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    Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold

    By Rebecca Caldwell


    Today’s post comes from Rebecca Caldwell, photographer and wife to Patagonia climbing ambassador Tommy Caldwell, and mama to their son, Fitz. She discovered the climbing lifestyle five years ago and now spends more time soaking up the beautiful places around the world than at home. They share their somewhat unconventional lifestyle with Fitz, and hope to encourage others to explore the outdoors with their kids, too.

    Every autumn since I’ve known Tommy we have loaded up our van, left our home in Estes Park, Colorado, and driven to Yosemite National Park for him to work on his mega-project, The Dawn Wall, on the monolithic El Capitan. After we had Fitz we couldn’t wait to share this breathtaking place with him. This time of year the leaves turn golden and fall to the ground, snow dusts the valley rim, the warm California sun plays hide and seek behind the south walls as it moves from east to west, and the cold sinks into our temporary home in Upper Pines campground. Van life with Fitz means dealing with constant weather changes and variations. Making sure he’s warm enough, but not too warm, is an ongoing challenge. As an active adult it’s easy to find information about layering systems for your endeavors, but rarely do people talk about layering systems for kids.

    Above: Fitz racking up for Moby Dick. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell

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    The Lost Dory – Traveling in Baja with my dad and his handmade boat

    By Joe Curren


    When I think of my dad, I think of roughing it in Baja and traveling up and down the peninsula in a rickety old VW Bug. For three straight years, between the ages of 13-15, my dad would pick me up in Santa Barbara and we’d make the 1,000-mile drive south to Cabo on Highway 1. We spent six weeks in summer and two weeks in winter mostly staying at my dad’s place on the East Cape, but we also camped, surfed, fished and dove along the way, and always with his handmade foam and fiberglass dory.

    The trips are some of the best memories I have of my dad while growing up. Yes, we did rough it, but a bit of hardening was good for me. Traveling in Baja is a rite of passage for the Southern California surfer and getting dirty comes with the territory, especially once you venture south of Ensenada. Shipwrecks, Scorpion Bay, Seven Sisters; as a grom it was the waves that drew me in. Many hours, of course, were spent surfing. But my dad really made sure I experienced everything the land and water in Baja had to offer.

    [Above: The first trip when I was 13. Many adventures lay ahead. Photo: Pat Curren]

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    Making a difference, one kid at a time

    Downsized_0212111724 As a book editor at Patagonia I work in obscurity, helping writers make the best of their story. I like it that way, but don’t often hear about how the projects I work on impact their readers. So an email from a great friend in Santa Barbara about the impact that 180° South – a film directed by Chris Malloy, with a companion book published by Patagonia – had on his son, Max, it caught me by surprise. Here, with my friend Matt Wilson’s permission is that email.

    Break-through weekend at our house. Max has really found surfing, not boogie boarding and 2-second rides at some beachbreak. Thursday through Sunday we went to Campus Point every day.

    Thursday he took his shortboard and even on the small waves he could get up and surf. I took the fly rod and wet-waded for a short halibut, and a lot of kelp… . On the drive home he talked about taking the longboard and how maybe he should try it out. I told him about how we saw Lard Hamilton riding a SUP on TV and that when the waves are smaller it just makes sense to use the ‘right board.’

    [Max out at Campus Point. Photo: Matt Wilson]

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    Your Rad Dad Stories - Just Like Your Father

    Editor's note: For Fathers' Day 2010, we asked readers to Tell Us About Your Rad Dad. We received lots of great photos and short stories about dads who have done all kinds of cool things with their kids. George Gess's story caught us by surprise. The third in our series of submissions (the first two posts are available here: 1 and 2), George's story invited us to have another think on what makes a dad truly rad. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Here's George:

    Gess I have always thought of my dad as "rad." Not really because of what he did, but just because he was my dad. The Man. The guy that made what I wanted to do while I was growing up possible. Be it little league baseball, soccer, basketball camp or backpacking trips, he was the one that made it happen. He was always there for me; always on the sidelines, always in the crowd, always a postcard away. I had a lot of great times growing up, and I have him to thank.

    My dad was an attorney in northwest Ohio. His name is Tom Gess. A few years after making partner in the law firm that he was with, he began doing pro-bono legal work for a land trust called the Black Swamp Conservancy. The goal of the conservancy was to protect the land in the Black Swamp from deterioration and development, thus preserving the natural habitat for local wildlife. Shortly after providing legal counsel for the BSC, he became board-member and President of the entire outfit. When he was home at night, he was spending time with the family. When he wasn't  at home, he was giving his time to the environment. Not for profit, but because he loved it. That's pretty Rad.

