Fall is always busy in Fayettechill, but it is during these hectic times that I find it most important to reflect and review one of the most important (and dynamic) aspects of the Fayettechill, our non profit partners. This week and next we will be featuring each one of our non-profit partners, outlaying our relationship with them, and presenting what they have done (or will do) with funds received via FC.
Getting these stories together is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of my job. The amount of time, energy, and money that the Buffalo River Foundation (BRF) put into their projects is truly remarkable. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of the most active members and it is inspiring to see their passion shine through all the work that they do. It is undeniable that they are making a social and environmental difference, something that can be said less and less often in a complicated world where one’s efforts can be easily diluted and misdirected.
No one at Fayettechill is a traditional businessman in my mind. Sure, we do what is need to sustain and grow the company, but no one really talks about how much money they want to make or fill their pockets with. Instead, for the most part, we talk about what we can DO to positively contribute to the community. Our M.O. is to bring the Ozarks to the world, to show them in their relatively unencumbered state, and do what we can to make sure they remain that way for all to enjoy. When we do an artistic interpretation of the Ozarks, we want to share the feelingthat an Ozark landscape invokes. We hope that feeling gets buried inside each individual who wears our shirts and also to those who see others wearing them. We think this process creates a real relationship between the Ozarks and the world, one that moves people to want both share and protect the Ozarks now and in the future.
Our non-profit partner shirts take this notion one step further. We are able to directly channel funds from shirt sales to this non-profit organizations reservoirs, hoping that our donations allow this to worry less about fundraising and more on the progressive and protective work they were created to do. Eventually, we are able to bring it all together and show the FC community how they directly contributed to the the noble efforts of non-profit, whether they knew it or not. How the shirts on their backs represent something bigger than themselves, Fayettechill, or even the BRF: a movement of reflection on the beauty of nature and a responsibility to protect it.
- Devin O’Dea
VP of Development
Check out this video with owner, Mo Elliott & our Warehouse Manager, Andrew Gibbs. They are riding Mt. Kessler, this is the Mountain that our warehouse and offices sits at the base of. These trails are top notch in the area for Mountain Biking and Hiking, while the peak of this mountain sits at over 1800 ft in elevation.
Waiting out a storm high in the mountains is the side of mountaineering that is not thrilling, exciting, or flashy. They don’t make movies about it, magazines don’t write about it, but we have all had done it numerous times. Waiting, sometimes for hours and sometimes for days, means a lot of time in a tent with someone that you (hopefully) like. Your time is spent trying to find ways to beat down the boredom of listening to the wind pound on the tent and peering through the vestibule to see if the skies are clearing, only to find less visibility and more snow than the last time you looked outside.
Waiting, eating, talking, waiting, reading, listening to your iPod, going outside to pee, waiting, playing solitaire, eating, sleeping, waiting, reading, listening to the same songs again on your IPod – the cycle becomes endless. Small details that were not important a few days ago start permeating your thoughts as you battle the boredom. Who still has chocolate? How many pages do I have left to read in my book? Do we still have toilet paper? How much power is left in the Goal Zero: if it runs out of power, no more solitaire or music. Not to mention, being stuck in a tent for an extended period of time can really let you know when you need a shower. This is exactly what happened to me during this last trip to Peru. After 3 days of climbing, there we were, stuck high up on Alpamayo, just waiting for the weather to clear.
But finally, after 36 hours of heavy wind, no visibility and heavy snow, I was relieved and energized to finally be freed of the tent prison. Feeling the sun warm my face and the fresh clean air I felt alive again. The feeling of moving, walking, climbing, feeling the muscles in my body working was invigorating, even as my lungs searched for oxygen in the thin air at 18,000 feet. This was so much better than the past two days of lying in the tent, talking about how to solve the U.S. debt crisis, mastering solitaire and discussing why our girlfriends don’t want to spend their vacations with us enjoying the big mountains. Being able to do what we came here to do – climb – felt great.
As we descended from 18,000 feet in the deep snow, zigzagging through the minefield of crevasses, one of my climbing partners walking ahead lost his footing. One of his crampons slid in the 14 inches of fresh, powdery snow causing him to fall onto his side. He then began to slide down a 40 degree snow slope, picking up speed as he went. My eyes immediately fixed on him, but as I saw him roll to his stomach, I expected him to self arrest and stop his slide. But, as I watched, I saw him struggling as his ice axe failed to bite into the ice covered by the deep powdery snow.
He continued his slide toward a large crevasse that spanned some 25 feet wide and at-least 100 feet deep. These types of crevasses are a combination of beauty and concern but at the moment, only concern as I watched the rope between us rapidly going out. I immediately dug into the deep powder looking for the hard ice hiding beneath. I plunged my ice axe and crampons into the ice and positioned myself for the force that was going to come from the momentum of my partner.
