Guest Post: Greg Hatten on a trip to Fort Bridger

Guest post ahead!

Please enjoy a guest post from our friend, Greg Hatten, of wooden boat and river running repute, who took our new Bridger Stripe Blanket for a spin in the area where his namesake traveled so many years ago.

Jim Bridger 1824 – 1871

During the era of exploration of the American west in the mid 1800’s, Jim Bridger was known as an expert trapper, hunter, and marksman among his fellow mountain men. Among the the Flathead and Crow tribes, he was known at the “Blanket Chief” after a beautiful multicolored blanket he wore around his shoulders on special occasions. Within the military, Bridger was known as an outstanding scout, translator, negotiator, and map maker. Jim Bridger had an enormous impact on the western migration of the United States

Jim Bridger, Wikimedia Commons image

Jim Bridger was also called “Old Gabe.” He has always been one of my favorite personalities in the long list of colorful characters that explored the mountains, rivers and plains of Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho. He left a mark on the west by mapping trails, guiding wagon trains, and building a trading post that would expand into a fort. He was respected by allies and enemies for his unmatched skills as an outdoorsman and his ability to stay calm under fire.

A Trip Out West

Wooden sign for "Old Fort Bridger" Pioneer trading post

On my recent trip to Oregon, I began from Kansas City, where Jim Bridger is buried near his former farm in Westport. Traveling west on Interstate 80 (which is “roughly” the route of Lewis and Clark and the old Oregon Trail), I stopped by Fort Bridger in Wyoming and took my Pendleton Bridger Stripe blanket along for the adventure.

Pendleton Bridger Stripe blanket hanging on a wooden fence at Fort Bridger

The rustic fort that bears his name is a nearly exact replica of the original – complete with trading post that was first built in 1842. For several years it was the center of the universe in the western territory as the host of annual trade Rendezvous, a vital resupply stop for the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails, figured prominently in the Utah War of 1857 and was a Pony Express relay station in 1860.

Pendleton Bridger Stripe blanket hanging on the axle of a pioneer wagon at Fort Bridger

The Fall colors in Wyoming wrapped around the fort and were a perfect match for the colorful stripes on the Bridger Blanket. I paired the blanket with some historic artifacts and imagined the bustle of the fort as the emigrants on the trail resupplied and double checked their maps before heading off for the last legs of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.

Blanket folded and displayed on a shelf inside one of the Fort's buildings

A tribute and lasting legacy of that westward migration are the ruts by iron wagon-wheels, and from intentional cutting by emigrants in an attempt to ease the grade from the lower level of the North Platte River.

The Bridger Stripe blanket has a very different front and back.
We love this photo because it shows how different the front and back of this blanket.

The Blanket

The Bridger Stripe Blanket was a perfect compliment to my simple style of camping in canvas and wool on Rogue Wild and Scenic River. Sometimes I used a canvas fly because of the heavy dew but mostly it was open air sleeping under the stars beside the river… and the view was outstanding.

Riverbank campsite with a cot and the Bridger Stripe blanket.

Thank you, Greg! It’s always a pleasure to see our products out in the wild. Enjoy a few more shots below. It wouldn’t be a Greg Hatten post without seeing our blanket in the prow of his beautiful wooden boat. And look carefully at the photo below the river shot. Can you imagine camping there? We can!

As always, we show our blanket in Greg's beautiful wooden boat, on a river.
Beautiful campsite on a rocky promontory
click on this to make it bigger–wouldn’t you love to camp here?
Bridger Stripe blanket - front
Bridger Stripe blanket - reverse

The Bridger Stripe blanket has the same soft hand and all-wool construction of a Pendleton park blanket, with a distinctly different stripe on each side for two looks in one versatile blanket. The pattern is named for a famed explorer, trapper and scout in the 1800s. Jim Bridger was part of the second generation of mountain men who followed Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery journey in 1804. His Rocky Mountains expeditions took him from southern Colorado to the Canadian border.

See it here: Bridger Stripe Blanket

Made in USA label with eagle for Pendleton

Why We Do This – Running the Grand Canyon with Greg Hatten

 

 

Greg Hatten, river guide extraordinaire, in his wooden boat. Greg is also wearing a Pendleton shirt.

