CHACOS.COM/US Blog CHACOS.COM/US Blog Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:06:54 GMT CHACO TRAVELS: California <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3858.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>California may be the Golden State, but it&rsquo;s coastal highways and National Parks are gems of an exceptional quality. From the winding roads and foggy cliffs of Big Sur to the ancient rain forests of the <a href="" target="_blank">Redwoods</a> and on to the epic <a href="" target="_blank">Yosemite Valley</a>, words can&rsquo;t articulate the grandeur of the nature found between the Pacific and the Sierra Nevada range. Lucky for us, photographer <a href="" target="_blank">Jonah Reenders</a> captured the experience on a recent road trip with his brother, and each picture is worth a thousand words.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3638.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3678.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3781.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3944.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_3967.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5068.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5113.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5292.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5541.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5586.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_5634.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6122.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6234.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6715.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6725.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6908.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6924.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_6979.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7062.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7205.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7492.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7505.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7538.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7725.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_7760.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Jonah Reenders is a photographer based in Northern Michigan. He&rsquo;s currently studying in the rainforests of South America. You can find him on Instagram at <a href="" target="_blank">@JonahReenders</a>.</p> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 05:19:00 GMT Winter Reads <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/A2139351.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Four Chaco Favorites</strong></p> <p>It's that time of year when the long dark of winter is beginning to break, but spring just won't come soon enough. Just as the weather seems like it will shift for the warmer, we're digging ourselves out of drifts once again (unless you live near the slopes, in which case we envy you). Yes, yes - we enjoy a good Netflix binge as much as the next sandal brand, but for our money, there's just no better opportunity to huddle close to a wood-burning fireplace with a good book and a heavy blanket. So go ahead and close that laptop, unplug for an hour or two, and dive into one of these four reads to get your mind racing and your heart yearning for adventure.&nbsp;</p> <p>1. <a href="" target="_blank">Wild by Cherly Strayed</a></p> <p>Before Reese Witherspoon laced up her hiking boots for the silver screen, Cheryl Strayed's autobiographical tale of tackling the Pacific Crest Trail made waves on its own for its unflinching and often humorous take on an amateur's quest from the Mojave to the Cascades. In the book, Strayed wrestles with the realities of grief (her mother had recently passed away and her marriage had just ended), addiction, and the very real physical and mental challenges of an 1,100 mile trek. All this is balanced with unique encounters of incredible beauty and kindness, both in the nature she's exploring and the strangers she meets along the way.&nbsp;</p> <p>Read the book, then go see the film.</p> <p>2. <a href="" target="_blank">Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor</a></p> <p>"The function of man is to live, not to exist." So says Jack London, the prolific author, journalist, and journeyman best known for classics like The Call of the Wild and White Fang. Jack London lived a frenetic and inspiring life - from life as a seaman on a schooner to working as a gold prospector in the Yukon - and though his life was shorter than most, he packed it in with lifetimes of experiences and stories, many of which most certainly inspired his books.</p> <p>3. <a href="" target="_blank">Reinhold Messner: My Life at the Limit by Reinhold Messner and Thomas Huetlin</a></p> <p>It's quite something to be known as the world's greatest mountaineer. Reinhold Messner has that distinction. The Italian adventurer is known for his myriad accomplishments in the mountaineering and climbing community, and while he&rsquo;s put out his share of books, it&rsquo;s nothing quite like hearing the man in conversation. The man is a machine, and in this book - an extended interview with German journalist Thomas Huetlin - you get a glimpse inside his engineering.</p> <p>4. <a href="" target="_blank">Yosemite In The Sixties by Glen Denny</a></p> <p>This collection of photographer Glen Denny's work documenting Yosemite's climbing culture in the Sixties is a glimpse back through time. All the work is in black and white, emphasizing the candid moments of a burgeoning climbing community that would create the very techniques and tools that climbing would adopt over the coming decades. This is the birth of something that would last - not unlike the bold figures of Half-Dome and El Capitan, captured in its pages.</p> <div><br /></div> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 08:31:00 GMT #INTERVIEWED: BECCA SKINNER <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_003.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Bozeman-based photographer&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Becca Skinner</a>&nbsp;lives a fascinating life. After taking our Azula Waterproof Boots and Z/1 Yampa Sandals for a spin in the backcountry, she was kind enough to let us pick her brain about photography, climbing, and falconry. Yes, falconry.</p> <p><strong>So Becca, you live in Bozeman, MT. How&rsquo;d you end up there?&nbsp;</strong>I was living in Laramie, WY before I came up here. I had decided to take time off of school and started working more as a photographer and needed a working airport. The Laramie airport flights are either delayed and cancelled what felt like 95 percent of the time because of the weather. I had been a backcountry guide here in Bozeman a few years prior and really liked it. I didn&rsquo;t know anyone, but I decided to move on up.</p> <p><strong>That&rsquo;s pretty practical &ndash; you moved specifically because of a functioning airport?&nbsp;</strong>Yeah. I know a lot of people say they move up here for the skiing, but if I&rsquo;m honest, I just needed an airport.</p> <p><strong>You could live near an airport anywhere, but you&rsquo;ve made Montana your home and Wyoming before that. What is it about those Northwestern states that makes them so special to you?&nbsp;</strong>Really, I&rsquo;ve just gotten so spoiled with the access to the backcountry. In most of the places I&rsquo;ve lived, Colorado being the exception, I&rsquo;ve been able to leave my house and get to a trail in 10 minutes. I think that I would&rsquo;ve been open to moving just about anywhere that gave me that opportunity. And I&rsquo;m not really a city person. Bozeman is a small-enough town to satisfy all those needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;l<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_002.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>What is it about city life that keeps you away?&nbsp;</strong>I hate driving in traffic. And generally anywhere that I can wear my Chacos to work &ndash; seriously &ndash; I&rsquo;m good. I&rsquo;m kind of an introvert, I don&rsquo;t like the traffic, and I just love the wilderness. I need time spent alone in the wilderness to recoup and recharge.</p> <p><strong>How did you get into photography professionally?&nbsp;</strong>I was given a camera when I graduated high school and as I used it, I discovered how much I liked it. I started posting photos on Facebook and people were excited about them, and that made me think &ldquo;I like this too and other people like it.&rdquo; I would take my friends out for photo shoots just for practice and then I applied for a grant through the University of Wyoming to photograph 5-years post-Hurricane Katrina. That was a big launch into my career. That was my first grant and set the stage for the Young Explorers Grant that I won later, which let me travel to Indonesia to photograph the aftermath of the tsunami.</p> <p><strong>Do you feel like these somewhat high-profile projects propelled you into full-time photography?&nbsp;</strong>Well, being connected to Nat Geo allows for various opportunities. As those doors opened, I think I realized that I wanted to move in that direction. Though I&rsquo;ve only gone full-time with photography in the last 6 months. I&rsquo;m actually pretty new to it.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_001.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>When you&rsquo;re out shooting, what are your favorite settings and moments to capture? What makes for an engaging moment?&nbsp;</strong>I look for moments of authenticity &ndash; capturing images of people and their passions. I feel like that alone helps with the representation of the moment. I love shooting in the golden hour, especially in the mountains. Something about capturing the camaraderie and adventures; climbers after a long day &ndash; it&rsquo;s a variety of things, but capturing people in their element helps get the message across.</p> <p><strong>For those of us at home who don&rsquo;t know, what&rsquo;s the &ldquo;Golden Hour?&rdquo;&nbsp;</strong>It&rsquo;s the moments &ndash; really probably about 30 minutes &ndash; when the sun is either rising or setting and everything turns to that pure light. I like to shoot into the sun, which most photography schools might tell you not to do. But the golden hour really just turns everything into soft light &ndash; it&rsquo;s beautiful.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_004.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Who are your influences?&nbsp;</strong>As far as photographers go: Ben Moon, who does a lot of surf and adventure photography; Forest Woodward, and Jillian Lukiwski. Those are the top 3 photographers in my book right now. They&rsquo;re all friends of mine and have reminded me that it&rsquo;s important to shoot what I love. They&rsquo;ve also encouraged me to be honest in my work. Also, my uncle was a professional climber. His name was Todd Skinner, and he&rsquo;s been a real inspiration too, though he&rsquo;s passed away. He was always up for adventure and inspired me endlessly.</p> <p><strong>Did you grow up in the outdoors?&nbsp;</strong>Yeah, both my parents were geologists and we spent most of our family vacations in the Wyoming desert looking at rocks. It was a pretty unique childhood. Lots of camping and exploring and driving the back-roads. I think there were definitely some teenage years when I felt embarrassed that I had geologists for parents. Like, &ldquo;man, can&rsquo;t we go to Hawaii for vacation?&rdquo; But in hindsight I really appreciate it.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_006.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>What are your other hobbies?&nbsp;</strong>I climb, both ice and rock. I also do a lot of camping and backpacking, I love fly-fishing, and I just inherited a mandolin. Since I live with a bunch of bluegrass musicians, that&rsquo;s become a new hobby for me. I&rsquo;ve also been getting into falconry.</p> <p><strong>Falconry? Really? How does one get into falconry?</strong>Well, an old boyfriend was doing a film on falconry and I got introduced to it that way. I continued the relationship with the falconers into my own personal project and I&rsquo;ve since been working with a couple in Montana that are using falconry for golden eagle rehabilitation. Seeing one of those up close, hunting prey&hellip; Yeah&hellip; It&rsquo;s so crazy and I&rsquo;ve tapped into this fun, super-quirky falconry world. I&rsquo;m mostly just taking photographs, but I&rsquo;m learning a lot about it along the way.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/cq1-2015_becca-skinner_FB_005.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;re a big climber, so maybe you&rsquo;re in a position to confirm or deny this. We&rsquo;ve heard that Chaco makes a pretty good approach shoe. True or false?&nbsp;</strong>I can confirm, because this year I wore my women&rsquo;s Azula boots for an entire ice climbing festival. I can attest that they got me up to the wall and I wore them all day, shot for 12 hours along 4 days, and they were excellent. So yes, I can confirm it [laughter].</p> <p><strong>What drew you to Chaco?&nbsp;</strong>Well, it&rsquo;s funny. I feel like I kind of stick out in the city, whether that&rsquo;s true or not. Whenever I see someone else in a city wearing Chaco sandals, I immediately trust them. It&rsquo;s like we&rsquo;re part of the same tribe or that we could be friends, probably. So, just the idea that people who wear Chaco love adventure and care about the environment. I have a pair from 10 years ago and they just last forever. I wear them every summer &ndash; they&rsquo;re my favorite shoes. I don&rsquo;t feel obligated to tell you that, but they&rsquo;re my favorites, and I wore them today [laughter]. My pair is starting to wear through a little bit in the webbing, but I have duct tape to keep it together.</p> <p><strong>We can fix that for you.&nbsp;</strong>Perfect!</p> <p><strong>Where can we find your work and keep track of your updates?&nbsp;</strong>Instagram is probably the best place. I&rsquo;m <a href="" target="_blank">@BeccaSkinner</a>. It&rsquo;s been really good advertising for me. And I&rsquo;m able to contact people or brands that I really admire. I&rsquo;m really Pro-Instagram.</p> <p><strong>Any parting wisdom or advice?&nbsp;</strong>My uncle had a quote that I really like. It goes like this: <em>&ldquo;You can not lower the mountain, therefore you must elevate yourself.&rdquo;</em> I&rsquo;ve always loved that. It&rsquo;s a good reminder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 01:04:00 GMT CHACO TRAVELS: New Orleans <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0106.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA. The Big Easy. Colonized by the Spanish and French, populated by the Creoles and the Cajuns, inspired by free-wheeling jazz, Mardi Gras, and the mighty Mississippi River. From the narrow streets of the French Quarter to the upstart Bywater, New Orleans is full of bold life and vibrant color. And if like us, you prefer to see the city on foot, it&rsquo;s an endless playground of flavorful foods, creative street art, and brass band music.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">We had ourselves a grand old time wandering around this great city, so if you&rsquo;re ever in the neighborhood, think about visiting the following local haunts:</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Euclid Records</span></a>: The best source of vinyl in the Bywater</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Booty&rsquo;s Street Food</span></a>: Stumptown Coffee-serving dive with rotating menus and&nbsp; unique twists on globalized favorites like pupusas, banh mi, and yucca fritters.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Arrow Coffee</span></a>: A combo coffee bar and bike shop in the French Quarter. Also across the street from <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Louis Armstrong Park</span></a> &ndash; a great spot to sit and people watch.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Preservation Hall</span></a>: Live jazz, protected, preserved, and perpetuated nightly.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Dragos Seafood</span></a>: Voted best in the city, we can vouch for one thing: their charbroiled oysters are out of this world.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">+ <a href="" target="_blank"><span class="s1">New Orleans Cake Caf&eacute; &amp; Bakery</span></a>: The best breakfast we had in the city. Do yourself a favor and order the Boudin. It&rsquo;s a local favorite turned up to eleven.</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0016.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0026.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0027.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0030.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0032.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0034.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0037.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0040.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0049_BW.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0051.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0055_BW.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0057.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0068.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0077.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0078.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0079.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0092.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0098.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0105_BW.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0120.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0127.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0134.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/DSC_0161.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_2765.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_2770.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_2776.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/IMG_2793.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 04:03:00 GMT Pack Your Bags : Spring Break With Chaco <p class="p1"><strong>Find The Beach &nbsp;#SpringBreak15</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Sunshine and Wave Trains:</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_W_Beach.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p3">Pack a wireless speaker to rock a Spring Break playlist, some sunscreen, and our new&nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href="">Z/Volv Flip</a></span>&nbsp;&ndash; light and airy to protect your feet on the beach.<em> &nbsp;</em></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_M_Beach.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p3">Guys, look smart in bright board shorts and our&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1">F</span>l<span class="s1">ip EcoTread</span></a>&nbsp;made from 25% recycled content.</p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Connect To Wilderness #SpringBreak15</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Campfires and Starry Skys:</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_W_Camp.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p3">6 mile hike in, hang your&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href="">ENO hammock</a></span>&nbsp;in the trees, and reminisce around the campfire.&nbsp;<span class="s2">The <a href="">ZX/3</a></span>&nbsp;is guaranteed trail-ready.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_M_Camp.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p3">Our&nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href="">Brio boot</a></span>&nbsp;is campfire casual for day hours before hitting the sack with <a href="">MSR's new&nbsp;<span class="s2">Papa Hubba</span></a><span class="s1">,&nbsp;</span>an ultra-light tent with room for you and your 3 bros.</p> <p class="p3">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Climb On Mountains #SpringBreak15</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Summits and Vistas:<span class="s3">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_W_Climb.