Soon enough – fractions of a second actually – I felt the pressure on my harness and my partner’s weight pulled on me and my ice axe. The ice axe slid a few inches and the ice cracked in my ears as I kept my weight positioned to secure the axe. To my relief I was able to stop the fall about 10 feet before my partner reached the crevasse that we later affectionately named “Manhattan.” My partner yelled, “Do you have me”, in his tough cool voice, but I knew that inside he was just as relieved as me. I told him I had him and he began the short climb back up to my location. He gave me a high five and we began to laugh and joke about the events that happened so fast, but seemed to play out in slow motion. It always amazes and amuses me that mountaineers, after avoiding tragedy, usually laugh and joke, and later tell animated stories about the adventure. I can see why a non-climber may find this a little crazy, especially when we recognize these are circumstances that can take our lives. I think it’s a way not only to relieve stress but also to serve as good (and important) reminders as to just how vulnerable and fragile we really are and that in mere moments, things can drastically change – for better or worse. We are free when we are climbing, master of our own domain, or so we think. In reality maybe we are just fragile specs of dust passing through time in the mountains. - Dan Nash, Team Fayettechill
When I was first invited to mountain bike Mt. Kessler I had about zero experience riding dirt trails. On top of that I had never hiked the Kessler trail or seen what kind of terrain was on the trails. I was a total newbie, ambitious to get my feet wet on a new sport. As we geared up, my riding partner, founder of Fayettechill, my cousin, and long time Kessler rider, Mo Elliott, began to explain a few of the tougher parts of the trail. This included some drops, some rock gardens, and some fast downhill switchbacks. It was at that moment that I realized that this was going to be a bit more enduring than I had originally thought. I quickly embraced the fact that I was entering new territory and told myself that injury could be a reality in my near future. So with my new outlook about my physical well being, we began the trail.
Mt. Kessler itself is a gem. Located close to town, it is an escape from the city life but doesn’t require very much planning at all. Once you enter the area it feels like a remote location deep in the woods. The only sounds around are of the bird life in between the rustling of the trees. The trails themselves are very well maintained by the Ozark Off Road Cyclist (OORC), and very easily navigated. It was midsummer and the plant life was in full growth, everything was teeming with green all around me.
As we approached the first downhill section Mo explained that he would shout out the drops and that I should always take my time getting used to the feeling of trail riding, rather than try to keep up and risk falling. On the initial decent my adrenaline started pumping. I could feel my grip on the handlebars tighten and my vision became more focused onto the three foot wide trail below my tires. As the speed picked up the rocks below me began to approach at a quicker and quicker pace. Nervous that I would be thrown over the bars I went to grab the brake lever, but the bike was able to easily bounce over them. What was once a menacing group of grapefruit sized stones became nothing more than a quick second of pressure against my arms.
This was the moment I let it all go. I allowed myself to let the bike handle the trail in the same way that a horseback rider allows the horse to maneuver the smaller obstacles while only telling the animal when to turn, speed up, or slow down. It was my moment of clarity in a environment that requires rapid fire decision making.
The amount of sensory input that floods the human mind in trail riding is an enigma to me. In a split seconds time rocks, trees, sand, and steep hillsides fly by. I am not sure how much is processed of all of these details, but the fact that we are creatures that are able to maneuver these complex situations, at those speeds, is truly incredible.
Trail riding is an art, this I can easily say. I have become an instant trail riding enthusiast and highly recommend it to everyone. Kessler is an amazing spot to enjoy on a bicycle. For the novice there is plenty of fun trails. For the experienced, this place has tons of drops, fast tight sections, and tough rock gardens. So my advice to anyone considering riding is go out and ride Kessler!
~Writing and Photos By: Chris Woollis
Dog Days of Summer
This summer has been one of the most eventful seasons in recent memory. I have made some new friends, become closer to current ones, and had some amazing experiences. Fayetteville during the summer is a re-grouping period of sorts. From the fall until spring, the city’s infrastructure is at the brink of overflowing. The hustle and bustle of the university, packed businesses, and filled streets make way for a quieter, more quaint town once the summer season kicks in. It’s a perfect chance for the whole city to take in a deep breath, and exhale. I always feel a little less guilty taking a day off to go float, rock climb, or mountain bike, when the summer is here. What I am most proud of this summer however, is the culture and work space that we have formed at Fayettechill.
We are finally cultivating an atmosphere that is inviting, creative, and driven. When I am not having my best day, I can walk outside, into the warehouse, or conference room and feed off someone else’s energy to jump start my day. But the best part of our work space is the presence of my co-worker’s canine counterparts. My co-workers have made a habit of bringing their dogs with them to work almost everyday, and it has been great. Try to hold an English Bulldog puppy and frown. Try to be worked up over a failed retail pitch while throwing a tennis ball to a rescued mutt. These dogs have done more than allow me to blow off some steam every few hours, they have had a very positive impact on our overall work environment and attitude. None more evident than when Charlie, the Irish Wolf Hound/Lab mix, walked into my office a few weeks ago.