Hello from Greg Hatten

In honor of the Grand Canyon‘s 100th anniversary, we are rerunning some guest posts from our friend and favorite guest blogger, Greg Hatten. He has experienced the Canyon as few others have; from within his wooden drift boat, a replica of one of the boats that took to the Colorado River in 1964 to save the Grand Canyon from being turned into a reservoir. Enjoy.

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.

A rough and ready group of "River Rats," five men wearing Pendleton shirts, holding broken oars from their river running adventures.

 

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

Greg Hatten maneuvers his way though churning rapids in his wooden boat, the "Portola."

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.

Relaxing at the river's edge: Greg Hatten and eight more river runners relax after a day on the river.

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.

Three beautiful wooden drift boats want in the shallows next to the Colorado RIver, in the shadow of the walls of the Grand Canyon.

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.

The “Why”…

“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.

Greg Hatten in the Portola, on still green waters of the Colorado River.

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

Greg Hatten and five friends relax on and around two wooden boats on the banks of the Colorado River.

The Pendleton Grand Canyon blanket

See the Grand Canyon Pendleton blanket and throw here: PARK BLANKETS

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Chasing Ghosts in the Bighorns with Greg Hatten

A Bighorn Adventure

Editor’s note: What did you do over the long weekend? Enjoy the adventures of our friend and Pendleton ambassador Greg Hatten, who took the Bighorn blanket home to the Bighorn Wilderness. 

Greg’s Journey

The Bighorn Mountains of Montana are larger than life – just like the mountain men and trappers who explored them in the early 1800s.  Many of my favorite characters from that wilderness era explored the rivers, forests, mountains and meadows as they crisscrossed their way through territory that is now called Wyoming and Montana. On a recent trip west, I set out to chase the ghosts of Jim Bridger, John Colter, Hugh Glass and retrace just a few of their paths.

A camp cot set up on the banks of a river, with a wooden boat on the river, and a Pendleton Bighorn blanket on the bed.

Much of what I saw looked the same as it did over 200 years ago – especially the skyline with the snowcapped mountains that stretched high in the blue Montana sky.  I found a clearing and camped with a view of the mountains – it snowed that night.

Photo taken inside a handmade wooden drift boat, showing the Pendleton Bighorn blanket on the boat's seat, against a backdrop of Montana mountains.

I rowed my boat down the Bighorn River where the water was icy cold and clear. It reflected the blueness of the sky in a hue that I had only seen one other place…Crater Lake Oregon.

Photo taken from within a hand-built wooden drift boat, showing a folded Pendleton Bighorn blanket on the seat, and gear packed below the boat's prow, which is poised above the waters of Montana's Bighorn river.

One night, I camped beside a small stream running fast with snow melt in the Bighorn National Forest and the trees were so thick it blocked out the night sky but felt warm and safe next to the cold water.

A camp cot and folding camp chair on the banks of a rushing river, under evergreen trees. I Pendleton Bighorn blanket is on the cot.

It was a trip back in time and my boat was the time machine that took me there. Quite a trip – quite a place.

Greg Hatten

 

The Blanket

The Bighorn blanket, by Pendleton Woolen Mills. This design is a geometric pattern of navy blue, red, and tan.

Bighorn

In 1825, the Bighorn River called famed mountain man Jim Bridger to build a raft of driftwood and ride it through the foaming rapids. Part of the river was dammed to create Bighorn Lake, but the spectacular canyon it carved remains, named for the Bighorn sheep that travel its rocky, treacherous paths. Located in Montana and Wyoming, about one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. One quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.

See it here: Bighorn Blanket

PWM_USA_label

 

Running Wild and Scenic with Greg Hatten and OPB

Editor’s note: Our friend and brand ambassador, Greg Hatten, will be featured on Oregon Field Guide this Thursday, March 7th. Greg was part of a wild and scenic river trip led by Jeremy Starr. Enjoy his words about what’s behind the episode, and be sure to tune in! “Oregon Field Guide” airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Or watch it here:

Running Wild and Scenic with Oregon Field Guide

Enjoy!

A lit canvas tent glows beside a river in Oregon, as the sun sets.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

There are 209 rivers in the United States protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Oregon has 58 of those which, when added together, equal almost 2,000 miles of protected, scenic river.

The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers inducted into the program and is one of my favorites in the state of Oregon. We run it at least once a year – me and the band of rowers I run with. Our group of river runners is diverse and highly skilled in the arts of rowing, problem solving, outdoor adventure, camping, knot tying, open-fire cooking, fly fishing, river rescue and other handy skills.