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p3">On Belay! Protect your head with the&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s2">Black Diamond Half Dom</span><span class="s4">e</span></a>&nbsp;and protect your toes with the&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href="">OutCross</a></span><span class="s1">,&nbsp;</span>our&nbsp;amphibious, trail-capable design for support and traction.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/FB_M_Climb.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href="">ATC belay device from Black Diamond</a></span>&nbsp;gets you on and off the&nbsp;rock with remarkable efficiency. Equally&nbsp;efficient (some have called it the&nbsp;best approach sandal&nbsp;in the world), our&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href="">Unaweep Z's</a></span>&nbsp;get you to the rock in rad support.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 06:13:00 GMT CHACO TRAVELS: STEVIE PLUMMER (PART III) South to Patagonia. <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_sheep.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><em>Stevie Plummer is an adventurer and climber based in Boulder, Colorado. You can find her on Instagram at @StevieAnna</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>&nbsp;</em><em>Part I &amp; II of Stevie&rsquo;s South American Travels can be found </em><span class="s1"><em><a href="">here</a></em></span><em> &amp; </em><span class="s1"><em><a href="">here</a></em></span><em>.</em></p> <p class="p1">I headed out directly en route to farthest reaches of my wildest imagination. Chasing after Patagonian wilderness, I landed in the southernmost city in the world &ndash; Ushuaia. The only thing separating this prehistoric place from Antarctica is the mixed expanse of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was a place where you experience all four seasons in one day. I spent a day wandering the town, enjoying a pint at the Irish pub with locals.</p> <p class="p1">I took a boat to a small island, currently hosting a colony of Magellenic penguins.<span class="s2"> </span>Leaving Ushuaia took seventeen hours and plenty of patience. Zig-zagging across the border of Argentina and Chile meant seven trips through customs and my patience grew thin when it took me several days to find a way out of Calafate. Hopping on the last seat of the bus to Torres del Paine, Chile, I thought, &ldquo;yes, this was worth the pain.&rdquo;</p> <p class="p1">Trekking through the park was adventure itself. Gale force winds meant getting on all fours. Feeling smaller than ever with the massive peaks and raw, extreme nature.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_tree.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_penguin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Glacier waters ran into bright red tundra as huge walls of granite towered above. A powerful landscape, yet delicate environment filled with wild orchids, grey foxes, and guanacos roaming about.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_horses.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">From there I departed for El Chalten, Argentina where familiar faces from my previous journeys south greeted me with smiles over glasses of beer.<span class="s1"> </span>Ashley, a fellow solo traveler and I met on the bus out of Ushuaia. Since then we've crossed paths all across the stretches of Chile and Argentina between Chalten to Bariloche, following the gringo trail all along Route 40, eventually ending up in Santiago, Chile. Here we met one last time for the final send off of our grand Patagonian journey.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_ice.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Together we all hiked to Cero Torre and through to Fitz Roy. Unimaginable places accessible by a few hours hike from El Chalten. I felt instantly at home as I walked through this Alaska of the south. It only made sense that I would run into a few Alaskans here.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_ben.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Benjamin, a climber on his ninth winter season in El Chalten, hosted the best dinners in town, all with like-minded travelers, climbers, and locals. With his open door, travelers came and went making for a different crowd every night.<span class="s1"> </span>From El Chalten, I faced another long bus ride to the North. . . thirty hours, not including the Patagonian traffic...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/&rsquo;Traffic&rsquo; in Patagonia. Gauchos and sheep. 12.2.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">I arrived in Bariloache, a Swiss-styled town with endless lakes, snow-capped mountains and enough outdoor access to last you a lifetime. After the last few weeks spent mostly in hostels, I decided to couch surf so I could get a better feel for authentic local life.</p> <p class="p1">I fell right into the laid-back pace of life of Bariloche. Mornings were spent reading and swimming in the nearby lakes, weekends with the locals making asado, enjoying malbec, and a taking a few tango lessons (I'll need many more). My host, Carlos, took me to Frey, a local climbers&rsquo; paradise only a few hours from the backyard.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Sharing mate and bottles of wine with other climbers and trekkers at the refugio, we enjoyed bright pink sunsets, bivvied under a full moon and countless stars.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/2/blog_house.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Climbing in Frey wasn't the easiest for a newbie. Fear could creep up on me often. But I scaled one of the most difficult multi-pitched climbs of my life and at the top was a view of endless mountains, volcanoes, and blue sky. All well worth the hard work. I couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap up this South American trip.</p> <p class="p1">The concept of <em>home </em>is different for all of us. To some, it means a place of familiar comfort. For others, namely restless adventurers, that definition just won't do it. I find <em>home </em>in the feeling of excitement that comes with seeing yet another piece of this immense world. I feel most <em>at home</em> when following the urge to leave a place of comfort and expose myself to the uncertainties of the road and unknown places, and the many lenses through which I can view this life. <em>Home</em> is already inside us all. To allow yourself to be scared, to be surprised, to fall in love with a place or a culture &ndash; this only expands the concept of <em>home</em>. And <em>home</em> can spread as we share it with the people we meet and the places we touch along the way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I feel incredibly blessed to have come across such amazing people and places on this journey through South America. And the best thing is&hellip; the journey continues every day.</p> Sat, 07 Feb 2015 09:42:00 GMT CHACO TRAVELS: STEVIE PLUMMER (PART II) Experiencing Buenos Aires, Argentina <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Blog_BellTower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><em>Stevie Plummer is an adventurer and climber based in Boulder, Colorado. You can find her on Instagram at @StevieAnna.</em><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Part I of Stevie&rsquo;s South American Travels can be found </em><span class="s1"><em><a href="">here</a></em></span><em>.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Knowing better than to build a place up in my head, I mentally prepared for my arrival in Buenos Aires. I fended off big ideas or fanciful notions, but the reality is that the city far exceeded my every expectation.<span class="s2"> </span>Jacaranda trees were in full bloom, purple blossoms cast their color brilliantly against young green leaves, and European-style architecture etched the skyline. I noticed people as they tangoed in the alley. And then there were the pastries. . . Oh the pastries.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Blog_Bakery.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Getting lost in the city, I found countless tango bars and a wine shop where I tasted my new favorite <span class="s1">ros&eacute;. </span>As it turned out, the owner thought it best we open the entire bottle of ros&egrave; de malbec for us to share - just because.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Blog_Tango.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Blog_PurpleFlowers.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">I shared another with a local elder at a neighborhood theatre &shy;&ndash; just two ordinary people watching the world and enjoying conversation&hellip; in two different languages. Buenos Aires is many things, but I will remember its myriad pleasures: park-hopping, eating gelato, chatting with the locals, and enjoying the simple life over a bottle of Malbec and good book or film.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Blog_Siesta.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">If I had any problems, it was my limited time to enjoy such a vibrant, cultured city. But the south was calling, and it was time to go to Patagonia.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">To be continued in part III.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p3">+++</p> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:17:00 GMT CHACO TRAVELS: STEVIE PLUMMER Part I: The Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/15lbs-of-pure-essentials-that-accompanied-me-on-my-trip.-11.4.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><em>Stevie Plummer is an adventurer and climber based in Boulder, Colorado. You can find her on Instagram at <a href="">@</a></em><em><a href="">stevieanna</a></em></p> <p class="p1"><em></em>I live in a wine-colored 1993 Toyota Previa van and call Boulder, Colorado home base. I enjoy a life of simplicity, a life balanced between climbing, community, and work. The work I do, I do to travel. This is precisely why, when I got an alert for a cheap ticket to Patagonia, I didn't think twice. It&rsquo;s a place I've long dreamt of going &ndash; a place where wild still exists.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Traditional-women-of-Cusco-with-baby-goats-11.5.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>With my backpack full of essentials (and weighing fifteen pounds), I strapped my sandals on my feet and was ready to go. I flew straight to Cusco, Peru, quickly falling into that travel rhythm again. I spent the next day and a half meeting fellow backpackers at my hostel, drinking fresh juice at the market, plenty of Cusquena beer, and covering my fair share of cobblestone ground.</p> <p class="p1">Already missing the fresh Colorado mountain air, I set out for the Andes. With one set of clothes and sturdy boots, I set off to hike the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/_Pack-mules-on-the-Salkantay-Pass-at-almost-16,000ft.-11.9.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The trail begins 2,800 feet above sea level in the ancient town of Mollepata. Our group of travelers spent the day hiking the initial eight miles, gaining more than 8,000 feet in elevation as we trekked towards our first camp nestled in a fjord below Mt. Huamantay,. The next day proved the most difficult. Continuing upwards from our first camp towards Mt. Salkantay, the trail rose and rose. We had made it to our highest point of elevation atop the Salkantay pass at 15,090 feet. Having covered 12,290 in elevation in just two days, the trail finally began to drop back down into rain forest for our camp at 13,000 feet.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/Making-dinner-at-camp-in-my-sockos.--Sierras.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Over the next couple of days we worked our way through lush mountains towards Aguas Calientes, stopping to lounge in hot springs and enjoy fresh fruit along the trail. After four days and nearly fifty miles from our starting point, we reached the gateway to Machu Picchu.<span class="s1"> </span>We woke at 3:00 AM to depart and were greeted by a pack of local dogs who decided to join our Machu Picchu endeavor. Together, dogs and all, we climbed the stairway made of large stone blocks dug into the mountainside. Going up some 3,600 odd stairs, we were<span class="s1"> </span>the first to catch the sun as it rose over the mountain.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/First-light-over-Machu-Picchu-on-Salkantay-Trek-11.8.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The city awoke as sun warmed structures of quartz stone. We spent the entire day wandering the ruins interrupted only by nap breaks in the grass tiers while taking in benevolent Pachamama vibes all around. I took it all in: the endless sun, the soaring condors riding high on thermals up above, and little old me down below, all but pinching myself to make sure this wasn&rsquo;t a dream. This was real. This was Peru.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/70-miles-of-walking-later.-Trying-to-take-it-all-in.-11.8.14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">I could now make my way to Argentina, trading in the Incan ruins of a once-vibrant citadel for the beating life of the second largest metropolitan area in South America. The sun greeted me anew as I arrived to Buenos Aires and I watched it rise over the Atlantic.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">To be continued in part II.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p3">+++</p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:22:00 GMT DIY MyChacos - LUVSEAT LOVEBIRDS <p class="p1">Chaco Color and Trend team here, reporting in from Chaco HQ. You may also know us as the team working hard to bring you festive and fun webbing designs... or just &ldquo;Color Wizards&rdquo;, if you prefer! Lately here at the office we have had a great time crafting some extra personalized Chacos. All six pairs were custom-made in the USA by the amazing team at MyChacos and we took it a step further and added some extra bling to really personalize them! We are going to share three DIY options, but the possibilities are endless!!</p> <p class="p1">Our first DIY MyChacos crafted theme is:</p> <p class="p1">&bull; Luvseat Lovebirds: A personalized pair of Chacos for the Bride and Groom!</p> <p class="p1"><strong>*The very first step on each project is to fit your Chacos&nbsp;</strong><strong>to your feet before you begin customizing. We&nbsp;</strong><strong>don&rsquo;t want to lose that Chaco fit!*</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong>MRS.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong></strong>Ladies first of course! Here are the materials we picked for the bride-to-be:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/1-ITEMS322.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Embellish the sidewall with pearls and gems to match your wedding theme. Luckily, we found a decorative design we loved with glue on the back and used bits of the design on the sidewall of our Chacos. We also added some detail to the heal riser webbing and the end of each buckle strap.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/5-SIDEWALL2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Next, let&rsquo;s tackle the heal leash webbing. On the right heal we attached a beaded flower charm. We used a strong, flexible glue and a few tack stitches to secure it firmly to the webbing. After all, we don&rsquo;t want to lose any beads while dancing the night away at the big event! For the left shoe we added a truly personal heal detail by spelling &ldquo;MRS&rdquo; in black gems. We used a light blue gem for the period to make it extra special. Other ideas for the heel are spelling &ldquo;I DO&rdquo;, adding the date of your wedding, or even your new initials - just make it special for you!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/8-FLOWER-MRS.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Onto the best part!! The final bridal detail &ndash; add your favorite lace ribbon to the main Z2 webbing straps. We recommend a couple things here: 1. Find a lace with a scalloped edge for elegant movement on the foot, 2. Attach the lace with glue and stitching to secure it strongly, and finally 3. If it is available, re-purpose some of your mother&rsquo;s lace wedding gown into your custom wedding Chacos. That way you can wear a bit of your mother&rsquo;s dress without actually having to wear it!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/12-LACE2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/14-WEARING3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Other notable DIY Wedding inspirations &ndash; small picture frames attached to the heel with ribbon so you can include your loved ones on your big day, or clip on vintage family broaches to add a family heirloom touch.</p> <p class="p1">Our inspiration was &ldquo;something old&rdquo; - lace from your mother&rsquo;s gown and/or antique family jewelry, &ldquo;something new&rdquo; - your new MyChacos, &ldquo;something borrowed&rdquo; - Our DIY idea!, &ldquo;something blue&rdquo; - blue gems icing your sandal!</p> <p class="p1">You can take this project even further by throwing a DIY Chaco Party for the entire bridal party or incorporating the same personalizations into your Chacos for your next fun formal event - like Prom, Homecoming, or even Miss America&hellip;they&rsquo;re fit for multiple adventures!</p> <p class="p1"><strong>MR.</strong></p> <p class="p1">Fit your Chacos to your feet as the very first step! Our tools for this crafted creation:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/1-ITEMS4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">For the groom&rsquo;s Chacos, we kept it clean, classic, and masculine. Start with a heal detail of a craft bow tie made with ribbon. Make a loop in the size of one side of the bow tie, then pull the other end to meet it. Line up the raw edge ends of the ribbon to the back center, apply glue and pinch together. Wait a couple minutes to allow the glue to set. Once the glue is dry, tack stitch the front and back of the bow tie together. Then wrap the thread around your ribbon in the middle to cinch the material and create the bow tie shape. To create the finished look cut another small piece of ribbon just large enough to wrap around the center of your bow tie. Secure it with glue and tack stitches along the backside. Another option is to find a ready-made bow tie detail at your local craft store. We chose to make our own so that we could choose the size and look.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2015/1/2-BOWTIE-PLACEMENT.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">On the other heal, we ironed on letters to spell &ldquo;MR&rdquo;, to tie back to the bride-to-be&rsquo;s shoes. As we mentioned earlier, there are many other creative options to use along the heal, so add whatever detail best represents the groom!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/3-MR-PLACEMENT.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Next, two metal mustaches were stitched to the heal riser webbing on the outside of each shoe. We chose to keep all the groom details tonal so it would be understated but still special.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2015/1/5-MOUSTACHE1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The final groom detail was a cuff link inspired embellishment attached to the end of the buckle strap to complete the look! Just tack stitch or glue them in place.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/6-CUFFLINKS2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">And that&rsquo;s it! Fun and personalized Chacos to comfortably celebrate your big day. These are the details we chose for a pair of Luvseat Lovebirds, now we&rsquo;d love to see your ideas!</p> <p class="p1">Signing out for now,</p> <p class="p1">-Your Chaco Color and Trend Team</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/15-HERO-BOTH.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/14-WEARING-TOGETHER2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 16:01:00 GMT DIY MyChacos - URBAN OUTDOORSMAN <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Chaco Color and Trend team is here again, reporting in from Chaco HQ. As promised, we are back with another DIY MyChacos post to inspire and excite our loyal Chaco Nation!</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Lately here at the office we have had a great time crafting some extra personalized Chacos. All six pairs were custom-made in the USA by the amazing team at MyChacos, but we took it a step further and added some extra flair to really personalize them! Here is our second DIY option for the outdoor lifestyle enthusiast:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: 'courier new', courier;">&bull; Urban Outdoorsman:Natural materials mixed with our jacquard webbing to give a more lifestyle look.