Mud, sheep, fish, trail: The raw potential of Iceland’s Westfjords – Patagonia Catalog

“Mud and rain speckled my lenses. I squinted at the mucky, rock-strewn road in fading light and gripped my handlebars tighter. Focus. Exhale. Let go. At the next corner, Carston and Eric are stopped. Odd, I don’t usually see them until the bottom. Brakes shrieked in damp protest as I pulled up to a gooey red mess spilling across Eric’s nose, mouth and chin. “Are my teeth still there?” he asked through swollen lips, shivering under the evening drizzle.”


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“They said the key is under a rock… huh…” My companions on a filming trip for ESPN Adventure, Damian and Willie Benegas, wander a scrub-forest-lined fence in drizzling almost-snow, flipping stones and boulders in search of the necessary gate key. Our plans to drive to a remote estancia southeast of Bariloche and ski the valleys at the source of the Foyel River may be thwarted if we can’t find the hiding place. There’s no cell service to phone the owner of the outpost where we will be starting out trip, but we see a paysano living across the road and call over to check if we’re in the right place. Nope. Up the road further. Ten minutes later, we’ve located the correct gate and key. The truck spins through deep clay, snaking up a steep road toward snow line.


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Kvíar: Skiing the Forgotten Fjords of Iceland’s Northwest Peninsula

iceland-kviarAn island nation in the North Atlantic, Iceland is in the midst of a transition from its fishing and agrarian roots. Its rocky, sparsely vegetated landscapes are scattered with wind-battered homesteads once inhabited by hardy sheep farmers whose Viking ancestors settled the land 1,000 years ago. In the country’s isolated northwestern reaches, a group of skiers travel to a restored farmhouse in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve to explore places left behind by communities that were intimately connected with their natural environment.


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Chadar Trek: 100 Miles on Zanskar’s Blanket of Ice


A small Zanskari woman in maroon woolen robes takes my hand to guide me into her clay brick home. Stanzin’s hand is dry and cracked, rough against my palm. Smells of hay and animals linger in the air, but I can’t tell where these musky scents originate – the immediate darkness of the interior is a blinding contrast to the bright snow outside. Stooping to fit through doorways, I step over one knee-high threshold, then another, groping the clay wall to find my way through the small openings. I tighten my grip as we get farther into the house in utter blackness. Finally dim daylight filters through an opening. Stanzin tugs my hand, but something soft at my knees blocks my progress. There’s movement in the shadows, then a solid, curving horn brushes under my outstretched palm. Goats? Stanzin tosses the small animals out of my path, and at last I stumble into the light. Five surprised faces turn at the commotion of my entry. It’s teatime.


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Savor : Stories of Community, Culture, and Food


a story of place and identity, culture and tradition, of home.

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Savor is a collaborative project celebrating the intersection between culture and community through food in west Salt Lake. Beginning with the authors’ curiosity about how food justice and cultural factors impact the perception and execution of eating healthfully, a year of research resulted in the collection of fifteen recipes and contributor profiles from participants originating from 12 different countries.

The book is an account of a group of men and women who use their community kitchen not only to create meals, but also relationships. Through these stories the authors portray how food can act as a cultural anchor, an important element of identity, and a platform from which to build community.

The recipes tell fascinating tales of identity; they are the warmly-shared recollections of distant homes left by refugees and displaced persons, recipes modified by adversity and creativity, yet still so resonant with their origins you can taste it. That these stories, so rich with culture, and place, are told from a recognized ‘food desert’, expands their meaning; they now narrate a compelling and durable resistance to a food system that has made cheap, prepared, and placeless calories an increasingly dangerous norm.

The magic of these stories lies not in the individual ingredients, but in the ways the ingredients

come together, weaving sensory experiences that evoke the familiar and comfortable or invite a glimpse of the new and exotic.



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Backcountry Magazine | Mountain Skills: Twelve Things I Learned at Icefall Lodge’s Ski Mountaineering Course

With a weeklong ski mountaineering course on glaciers of the remote Canadian Rockies ahead of me, I was anxious. What if I was the slowest hiker, the weakest skier? By the time I met the eight other students at the heli-staging area north of Golden, B.C., however, I was more than ready to get into the mountains and leave that anxiety behind.

I first skied at Icefall Lodge, which sits on a tenure of 50,000 acres in the Canadian Rockies, in February and was captivated by the terrain. After an unforgettable week, I decided to return for the mountaineering course to improve my route-planning skills, learn crevasse rescue techniques and ski some of the area’s bigger lines.

The annual Spring Mountaineering Course is taught at Icefall Lodge by owner Larry Dolecki, a certified IFMGA mountain guide of more than 20 years who built his ski touring lodge near the western border of Banff National Park in 2005. “This should be a great week in the mountains, filled with lots of learning and great lines,” Dolecki wrote in the course intro packet. It certainly was.


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Solar Life Powered by Goal Zero : Nepal | A Change of Plans

News of the closed pass to Jomsom rippled through our trekking group. “9 people missing, thigh deep snow, avalanches…” I could feel the tension building as we realized that our long-anticipated, well-crafted plans might be ruined. The source of our trail gossip, an elderly monk in maroon robes, stood next to a wall of carved prayer stones marking the entrance to Tsarka village. “Namaste!” I greeted him with the weary happiness that comes with reaching camp after a 9-hour day trekking in ankle-deep mud and snow. Multicolored prayer flags waved in the evening light. We stopped to hear his snippets of news, but weren’t quite willing to believe that the end of our planned route was truly impassable.


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Beyond The Edge – National Geographic Adventure Blog

Navigating Baja: Little Town, Big Fish

The power of the wind blowing by at 100 miles per hour was enough to make me worry that if I turned sideways, I wouldn’t get my head pointed forward again. I was riding double, perched on the back of a KTM motorcycle, flying past saguaro and agave plants. The two-lane road we were cruising up led from Los Barilles on the Sea of Cortez across the Baja peninsula to the Pacific. Two minutes into our ride, I was convinced this was the best way to see Baja.

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Photograph by Max Lowe

SLC Foodie – Dinner at Rye

After studying the cocktail menu in the waiting area for a few minutes, we’re taken to a bright corner table by the window. The drink selection is unusual, most of the combinations are interesting twists on traditional cocktails: the Kingston Mule, the Rye Negroni. The liquors are familiar — tequila, gin, rum — but are combined with egg whites or chocolate bitters. Our collective favorite is the Paper Plane, although none of them disappoint.

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SLC Foodie – From Scratch

From Scratch is a perfect place to meet up for lunch on these cool spring days. The delicious house-made dough, crispy and warm from the wood-fired oven, hits the spot. Tucked into a space on Gallivan Ave, just off of 3rd south, the dining space is casual yet trendy, with restored wood walls and tables and chairs reminiscent of a European café. The restaurant is all about making as much as possible from scratch. The in-house Austrian flourmill provides a fresh base for the pizzas, pastas, and breads. Cooks whip up condiments such as ketchup, mayo, mustard, and jam.

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