The Olympic National park blanket by Pendleton on a Therm-a-Rest Cot, made up on a patch of dry ground in Oregon.

(see blanket here)

A Trip to Remember

A few months ago, on the 50th Anniversary of that legislation, we invited Oregon Public Broadcasting to join us on a tribute trip as we tipped our hats and raised our glasses to the river runners who came before us on the Rogue and charted a course we are privileged to follow every Fall.

For this trip I was privileged to row a replica boat with a design that originated in the early 1940’s – on loan from Roger Fletcher who helped build the boat that’s a perfect twin of the original double-ender on display under the shelter behind Paradise Lodge on the Wild and Scenic Rogue. Rowing a boat with such a history on this tribute trip was pretty amazing.  (I returned it to Roger after the trip in the same shape as when I picked it up – whew).

A wooden drift boat, part of a historical display, up on blocks in a shelter.

 Taking Off

As we wrapped our hands around the worn handles of our oars and pushed off from Graves Creek on an early morning last October, we were immediately swept into that “other” world of white water, jagged rocks, technical rapids, steep green mountains, and a connection with history. Our boats became time machines once again and took us back to an era where the boats were wood, the bears patrolled the river banks and otters barked at intruders. These wild and scenic rivers plunge us into a wilderness which seems as untouched and raw today as I imagine them one hundred years ago.

Morning on the river: a canvas tent and an empty wooden drift boat on a river at sunrise.

Since the winds of the west blew us together fifteen years ago, our group has rowed thousands of river miles and several thousands rapids. There is a rhythm to our routine which is second nature and familiar even though it can be months between trips.

The Oregon Field Guide crew of three had their own rhythm, having shot thousands of hours of outdoor footage together. Their heavy cameras and assorted gear was as weathered as our own river gear and showed the signs of being dragged up mountains, down rivers, and through forests all over the Pacific Northwest.

A group of river rafters eat breakfast on a riverbank, near a fire.

Both groups meshed well together from the very beginning. We shared a mission on this trip to connect people to the Rogue River and celebrate its history. We wanted to pay homage to the river runners of the Rogue even before there was a Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We hoped to take viewers back to a time of wood boats and wilderness where they could smell the campfires and feel the dew at first light on the river.

DSCF1452

(see blanket here)

Frozen

So when I was asked the question, with a microphone in my face and the camera’s rolling, “Why is it so important to keep these wild places wild?” imagine my disappointment when I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I froze. In my big moment to drive the point home and talk about why these rivers should be protected I stumbled and stuttered and could not form a complete sentence with all the points rattling around in my head.

Greg Hatten steers his wooden drift boat through the rapids on the Rogue River.

photo by Dave Zielinski

I wanted to talk about how small and vulnerable we all feel when faced with the challenge of rowing a difficult rapid in such a wild and remote place. I meant to compare the vulnerability of our boats to our wild rivers and remind people that if you take your eye off the ball for even a second when rowing a boat you will lose it. Same with these wild rivers. Take your eye off the river and someone will be there to exploit it with a casino, a helicopter, a dam, a tram, mining rights, and any number of things that would compromise its character and make it less wild.

Greg hatten steers his wooden drift boat through a gentler part of the Rogue River.

photo by Dave Zielinski

Conclusions

These wild and scenic rivers are beautiful, natural, rugged, and incredible reminders of how spectacular the wilderness can be when it is undeveloped. We need these wild places as sanctuaries to visit and connect with nature in a state of raw and wild beauty. Selfishly, we want these rivers to stay wild and scenic so we can challenge our skills as river runners and outdoor enthusiasts in an environment that is primitive and demanding.

Greg Hatten steers his wooden drift boat through the rapids on the Rogue River.Greg Hatten steers his wooden drift boat through the rapids on the Rogue River.Greg Hatten steers his wooden drift boat through the rapids on the Rogue River.

photos by Jayson Hayes

We want to be able to pass this gift of unspoiled wilderness along to our children’s children – so we will continue to keep our eye on the ball to preserve our boats and our rivers just like the river stewards who came before us. When the Oregon Field Guide camera was rolling I was unable to find the words, but am quite sure the pictures and video will have a far greater impact than anything I could’ve said anyway.