</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><strong>*The very first step on each project is to fit your Chacos&nbsp;</strong><strong>to your feet before you begin customizing. We&nbsp;</strong><strong>don&rsquo;t want to lose that Chaco fit!*</strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Materials used for these one-of-a-kind kicks are:</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Women&rsquo;s:</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/1-ITEMS77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Men's:&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/1-ITEMS377.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The first step is trimming the leather for the front straps.&nbsp;For the women&rsquo;s pair we cut the leather swatch into 3/8&rdquo;&nbsp;strips. For the men&rsquo;s pair we were able to find a &frac12;&rdquo; wide&nbsp;roll of leather. A tip from our team: while shopping for&nbsp;leather materials for this DIY theme, thin leather will be&nbsp;much easier to work with and is highly recommended!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/8-TRIM-LEATHER77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Once you have your leather strips prepared, place each&nbsp;over the strap you want covered. Again, make sure your&nbsp;Chacos have already been custom fit to your feet before&nbsp;adding the leather! Next, trim each strip to the proper size&nbsp;for the webbing strap. For an added detail, we used waxed&nbsp;thread to create some craft stitches at the end of each&nbsp;leather strip. We chose an &ldquo;X&rdquo; shape for both men and&nbsp;Women.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/3-TRIM-LEATHER77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">To create the &ldquo;X&rdquo; shape stitches, we used a thumb tack to&nbsp;pre-punch the holes on each piece. We then threaded the&nbsp;waxed thread through the holes and knotted the thread&nbsp;on the back side. After this step is complete, you can use&nbsp;a thinner, tonal thread to secure each leather strap to the&nbsp;webbing. Just use the pre-punched holes you already created&nbsp;and it&rsquo;ll be a snap!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/13-PLACEMENT277.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/6-STITCH-IN-PLACE77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">For the heel, pick any material you feel represents you and&nbsp;can be trimmed without fraying. We picked felted wool&nbsp;for the women&rsquo;s and a textural two-tone woven material&nbsp;for the men&rsquo;s heel leash and risers for a cozy effect. We&nbsp;also love the idea of tweed or herringbone fabrics. Just do&nbsp;a simple running stitch to tack it in place. Our team likes&nbsp;to call this heel detail &ldquo;business in the front, party in the&nbsp;back&rdquo;, or simply &ldquo;the mullet effect&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/7-GLUE77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The final details were antiqued metal charms. We used a&nbsp;bicycle gear shape on the buckle strap for the men&rsquo;s and&nbsp;a metal &ldquo;Journey&rdquo; sign on the women&rsquo;s. This is where you&nbsp;can really personalize your Chacos. Add a message that speaks just to you!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/13-PLACEMENT677.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The final products are mix material, casual ready with a&nbsp;blend of utility and all day comfort!&nbsp;Cozy and casual were our choices for the Urban Outdoorsman,&nbsp;what would you choose?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/16-HERO77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2015/1/14-WEARING-TOGETHER77.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Until next time,</p> <p class="p1">-Your Chaco Color and Trend Team</p> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 00:28:00 GMT Winter Solstice, Joshua Tree <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">As the crow flies, Joshua Tree National Park is only a couple hours from where I was holed-up for the holidays, just north of San Diego. As I drive east, rolling hills topped with avocado trees eventually blend into rolling hills topped with wind turbines. Exits pass by with offers of Carl&rsquo;s Jr. and Palm Springs luxury hotels before the highway drops you down into the Yucca Valley, through desert towns and tourist traps where you can dig your own cactus and polish your own crystals. My brother-in-law and I have come here to experience the California desert on the longest night of the year &ndash; the Winter Solstice.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Joshua Tree National Park has one of the highest concentrations of its namesake yucca plants in the world (Joshua Trees only grow in the Mojave Desert) and also happens to be home to world-class climbing and bouldering on its enormous monolithic rock formations. That second point gives the park a pseudo-cosmopolitan feel, further cemented by our campsite neighbors&rsquo; origins all about the globe: Germany, Canada, and Sweden to name a few. The landscape throughout is absolutely stunning, dotted with the outlines of rock formations, California Yucca, and Joshua Trees across the horizon. There&rsquo;s a quality of life in this place not often found outside of wilderness and you notice it with each breath of desert air. As our daylight began to dwindle we took advantage of it.</p> <p class="p1">Our basecamp in the <em>Jumbo Rocks</em> area of the park gave us immediate access into the backcountry for bouldering, hiking, and scrambling up crags and across canyons. The rock formations, forged by millions of years of water and weather, gave rise to incredible sites and features &ndash; some resembling animal shapes and human faces &ndash; and we guessed their names as we passed them. We explored caves, wedged ourselves in crevices, and dug our sandals into the gravel for hours before settling down to make camp against the backdrop of the setting sun in the distance.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">The sun had dropped below the horizon by 4:30pm and with darkness upon us, we heaped wood on our fire, lit our headlamps, and cracked open a couple cans to toast the official kickoff of longer days. As the cloudy haze blew away with the breeze, we could see past constellations and the Milky Way, deep into infinity. In that setting, under those stars and with the New Year so close (and several cans empty), we were in a contemplative mood.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I found myself considering the park and its nature &ndash; its barren appearance, the pleasant surprise in seeing an occasional oasis, and the circle of life in the desert. Earlier in the day, while wandering through the backcountry, we had noticed many fallen Joshua Trees, sprawled out and decomposing like dead animals. These magnificent plants can grow tall and strong, yet here you are reminded that they have a set lifespan like all living things. It seems that as quickly as they spring up, they can fall away again, only to be replaced by another Yucca sprout.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">There&rsquo;s a metaphor here in the Winter Solstice and the Joshua Tree desert. What seems like a dark ending to the year is actually the first sign of new life &ndash; a welcome prologue to longer days, warmer weather, and endless possibilities in a new year. Each day from now into summer, the sun will rise a little higher in the sky and we can look ahead towards good things in the new year. And in the meantime, a weekend in Joshua Tree, a road trip through the desert, and a triple-triple burger (animal style) from In-N-Out seems evidence enough that things are improving.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/Untitled7.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 05:25:00 GMT MyChaco Cookies <p>By Aaron VanZyll Visual Merchandiser</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">The holidays are here and hopefully everyone has a great cookie recipe to spread some holiday cheer. We found a great sugar cookie recipe and decided to jazz it up the best way possible; MyChaco Cookies!</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/ChacoCookies4.gif" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Step 1: Bake your secret family sugar cookie recipe, and make some frosting while you&rsquo;re at it! Let the cookies cool before frosting&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Step 2: While the cookies cool, go to&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;to find your favorite straps for inspiration, or make your own color combination.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Step 3: Cover the entire cookie with frosting; the color of your foot bed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Step 4: Strap your&nbsp;<span class="s2"><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">sandals</span></span>&nbsp;cookies</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Step 5: Post your cookies on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #MyChacoCookies we want to see your designs!</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/IMG_2067.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Z1, Z2, ZX1, ZX2? We chose Fiesta, Phosphor, Stripadelic and Summer inspired straps. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">What sandals will you eat this holiday season?</span></p> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:38:00 GMT Turn Up For New Shoelaces and Refresh Your Chaco Boots. <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_All.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Shown Above: <a href="">The Brio</a>, <a href="">Natilly</a> and <a href="">Roland</a></p> <p class="p1">Looking to refresh the look of your Chaco Mountain Lifestyle boots?</p> <p class="p1">Simply swap out your laces with exciting new colors and patterns.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">To do this we visited our local shoe store, and came home with a dozen new lace colors and patterns.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Find Inspiration below and upload your own ideas to the <a href="">Chacosphere</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_BrioRedYellow.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Brio with original&nbsp;yellow lace and the red Roland laces.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_RolandBlueBrioRed.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Roland with new blue laces, and the Brio with the Roland red laces.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_RolandBlueRed.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Roland with new blue lace and original&nbsp;red lace.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_RolandBlue.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Roland with new blue laces.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_NatillyBlue.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly with the original&nbsp;brown laces and new blue lace.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_NatillyRed.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly with original&nbsp;black lace and new red lace.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_NatillyBlueRed.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly with new blue and red laces.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_NatillyPurple.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly with new purple laces.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/12/2014_12_03_NatillyNeon.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly with new purple and neon laces.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 05:27:00 GMT Picking Up the Tinsel <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">By&nbsp;</span><a href="">SUSIE FINKBEINER</a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/SockosAndDogs.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">When I was a kid I used to help my grandma decorate her big, fake tree. First the lights, then the ornaments, last the tinsel.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;Just toss the tinsel at the tree,&rdquo;<span class="s1"> </span>my grandma would say.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Being decoratively challenged, tossing the tinsel resulted in a floor covered by the sparkling strands.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;That&rsquo;s all right,&rdquo;<span class="s1"> </span>Grandma&rsquo;d say. &ldquo;Pick it up and try again.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The other day I caught myself saying, &ldquo;If only we can get past the holidays &hellip;&rdquo;.&nbsp; I winced as the words left my mouth. That&rsquo;s not how I want to feel about December. Sadly, though, I have good reason to dread.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Between school parties for my kids, miles to travel to see family, gifts that need to be selected and purchased, wrapped and hidden away &mdash; all the busy-ness of the holiday can easily steal my joy.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I want to &ldquo;make it through&rdquo; to January, determined to survive December as if it&rsquo;s something to be endured.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It&rsquo;s easy for me to fall into a &ldquo;bah-humbug&rdquo; attitude when I see the season as being nothing but another thing to check off on my to-do list.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It&rsquo;s like I&rsquo;ve dumped the tinsel all over the carpet. I need to try again.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">This holiday season, I&rsquo;m determined it will be different. Fresh and new.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I want to give more. I don&rsquo;t mean bigger and better presents. What I mean is that I want to give more of myself. More of my time, more of my patience, more of my love.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I want to stop the spinning flurry of &ldquo;doing&rdquo; out of obligation and slow down, taking time to enjoy all the fun and adventures that December can bring. Toss a couple snowballs, get my hands sticky decorating sugar cookies, sing a few carols.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I wonder what would happen if this year I took my cue from The Grinch &mdash; if I ventured to look around me. I suspect I would witness the beauty of an early winter sunrise and folks who share with those in need. I&rsquo;d hear the giggles of excited children and smell the aroma of meals shared with loved ones. The sounds of the season &mdash; bells and music and bubbling conversation &mdash; would soothe my ears.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">And, in the midst of the joy, my heart would grow to three times its size.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">We don&rsquo;t celebrate well when we are running around, lost in the dizzying swirl of &ldquo;to-do&rdquo; or stressing over buying that very perfect gift.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">What makes for a good holiday season? A mixture of laughter and hugs, sincere words and time given. Experiences shared and adventures enjoyed together.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It&rsquo;s been years since I decorated for the holidays with my grandma. I miss those times with her. But this year, I&rsquo;ll grab my package of tinsel and toss it onto the boughs of my own big, fake tree. And, when the strands hit the floor, as undoubtably they will, I smile, remembering that it&rsquo;s okay to miss my mark.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I&rsquo;ll pick them up and try again.</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/IMG_7529.JPG" alt="" /></p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 23:58:00 GMT The Ultimate Chaco Gift Guide 2014 <p class="p1">Not sure what to get the Chaconian in your life?</p> <p class="p1">We have Gifts for Adventure!</p> <p class="p2">1. <strong>The Natilly and the Brio</strong> Every member of the Chaco Nation likely already owns a pair of our Classic Z sandals &ndash; but not enough folks know about our indelible line of around town boots.&nbsp;<a href=" "> <span class="s1"></span> </a>&nbsp;&amp; <a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a><span class="s2">.&nbsp; </span>Want to see how to wear them?&nbsp; Click here:&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s3"></span></a><span class="s4">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/BrioNatillyF14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">2. <strong>Filson Flannel </strong>This timeless classic pattern is available for Men and Women And it&rsquo;s WIND RESISTANT! <a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a> &amp;&nbsp; <span class="s1"><a href=""></a></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/MensFilsonFlannel.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/WomensFilsonFlannel.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">3. <strong>Patagonia&rsquo;s Protect Our Winters Beanie</strong> Keep your head warm and support a good cause. &nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href=" ">;</a>&nbsp;</span>Three dollars from the sale of each Powder Town Beanie in the Pow Stripe colorway will go to Protect Our Winters&nbsp; - <a href="">protectourwinters.o<span class="s2">rg</span></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/ProtectOurWintersBeanie.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">4. <strong>NRS Straps </strong>The best tie-down strap in existence.&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;A favorite of rafters, kayakers, canoeists and the granola crowd for more than 35 years.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/NRS STraps.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Photo used with permission by Jonathan Owens</span></p> <p class="p1">5. <strong>Stio Marsten Down Vest </strong>This Vest combines a vintage classic look with tech fabrics from the rad folks at <a href="">Stio</a>. Looks cool and keeps you warm.</p> <p class="p2"><a href=" "> </a>&amp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Marsten Down Vest.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Marsten Down VestWomens.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">6. <strong>Nalgene Water Bottle</strong>&nbsp;Call us crazy but we love the classic wide mouth water bottle from Nalgene. It&rsquo;s virtually unbreakable, lasts forever, and looks best with a Chaco logo sticker. <a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Nalgene.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">7. <strong>The Comet &amp; Celeste Backpack from Osprey</strong>&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;From weekend hikes to weekday classes, this series from Osprey does it all!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Comet_Farpoint_Holz_SaltCreek-0288.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">8. <strong>This Land Is Your Land &ndash; Single by My Morning Jacket</strong>&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp; When you download this song from TNF&rsquo;s new ad campaign, dollars go to the 21<span class="s2"><sup>st</sup></span> Century Conservation Service Corps which employs young people and returning veterans to protect, restore and enhance public lands all across the country. <a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a> Watch the TNF video here:&nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href=""></a></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/My Morning Jacket and North Face Collaboration in Support of 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">9. <strong>The Gift of Adventure with our friends from <a href=""><span class="s2">Eastern Mountain Sports</span></a></strong></span><span class="s3">: Give an actual adventure this holiday season!&nbsp;</span>The Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School is the oldest climbing school in the East<span class="s3"> and has been</span> offering technical climbing instruction since 1968. <span class="s3">Their </span>winter climbing programs range from basic single day ice climbing and mountaineering instruction to technical multi-day mountaineering workshops on the Presidential Range in New Hampshire&rsquo;s White Mountains.