This summer is a fantastic time to celebrate your favorite National Park with Pendleton Pale Ale – now available in Crater Lake, Rainier, Grand Canyon and Yosemite park cans!
Our friends at Rogue have outdone themselves with this delicious brew.
So the next time you’re headed out for a picnic on your favorite national Park blanket, take along a crisp pale ale and raise a toast to America’s Treasures!
We are closing out this fantastic year of celebration with some more national Park memories. These two memories come from Pendleton employees.
Erin is one of our designers. She has this to say about this photo:
Although I don’t remember this, it is a popular story at family get gatherings. This is a picture of me at the Grand Canyon with my mother (Nancy) and aunt (JoAnn). I am recovering from a massive tantrum because my mother would not release me from her toddler hiking backpack. I really wanted to cross the guard rail to get a better look at the Grand Canyon! Obviously my request was not met and I went into a hysterical crying tantrum.
And, for our last post of the year, here’s a classic shot given to us by Robin, who is head of our bricks-and-mortar stores division:
Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood: The year was 1957, I was 4.5 years old. I was visiting my West coast grandparents from New York with my New York City grandmother, Rose Raskin in the Pendleton 49’er jacket, my mother, Mary Bonetta, and little sister Hillary, age 2. I recall only the gift shop, where I was to receive a totem pole. Who knew then I would work for Pendleton 45+ years later. Wish I had that 49’er jacket!
Two wonderful memories, two fabulous photos and two babies for the New Year.
Happy New Year from Pendleton Woolen Mills!
Last year, we sent out a call on Instagram, asking for photographers to take our blankets home to their parks. We were overwhelmed with responses! After diligent review of well over a thousand Instagram feeds, we chose ten and called it good.
You’ve seen their work all year, but this video takes you on a tour of all ten parks, with a catchy banjo score that has us tapping our feet here at the office. So Happy Birthday to the National Park Service and thank you to our #pendletonparks explorers. You can see them all (and follow them ALL on Instagram) at the end of the movie.
Ed. note: We are closing Wedding Month here on Pendleton Threads with the Storks, whose Pendleton wedding story spans three generations, many decades of marriage and the Grand Canyon! Enjoy.
Bob and Melba Stork were shopping in Pasadena, California on a spring day in 1951 when a store window with Pendleton shirts caught their attention. They looked at several patterns and decided on a red and green plaid as an engagement gift to each other.
Bob and Melba wore traditional bridal attire when they were married on October 27th, 1951, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Temple City, California.
After the wedding, they left for a honeymoon trip to the Grand Canyon, where they stayed in a cabin near El Tovar. Bob set up a tripod to capture a picture of them wearing their shirts as a newly married couple.
Fifty years later, their twin daughters and their husbands organized a golden wedding anniversary celebration for the Storks, their family and friends at the Grand Canyon. This photo was taken near the spot where the first photo was taken; a short distance from their honeymoon cabin.
The Storks wore their shirts as jackets many times over the years of their marriage. They have been part of travels throughout the United States, and Melba said, “(they) are as bright, fashionable and warm as they were when we purchased them over sixty years ago.”
Bob and Melba Stork made a gift of their Pendleton engagement shirts to their granddaughter, Lauren, and her new husband, Drew.
Said Mrs. Stork, “Their wedding took place in Dallas, and all sixty of the invited friends and family enjoyed the weekend festivities.” Our congratulations to Lauren and Drew, and to Bob and Melba Stork. Sadly, Melba is no longer with us, though she is part of her family’s loving memories.
Thanks for making Pendleton part of your family traditions.
It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world; 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon took millions of years to form and just keeps changing. The deepest point in the canyon is a mile deep. A mile. That’s 5,280 feet, in case you’ve forgotten. Yes, this is one heck of a canyon.
Close to five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. They arrive by car, train and bus, and plenty of them come to stay for longer than an afternoon. The Park has many wonderful campgrounds, but read up on reservations, restrictions and costs. The key word to get the most out of the Grand Canyon is simply “planning.”
We asked some of our fantastic Pendleton people if they’d share their Grand Canyon experiences on the blog. They sent some beautiful photos, and some Pendleton employee park memory stories that illustrate how they took on the Canyon.
