Way of Life
The cold, clear emerald water parts in foaming crests and valleys, silently sliced by the ship’s bow, as it rises to meet the next wave. Back on deck, the captain grasps the helm and adjusts his gaze on the horizon. Salt and sea mist have collected in his beard over the last four hours of his watch. He pulls his wool hat further down on ...Read More
In December 2014, Olivier Huin walked into Sunrise Coffee Company in Port Townsend, Washington, with his wife and daughter, wearing his distinctive white beard, to perform a ritual he’s conducted on four continents. Bill Curtsinger, co-owner of the coffee shop in this seaport community two hours north of Seattle by ferry and car, no...Read More
Over the past four decades, Port Townsend, WA has become an important hub for the building and maintenance of wooden boats on the West Coast. It is there that the history and skills of wooden boatbuilding are still taught, shaping the souls of those that go to sea.
Video by Brother for Filson.
Early in the long days of summer here in Bristol Bay, I constantly feel as if I am holding my breath. Our family’s 32-foot drift boat has sat on blocks all winter, and the anxiety for the moment when my husband will turn the engine over for the first time each spring is incomparable. Commercial vessels here log a full year’s worth of hours in 4-6 short weeks only to sit dormant for months in the freezing cracks and thaws of winter.
Invariably in early summer, at least one cussing injury will occur, some type of frustration will spring up, grease will permeate every load of laundry we run, and in every conversation will be the silent, lingering question, “When will the boat be ready?” The batt...
The Bristol Bay salmon run attracts people from all over the globe, who work around the clock from late May until the end of July. They harvest sockeye salmon, known as "Red Gold" for the fish's deep unique color, it's sought-after flavor, and it's lucrative value to the men and women who work feverishly in the fishery.
Video by Brother for Filson
Some are born into it, some stumble upon it, and some, like me, seek it out.
The lure of Alaska's "Red Gold," the Sockeye salmon run of Bristol Bay, hit me when I was twenty. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I often heard how rewarding a summer spent fishing in Alaska can be, so I decided to give it a go. Now at twenty-eight, with five fishing seasons under my belt, I have learned that commercial fishing is a lot of hard work with very little sleep, oftentimes rewarding, and incredibly addicting. If you are willing to endure the physical and mental stress of a season for that gamble, here are some tips on how to start fishing.
First, choose your fishery. You'll need to learn the duration ...Read More
Look across the valley and you’ll see old fence posts that mark the corners of properties, they collect the bleached skulls of field mice left by hawks who see fence posts not as boundary markers but as windows into a world free from want. You see, mice fuel hawks so that the observant rancher might know when the seasons come and go. Fall is when red-tailed hawks pass by and winter is when rough-legged hawks adorn their perches as if they were cut from the same stump. While fence posts demarcate the beginning and end of a pasture, the arrival and departure of certain wildlife marks the passing of time in Montana’s Tom Miner Basin.
Wolves live here too. Their history on this landscape is a com...
Four generations have lived here. The old schoolhouse stands where it has for nearly a century, a totem of those who came, laid roots, and grew families deep in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone basin. This place, in many ways, has retained a pulse of wildness that once poured across North America. This is Montana. Life is not easy or predictable here; daily existence and duty are guided by the ebb and flow of the seasons. Beyond the cabin windows lie mountain lions, bighorn sheep, mule deer, bald eagles, grizzly bears, wolves, elk and a few hundred motley head of cattle. Generations of life experience among the Andersons have fostered a work ethic that serves well those who have carved a...
With no road in or out of town, the people of Alaska’s remote city of Cordova live in a land where people and nature thrive together. From a Native fishing village, it grew to become a town created to be the “premier copper port of the world.” For generations, the people of Cordova have relied on unfailing goods and their Alaskan pioneer spirit to preserve their livelihoods and the rich ecosystem that surrounds them.
For more than a century, the local economy and people from different walks of life and professions have relied on the sustaining power of nature. I asked a local biologist about this relationship: “In my family, we don't buy any meat. The meat we consume in our house is what we ...
Brothers John and James were born and raised in Alaska. Both now in their 30s, John and James are now teachers of the great Alaskan pioneer tradition to their young children. In the interior of Alaska, fall is the perfect time of year for harvesting and stocking up on wild meat for their families, and today is a perfect day to take John’s daughter out for practice and a lesson on how to survive off the wild in the northern tundra.
Although John’s 6-year-old daughter Genevieve has no school today, John gets her up like any other school day and asks her if she still wants to go hunting with him. She replies with a simple “yes,” and one reindeer sausage-and-cheese omelet later, they are out the...Read More