&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href=""></a></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/mw-680x475.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">10. <strong>Groovers of the Grand Canyon 2015 Calendar by SemiRad</strong>&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;Want to support <a href="">American Rivers</a> in 2015? Then&nbsp;this hilarious calendar from Chaco Ambassador <a href=""><span class="s1">Semi Rad </span></a>is perfect for your friend with a great sense of humor!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Groovers.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">11.<strong>Give the gift of Custom Chacos!</strong> Build custom Chacos on for your best friend.&nbsp; We build them right here at Chaco HQ in beautiful Rockford Michigan. <span class="s1"><a href=""></a></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/AW13_mychacos_landing_header_opt1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;12. <strong>The Blue Ridge Cap Lifter</strong>. <a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a> This&nbsp;bottle opener is made from&nbsp;quality leftover wood that would have ended up in the scrap bin. It has helped the Asheville North Carolina based company achieve zero waste manufacturing.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Cap Lifter top and bottom.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">13. <strong>The MSR Wind Boiler</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a> A compact cooking and brewing machine that boils water FAST in extreme weather that shuts other stoves down.&nbsp; Pair with local coffee beans for the perfect cup of high altitude coffee.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/MSR Wind Boiler.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">14. <strong>Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living </strong>Audio Book&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a> Nick Offerman - aka Ron Swanson from NBC&rsquo;s Parks &amp; Recreation - narrates his own autobiography detailing his early life, his rise through the acting world, and various life lessons related to mustache grooming, woodworking, and female-wooing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Paddle.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">15. <strong>Flips from Chaco</strong>&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1"></span></a>&nbsp;It&rsquo;s almost spring beak anyway! Indulge in a fresh pair of flips and enjoy the way our Durable and quick-drying webbing holds your foot onto the supportive LUVSEAT&trade; footbed.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/11/Flips.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 02:02:00 GMT Studying Coral Reefs in… Chac-ago? <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi1.png" alt="" /></p> <p>photo caption: Besties! Sue the T-Rex, my chacos, and I at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.</p> <p>When you think of a marine biologist, what do you picture? Jacques Cousteau (or Steve Zissou) in a skin-tight wetsuit and a little red hat?&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, the reality of life in marine research is a far cry from the Life Aquatic.</p> <p>Studying the ocean doesn&rsquo;t always mean swimming in it, or even working near it.</p> <p>Hey! I&rsquo;m Amy, a graduate student in <a href="">Dr. Josh Drew&rsquo;s lab at Columbia University.</a> &nbsp;Our research group studies the evolution and conservation of coral reef fishes in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi2.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">photo caption: Taking a small amount of tissue from a specimen collected in Palau for genetic analysis. The rest of the body will be stored in the Field Museum&rsquo;s extensive fish holdings.</p> <p class="p1">To do that, we look at reef fish DNA. By studying genes, we can understand both very old, and more recent relationships between the thousands of species that populate coral reefs today.</p> <p class="p1">So 90% of the time, we&rsquo;re working behind laboratory benches or computer screens, extracting and analyzing genetic data. The other 10% of the time we&rsquo;re out in the field&ndash; collecting fish specimens to study back in the lab.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi3.png" alt="" /></p> <p>photo caption: Where the magic happens: Inside the Field Museum&rsquo;s Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution.</p> <p>That 10% of the job can take us all around the world, SCUBA diving and spear fishing for samples in exotic locales like Fiji, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>But we don&rsquo;t always have to travel thousands of miles to find specimens. Natural history museums here in the US are libraries of biodiversity, where samples from all over the world are collected and deposited for researchers to study.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi4.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">photo caption: a tiny fraction of the museum&rsquo;s huge fish collections. Whole fish are stored in jars like these, while a small amount of their tissue is kept in the deep freeze for genetic analysis in the future. Museums are physical libraries of biodiversity on earth.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">One of the largest of these collections is held at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. Behind the scenes, down cavernous corridors, the museum holds seemingly endless jars of preserved fishes.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi5.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">photo caption: Up close with a few new additions to the Field Museum&rsquo;s fish collection.</p> <p class="p1">So this summer, I headed out to Chicago to spend a few weeks working at The Field Museum&ndash; studying DNA from a handful of the fish in their extensive collections.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi6.png" alt="" /></p> <p>photo caption: Just another sunny day in the Midwest.</p> <p>My work at the museum will supplement a growing body of knowledge on the evolutionary history of coral reef fishes. By understanding how these animals have arisen over time, and how they are related to one another, marine scientists can begin to tease apart the evolution of whole-reef ecosystems, ultimately asking how coral reefs have become so gloriously, ludicrously biodiverse today.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/ChacoBlogChi7.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">photo caption: lounging in Grant Park, just out front of the museum. Not a bad spot for a lunch break.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ndash;<em>Amy McDermott</em></p> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:32:00 GMT Fall for Chaco with the Versatile Natilly <p>By: Marly the Chaco Intern</p> <p>As the leaves change and the air grows crisper, the time for #Sockos and boots has come. &nbsp;One of our fall favorites is the versatile <a href="">Natilly</a> boot. &nbsp;Last week we took them out on a field trip around campus to show just how many ways they can be worn.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly boot can be laced up as tightly or loosely as desired. &nbsp;For a more casual look, I left two eyelets un-laced and tied my boots loosely. &nbsp;Annaliese chose to lace her black Natilly boots tightly for added support and elegance.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/3.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>We chose our outfits based off our mood and schedule. &nbsp;Chocolate colored boots with a favorite wool sweater was incredibly comfortable for relaxing at home. &nbsp;The bison boots worked great with a long sleeve T and bright scarf for morning classes. &nbsp;Polka-dot tights, a grey dress, and black Natilly boots made for the perfect lunch date outfit.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Natilly boots are ideal for pulling any autumn outfit together, whether paired with a shirt and jeans or a bright fall dress. Warm socks peeking out the top of this casually laced boot added a bit of carefree spirit to this classic look.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/5.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Despite the rain, our toes stayed warm and dry as we walked between classes. &nbsp;Annaliese preferred jeans to be tightly tucked into the fully laced boots, while Kenzie let the boots flare out slightly by leaving the top eyelet open. &nbsp;I rolled up dark skinny jeans to just above the top of the boot to feel adventurous.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/8.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>For a more playful style, the tongue of the boots can be folded down to reveal the beautiful jersey knit pattern.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/9.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>The boots were extremely comfortable and looked great with every outfit. &nbsp;From class to studying at home, the Natilly covered all of our unique styles.</p> <p><a href="">Shop for Natilly boots.</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><em>Special thanks to our photographer: McKenzie Diemer</em></p> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 01:28:00 GMT Chaco-up your Pumpkin this Halloween <p>Add Some Chaco To Your Pumpkin this Halloween!</p> <p>Step One:Choose a Chaco Template below.</p> <p>Step Two: Right Click and Print the Chaco Template you want to use.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/CHA Pumpkin Carving Template v6 _Page_1.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/CHA Pumpkin Carving Template v6 _Page_3.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/CHA Pumpkin Carving Template v6 _Page_4.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/CHA Pumpkin Carving Template v6 _Page_2.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Step Three: Gut Your Pumpkin.</p> <p>Step Four:Tape Your Template to your Pumpkin.</p> <p>Step Five: Use a Push Pin to Outline the Template on to your Pumpkin.</p> <p>Step Six: Use a Serrated Knife to Cut along Outline.</p> <p>Step Seven: Place a Tea Light into Your Pumpkin and Enjoy!</p> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:26:00 GMT Finding Your Voice #4: You Don't Need Permission To Create <p>By&nbsp;<strong><a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/10/books.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">As a boy growing up in Washington D.C. in the 1960s and &rsquo;70s, Ian MacKaye realized that in school, he wasn&rsquo;t allowed to do the creative things he wanted to. In a 2012 interview with Mother Jones, MacKaye said, &ldquo;if you ask for permission, the answer is always no. So I developed a practice of just doing things."</p> <p class="p1">In 1979, MacKaye started playing with a punk band called The Teen Idles, and eventually realized he wanted to make music&mdash;in this case, actually make it, as a way of documenting the band&rsquo;s existence. After a year of touring, the band put together their earnings, recorded a song and sent it to a press to have it made into a record. They found another record single that they liked, peeled apart the cardboard cover to see how it was put together, and traced the outline onto an 11-by-17-inch piece of paper. They sketched their album art on the paper, and had a print shop print 10,000 copies. And then they got to work putting them together. MacKaye told the Chicago Tribune:&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;We got a stack of these things, took scissors and glue, cut out the shapes, folded and glued them individually: 10,000 singles by hand. We threw parties and had lots of friends come over to make record sleeves. We were kids figuring out how to literally make records.&rdquo;</p> <p class="p1">That single was the birth of a record company, Dischord Records, which went on to produce dozens of independent punk albums by dozens of bands since 1980, and pioneered the DIY ethic in punk music. MacKaye&rsquo;s later bands, Minor Threat and Fugazi, established him as a punk icon, and he stuck to his belief of making his music accessible&mdash;never charging more than $10 for an album, or $5 for admission to a show, and playing all-ages venues whenever possible.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p class="p1">Thirty-plus years after MacKaye and bandmate Jeff Nelson founded Dischord Records and hand-built their first singles, things are much easier for those who want to express themselves and share their ideas with others.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Musicians can upload music and sell mp3 singles and albums on Bandcamp, artists and jewelry makers can sell their designs on Etsy and Zazzle, authors can self-publish books through CreateSpace and Lightning Source, photographers can sell prints through SmugMug. Anyone can start a blog, and anyone can publicize their work through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Where MacKaye and Nelson had to physically carry, ship, and sell their albums, we just have to click a button that says &ldquo;upload&rdquo;&mdash;after all the hard work of getting whatever moves us out into words, notes, images, or other materials, of course.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I&rsquo;ve watched friends grow photography businesses simply by sharing their favorite images on Instagram, and other friends turn podcasts from hobbies to part-time or full-time jobs, and seen my own blog go from a few hundred visitors in its first year to half a million this year. In December 2013, I self-published a book, hoping a few people besides my mother would buy it, and after 10 months of working hard to market it, it&rsquo;s sold more than 4,000 copies.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Unlike Ian MacKaye, people who make things have the internet to connect them to people who want to read, listen, see, and buy their art&mdash;thanks to social media, it&rsquo;s become ten times easier to &ldquo;share&rdquo; things you like with others, whether it&rsquo;s a short film on Vimeo, a book someone self-published, or a blog entry that made you laugh or think. Instead of having to go through a publishing company or a record label or a retail store, we&rsquo;re able to show our work directly to the people, who can decide whether or not it&rsquo;s good. Just like Ian MacKaye said, no one has to ask anyone&rsquo;s permission anymore to make something.</p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:55:00 GMT 5 Steps to Bailing from The Dirtbag Diaries <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 10.07.58 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">"The reality of climbing is, if you climb long enough, you're bound to bail," writes Dean Fleming. "I've left rappel biners on sport bolted 5.8s. I've bailed from trees, chockstones, fixed cams, and Manzanita bushes. Sure, sometimes my pride gets a little dinged, but so far I've survived some pretty weird situations."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">We figured with that kind of experience, Dean could teach us a thing or two. Today, Dean presents another&nbsp;<em>Lifestyle Tip for the Committed,</em>&nbsp;with his five step guide to convinving your climbing partner to rig a retreat.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:06:00 GMT Finding Your Voice Part 3: Fitz Cahall of Duct Tape Then Beer <p>By <a href="" target="_blank">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/302599_10150314129933283_1248228490_n.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Few creative people experience huge success with their first efforts, and most writers and artists have their share of rejection stories. Some quit, and some keep at it and succeed any way they can.</p> <p class="p1">After college, Fitz Cahall wanted to be a freelance writer. He wrote for newspapers and landed a few magazine stories, but couldn&rsquo;t find a home for the stories he was most passionate about&mdash;the ones he heard around the campfire, or during his travels and climbing trips. Magazines wanted stories about high-level athletes, or lists of destinations, or tips on how to get better at a sport&mdash;not the soulful stories he wanted to tell.</p> <p class="p1">So in 2007, he bought a recorder, went into the closet in his apartment in Seattle&rsquo;s Ballard neighborhood, and read a story into the recorder. He added some music, uploaded the story using libsyn, a podcast hosting service, and emailed the link to two dozen friends. Within a few days, the podcast episode, <a href="" target="_blank">The Monoboard</a>&nbsp;, already had hundreds of downloads.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;I remember thinking, &ldquo;My life is about to change,&rsquo;&rdquo; Fitz says.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">He recorded more episodes, one every three weeks or so, and the podcast grew. The Dirtbag Diaries picked up a major sponsor, turning Fitz&rsquo;s side project into a paying gig. After the first year, he started to feature other voices on the podcast, creating what he called a &ldquo;digital campfire.&rdquo; Other sponsors came on board.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/191542_157191041008561_2594436_o.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">"I think I was lucky,&rdquo; Fitz says. &ldquo;Right time. Right dream. Plus from a technical standpoint it was all coming together. There was enough bandwidth to deliver files quickly. iTunes was a clear powerhouse. Companies hadn&rsquo;t yet developed budgets for digital content, but we were able to convince people that they should be."</p> <p class="p1">In 2010, the Dirtbag Diaries hit the million-download mark on iTunes, and accelerated from there. Fitz continued to evolve his storytelling, and in 2011, launched an Internet TV series with filmmaker Bryan Smith, The Season. He took on other film projects, still keeping The Dirtbag Diaries going, and soon enough, his wife, Becca, who had helped out in between seasonal biology gigs, was a full-time partner in the business, a media company they called Duct Tape Then Beer.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Duct Tape Then Beer&rsquo;s films were selected and won awards at film festivals: Banff Mountain Film Festival, the 5Point Film Festival, Mountainfilm, the European Outdoor Film Festival, and others. A hard drive of footage entirely self-shot by climber and adventurer Kyle Dempster landed at the Duct Tape Then Beer office, and months of brainstorming and editing culminated in <a href="">The Road From Karakol, which won Best of Festival at the 2013 5Point Film Festival and became a Vimeo Staff Pick.</a>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Duct Tape Then Beer doesn&rsquo;t have expensive cameras or helicopters, but focuses on stories, as they have since the beginning of the Dirtbag Diaries. On a 2014 episode of the <a href="" target="_blank">Mtnmeister</a> podcast , Fitz talked about the beginnings of the Diaries: "I saw these really cool stories slipping through the cracks, and it made me wonder how many other cool stories like this are slipping through the cracks,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;And I just started putting them together&mdash;first it was just the stories I knew, that I was like, 'Hey, there's a great story I'd love to tell but I have no venue to tell it in,' and I started creating the podcast as a vehicle to tell those stories. And then it really became this reality, that there's a lot of people out there that have powerful experiences in the outdoors."</p> <p class="p1">In a 2013 interview, I asked Fitz what he would say to aspiring filmmakers.</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t worry about what camera gear you don&rsquo;t have, and think about finding a topic that is unique that means something to you, because passion is what will carry you through in the beginning &mdash; not Red Epics or cranes or cineflex,&rdquo; Fitz said. &ldquo;You can buy those things, but you can&rsquo;t buy passion.&rdquo;</p> <p class="p1">Fitz, the struggling writer who couldn&rsquo;t find a home for his stories back in 2006 has found a pretty big audience for them now, on his own. The Dirtbag Diaries, true to its original ethos, is still recorded in a closet in Seattle.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/980910_718218858193199_1386659459_o.