Phillip shared his experience with camping on the North Rim:
A few years ago my family took a road trip to the Southwest and visited Bryce Canyon, Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing family adventure.
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon and were setting up camp, we realized that my son Henry had forgotten to stow the crank that raises our tent trailer when we left our previous location (I think it was Zion). We polled all of the other campers and no one had a crank. Fortunately I was able to use a wrench to raise the trailer so we didn’t have to leave or sleep on the ground!
The trip was definitely worth it.
Another Pendleton person, Annetta, has taken trips with her extended family to many of the National Parks.
Hiking with my son and our entire family, especially nieces and nephews, has bonded us through some unique experiences. The National Parks have been a big part of it. Every get-together something comes up from one these trips, generating lots of laughter.
In 2004, we all went to the Grand Canyon. Me, my son, all my siblings and their kids hiked down Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch to spend the night.
Below: the kids on Silver Bridge crossing the Colorado to Phantom Ranch.
We might be smiling, but it was 118 degrees down by the water that day, and we still had several miles to go. Brutal.
The group got ahead of me on the way to Phantom Ranch and because we were so close we didn’t follow our rule and give the last person in line (me) the second walkie-talkie. I missed the turn, ending up on Black Bridge. I yelled down at river rafters for directions. When I realized I’d gone a quarter mile in the wrong direction, the walls of the Canyon echoed with words that are probably not printable.
My son did come back to find me, and very relieved to see me, and not happy about backtracking. The hike is 12 miles each way! We all agreed that the dinner that night at the ranch was the best we had eaten in our lives. No doubt the hike had something to do with that.
Below, all of us at Phantom Ranch on the morning of hiking out. It was a very quiet breakfast, as we were all thinking about that climb. But we made it!
After hiking out that morning my nephew took his pipes and played them at the canyon edge in the evening. Ah, the energy of youth.
Which brings me to my best tip for hiking the Grand Canyon: Take teenagers along who can pack your extra water.
The only place in the world that you can get hiking sticks with Phantom Ranch burned into them is at the ranch itself. The kids all still have theirs and use them to this day on other hikes with pride. When people ask about those walking sticks, the kids say casually, “Oh this? Yeah, I got it at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”
Are you ready for your own adventures? We’d love to come along. And remember, your purchase of our National Park Collection helps support preservation and restoration of America’s Treasures.
We sent our Grand Canyon blanket home to Grand Canyon National Park with photographer Krisitan Irey, celebrating 100 years of our National Park Service.
Kristin’s thoughtful shots at the rim of this natural marvel are some of our favorites. And the Grand Canyon is one of the recipients of our fundraising efforts. All year, through sales of our own and collaborative National Park projects, we have been raising money to help restore the Grand Canyon’s train depot.
The Grand Canyon Depot in Grand Canyon Village is the Park’s “front door,” used as a meeting place for adventurers for over 100 years. This National Historic Landmark is the Park’s most-photographed man-made structure. Pendleton’s contributions will help improve accessibility and preserve the character of this National Historic Landmark.
According to the National Park Service, “Nearly 230,000 visitors per year arrive at the Depot via the Grand Canyon Railway, which is an important component of the park’s transportation system. Currently the Grand Canyon Railway, owned and operated by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, runs up to two trains per day to the park from Williams, Arizona – saving approximately 300 daily vehicle trips during the peak visitor season.” That is approximately 50,000 cars, trucks and campers that will not add wear, tear and crowding to roads leading in and out of the park, thanks to the train.
Before the railroad opened in 1901, tourists had to fork over $15.00 for a three-day stagecoach ride to see the Grand Canyon. Upon arrival, they were accommodated in tent camps, a situation that didn’t change until the Santa Fe Railroad hired architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Coulter to design six iconic buildings for the park, mostly on the South Rim.
- Hopi House, 1905
- Hermit’s Rest, 1914
- Lookout Studio, 1914
- Phantom Ranch, 1922
- The Watchtower at Desert View, 1932
- Bright Angel Lodge, 1935
Her work still stands today, having become an integral part of this vast, commanding landscape.
So put on your boots, hop on the train, and go. The Grand Canyon is waiting.
Grand Canyon Park Series: SHOP
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
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…
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.
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”?
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!!
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.
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.
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.
It had a bigger hole than Granite on the day it got me…but THAT’s another story.
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”
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.”