    [George and Tom Gess. Photo courtesy George Gess]

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    Your Rad Dad Stories - Hip Mountain Biker

    Dan & dad Editor's Note: Today's post comes from Dan Moore, down in southern Utah. Dan sent us this story in response to our request to "Tell Us About Your Rad Dad." Last week's featured submission was from a young lady whose discovery of herself and the outdoors is still unfolding. This week's feature offers a look back from the perspective of a man now raising his own son.

    It's not uncommon for dads to push us to do better, to try harder. But it's the uncommon dad who figures out how to make that fun. Dan Moore is lucky to have one of those dads:


    I was thirteen years old when I first started beating my dad on the mountain bike. The first time I out rode him was on a trip to Moab, and Poison Spider Mesa was the ride. After that, Moab trips became a fairly frequent event, and my father, an orthopedic surgeon, was always inviting more of the guys from the hospital to come along. It was always a bit of a competition. My dad would try to find young guys in good shape to pit against me throughout my teenage years in order to push me to ride better and faster.

    On one particular trip, when I was about sixteen, my father had run out of guys at the hospital who could push me. As we drove in our van to Moab, all of the doctors, nurses and scrub technicians joked about needing to do something to slow me down. I basked in the macho adulation of the men I'd grown up idolizing and the feeling that I was viewed, not only as one of them, but when it came to riding, as the top of the food chain.

    [Dan Moore and his dad, David, on the White Rim Trail, 1993. Photo courtesy Dan Moore]

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    Dad Most Rad - The first of your Rad Dad stories



    Ever ridden in a backpack, surfed tandem, skied on a leash, been pulled up to the belay, sat on the handle bars or just had a downright radical experience with the helping hand of your Rad Dad? In celebration of Father's Day, we put that question to you a little over a week ago.


    The replies we've received have been funny, admirable, and impressive . . . we didn't know so many babies could type! Your stories have also been humbling; touching in a way that's possible only when you ask a person to say something thoughtful about someone they love. Thanks for putting us - and Cleanest Line readers - on the receiving end of your good words.


    In that original invite, we said we'd "pick the best stories to post on our blog." One thing became obvious pretty quickly: How do you pick the "best" of something like that? The short answer is, you can't. So we've decided to share the stories that touched us in a unique way, or exemplified what makes a dad truly rad. We hope you enjoy these stories and photos as much as we have. The first of three comes from young Abby B. Her story starts below, with photos after the jump.


    Ever since I was little, I knew I had a pretty rad dad. Even from the beginning, I was taken on countless adventures with him. I was always the little baby you see riding on a sled behind their cross-country skiing dad, or the little three year old plodding up a trail, pushed along by an encouraging father. Even now, my dad is behind me all the way up the rugged mountain trail, or the waist-deep powder run. He's involved me in nature ever since I can remember, and I owe my passion for the outdoors to him.

    [From the original Rad Dad post - Violet and Daddy check check out a waterfall together. Photo: Lisa Polley]




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    Tell Us About Your Rad Dad - Score Him a Present from Patagonia

    LP east side hike Ever ridden in a backpack, surfed tandem, skied on a leash, been pulled up to the belay, sat on the handle bars or just had a downright radical experience with the helping hand of your Rad Dad? In celebration of Father's Day, we'd like to hear your story. We'll pick the best stories to post on our blog, The Cleanest Line, and stoke you and your Rad Dad each with a sweet Patagonia prize. Submit your story about your Rad Dad before Monday, June 21, to this e-mail address:

    Pictures are also heartily encouraged and can be attached to your email. Submissions can be as long as you'd like (within reason - no novellas, please), but should be a minimum of 1 or 2 paragraphs. We'll publish our favorites on The Cleanest Line starting the week after Father's Day. Full contest guidelines are available in our "About" section.

    PLEASE NOTE: While we do welcome stories from across the globe, we can only ship prizes within the United States.

    We gag on legalese as much as you do, so we're doing our best to keep things simple. That said, please be sure to review the Submission Guidelines and Contest Rules here before sending us your story. Hit the jump to enjoy a few more pictures of some of Patagonia's rad dads in action.

    [Brian Polley enjoys an east-side hike with the kids, Sierra Nevada. Photo: Lisa Polley]

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