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/fitz by becca cahall.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Read Part One in our series on finding your voice <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Read Part Two in our series on finding your voice <a href="">here.</a>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 01:18:00 GMT 100,000th ReChaco <p class="p1"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/3867CHA_100K ReChaco Repairs_BLOG_FNL.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Today we are celebrating our 100,000<span class="s1"><sup>th</sup></span> ReChaco repair with a closer look at why ReChaco is an important part of our business.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_2972.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Since 2010, ReChaco has saved 70,000 pairs of sandals from the landfill. That's more than 260,000 pounds!&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">At Chaco we think it&rsquo;s meaningful to provide the Chaco Nation with an opportunity to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and ReChaco their Chacos. While not every pair of Chacos is ReChaco-able, we are always looking into innovative new ways to build footwear, in hopes the entire line will eventually all be ReChaco-able.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_2262.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">So, why is ReChaco important?&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;ReChaco is about the relationship between brand and consumer. There&rsquo;s an intimacy to this service, an unbroken circle between customer and manufacturer that supports each other&rsquo;s existence. Consumers send their Chacos in for repair or customization, the ReChaco team breathes life into well-worn, well-loved Chacos that would otherwise be discarded. Adventures &gt; ReChaco &gt; More Adventures, etc. The cycle goes on and on.&rdquo; &ndash; Josh,&nbsp; Chaco Marketing</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/9/IMG_3340.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;We have some of the most passionate, knowledgeable, and best customers in the business.&nbsp; It is a wonderful feeling being able to assist them with their favorite adventure accessories, and getting their sandals back on their feet.&rdquo; &ndash;Chris,&nbsp; ReChaco Customer Service</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_3670.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s2">"Dogs love to eat Chacos (who wouldn&rsquo;t, we infuse the webbing with bacon).&nbsp;</span>Man&rsquo;s best friend, can often times be Chaco&rsquo;s worst enemy.&rdquo; &ndash; James &amp; Chris, ReChaco Customer Service</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;I love working for a brand that encourages reusing/recycling your footwear rather than buying a new pair when your sandals wear out.&rdquo;<span class="s2">&nbsp;-</span><span class="s3">Ryan, ReChaco Customer Service</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_2963.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p4"><span class="s4">&ldquo;</span>Besides the obvious, that it is my job and I love it&hellip; I love the people that work at ReChaco/MyChaco and I feel like we help build Chaco culture and enhance people&rsquo;s lives.&rdquo; &ndash; Lisa ReChaco/MyChaco Director</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_3338.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p4">ReChaco is an integral component in explaining why Chaco is successful. We are family of individuals who love our adventures and the Chacos that take us on them.</p> <p class="p4">Share your ReChaco story below and <a href="">ReChaco your Chacos here.</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/9/IMG_3316.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:38:00 GMT Manhattan Project <p>by&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">Chris Gragtmans</a></strong></p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Hey! &nbsp;Where&rsquo;s your light?!&rdquo; &nbsp;The NYPD patrol boat&rsquo;s megaphone blares out, and a number of armed officers stare at me through the darkness. &nbsp;I had no idea what this unlit boat was. &nbsp;I take my headlamp out of my SeaWolf PFD, turn it on, and hold it out. &nbsp;&ldquo;Well don&rsquo;t show it to us, put it on!&rdquo; &nbsp;My authority-averse fire ignites for a second, but then I realize how bad of an idea it would be to argue. &nbsp;I silently put the light on my head and wave at the officers. &nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong></strong><strong>This is the most intense open water kayaking that I have ever done. &nbsp;The plan seemed simple enough- circumnavigate Manhattan Island on water. &nbsp;30 miles total distance, up the Harlem River, down the Hudson River, and back up the East River, assisted the entire way by powerful tides. &nbsp;Oh, and this was going to happen through the night! &nbsp;As someone who has paddled class V for over 10 years, I thought this would be a leisurely sightseeing adventure&hellip; but it&rsquo;s turned out to be far from that. &nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Our starting point in Queen&rsquo;s.</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/Beach.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>After making the hectic &frac12; mile ferry across six knot tidal currents at Hellgate, we make it to the Harlem River. &nbsp;While the tide is now with us, there is another intense hazard that I have never dealt with- tourist jetboats. &nbsp;These massive 60 foot machines offer little warning, and fly past at 35+ miles per hour. &nbsp;They cannot make out our kayaks and dinky headlamps in the darkness, so it is up to us to stay out of the way.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Boat!!&rdquo; &nbsp;Our group of seven charges to the east side of the channel as another one flies past. &nbsp;We soon come upon the source of our stresses- the Electric Zoo music festival. &nbsp;After a few more scares, we are past the boat terminal, and the Harlem River pulls us into a much quieter night. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Kenny Unser is the mastermind behind this trip, affectionately referred to as &ldquo;a lap.&rdquo; &nbsp;He has all of the tides dialed, and has been trying to get me to join for quite a while. &nbsp;With some friends from the Southeast signing on and perfect scheduling just before two extreme races in upstate New York, this dream trip quickly became a reality. &nbsp;</p> <p>It is 11:45 pm on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. &nbsp;Our quiet existence here on the water seems in stark contrast to the chaos surrounding it. &nbsp;My mind bends as it comprehends what we are doing. &nbsp;Using human and natural power, we are traveling around one of the most densely populated pieces of land on the planet. &nbsp;We are surrounded by millions of lives, some wealthy beyond our wildest imagination, and many others impoverished and not knowing where their next meal is coming from. &nbsp;All of these lives are being lived around us as we float past in silent observance.</p> <p>New York is spectacularly beautiful from this perspective. &nbsp;It is so far from a scene typically observed from my boat. &nbsp;Usually I am flanked by remote river gorges and deep forests&hellip; here, those gorge walls are massive jumbotron advertisements and skyscrapers. &nbsp;As we float down the very fast current, Kenny and Jesse fill us in on &ldquo;the bets.&rdquo; &nbsp;Whether it is jumping off the cliffs from the movie, &ldquo;The Basketball Diaries,&rdquo; paddling through the scariest pitch black sewers, or venturing inland to visit a bar in the Bronx, there are many ways to heighten the experience. &nbsp;I wasn&rsquo;t man enough to try the majority of them, but just talking about them made me feel like a kid again- telling scary stories around the campfire. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We take a pit stop at a gated dock and boathouse in the heart of Harlem. &nbsp;The sounds of the city are so close to us. &nbsp;The uniqueness of the situation really sinks in, and seven good buddies sit, stare at the city, and joke around. &nbsp;I can&rsquo;t say that I have ever combined carb gu&rsquo;s with PBRs before, but that&rsquo;s how we&rsquo;re doing things tonight. &nbsp;It is 1:30 AM and we are in it for the long haul.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/RobbieBalance.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Harlem is a large river, but it turns out to be a trickle compared to the Hudson. &nbsp;As we hit that massive waterway, we turn left, and the bright outline of George Washington Bridge appears to be a hundred miles away. &nbsp;It seems like so long ago when we passed over that bridge, but it was earlier this morning. &nbsp;The rhythm of our paddle strokes and splashes of the bow cause each of us to enter our own private worlds, and the powerful current sweeps us towards the ocean. &nbsp;The Upper Westside sleeps as we float silently past. &nbsp;</p> <p>After about an hour of paddling, the George Washington Bridge passes over us. &nbsp;Shortly thereafter, we stop again, stash our boats at a marina, and head into town for some food. &nbsp;It is 4:00 am, and rather than seeing more of the Friday night party crowd, we start to see people from &ldquo;the other side.&rdquo; &nbsp;It&rsquo;s a strange feeling- we are on a vivid and otherworldly all-night adventure through the concrete jungle, and the guy sitting next to us in the diner has his daily newspaper and cup of coffee. &nbsp;We all chow down on some delicious New York pizza, and head back to our boats. &nbsp;</p> <p>The George Washington Bridge from downstream.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/GWBridge.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/Pizza.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>As soon as we hit the water this time, we realize that the world is coming alive again. &nbsp;The river brightens with the impending dawn, and we race downstream to catch the tide that we have slipped slightly behind on. &nbsp;We are now passing the main event of New York City- Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building are all within view at some point. &nbsp;The sky glows orange behind the city and the entire scene is surreal. &nbsp;Watching a sunrise is always a special thing, but this one tops all of the ones that I have ever experienced. &nbsp;The sun peeks up between skyscrapers, and each of us paddle in silence. &nbsp;</p> <p>The dawn of a new day can only be truly appreciated after living through the night.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/8/SunriseChris.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>As we watch joggers, businesspeople, and others mill around on shore, a series of cruise ships pass behind us. &nbsp;Without hesitation or communication, all of us get ourselves in position for what we know is coming&hellip; big, badass waves. &nbsp;The first of the series hits, and my Tempest 170 dances to life. &nbsp;Water sheets off the hull right around my shins, and it feels like I am going mach 10! &nbsp;I alternate high speed paddling with ruddering, and smile as I remember what it was like the first time I surfed a river wave in my kayak. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/FreedomTower.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/LadyLiberty.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our 16+ foot kayaks allow us to surf the waves for over a mile! &nbsp;I come off of the last wave exhausted and elated from the onslaught of stimuli over the past 9 hours. &nbsp;We have one more major obstacle to overcome&hellip; the Battery. &nbsp;A scary amount of ferries and water taxis go in and out of here, so our group tries to clear this area as quickly as possible. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s obvious that the night has worn us out, and some are worse off than others. &nbsp;In the end, the worst that happened was a few honks from an exiting boat, and we were back on the East River, and back in a powerful tide. &nbsp;</p> <p>With drooping eyelids, we ride the East River into the rising sun. &nbsp;Brooklyn Bridge passes over our heads, and I yell a phrase from &ldquo;The Newsies,&rdquo; one of my favorite childhood movies: &ldquo;That&rsquo;s Spot Collins territory!&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/BrooklynBridge.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>As if to cap our experience, we watch as a Hollywood movie is filmed right in front of us. &nbsp;Two actors playing police officers jump out of an idling helicopter, into a black SUV, and powerslide around the landing pad and out of view behind some buildings. &nbsp;Only in New York, New York.</p> <p>We hit the beach that we started from at 9:15 AM, just over 11 hours after we started. &nbsp;It has been an unforgettable trip, and something that I hope to repeat. &nbsp;Even when I think I&rsquo;ve experienced it all, I am once again in awe of my kayak&rsquo;s ability to connect me with new people and new places.</p> <div><br /></div> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 03:52:00 GMT Final Leg of The Chaco Footwear “Fit for Adventure” Tour <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/Chaco Tour Map 1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We are excited to announce the conclusion of the <a href="" target="_blank">2014 Chaco Footwear &ldquo;Fit for Adventure&rdquo; Tour</a> with 3 more AMAZING opportunities to enjoy Live Music, Local Beer, free Chaco Wrist Wraps, new Chaco styles, photos in the Chaco Photo Booth, and an opportunity to WIN the trip of a lifetime!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>On <a href="" target="_blank">Monday September 22nd</a> the Chaco Tour takes us to <a href="" target="_blank">Rock/Creek</a> in Chattanooga TN</strong>. We are co-hosting a pint night with <a href="" target="_blank">Roots Rated</a> featuring live music in support of 3 local non-profit organizations:</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Lula Lake Land Trust</a> preserves natural and historic landscapes through conservation, education, and low impact recreation.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association</a> - SORBA Chattanooga is focused on improving and maintaining trail access opportunities for local outdoor athletes.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Southeastern Climbers Coalition</a> is dedicated to preserving climbing access in the southeast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Wednesday September 24th</a> the Chaco Tour visit&rsquo;s Knoxville&rsquo;s <a href="" target="_blank">River Sports</a> </strong>This pint night is also co-hosted by <a href="" target="_blank">Roots Rated</a>, featuring local beer and live music supporting 3 local non-profit organizations:</p> <p>The<a href="" target="_blank"> Ijams Nature Center</a> is a sanctuary for all visitors to learn and connect with the natural world and be made better by that connection &ndash; a place where living with the earth and caring for the earth become one and the same.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">East TN Climbers Coalition</a> exists to promote a positive impact in the climbing community.</p> <p>The Chota Paddling Club is Knoxville&rsquo;s premier white water club since 1969.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The <a href="" target="_blank">Weekend of September 26th &ndash; 28th</a> we&rsquo;ll end our tour on the river</strong> j<a href="" target="_blank">ust like we started back in 1989</a>. We&rsquo;re camping out all weekend at the <a href="" target="_blank">Nantahala Outdoor Center's main campus</a>, located in far Western North Carolina on US Highway 19. Reserve your spot on a specially priced <a href="" target="_blank">GAF</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Nantahala River Rafting Trip</a>. Save 15% with offer code GAF15.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:43:00 GMT What Defines You <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/jackson (1).jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>At some point in our lives we all take pause at a crossroads, as if a subconscious sign on the way toward our goal alerts us, "Pain, Fear, and Inadequacy ahead." Turn left for a freshly groomed trail through the valley. Continue straight to the summit at your own risk, trail condition potentially treacherous. Pain, fear, and feelings of inadequacy have the ability to put any one of us at a true standstill. They are forces that attempt a shift in who we once believed ourselves to be and what we once believed we could accomplish.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was well on my way to building my life's goal of becoming a well rounded and globally reaching female kayak instructor. I had my paddle dipped in every form of teaching near and far; from able bodied to disabled, veteran to cancer patient and survivor. Always with a heart and passion keen towards empowering fellow young adult women, and a brimming ambition to work alongside women in developing countries.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/TD1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A year and a half ago I fell and everything I knew changed instantly. Running to help a kayaker I believed was caught in a low-head dam, I stepped in a hole on the trail. Crushing, killing, and ultimately needing to remove part of the medial talar dome and cartilage in my ankle. My grand ideas for life transformed into a year of pain management and undreamed tutorials of the "System," fighting tooth and nail for worker's compensation, food stamps, and disability. I was 80% crippled, 100% dependent, and at a complete loss of how to move in any direction let alone forward. I turned away from kayaking due to pain and shear fear of losing the mobility I had. I felt I had lost all sense of self and my ability to give back to the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nearing a year of chronic pain, I saw a shift in my medical team, their welcoming smiles stayed the same but their eyes spoke far more truth, I had stopped healing. I dedicated my time to research and discovered a doctor performing trial stem cell surgery on ankle injuries. With a spark of hope I contacted my doctors and each sent in a separate request for consideration. Within two months I was denied each time. I believe "rock bottom" can be better substituted with "broken in spirit," and that I was.&nbsp;</p> <p>This June I was able to make my way to Jackson, WY. A place whose grandness has always made me and my troubles feel refreshingly small. I spent a full day of sunlight under the Tetons, still, and fantastically content. In the midst of day dreaming I had a great moment of clarity, and I became wholly aware of something I had never been mindful of before. I saw the Tetons for their story and thought of how many storms they must have faced in their lifetime. With every season the Mountain's weather and each ferocious wind that calls to them to crumble, they stand elegantly and refuse to be defined by a storm. Recognizing that they have been changed, they acquire their new edges to reflect light in even more stunning and complex ways than before.</p> <p>I realized that pain and fear of pain was threatening to define who I am. Staring at the Tetons I made one of the most prominent declarations for my life, "Pain does not define me." Though this season has changed me, I will stand, and I will find a way to make these new dimensions beautiful. I choose the path potentially treacherous as I know the view will be worth it. I got back in a kayak on my last day in town and with a trusted crew, we made our way down the full, brown waves of the Gros Ventre River. My skills had become rustier than a nail in King Tut's tomb (had they used nails) but with each face full of spring run-off and every squirrely "turn and burn" my boat made, I felt my cup-of-soul filling and undeniably beginning to overflow again. A couple weeks after returning home I underwent stem cell surgery on my ankle, becoming patient (n=200) the last person accepted into the trial as it closed for publishing.</p> <p>Following my initial denials for consideration, I kept researching and by wild Grace came across that particular doctor's personal email address. I signed my email, "I want to go bold, I'm your girl." Now I'd say, "the rest is history" but thankfully this story is still being written. I don't know what the future holds but what I do know is that when strength, adventure, and faith lie in the deepest nooks of your soul, you will never be without.