We had just hired Rui as our web and coding intern and she was one of the most intelligent people on our staff. What took me 3 hours of frustration in front of a computer, Rui could finish in 15 minutes without thinking twice. The only drawback with Rui was that there was a strong language barrier. Rui is of Asian descent, and there were questions of whether or not we would be able to effectively communicate, dealing with our language obstacles, not to mention I had no idea about the inner workings of computer coding.
Her first day started out easy enough, she typed away on her computer directly across from me as I made phone calls and planned out my week. She had a to-do list, but we didn’t talk much other than that. She was an extremely hard worker. I felt like I had to be the most professional I could be. No more breaks every 15 minutes to go throw the frisbee. For some reason, I was inside my head and tense.
At that moment, Charlie walked in, panting heavily with his wiry black hair covering his eyes, tongue sagging out. I smiled, leaned over and gave Charlie some much needed petting and attention. I looked over at Rui, who was very uneasy. “It’s okay. He’s nice,” I said to her. She looked apprehensive. Charlie locked eyes with Rui, jetted over to her, and started licking her hand. Her fearful expression quickly turned into laughter, as she held out her hands and gave Charlie a hug as he wiggled up and down and wagged his tail. I hadn’t seen her smile like that before and it was relaxing to see how much she opened up to Charlie. Later that day, right before Rui left, she looked over to me and asked, “Where can I adopt a dog?” It was awesome. I spent the next few minutes showing her adoption websites and the process to become a dog owner.
We had found a common bond in Charlie, and that’s when I realized why animals are such an integral part of our culture. Dogs connect. They fill voids. They walk as your trusted companion. They are loyal beyond belief. Rui has moved on to a full-time job, where I’m confident she is impressing her superiors, but we share a great friendship. A friendship that was started by one of our offices most devoted colleagues, Charlie. As Fayetteville fills back up and the energy and excitement of a new semester approaches, I can’t wait to see what our canine mascots Charlie, Layla, and Daisy, bring to whoever wanders their way into the smoke house.
Pictures (Top to bottom) Charlie and Spencer, Layla and Andrew, Daisy and Greg
Grant Holden - email@example.com
"In recent years, Little Rock, a city of 195,000, has become a runner’s paradise."
As the capital of the Natural State, Little Rock remains a strong and active outdoor force in the Ozark Mountain region. The city council can be seen as a guiding light for the rest of the state, as it places a priority on the symbiotic development of a growing urban city with well maintain opportunities to escape and enjoy the outdoors. This motif radiates from the city center out into the rest of the state and beyond. The development of Arkansas, in general, is one that has maintained a conscious effort to preserve that which is most important to the people - the natural beauty of the state itself. The self reliance of Arkansas’ capital sets a strong foundation for a city. The self empowerment that results from it allows the people decide for itself what is important and how and where to invest its time, energy, and projects. Luckily for the people of Arkansas, they have decided to invests it into the state in such a way that it can be enjoyed by as many as possible.
Fayettechill is an idea that is always evolving and growing. I sometimes take a step back and find myself stunned at how far we have come from a single idea and t-shirt. I observe the passion my friends and co-workers bring into the smoke house everyday, and that keeps me hungry for what we have yet to discover.
One of the characteristics in my peers and idols I have always admired most is the ability to jump into the unknown. Jumping into the undiscovered. It’s sneaking out of your house for a late night bike ride with friends, taking a day out in the Ozarks to hike an unfamiliar trail, or in a more momentous case, packing up and moving your life into a totally new place. My close friend and Fayettechill white water kayaker Jake Newcomb set his sights on Colorado. Jake and I went to college together, and I can’t speak for Jake, but I believe we both spent a lot of that time searching for friends that truly embraced our laid-back demeanor and shared a passion for the outdoors, and in Jake’s case specifically, kayaking. Jake, an Arkansas native, has found his home in Colorado for the near future, packing up and leaving his home to grow and flourish his passion for kayaking. This search and curiosity for the unknown is a huge motivator in my life and is highly contagious to other people.
Being called a, “hippy,” or, “weird,” or any other label is an easy way for people to cope with the fact that some people choose different paths in life. As I grow, I am constantly pressured by the feeling that the world is the way it is, and I’m supposed to live within that world. But that doesn’t have to be the case. The world we see today was built by people: flesh, bones, a brain, just like you and me. You don’t have to just live a life, you can build your life. Each formula for success and happiness is different. You don’t have to pack up everything and move by a river in Colorado to discover this, but my biggest goal for Fayettechill is that our collection of stories and experiences feed our supporter’s curiosity for the unknown, in a literal and metaphorical sense.
- Grant Holden - firstname.lastname@example.org
A few weeks ago, Fayettechill ambassador Darrin Wahl traveled to the WakeZone Cable Park in OKC with some of his friends and came up with a solid edit of their adventure. These guys are doing awesome things for the water sport community in this region and I highly suggest checking this video out. All of these riders have effortless style and technique. Makes me want to drop everything and get out on the water!
Riders: Lee Easton, Darrin Wahl, Jojo Franklin, Trey Romine, Jarret Cofer
Filmed by: Lee Easton