You’ll have to watch the program to find out!

Greg Hatten

An evening outdoors shot, with a lit canvas tent, and an empty wooden drift boat by the shore of a small river.

 

The Bighorn Blanket at the Bighorn Canyon

A Bighorn adventure with Greg Hatten

We were lucky enough to have our friend Greg Hatten, of Woodenboat fame, taking a trip to the Bighorn Mountains as part of his “Wild and Scenic” river runs. Of course, he took the Bighorn blanket home to the beautiful area it’s named for!

See the Pendleton Bighorn blanket here: Bighorn blanket

The Pendleton Bighorn blanket rests on the prow of a wooden boat, overlooking the Bighorn canyon. Photo by Greg Hatten.

Here’s the story behind this Americana design:

Bighorn

In 1825, the Bighorn River called famed mountain man Jim Bridger to build a raft of driftwood and ride it through the foaming rapids. Part of the river was dammed to create Bighorn Lake, but the spectacular canyon it carved remains, named for the Bighorn sheep that travel its rocky, treacherous paths. Located in Montana and Wyoming, about one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. One quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.

Bighorn_pendleton_blanket_front

The Bighorn Blanket

If you decide to bring the Bighorn blanket home, it will probably look a little more like this.

The Bighorn blanket, by Pendleton, shown on a bed.

See all the Bighorn items here: Bighorn by Pendleton

 

Wild and Scenic Rivers Part Two with Greg Hatten and Pendleton

We continue our series with Greg Hatten’s Woodenboat adventures on rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers act. In this installment, Greg’s team approaches the run of a lifetime. 

Greg Hatten's rig packed for adventure, including a Pendleton Chief Joseph blanket. Photo by Greg Hatten

Frank Church Wilderness

In June I took my wooden boat down the River of No Return in the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho. The Middle Fork of the Salmon was one of the original eight rivers inducted into the Wild and Scenic program and the bill was written and championed by Senator Frank Church of Idaho. This trip was special for so many reasons – mostly, because I got to row it alongside some of the best guides and woodenboat river runners on the planet…the Helfrich crew.

Greg Haten in his wooden boat on River of No Return in the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho. Photo by Greg Hatten

The degree of difficulty of rowing this river in a fragile wooden boat was at the high-end of anything I had ever rowed. From the very first oar-stroke, the extreme gradient drop and rocky rapids provided non-stop rowing action the entire first day. For the five mile start through Sulpher Slide, Hell’s Half Mile and the Class IV Velvet Falls, I had just enough time to catch my breath between rapids and cast an occasional glance around at the beauty and rawness of the river wilderness and steep canyon walls we threaded our boats through.

The absence of dams on this river gives us a truly wild river to run – where the river level and conditions are dictated by the weather, the snow melt, the vertical drop, and the rock slides which change sometimes every year. Nothing controlled or contrived about the Middle Fork – it is in it’s natural state – rugged and raw and almost “untouched” by a human hand.

Greg Hatten and crew in Greg's wooden boat.

Middle Fork

After ten years of unsuccessful lottery applications, my usual band of river runners finally drew a permit to run the Middle Fork in 2017. We planned for months and made preparations with more excited anticipation than any trip we had ever planned. A week before the June trip we got word that the unusually heavy rains and spring storms caused a river that was too high to run safely and an access road that was too littered with downed trees and rock slides to open in time for our trip. River was closed and the permit revoked.

Greg Hatten makes camp on the banks of the Middle FOrk of the Salmon RIver, with his cot, Pendleton blanket, and boats in the distance.n Photo by Greg Hatten

Looking beyond the disappointment, we appreciated the fact that the river is subject to the changing conditions of Mother Nature – which means that sometimes it’s just un-runnable.

A collage of campfire cooking and chow. Photo by Greg Hatten.

A dam to tame it and provide easier access is a terrible trade-off – even if it meant that we would have to return to the river of no return to run it one day when the conditions were more favorable and mother nature was more cooperative. We have the Wild and Scenic Act to thank for that – and we were all grateful for it.

“The great purpose of this act is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it… It is a great spiritual experience. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.”

Senator Frank Church (1957-1981)

A stunning photo of the Chief Joseph blanket by Pendleton, against the backdrop of a snowcapped peak and a river. Photo by Greg hatten.