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/8/TD2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Love &amp; Wave Trains&nbsp;</p> <p>Taylor Dwyer&nbsp;</p> <p>----I want to say Thank You to Chaco for saying, "Yes." I reached out for help at a critical time, in significant need of creativity, and was met with great support and enthusiasm. I was introduced to Chaco's very own Dr. Gerhard Rill, who spent a week with me innovating an incredible pair of shoes and orthotics, shifting, shaping, and adding tread to my brace, and speaking into me indispensable words of encouragement. It was from this trip to see Dr. Rill in Grand Junction, CO that I was able to go on to Jackson, WY. I'm grateful for the amazing souls I've come in contact with through each unexpected turn in my 25 years, cheers to each of you.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:27:00 GMT Life of Haley <p>By <a href="">Haley Mills</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/Haley 1.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">&nbsp;I am sitting in a hotel lobby where my friends are staying in and I am poaching coffee and internet. I slept in my truck in the parking lot last night no different than any other night. Trying to have a moment to write. Even though I don't have a traditional job. I am constantly training on the water in all the different types of Kayaking and SUP. In my free time I am driving, competing, and planning for future trips. &nbsp;Since my life is on the road I am constantly surrounded by friends, competitors, and strangers.&nbsp;I am always talking and sharing all my experiences. I tend to neglect my writing.&nbsp;Well not completely true I have tons of "blogs" that I have all typed up but for some reason I just can't let them go. Once I hit the publish button those stories and experiences are not longer mine. I have some that are writing about extremely personal experiences like when I almost died on the Green River Narrows in the spring. Its difficult to open up my thoughts and be exposed. Some of my other posts that I haven't posted might let go of some of my personality that I like to keep for real life.&nbsp;Maybe by giving all that away I will lose some kind of special power that I draw from to motivate myself.&nbsp;This might not make sense or this might be exactly how you feel. I struggle to write about the excruciating fluff of my life for example about every event, every state my truck has driven through, and my irrational thoughts.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/7/Haley 2.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">This is more about what I find to be highlights of my life on the road and life lessons that I have learned. Highlights to me are not about how I place in a competition. I know if I correlate happiness on my performance I will miss out on whats real and everlasting.</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/Haley 3.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">&nbsp;I live this life style because of the love of it. Not for any other reason. As soon as I start to place my intentions on winning prize money or trying to sell myself in social media. I am immediately humbled as soon as my paddle hits the water. When I am paddling for the love of it and not competing I am completely relaxed and life becomes more vivid. This summer I neglected my normal tour and mixed it up by skipping some events to surf the elusive wave Big Sur. Travel to Idaho early to rest and let my body recover before the next big event. Going to Skookumchuck Narrows to surf a tidal wave rather than going to World Cup for Freestyle Kayaking. I try to listen to myself and what will make me happy and listen to my body. Its important for me with constant travel to remember to chill and just be.. being present in the moment to fully enjoy my surroundings. &nbsp;I am fortunate to have so many amazing options of where to go next I get over whelmed but I know if I am going to a location for the love of the sport then I will be happy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/7/Haley 4.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Riley- Killing it wake surfing in McCall Idaho</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/Haley 5.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Paddling out of Skook</p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:52:00 GMT Photography Advice from Photographer Jill DeVries <p>By <a href="">JILL DEVRIES</a></p> <p><strong>Movement</strong></p> <p>This is what your Chacos are for, after all! An image showing movement</p> <p>- whether it's jumping, running, biking, or simply walking - will</p> <p>almost always tell a more adventurous story than a still life.</p> <p>Shooting movement on a mobile device can be tricky, as their response</p> <p>times and shutter speeds tend to be slower. If you want to capture an</p> <p>action shot on your phone, try shooting in burst mode and then</p> <p>selecting your favorite image later. &nbsp;If you're shooting on a DSLR,</p> <p>make sure your shutter speed is at 1/160th or higher. This is the</p> <p>"magic number" for avoiding motion blur.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_movement01.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_movement02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_movement03.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_movement04.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Don't Look Down</strong></p> <p>I swear this one has nothing to do with my fear of heights! Rather,</p> <p>it's a call to originality. How many times have we all taken a shoe</p> <p>shot by just pointing the camera straight down at our feet? It's the</p> <p>most logical way to document your Chaco tan, but try thinking outside</p> <p>the box. Get down on the ground, climb a tree, shoot through a fence,</p> <p>the list goes on! The more unique your image is, the more it will</p> <p>stand out.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_dontlookdown01.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_dontlookdown02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_dontlookdown03.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_dontlookdown04.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Post processing</strong></p> <p class="p1">Over-saturated HDR images are a trend of the past. Keep your</p> <p class="p1">processing simple, true, and sharp. For mobile phone shooters, apps</p> <p class="p1">like VSCO and Afterlight give you tons of options for making your good</p> <p class="p1">photos look great. Pick a rad filter, straighten up horizon lines,</p> <p>bump up the contrast, or whatever edits may suit your eye.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_postprocessing01.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_postprocessing02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_postprocessing03.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_postprocessing04.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>Open your eyes and Have Fun</strong></p> <p class="p1">This may seem like a given, but it's true! Get out there and</p> <p class="p1">photograph the unexpected. Exciting adventures usually means exciting</p> <p class="p1">images, but don't forget simple moments in your every day life too.</p> <p class="p1">Keep an eye open for great light when you are walking into the coffee</p> <p class="p1">shop or the grocery store. Maybe inspiration will strike on a mountain</p> <p class="p1">top, but maybe it will strike when you're headed to the post office.</p> <p class="p1">Amazing images can be made in the most mundane of places.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_openyoureyes01.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_openyoureyes02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_openyoureyes03.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_openyoureyes04.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/7/jilldevries_openyoureyes05.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="">Follow Jill on Instagram</a></p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 03:21:00 GMT The Middle Miles <p>By <a href="" target="_blank">Erik Schulte</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 8.29.50 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>I sat on the chalky pad in the gym at the base of the 20 foot wall in front of me. &nbsp;&ldquo;This sucks! Are you sure this is only a V2?&rdquo; I thought. &nbsp;It had been weeks since my last climb. Training for a 100 mile race takes up a lot of time, and thus I sat there struggling to make my way up this fake wall on what I was sure was not a V2. &nbsp;Years before my friends and I had decided to stop paying attention to the ratings and just enjoy the climbing, but like other parts of training the ratings still haunted me. &nbsp;So I continued to struggle, not making any real progress. What did it matter if I made it to the top of this route on the imitation rock? &nbsp;What does it matter if I run to the top of a mountain. &nbsp;In my own myopic world of training, and or personal goals it is everything, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn&rsquo;t really matter. &nbsp;No one cares except maybe my Mom. The mountains don&rsquo;t care, the trees don&rsquo;t care, the bears certainly don&rsquo;t care, and if I get to the top of whatever arbitrary place I&rsquo;ve decided, and no one is there to see, what is the point? &nbsp;So I can take a selfie and post it on social media? The more &ldquo;likes&rdquo; the more real it is, right?</p> <div> <div> <div>There is this amazing trail that goes to the top of Mt Wilson near my house. &nbsp;The trail is steep, but runnable and in seven miles you go from a desert landscape to beautiful pine tree covered ridges. &nbsp;After grunting up the steep trail, gaining 5,000 vertical feet past the bears and the squirrels and the wild terrain of the San Gabriel Mountains, you arrive on the majestic peak of Mt Wilson to a parking lot. Inevitably someone drives up in their luxury automobile and the stark contrast between our modes arriving at the destination become clear. &nbsp;One has a clean pressed shirt on, and the other is covered in sweat and dirt from miles of rocky trail. Being the later of the two, my view may be biased, but I would argue that the the dirt and sweat gathered from the &nbsp;mountainous terrain make all the difference in who we are at the moment we arrive at the top. &nbsp;The time spent with the rocks and the plants in the valleys and ridges are what cause the change in our bodies, not necessarily the arrival at the peak. Our muscles and minds learn from the miles in the middle between where we start and our eventual goal, and without these the top means little.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember that the &ldquo;middle miles&rdquo; are where the forging takes place. The magnitude of the summit overshadows the experience it might take to get there, and I become impatient. Then, there I am, struggling with plastic holds on a wall and assuring myself that someone wrote the wrong rating on this route, all the while being changed by the struggle itself whether it&rsquo;s a V2 or not.</div> </div> </div> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 03:27:00 GMT Finding Your Voice - Forest Woodward <p>By <a href="" target="_blank">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p>Part Two in our series on <a href="" target="_blank">Finding Your Voice</a>&nbsp;.</p> <p>With a semester of college remaining, <a href="" target="_blank">Forest Woodward</a> didn&rsquo;t exactly know what he was going to do with his life&mdash;probably like many students.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Five years later, his email inbox is populated by big names: Climbing Magazine, Esquire, Alpinist, Men&rsquo;s Health, Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Black Diamond, Surfer. He travels to beautiful places all over the world&mdash;to climb rock in Spain and Norway, climb ice in Canada&rsquo;s Ghost River Valley, surf in Peru and Hawaii, and pilot a raft through the Grand Canyon (and that&rsquo;s just the last year)&mdash;and brings back photos for magazine covers and ad campaigns.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What was his strategy? Did he land a prestigious internship, or work his way up as an assistant to a successful photographer, or get recruited by a commercial photo agency? Not exactly.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 4.jpg" alt="" /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>With one semester remaining in his studies at the University of North Carolina, Forest took his camera and moved to Sevilla, Spain, to study Spanish and sociology. He was beginning to find his way toward a photographic style, and had what he calls &ldquo;a loose vision and a skill set, but no idea how to apply them.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In Sevilla for six months, he started skipping class more and more often to head out with his camera and capture the scenes and the people on the streets and in the mountains of Andalucia. He applied to shoot for big agencies &mdash; Aurora Photos, Getty Images, and others. Every single one of them rejected him. So he kept shooting, heading out and creating images from what inspired him. Although he didn&rsquo;t have a job as a photographer, he had nothing to lose, and inspiration.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 8.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>He stuck with it, traveling and shooting, and saying yes to opportunities that might not have immediate paychecks attached, but eventually led to something. His images landed in Climbing, National Geographic Adventure, the Patagonia catalog. Brands began to recognize his images. He finally ended up shooting for Getty Images. He moved to Brooklyn, to be embedded in a city full of creative energy, and promised himself he would still travel for adventures.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I still am searching for, and inspired by, the unexpected moments of beauty in this world, the strange and beautiful people encountered, and the lessons that come in the quiet moments between the ever coveted &lsquo;here&rsquo; and &lsquo;there,&rsquo; he says.&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 9.jpg" alt="" /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 10.jpg" alt="" /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 11.jpg" alt="" /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/forest 12.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Follow Forest on Instagram at @forestwoodward.</a>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 03:14:00 GMT A Dirtbag’s Guide to Personal Finance <p>By:<a href="" target="_blank">Chris Gragtmans&nbsp;</a></p> <p class="p1"><em>(Author&rsquo;s note- I am not a Financial Advisor, and I am not certified to offer financial advice. Below are just a few opinions based on experience&hellip;)&nbsp;</em></p> <p class="p1"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/Chris_MultidayGear.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Growing up as a whitewater kayak addict, money was always a very simple thing for me.&nbsp; I worked seasonally and generated as much income from my sponsors as possible, and then translated those resources directly into kayaking trips, cameras, and toys.&nbsp; Money in, money out- I became a master of stretching a dollar, but spent every dollar that I earned.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I could sleep in my car for weeks on end.&nbsp; My kayaks and bikes generally equaled 3x the value of said vehicle, and I could survive off of very little for an entire summer of paddling.&nbsp; My international trips were fueled by ramen noodles, oatmeal, and peanut butter, and I have memories of going to prize money competitions <span class="s1">needing</span> to win in order to eat.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s interesting how a sport that you love can teach you the art of frugality, and I know many climbers, mountain bikers, and skiers who have very similar mindsets.</p> <p class="p1">This is an extremely fun way to live, but a few years ago I had a bit of a paradigm shift.&nbsp; Several positive influences came into my life.&nbsp; Some were young people who were on the financial fast track, and others were the older generation who regretted not getting on that track, and were willing to share their lessons with me.&nbsp; I started absorbing knowledge- reading and discussing personal finance, and my eyes opened to the incredible power of compounding returns, and the importance of saving and investing from a young age.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I started thinking about two divergent paths- how my life would look in the future (say 25 years) if I started taking these things seriously, and how it would look if I didn&rsquo;t.&nbsp; There were examples of both of these paths in my life, and the disparity in their situations was sobering.&nbsp; I realized that the people who hadn&rsquo;t planned ultimately had far less freedom.&nbsp; By not making a few small sacrifices in their younger years, they didn&rsquo;t have savings to lean on as life commitments hit, and this restricted their options and made them feel trapped in careers that they maybe didn&rsquo;t enjoy.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><em>&ldquo;Money is a great servant, but a bad master.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em>&ndash;Francis Bacon</p> <p class="p1">These observations spurred me to think about what money actually represents, and this is where things <em>really</em> clicked.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/Chris_SUPLead.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1"><strong>What is money to me?&nbsp;</strong>I realized that, to me, money simply represents freedom.&nbsp; I could care less about the super flashy cars and big houses- intelligent personal finance simply gives me the means and freedom to experience spectacular natural places and have as much fun as humanly possible in the outdoors <span class="s1">for the rest of my life</span>.&nbsp; It also means providing for my needs and those of my loved ones/future dependents without hesitation or strain.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I realized that of course money should never be the main focus of life, but until you get above a certain level of basic needs, it actually needs to be the main focus&hellip; it is far more difficult to be truly happy and fulfilled if you&rsquo;re struggling financially.&nbsp; This transcends to relationships and other areas of life as well- scraping by paycheck to paycheck puts incredible strain on all areas of life.&nbsp; For me, it often also meant that I had an energy negative (for lack of a better term) relationship with the world around me.&nbsp; I was taking from the world more than I was giving to it&hellip;&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">So to me, in order to live the life that I want, have the relationships that I want, and eventually achieve financial independence (no longer need to work), I need to be calculating with my financial decisions.</p> <p class="p1">Fast forward a few years to the present&hellip;</p> <p class="p1">After diligently applying everything that I could learn (and striving to constantly learn more), I am in a very happy place in this department.&nbsp; I am 28 years old, I have an undergrad degree in Marketing, and I have received $0 in financial support from my family since graduation.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve paid off the $15,000 personal skin in the game for my education (an investment well worth it), and I <span class="s1"><strong>love</strong></span> what I do for work.&nbsp; I am a professional kayaker, editorial contributor to several magazines in the industry, and a public speaker.&nbsp; I travel about three months out of the year (my personal sweet spot), and I have remote work capability.&nbsp; All of these things translate into an amazing lifestyle.</p> <p class="p1">On the financial side, I make an income that isn&rsquo;t extravagant, but is completely sufficient for me.&nbsp; I own an LLC that absorbs all of my contract revenue.&nbsp; I make no more than 40% of my income from any single source, and since I keep my expenses low, a high percentage of my income goes into savings and investments with <a href=""><span class="s2">Parsec Financial</span></a>, a wealth management company in my hometown.