:  Dave Mortenson

You wreck a wood boat, you fix it.  You flip a wood boat, you dry out your blankets. And that’s how you run a rapid.

Coming up in Part III…read about night-life on the Colorado.  Ever wonder what it’s like to sleep in the canyon for a month or how we cook, clean, relax, and get re-charged for a challenging day on the river?  Read about it next week and enjoy some beautiful night-time shots in “Night in the Canyon”

 

 

Saturday May 17, TPC Sale– THE BIG ONE

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Why We Do This: Historic Wooden Boats on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

A heartfelt series of guest posts from our friend Greg Hatten begins this week.

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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.

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Who are we and why do we do this???   

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Greg Hatten

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Coming up…

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.”

 

Pendleton Woolen Mills Receives the Port of Portland’s 2014 Compass Award

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When we opened our store at the Portland International Airport, we partnered with the Port of Portland, which oversees our city’s commerce by river, rail, road and plane. The airport location has given us a wonderful opportunity to share our very-Oregon brand with the rest of the country as it passes through PDX (which is what we call our airport, for you out-of-towners). The Port recognized our association with the Port of Portland 2014 Compass Award at the recent “Tradition of Trade” annual luncheon.

 

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The award recognizes the personal efforts of our company’s president, Mort Bishop, as well as Pendleton’s corporate support and involvement. Said Port Commission Vice President Paul Rosenbaum, “Like the points of a compass, their business partnership and confidence in local operations have helped us navigate and achieve key Port goals such as job creation and environmental stewardship.”

During the award presentation, Mr. Rosenbaum cited Pendleton as one of Oregon’s heritage enterprises, and applauded our focus on building positive relationships with Oregon’s tribal community—the original founders of trade in the Northwest. “Mort and his family have led the Pendleton enterprise for six generations,” said Mr. Rosenbaum. “Pendleton’s rich American heritage and deep roots in the Pacific Northwest is a source of pride for all Oregonians.”

Company president Mort Bishop accepted the Compass Award on behalf of Pendleton Woolen Mills. In his words, “100 years ago, there were over 1,000 woolen mills in this country. Today we operate two of only a handful that survive – Washougal and Pendleton. Our facilities are state of the art, providing American jobs, utilizing sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices, employing world class technology. Pendleton uses some of the world’s finest wool fleeces from right here in Oregon…from generations of the same ranch families for over 100 years.  When you buy a Pendleton, you are literally and metaphorically buying the fabric of Oregon.”

More than 500 business leaders, elected officials and community stakeholders attended this year’s Gateway to the Globe luncheon. It was quite an event, and the Compass Award is quite an honor.

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