Featured blanket: Chief Joseph

First woven in the 1920s, this USA-made wool blanket has been one of our most popular designs ever since. Chief Joseph led the Nez Perce tribe native to northeastern Oregon in the late 1800s. Widely admired for protecting his people and speaking the truth, he is honored with this design, symbolizing bravery. Bold arrowheads represent the chief’s courage, strength and integrity.

The Chief Joseph blanket by Pendleton Woolen Mills.

See all the options here: Chief Joseph blanket

Wild & Scenic Rivers Part One with Greg Hatten and Pendleton

Note: Please enjoy this guest post from Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. He took some Pendleton blankets along on his latest river runs. Here’s his write-up!

The Painted HIlls blanket by Pendleton, at Oregon's Painted Hills. Photo and hand-built wooden boat by Greg Hatten

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

“The great purpose of this act is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it… It is a great spiritual experience. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.”
Senator Frank Church (1957-1981)

In 1968, Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and President Johnson signed it into law. The primary goal was to “protect and preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

Eight rivers were inducted in the original group and, now, fifty years later, there are over 200 rivers in the program. The state of Oregon has more protected rivers than any other state by far – with over 50 included in the program.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of that legislation, I’m running several of the classic rivers that are under its protection in 2018.

Buffalo National River

I started in the Midwest with a spring high water kayak run down the upper section of the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas. It’s 153 miles in total but I only ran a short section where it runs through the Ozark National Forest.

Greg Hatten's wooden boat on the trailer at the entrance to Lost Valley, before he takes on the Buffalo River.Greh Hatten's wooden boat waiting on the banks of the Buffalo National RiverA woman stands on a rocky outcropping, taking in a view of the Ozark Mountains. Photo by Greg Hatten

This run features a steep gradient drop, whitewater rapids and dramatic topography that includes sink holes, caves, beautiful limestone bluffs, numerous hiking trails and spectacular views of the Ozark Mountains.

Running the Deschutes River

In late May, I went out west to join up with my river running buddies for a fly fishing and camping trip on one of our favorite Wild and Scenic Rivers in the north central part of Oregon – the Deschutes. On my way through the state, I stopped just short of the river to see the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. The Pendleton blanket I had chosen for the trip was the Painted Hills blanket and I was amazed at how the accent colors of the blanket matched the vivid hues of the hills so perfectly.

Painted Hills in the A pile of Greg Hatten's gear, including the Painted Hills blanket by Pendleton, at the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument

A rafter on the rapids of Oregon's Deschutes River. Photo by Greg HattenThe attraction of this river is the incredible native redsides that come alive in May when the hatch of large salmon flies sets off a feeding frenzy that is amazing to witness–and so much fun to fish.

A redside in the hands of a fisherman. Photo by Greg Hatten

It also features the Class IV White Horse Rapid which is the scene for probably more boat “wrecks” than any rapid in the Pacific Northwest. Another attraction of this trip? The elaborate meals cooked beside a rushing river on open fires and Dutch ovens by some of the best river chefs in the great outdoors.

A collage of campfire cookery delights. Photos by Greg Hatten.

 

RIver running gear in Greg hatten's wooden boat, including the Painted HIlls blanket by Pendleton. Photo by Greg HattenI have several more Wild and Scenic Rivers to run in 2018 – stay tuned for periodic updates.

Greg Hatten

See the blanket

Thanks, Greg! Here’s the Painted Hills blanket.

See it here: Painted Hills blanket

The Painted Hills blanket by Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Rising from the dry plains of Eastern Oregon, bare earth undulates in folds of scarlet, ochre, and yellow. These are the Painted Hills, whose brilliant stripes inspired this design and were created by oxidized mineral deposits in layers of volcanic ash. Adventurers who want to take a road trip into the past can see the hills, visit the nearby John Day Fossil beds and explore the ghost towns of this remote part of Oregon’s landscape. 

• Unnapped 
• Ultrasuede® trim; twin is felt-bound 
• Pure virgin wool/cotton 
• Fabric woven in our American mills 
• Dry clean 
• Made in USA

Greg Hatten guest post – Buell Blankets and the St. Joseph Museum

A guest post!

Today’s post is from our friend Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. Greg has always been interested in our Buell blankets (all retired, but one is still available), which were part of our Mill Tribute Series. Greg decided to find out some information on the original Buell blankets at the source; his hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Enjoy this visit, and if you’re interested in our Mill Tribute series blankets, links to our previous posts are below.