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">It&rsquo;s extremely motivating to me to think that I will retire wealthy, and that will occur without a trust fund or family money injection, without sacrificing my incredible lifestyle, and even if I don&rsquo;t ever increase my income (which I certainly intend to do). &nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><strong>It will happen because I got serious and planned for it from a young age.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p class="p1">That is honestly the only thing you really need to do to be wealthy.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve learned from observation that our world loves the instant riches stories, but that is not how it happens 99% of the time.&nbsp; Wealth is a slow and non-sexy process of adhering to a few very simple rules.</p> <p class="p1"><em>&ldquo;Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it&hellip; he who doesn&rsquo;t&hellip; pays it.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em>-Albert Einstein</p> <p class="p1">The sad thing is that these rules are not taught in school, and they really aren&rsquo;t talked about very much.&nbsp; Money is a taboo subject in our culture, and I perceive that those who know what they are doing somewhat keep to themselves about it.&nbsp; I am far from an expert, but here are 10 things that have really helped me. &nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">This is my Dirtbag&rsquo;s Guide to Personal Finance&hellip;&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><em>(in no particular order)</em></p> <p class="p2">1)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Create an emergency fund.</strong>&nbsp; This should equal 3-6 month&rsquo;s living expenses, and should be kept in liquid form in as high yield a savings account as possible for a rainy day.&nbsp; Having this safety net in place allows you to make the big plays.</p> <p class="p2">2)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Get rid of credit card debt.</strong>&nbsp; Credit cards are a great tool if used properly, but they are one of the biggest financial anchors dragging Americans down.&nbsp; Pay that thing off every month and never carry a balance again.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s ok to carry some other forms of debt such as student loans- that helps your credit.</p> <p class="p2">3)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Don&rsquo;t sweat appearances.</strong>&nbsp; For most of us, we are faced with a very simple decision <em>(although we may not be conscious of it)</em>.&nbsp; We can choose to either <strong>appear wealthy</strong> now, or actually <strong>be wealthy</strong> later in life.&nbsp; If we buy the high-class cars, clothes, and toys, and don&rsquo;t focus on putting money away, we&rsquo;ll have nothing to show for it later.&nbsp; This is the critical difference between focusing on income versus focusing on net worth.&nbsp; Net worth is a far more important number.</p> <p class="p2">4)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Monitor your credit score.</strong> Having a good credit score will save you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars through the course of your life.&nbsp; Guard it.</p> <p class="p2">5)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Start saving and investing as early as possible.</strong>&nbsp; The power of compounding returns is staggering.&nbsp; The classic example is that if a hypothetical person saves for a retirement goal, they will need to save twice as much per month to arrive at the same place, if they start at 35 years old versus 25.&nbsp; This number only gets more exponential beyond that age.&nbsp; Start small- put 5% of your income away.&nbsp; My bet is you won&rsquo;t even notice and you&rsquo;ll be able to bump it up considerably.&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s2">Pay yourself first. </span></a>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">6)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Set goals in all aspects of life, including financial.</strong>&nbsp; Long-term and intermediate goals really keep us focused and on track, and are incredibly powerful.&nbsp; <a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0"><span class="s2">See Fidelity&rsquo;s retirement goals.</span></a></p> <p class="p2">7)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Take advantage of all possible employer-provided retirement benefits.</strong>&nbsp; Use all of your 401(k) match- it&rsquo;s free money!&nbsp; If you&rsquo;re like me and you&rsquo;re self-employed, open a Roth IRA and do your best to max it.&nbsp; Roths are incredible because you put in post-tax dollars now, but there are no taxes deducted after your money grows and you take distributions later in life.&nbsp; If you can max your Roth, check out a SEP IRA or Individual 401(k)As far as what to invest in within these accounts, I would recommend reading <a href=""><span class="s2">I Will Teach You</span></a> to be Rich by Ramit Sethi.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s really not complicated at all.</p> <p class="p2">8)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Take advantage of every </strong><span class="s1"><strong>legal</strong></span><strong> tax strategy.</strong>&nbsp; This is an obvious one.&nbsp; Taking the time to gain a working knowledge of tax law can really change the game, especially if you are self-employed.</p> <p class="p2">9)<span class="s3">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><strong>Get health insurance if you don&rsquo;t have it.</strong>&nbsp; This one is really important for adventure sports athletes like myself.&nbsp; The key factor for me was realizing that my parents would bankrupt themselves if I ever had critical health issues without health insurance.&nbsp; Health insurance is inexpensive under our current administration, and it&rsquo;s a huge liability not to have it- just do it.</p> <p class="p2">10)<span class="s3">&nbsp;</span><strong>Give back.</strong>&nbsp; One of the beauties of intelligent personal finance is the ability to be a philanthropist.&nbsp; Pick a percentage of your income (no matter how small) to devote to charity.&nbsp; Obviously it&rsquo;s not done for these reasons, but it&rsquo;s funny the opportunities that present themselves once this becomes a focus.&nbsp; That positive energy <em>absolutely</em> circles back.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">(Bonus) <strong>Spread your knowledge. </strong>&nbsp;As you expand beyond these points and my very limited knowledge, share your findings with those around you.&nbsp; You will change their lives.</p> <p class="p1">So that&rsquo;s it- the Dirtbag&rsquo;s Guide to Personal Finance.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/6/Whistler_Clouds.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">These are just my humble beliefs, and the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.&nbsp; But I am fascinated by this subject, and I am constantly amazed at how little focus our culture places on it.&nbsp; The reality is that as &ldquo;dirtbags&rdquo; <em>(i.e. hyper-frugal adventure sports athletes)</em>, we already know how to stretch a dollar.&nbsp; That is an extremely valuable skill, and if we can use these skills to keep expenses low while income grows, some very exciting things start happening.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Personal finance decisions will have a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives, and are the single most important thing that we can do to keep &ldquo;living the dream&rdquo; forever. &nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Hopefully this has been helpful, and see you on the river!</p> <p class="p1">Chris&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">PS- Here are a few resources on this subject from people who are far more intelligent than me:</p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><a href="">I Will Teach You to be Rich</a></span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><a href="mailto:">The Four Hour Workweek</a></span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><a href="">Early Retirement Extreme</a></span></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><a href="">The Millionaire Next Door</a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1"><a href=";pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&amp;pf_rd_t=201&amp;pf_rd_i=0762434279&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_r=1DVFKCRYPB5Q6QV3YYDW">Rich Dad Poor Dad</a></span></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 06:00:00 GMT All-Time Top 5 Kayaking Moments- Ledges Park <p>By&nbsp;<a href="">Chris Gragtmans</a></p> <p>The sport of kayaking has given me so many incredible memories. &nbsp;From the seat of my kayak, I have made lifetime friendships, seen stunning landscapes in five continents, and learned many lessons about life and business. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s tough to quantify and define which are my favorite, but I wanted to reflect on a few of those peak memories in this blog series. &nbsp;</p> <p>Although it&rsquo;s an unlikely candidate for this list, the Ledges Park definitely deserves a place here.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The Ledges&rdquo; is a class II rapid about 10 minutes outside of Asheville, NC, where I live. &nbsp;It is a wide section of the French Broad River, and features many eddies, currents, and surf waves to hone skills. &nbsp;The truly great thing about the Ledges is that it provides a training ground for every skill level. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/4/Ledges_Haley.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Chaco Athlete <a href="">Haley Mills</a> at the Ledges</p> <p>Over the past 11 years, I have spent thousands of hours here; it is home base. &nbsp;I paddle for about two hours at a time, and run drills, test new boats, push my cardiovascular ability, and prepare myself for the rigors of class V competition. &nbsp;I have been here when it is snowing, I&rsquo;ve hidden from violent lightning claps all around, and I&rsquo;ve witnessed the spectacular sunshine and cascading leaves of autumn. &nbsp;I can vividly picture the breath steaming out of my lungs in between 3 minute winter &ldquo;attainments&rdquo; reps, in which I charge upstream, skipping between eddies to paddle up the rapid and add resistance, and then rest as I float back downstream.</p> <p>Resting in between laps.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/4/Ledges_2014.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My relationship with the Ledges is beautiful because unlike other forms of kayaking (where it is critical to have partners), I am almost always alone. &nbsp;It is a peaceful, contemplative place for me, and the physical exertion and solitude have helped me to work out many things in my life, both positive and negative. &nbsp;With only the sound of flowing water and my breath, I have silently reconciled broken relationships, pieced together a university degree, fabricated exciting business deals, and let go of interpersonal grudges. &nbsp;There is something about being outside and active that gives the world clarity, and puts even the most daunting problems into perspective. &nbsp;</p> <p>The final aspect of the Ledges that makes it special is that it can be worked into any schedule. &nbsp;It is close to town and a quick turnaround, meaning that it can be done as a dawn patrol, on lunch break, or in the evening. &nbsp;It knows no time or agenda, and carries a different mood with every time of day and every season.</p> <p>An evening session&hellip;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/4/Ledges_Sunset.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So this is why this place gets a spot on my Top 5 list. &nbsp;It is not a single moment that I am speaking of here, but rather thousands of moments that collectively weave the fabric of my life, and that have helped turn me into the person I have become. &nbsp;It is a place that calls up infinite memories in the blink of an eye, and this common thread reaches back through time to help me remember where I&rsquo;ve been.</p> <p>It seems only appropriate that I write this from the banks of this river. &nbsp;Just like every time I come here, the cell phone is in the car, and it&rsquo;s just me and the river. &nbsp;I look forward to silently sharing many more experiences with this place in the future. &nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:28:00 GMT 2014 Festival Fashion Must-Haves <p>By <a href="">Grace Kelly</a></p> <p>In 2012, I joined the masses converging on the California desert, just outside of Palm Springs and Joshua Tree for the Coachella Valley Music &amp; Arts Festival &ndash; better known simply as <a href="">Coachella</a>. My friend Angela, a girl who was practically raised at <a href="">Burning Man</a>, convinced me to go with her. To be honest, it didn&rsquo;t take much convincing. A weekend of music, camping, and dancing our faces off in the desert? Yes, please. &nbsp;</p> <p>We flew into LAX and rented a minivan so we could drive and shelter ourselves from the elements. Those who think minivans are uncool have got it all wrong. The seats folded into the floor and it was the perfect size for our sleeping pads and packs to fit side-by-side &ndash; take that tent camping! &nbsp;Once we were set up, we headed out to the stages with thousands of others for a weekend to remember (or not).</p> <p>I have a lot of respect for festival-goers. It&rsquo;s an absolute blast, but if I&rsquo;m honest, I have to admit it&rsquo;s actually quite hard work that takes a bit of planning. You can&rsquo;t just show up and expect to hear all your favorite bands. You really have to make your plan and map it out. At Coachella in particular, some of the stages are nearly a mile apart, so between walking/running, dancing, and jamming out, it can be a pretty exhausting endeavor if you&rsquo;re unprepared.&nbsp;</p> <p>Exhausting or not, it&rsquo;s totally worth it to see some of your favorite musicians performing in the middle of the desert. &nbsp;A few highlights for me were The Black Keys, Justice, Radiohead, Bon Iver, The Shins, and Snoop Dogg. Yes, Snoop Dogg. And 2Pac even made a hologram appearance that was so realistic even his mother would have done a double take. Crazy!</p> <p>So, are you ready to pack your bags and hit the festivals? Grab a reliable backpack and get ready to take inventory. Here are a few of my must-haves for a fashionable and functional festival season.</p> <p><strong>Headwear</strong></p> <p>Outdoor festivals almost always mean extra exposure to the sun and elements. Fortunately for the ladies, the <a href="" target="_blank">wide brimmed hat</a> has made a comeback just in time to protect you from heatstroke. For the fellas, go with a <a href="" target="_blank">wide brimmed hat</a> or a cap made of breathable fabrics like linen. Not only will your hat add a touch of fashion, it will also double as a functional tool for keeping your head cool and your hair out of your eyes during that 22-minute encore performance by Daft Punk.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Jacket</strong></p> <p class="p1"><strong></strong>It seems counter-intuitive for summertime, but make sure to bring an extra layer like a jacket.&nbsp; The combination of summer heat and camping may leave you covered in dirt and sweat during the day, but come nightfall, you will be so glad you packed an extra layer to accommodate the cooler temperatures.&nbsp; I recommend something&nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href="" target="_blank">cropped and well-tailored</a></span>&nbsp;for the ladies and&nbsp;<span class="s1"><a href=";parentid=M_OUTERWEAR" target="_blank">mid length and utilitarian</a></span>&nbsp;for the gents. Pro tip: It&rsquo;s never a bad idea to have extra pockets, especially since you&rsquo;re sure to be away from your camp site (or mini van) the majority of the day.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Lightweight Prints</strong></p> <p class="p1">It&rsquo;s a festival after all &ndash; a celebration of music and art and fun &ndash; so why not celebrate with bold colors and vibrant prints? Here, I recommend dresses and tank tops for ladies and fellas, respectively. Keep it printed and loose-fitting, because if you&rsquo;re like me, you&rsquo;ll be dancing, moving, and sweating like crazy. Ladies, look for dresses that can be worn over, under, or on their own. There are endless varieties that fit the bill, but if you&rsquo;re like me, <a href="" target="_blank">a midi or a hi-low maxi</a> with a fun print is where it&rsquo;s at. Guys can&rsquo;t go wrong here. Just find a printed <a href=";parentid=M_TOPS_SHIRTS" target="_blank">short-sleeve button down</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">tank, preferably with a front pocket</a>. They&rsquo;re breathable, easily function as a base layer, and give you an opportunity to take the ladies to the gun show, if you follow my meaning ;)</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Footwear</strong></p> <p class="p1">Last, but not least, make sure to pack footwear that will keep you comfortable and on your feet all day. This is a rookie mistake made by novices who think of festivals as a sprint instead of the marathon that they are. Do yourself a favor and consider your environment: You&rsquo;re outdoors, on your feet all day, running from stage to stage, experiencing extreme heat or humidity, and trudging through a combination of mud, dirt, or sand. I cannot emphasize this enough: you will be exhausted and angry and annoyed if after you&rsquo;ve waited 6 hours for the headlining act to finally come on stage at 2am, you&rsquo;re ready to collapse because you can&rsquo;t stay standing another minute.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I love a pair of leather booties or spare flats as much as the next girl, but they just don&rsquo;t cut it for festival season. That&rsquo;s why Chaco sandals are my go-to. They&rsquo;re comfortable, supportive, stay on your feet, and easily hose off in the lake or the shower (a quality most important at festivals). I&rsquo;d recommend a cute double-strap option for the ladies &ndash; the <a href="">ZX/2&reg; Yampa</a> for example &ndash; and a grippy single-strap for the guys, like the <a href="">Z/1&reg; Pro</a>.</p> <p class="p1">Whether you plan to attend <a href="" target="_blank">Sasquatch</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Bonnaroo</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Lollapalooza</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Floyd</a>, or <a href="" target="_blank">one of the myriad other options</a>, your feet will thank you.</p> <p class="p1">If you want more ideas on what to pack, check out my <a href="" target="_blank">Festival Fashion Pinterest board</a>. Enjoy the festival season and remember, what happens at the festival stays at the festival ;)&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">xx</p> <p class="p1">Grace</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:10:00 GMT Introducing Barefoot Z’s <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">The world&rsquo;s at your feet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Chaco is proud to unveil our innovative new Barefoot Z sandal. &nbsp;<a title="Chaco Timeline" href="" target="_blank">25 years ago this month</a>, we launched our iconic Z sandal. &nbsp;Today we bring you the lightest and most minimal sport sandal ever created. &nbsp;At a mere 40 grams, our hyper-minimal silhouette is so low profile you won&rsquo;t even realize they are on your feet.</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/3/Barefoot-Zs_blog-post_700x414_IMAGE_a_FINAL.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">The Barefoot Z features a new Paleolithic design with a GroundTouch footbed that has been millions of years in the making. Jacquard webbing wraps across the foot and finishes in a toe loop for total forefoot control. The minimalist outsole design will leave feet calloused, creating luggy knots of hardened skin for a tread that can take on any trail.</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/3/Barefoot-Zs_blog-post_700x414_IMAGE_b_FINAL.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/3/Barefoot-Zs_blog-post_538x414_ALT_FINAL.