Buell-2-table

Buell Blankets Headed West

St. Joseph, Missouri is my hometown. It’s a dreamy little river town that started out as a trading post on the banks of the Missouri and quickly became a launching pad for pioneers headed west to Oregon and California in the mid 1800’s. Some historians estimate that 250,000 settlers made the trek by wagon and on foot between 1850 and 1900. Most of those trips started in St. Joseph or Independence – where final provisions for the 5 month journey were acquired before embarking on the grand westward adventure that started by crossing the Midwestern prairie. Many were leaving for the rest of their lives.

Provisions and Provender

Wool blankets were on the provisions list of every trip – for sleeping and trading with Native Americans along the way. In St. Joseph, the Buell Woolen Mill was the primary source for blankets headed west. Known for quality over quantity, the blankets were strikingly colorful and many designs were based on patterns used by different Native tribes in paintings and beadwork out west. They were prized by the pioneers and Native Americans alike.

Buell-2-slide

As stated in the 1910 Buell Catalog:

Missouri ranks up with the first in the production of good staple wools, and the surrounding states produce a quality almost equal. We buy the choicest lots, have first pick, and train our buyers to get the best… We obtain the best dyes possible that we may produce the required fastness of color, and many beautiful shades and combinations which have made Buell…Blankets the handsomest, most desirable line in the world.

A Visit to the Buell Museum

As I packed for my most recent trip west to run Wild and Scenic Rivers in a wooden boat, a friend of mine asked if I had seen the small collection of Buell blankets at the St. Joseph museum.  I hadn’t – so I made a call to Sara Wilson, Director of the Museum, who is as enthusiastic about blankets as I am about wooden boats and canvas and wool camping.

The next day I visited Sara and watched as she put on cotton gloves, opened a box, carefully lifted out two colorful Buell blankets from the early 1900’s and spread them on the wooden table. Her reverence for these artifacts was touching as she pointed out the tri-colors , the double weave, and the attention to detail that made these blankets so special. I immediately enlisted in her small band of “blanket historians” trying to preserve, protect, and expand the Buell collection in St. Joseph.

Buell-1-table

Setting Out Again

Back home on Lovers Lane, I readied my wooden boat and packed my Land Cruiser for the trip to Idaho across the plains of Nebraska. Among other things, my provisions list included wool blankets from Pendleton Woolen Mills. For my river adventure on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in the Frank Church Wilderness, I chose two blankets to take – a utilitarian camp blanket in slate gray and a colorful Chief Joseph blanket for more dramatic photos of canvas and wool sleeping beside the “River of No Return.”

Greg_hatten_packed_rig

Pendleton Blankets

My friends at Pendleton have always spoken of the Buell blankets with the utmost admiration. Pendleton’s  wool blankets have been a part of every adventure I’ve undertaken in the past 15 years. It was pretty amazing to learn about this little thread of blanket history running through the backyard of my home town as I prepared for the first in a series of adventures featuring wood boats and wool blankets on Wild and Scenic Rivers.

 

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If you have a Buell Blanket, images of a Buell Blanket, or a personal story about Buell Blankets, please contact my friend and blanket enthusiast, Sara Wilson, Director of the St. Joseph Museum. You can email her at  sara@stjosephmuseum.org

Thanks, Greg! We hope some beautiful Buells make their way to the museum. And for those of you who would like to read more about the Pendleton series that pays tribute to these blankets, here are the links:

Mill Tribute Series: Buell

Mill Tribute Series: Capp

Mill Tribute Series: Oregon City

Mill Tribute Series: Racine

Introducing the Olympic National Park Blanket!

A New Park Blanket

Pendleton is proud to unveil our latest national park blanket, celebrating Washington state’s Olympic National Park. See it here: Olympic National Park Blanket

Bed-shot-Olympic

The colors of this blanket pay homage to the Olympic National Park in our neighboring Washington State. This unique region is famous for its varied ecosystems—from rugged coastlines and dense old-growth forests to glacier-capped alpine peaks and lush rainforests.

THe Olympic National Park blanket, by Pendleton, next to a closeup of the blanket's lable, which features a drawing of a Roosevelt elk silhouetted by Ruby Beach, with wildflowers in the foreground.

This very special design uses a ground of heather grey with two bands of stripes in muted, natural tones. Fans of our national park blankets can attest to the fact that we don’t usually use heathered yarns in this group, making this blanket uniquely beautiful, just like the park for which it’s named.

The Park

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…Diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Rainforests

Visitors to the Pacific Northwest are often surprised to learn about our rainforests. The entire area was once home to a huge rainforest that stretched from Oregon’s southern coast to southeastern Alaska. Why? Because of our bountiful, wonderful (and sometimes depressing) level of rainfall.

The Olympic National Forest receives 12 to 14 feet of rain per year, with temperatures that rarely dip below freezing or rise above 80 degrees. These temperate, damp conditions allow rain forests to thrive, nourishing an array of vegetation: mosses, ferns, Douglas fir, red alders, Western hemlocks and Sitka spruce. As in all rain forests, downed trees become “nurse logs,” fertile places where seeds grow, animals nest and insects burrow.

Hoh_rainforest

Olympic National Park is home to four rain forests; Hoh, Quinault, Queets and Bogchiel. Quinault Rain Forest is home to the world’s largest Sitka spruce. This tree is more than 1,000 years old, 191-feet-high with a 96-foot spread. Aside from the Redwoods of California, Quinalt holds the largest trees in America—and, a gorgeous lake! Read more about a wooden boat  trip to Lake Quinalt by our friend Greg Hatten here: Lake Quinalt.

Mountains

The Olympic Mountains are part of the Pacific Coast Ranges. They’re not especially high – Mount Olympus is the highest at 7,962 ft (2,427 m)–but its eastern slopes rise out of Puget Sound from sea level, making for a towering ascent. The range’s western slopes are the wettest place in the 48 states thanks to—you guessed it—rain! That 12 to 14 feet of rain we mentioned earlier.

Hurricane_Ridge

Hurricane Ridge, at a mile above sea level, offers an unmatched view of the Olympic Mountains. You can observe right there, or take off on hiking trails. You can even take an off-road ready rig up two narrow dirt roads–Obstruction Point or Deer Park—to take in some incredible views of snow-capped mountains.

Beaches

As part of its varied landscape, Olympic NP contains a 73-mile long stretch of wilderness coast. The rocky headlands, beaches, tidepools and sea stacks are wild and undeveloped. Ruby Beach—named for ruby-like crystals that are found in deposits of the beach’s sand–has been attracting artists and photographers for decades, thanks to its unique sea stacks.

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By Adbar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27301905

Wildlife

We love our animals out here, and Olympic NP is full of them. Old growth preserves provide unique and safe habitat for several endangered species, including the northern spotted owl. Birdwatching in the park is popular, with over 250 species of birds. The mountain meadows draw blue grouse, woodpeckers, gray jays, and more. At the coast, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles.

On land, several species are found only in the Olympic forests: The Olympic marmot, Olympic snow mole and Olympic torrent salamander. Cougars, bobcats and bears are just a few of the carnivores that roam and hunt these forests. For a full list, see here: https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/nature/mammal-species-list.htm And don’t forget the ocean. Offshore, the waters that wash the beaches of Olympic NP are home to whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters.

olympic-national-park-bobcat

Other things to remember about visiting the area:

  • The Olympic peninsula was once one of the PNW’s best-kept secrets until a certain book series ignited interest in the area. If that’s your jam, Forks is VERY close to the park, as are La Push and Port Angeles.
  • If you would like to set foot on the westernmost  point of the contiguous 48 states, you can do it at Cape Alava, Washington (48.16974° N, 124.73004° W) during low tide, by walking out to the west side of Tskawahyah Island. Cape Alava is accessible via a 3-mile boardwalk hike from a ranger station in the park.
  • Dogs are not allowed in most of our national parks. But Olympic has dog-friendly trails where you can hike with your pooch, as long as you follow a few rules. Read more here: pets in Olympic National Park

So snuggle up in the made-in-the-USA warmth of the Olympic National Park blanket and start planning your visit. The Pacific Northwest wonderland awaits.

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Greg Hatten and the Great Outdoors: Moved by the Wallowas.

An icy Wallowa River.

National Park Week

Ed. Note: It’s National Park Week, and in the spirit of outdoor adventures, we’re sharing excerpts from a post by our friend Greg Hatten of Wooden Boat Adventures fame. He  took a trip into the snowy Wallowa Mountains this spring (or what’s passing for spring here in Oregon), and experienced nowcats, fly-fishing, Pendleton blankets, hot beverages and lobster tails. Read on below.

Greg’s Wallowas Story

Six hundred pounds of Oregon Elk thundered up the small freestone creek in a desperate dash for life as a pack of gray wolves gave chase. In a final powerful move to avoid the wolves at her heels, she wheeled left and attempted to jump up the six foot bank from the bottom of the creek bed. Her fate was sealed when her front legs sunk to her shoulders in four feet of deep snow. The trailing wolves, running lightly on a thin layer of crust, caught her quickly and ended the struggle for life at the top of the bank in a flurry of fangs and flesh.

Snow prints told the story.

Snowcats on the trail in the Wallowa Range.

It was a solemn moment in the middle of a remote area that had taken us several hours and a variety of vehicles to reach. Our destination was a cabin by the river…We reached the little cabin, started a fire, unloaded gear, and propped our wet boots by the stove to dry out.

Boots dring by the woodstove with a Pendleton Buffalo Creation coffee mug in the foreground.

Clearly this was going to be a steelhead trip to remember… but the Pendleton Whisky after dinner would challenge us to recall the details.

The Next Morning…

… was clear and crisp. I slipped on my waders, slipped out the cabin door and hiked to the pools upstream.

Wadrers, a wool shirt, and a Pendleton blanket on the front porch of a cabin.

We fished hard all day – upstream, downstream, swinging, nymphing, plunking….. we tried it all with the same result. A fishless day – not at all uncommon or unfamiliar to steelhead fishermen…. and so, we headed to the cabin for ribs and lobster.

After another elegant dinner I grabbed my Therm-a-Rest cot, my sleeping bag, and my Pendleton blanket and headed for the river to do some open air winter sleeping down by the river.

Greg Hatten sits on the banks of the Wallowa River, sipping a warm drink.

I explained it as a field test for winter gear – but I really wanted a closer connection to the river, the valley and the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans that called this place “home” more than two hundred and fifty years before us. I looked up at the stars in the night sky and thought of them in this place.

Snowy riverbanks, and a cold river.

My breath was heavy and my nose was cold but the familiar sound of running water over rocks and the rawness of the night was something I’ll never forget. The image of the slaughtered Elk was something else I’ll never forget and a few times during the night imagined I was being surrounded by the Minam pack of wolves that patrols this valley and did my best to snore loudly hoping to be mistaken for a hibernating bear. When I woke to the first light of dawn, I was pretty glad I hadn’t been eaten by wolves and figured either they thought I was a sleeping bear, a mad dog, or a middle aged fly fisherman that wouldn’t taste very good…. or maybe the wolf pack was only in my dreams. I hiked up to the cabin and made coffee.

A bright fire in the woodstove.

A plaid wool Pendleton shirt hangs on a pole near a snowy riverbank.

Catch of the day; a nice trout displayed by a fisherman.

…it was time to pack up and leave the valley. We made our way back up the steep narrow trail and near the top we stopped for one final look down at the river snaking it’s way between the mountains of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

History

In 1877, 800 members of the Nez Perce tribe and their 2,000 horses fled the valley and headed Northeast in a desperate attempt to elude the pursuers hot on their trail. They were searching for a new home and chased by the U.S. army for over 1,000 miles and three months across Idaho and parts of Montana before a final bloody battle less than 40 miles from the safety of Canada. It was the battle in the foothills of the Bear’s Paw Mountains where the Nez Perce were finally forced to surrender and Chief Joseph is said to have pronounced to the remaining Chiefs and the U.S. Army “Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

A Chief Joseph blanket hangs on a tree by a riverbank.

As I looked over the raw beauty of the Wallowa valley with the steep dark green Mountains on all sides dusted with a fine layer of white snow tumbling into the river below, his words took on a depth that made me ache for his people and the way of life they gave up. I was moved by the Wallowas.

Icy riverbanks, frosty vegetation.

Read the full post here: Moved by the Wallowas

All photography courtesy Greg Hatten

A khaki color Chief Joseph blanket by Pendleton.

See product here:

Chief Joseph blanket (tan)

Pendleton Buffalo Creation mug

Men’s wool shirts by Pendleton