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Okay, okay... while Barefoot Z&rsquo;s aren&rsquo;t real, our 25th Anniversary sure is! For a quarter-century we&rsquo;ve been adventuring with you: down rivers, over mountains, around the world, and back. Thank you for making our history together unforgettable! Join us, and participate in Chaco&rsquo;s 25th anniversary celebration with new products, contests and journeys: <a title="Chaco 25" href=""></a></span></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 05:04:00 GMT Finding Your Voice Part 1 <p>By&nbsp;<a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/3/photo by bl.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When I was 17, I scrawled the first draft of a story about a road trip into a spiral notebook. It was fiction, because I had just read Jack Kerouac&rsquo;s On the Road and I thought that was fiction. I don&rsquo;t remember anything about the story, other than the characters left my small hometown in northeast Iowa and headed West. And it was handwritten, and the notebook was red. Nobody ever read it, and it ended up in a box somewhere, or in the trash.</p> <p>I knew then that I wanted to be like the characters in Kerouac&rsquo;s book, to live something of an adventure, and hopefully write about it. I didn&rsquo;t really know how, though. I played football and ran track, and did all the mischievous stuff high school kids do, and I wrote only a little, in a creative writing class, and a few notes to girls. I left for college and started classes, starting down various career paths: communications, then biology, then English (for one day), and finally marketing, which I figured would give me a career where I could be creative and get a solid paycheck. Because who could tell you how to be a writer? You go to college to get a job, and being a writer wasn&rsquo;t a job&mdash;it was some sort of fantasy thing people like Stephen King did.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/3/on the road wikimedia commons.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t know how to be a writer anyway, really. I knew how to find and read good books&mdash;that was easy. They practically recommended themselves, appearing on bookstore shelves next to each other, or came up in conversation with other people&mdash;oh, you like so-and-so? Have you read so-and-so? You should.&nbsp;</p> <p>Learning to write like those great writers, though, is not easy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ira Glass has talked about this in an interview, which David Shiyang Liu made into a 2-minute film that became viral. The first thing Ira Glass says is this:&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Nobody tells people who are beginners and I really really wish somebody had told this to me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste. But it&rsquo;s like there&rsquo;s a gap. That for the first couple of years that you&rsquo;re making stuff, what you&rsquo;re making isn&rsquo;t so good. It&rsquo;s not that great. It&rsquo;s trying to be good. It has ambition to be good, but it&rsquo;s not quite that good.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="">Ira Glass on Storytelling</a></p> <p>I picked up a new literary hero in Hunter S. Thompson, and started writing a column for the university newspaper. Hunter Thompson partied hard, so I did. I guess I thought that was what made him such a great storyteller. I mean, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the story of a big, messy party, right?&nbsp;</p> <p>Not quite. What I missed back when I was 22, was the evolution of Thompson&rsquo;s career as a writer. He didn&rsquo;t just spontaneously burst onto the scene after writing a story about a wild weekend in Vegas. Five years before that, he embedded himself with the Hell&rsquo;s Angels and wrote a book about it&mdash;journalism.&nbsp;</p> <p>The thing I didn&rsquo;t get is that in order to write or create, you have to have something to write about first. They say &ldquo;write about what you know,&rdquo; and in my early 20s, I didn&rsquo;t know about much in life (although I sure thought I did).&nbsp;</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t until my second semester of grad school that I had a meeting with the professor who taught my Creative Nonfiction Workshop that someone spelled it out for me. My professor asked me: What have you done that&rsquo;s unique? Where can your writing take people that they haven&rsquo;t been?&nbsp;</p> <p>I started to take a look back at what I had done that was interesting, different from everyone else in the class. The list wasn&rsquo;t long. I found a couple things, and tried to write them well, and got some encouragement.&nbsp;</p> <p>What I wish someone had told 17-year-old me, scrawling a poorly-conceived road trip story in a notebook, is that if you want to make good stories, you have to live good stories. Living is part of developing a creative voice, if you want to make photographs, or films, or write stories (unless you want to do fiction, of course). You don&rsquo;t have to climb Mount Everest, or drive from Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego in a VW bus, but you have to do some things you can feel&mdash;have some visceral experiences.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">###</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Brendan Leonard is a Contributing Editor &nbsp;Adventure Journal | Climbing | The Dirtbag Diaries</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">The New American Road Trip Mixtape now available in paperback and ebook formats at <a href="">;</a></p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:46:00 GMT Get to know Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/2/HaleyNEW2014.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Haley Mills is a modern river nomad hunting out whitewater and adventure while living in her truck. She is a fierce competitor in every competition she enters. From Freestyle Kayaking, Creeking, SUP River Surfing, and SUP Down River Races. Haley Mills is the only Female that competes in all these events. She is currently been training in Florida preparing for her 2014 year she has planned. Check out her video of her cross training and pick up a few tips for your routine.</p> <p>Happy New Year Haley! We wanted to talk 2014 and get to know you a little better.</p> <p><strong>When did you start kayaking?</strong> I started paddling when I was thirteen in Kentucky. My parents found the <a href="">Nantahala Outdoor Center</a> and I took a class when the river was at flood stage and I have been hooked ever since.</p> <p><strong>When did you know it would be a career?</strong> Growing up I knew I wanted to be on the water full time. After finishing college and moving to Colorado where I was able to spend hours at the whitewater park before going to waitress at night. I saw the competitions and realized I am doing the same tricks and might as well give competing a try.</p> <p><strong>When did you join the Chaco Team?</strong> I joined the team three years ago and I feel like Chaco is my family!!</p> <p><strong>What kind of advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue professional Kayaking?</strong> When pursing a career in kayaking you have to be willing to do everything because you love it. It takes an overwhelming amount of work and dedication.</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite part of being on the road?</strong> The part that makes living in my truck worth while is that when I get tired of a location I can just pick and go. The freedom is my favorite part.</p> <p><strong>Best road food?</strong> Road food to me is smoothies, and I prepare my food before I drive so a nice salad.</p> <p><strong>Best Road Trip Music?</strong> Upbeat and anything I can sing and shake my booty too.</p> <p><strong>Favorite new piece of paddling gear (excluding Chacos)?</strong> My must piece of paddling gear is my Werner Paddles they are in my hand if I am creeking, freestyle, and SUPing. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Next destination?</strong> I am leaving Florida next week headed to Tennessee and North Carolina to get back in my kayak and train on some whitewater.</p> <p><strong>Dream Trip in 2014?</strong> I am planning my trip out at the moment. After the full whitewater tour. I am planning to head out for an Alps for the month of August. Then Nepal for October- December, and see if my money holds out and continue around the world.</p> <p><strong>What do you look for in a a paddling partner?</strong> Paddling partners are exactly like any relationship. Its all about trust. My paddling partners must have a since of humor because I try not to take myself serious. One of my favorite days on the water last year was my first day running the green at an super high water flow, with friends who had music playing out of their Pfd's and signing and dancing on the river.</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> My favorite quote changes on the regular. I keep quotes in my mind to motivate myself so day to day I have a new one I love. &nbsp;" Strength- A river cuts through a rock, not because of its power but its persistence" James Watkins</p> <p><strong>Final question: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?</strong> I had to google superpowers to choose the most obvious would be weather manipulation would be pretty awesome. I could create perfect river flows or increase the snow pack in regions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/2/HaleyNew2014 - 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 01:48:00 GMT Chaco Luv for The Dirtbag Diaries <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/2/aspens_shorts_card_small.jpg" alt="" align="left" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chaco is a proud sponsor of The Dirtbag Diaries.&nbsp;</p> <p>Listen to our first sponsored diary <a href="">HERE</a></p> <p>Zen and The Art Powder Skiing</p> <p>&ldquo;With steely determination, I pointed my tips downhill and tried to power through the deep snow, but I was doomed,&rdquo; remembers Julia Rosen. &ldquo;I started to do the super slow splits as my skis drifted further and further apart under two piles of snow that felt like wet concrete. My feet stopped, but my body lurched forward and I was thrust into an unwelcome downward dog.&rdquo; Anyone who&rsquo;s skied powder remembers this fall. Anyone who, like Julia, learned to ski pow as an adult remembers it more clearly. But Julia did make it through the painful learning process&mdash;only to discover that, perhaps, the wisdom she had gained might just serve her in the horizontal world as well.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:29:00 GMT All-Time Top 5 Moments - 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix. <p>By&nbsp;Chris Gragtmans</p> <p>The sport of kayaking has given me so many incredible memories. &nbsp;From the seat of my kayak, I have made lifetime friendships, seen stunning landscapes in five continents, and learned many lessons about life and business. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s tough to quantify and define which are my favorite, but I wanted to reflect on a few of those peak memories in this blog series. The 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix is without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite kayaking moments!</p> <p>The concept was bold- Patrick Camblin envisioned a competition that redefined kayaking. &nbsp;A two week , six venue, traveling event in Quebec, Canada that pits 25 of the best athletes in whitewater against each other. &nbsp;It would take place in the beginning of May, a time when the colossal mass of snow, dumped all winter over thousands of square kilometres, would melt and funnel all at once into the massive rivers of Eastern Canada. &nbsp;The biggest whitewater + the best paddlers = surely something awesome, right?</p> <p>I was honored and excited to be invited as part of this group. &nbsp;Still trying to decide my life&rsquo;s direction after graduating from university, I had been working a marketing position for a technology firm in Asheville, NC. &nbsp;Not ideal conditions to train for an elite competition. &nbsp;But I had been making the most of it- CrossFit workouts every day on my lunch break and kayak workouts before or after work. &nbsp;I was doing my best.</p> <p>I arrived in Canada with Bryan Kirk and Tino Specht to the Ottawa River (the river where I learned how to kayak) higher than I had ever seen it. &nbsp;Conditions looked to be lining up for one of the most epic waves in the sport of kayaking- Gladiator. &nbsp;I had never surfed this wave, but it is a surgy 15 foot tall behemoth, and unfortunately has one of the biggest, meanest looking hydraulics I have ever seen about 100 meters downstream of it. &nbsp;This translates to 13-14 seconds in kayak time. &nbsp;A broken paddle or blown sprayskirt is life-threatening on Gladiator.</p> <p>The first day of the competition was a media jam format- take as many rides as you want, and your best trick is scored on video. &nbsp;On my first ride, the speed and power of 100,000 cfs blasting underneath my boat took my breath away. &nbsp;Throwing tricks was the last thing on my mind&hellip; I couldn&rsquo;t help but think that if I flipped over on this beast it would rip my arms off. &nbsp;It was survival boating. &nbsp;I finally got a few tricks in to put my name on the board, and fell asleep that night thinking that I may be a bit out of my league.</p> <p>That set the tone for the Grand Prix, and things only got more intense from there. &nbsp;Head to head races through massive volume rapids, a time trials creek race with gnarly holes and a half kilometer long slide, and a freestyle through the rapid off of a barreling river wave called Hawaii&hellip; competitors had to step up their game in every way, and there was certainly carnage. &nbsp;The swim tally racked up to over 20 swims (again- these are the best in the world!), and numerous paddlers sat events out. &nbsp;</p> <p>The other fascinating thing about the Grand Prix was the social aspect of it. &nbsp;Each one of us were big fish where we came from. &nbsp;We were used to being the hero- the center of attention, and the person who everyone else supports to run the big waterfall. &nbsp;Not so here! &nbsp;Upon looking at that same waterfall or rapid, there were now 15 people ready to go. It was definitely a strange feeling, but the collective energy was addictive, and paradigms were being redefined. &nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/2/CG_GPMistassini.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Photo credit- Bryan Kirk</p> <p>As the events ticked by, I managed to consecutively stay in the top 10, something that was definitely exciting. &nbsp;However, my body seemed to be rebelling against me. &nbsp;I think that I drank some bad water partway through, and there was something wrong- my strength was definitely ebbing.</p> <p>The final event was a &ldquo;Giant Slalom&rdquo; format, and would determine the final competition standings. &nbsp;The course was sick- very manageable at the top, but then cycling down through some massive holes and drops, with the biggest one at the finish line. &nbsp;A couple of athletes were heard saying &ldquo;if I found this rapid on a normal river run, I would walk it!&rdquo; My practice runs were good, but the power was not in my body when I needed it. &nbsp;This final event was damage control for me- put a result on the board and finish strong. &nbsp;We would take two race runs, and the best one would count. &nbsp;</p> <p>My run started well- I charged into the rapid and hit the first three gates smoothly, just the way that I practiced. &nbsp;However, as I tried to duck the fourth gate, I fell into a hole at the top of the gnarliest section. &nbsp;As I surfed that hole, upright and then upside down, my brain was redlined. &nbsp;My muscles were fatiguing, the safety setup was not ideal to nab me above the 20 foot drop waiting just below, and I realized that swimming was a very dangerous proposition. &nbsp;The river has a way of making you feel tiny sometimes. &nbsp;I finally fought my way out of the hole, completely exhausted and gasping for air. &nbsp;Rather than finish that race run, I caught an eddy and ran my fingers in front of my throat- &ldquo;I&rsquo;m done.&rdquo;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve never quit a race run before, but it was an easy decision. &nbsp;I was spent after that surf, and my weak body certainly was not ready to tackle the two class V moves downstream. &nbsp;I got out of my boat and sat down on the trail. &nbsp;This was a moment of reckoning. &nbsp;I could walk away and accept the hit of a DNF on my Grand Prix results, safe and sound, or I could rest for a few minutes, pick up my kayak, and go back to the starting line for my 2nd run. &nbsp;Left- car, beer and warm clothes. &nbsp;Right- chance #2 at a dangerous, technically challenging race course. &nbsp;It felt like one of those pivotal decisions in life, and I finally turned right.</p> <p>It was very mentally challenging to line up in the starting gate again, but overcoming personal barriers is part of why I love the sport. &nbsp;I took a slower pace, and just focused on making all of the gates and staying away from hazards. &nbsp;I flipped against the wall on the 20 foot drop, but was able to roll up and keep it together to the finish line. &nbsp;I floated downstream with my paddle resting on my boat, silently giving thanks for a safe deliverance through all of the rapids of the past two weeks.</p> <p>I ended up 6th Overall in the 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix, a result that I am still very proud of. &nbsp;After driving 20 hours home to Asheville, I went to the doctor, found out that I had the intestinal parasite Giardia, and underwent a powerful two week antibiotics treatment. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">2011 Whitewater Grand Prix</a> from <a href="">Tribe Rider</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>This event was significant in my life not only because of the huge whitewater and fantastic experiences, but also because it spurred me to live a new life. &nbsp;The Grand Prix solidified my resolve to quit the cubicle grind, and make a living in the paddlesports industry- working for myself. &nbsp;I did that a few months later, and I haven&rsquo;t looked back.</p> <p>And here&rsquo;s the cool thing- it&rsquo;s almost time for a reunion tour. &nbsp;Check this out:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/2/2014WWGP_Invitation.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>2014 should be bigger and better than ever, and I look forward to teaming up with an epic crew for two weeks of camaraderie and whitewater.</p> <p><a href="">Chris Gragtmans</a></p> <div><br /></div> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 06:44:00 GMT Brendan Leonard - Semi Rad <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/1/Brendan and donut.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Interview by Kelley @ Chaco&nbsp;</p> <p>Brendan Leonard is a writer and climber who bounces around the West in a Chevy Astrovan, finding new terrain and new stories to write for Adventure Journal, Climbing, Backpacker, The Dirtbag Diaries, and other publications. In 2011, he created the web site <a href=""></a>, where he writes weekly about adventure and the outdoors. In Fall of 2013 Brendan joined the Chaco team, and like us, we thought you might be interested in learning a little more about him.</p> <p>Hey Brendan, where did the name Semi-Rad come from?</p> <p>"When I was trying to think of a website name that was short, original and memorable, I remembered the cover of the book "Semi-Tough," a novel published in 1972 that I never read, but used to see in bookstores when I was a kid. I thought, Hey, I'm not exactly rad, but maybe kind of. How about Semi-Rad? And the Twitter handle was not taken, nor was the url. So I bought it."&nbsp;</p> <p>If you could build your dream trip for 2014, where would you go? What would you do?</p> <p>"I would cross the country climbing historic routes from New Hampshire to Yosemite and telling the stories of the first ascents, and how tough those early climbers were compared to us. I have the list all ready."&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Can you tell us a little bit about your first pair of Chacos?</p> <p>"I bought my first pair of Chacos, Z-2s, as an REI employee in 2005, <a href="">black on black</a>. I realized you could do just about anything besides climb ice in them, and that was pretty much the end of closed-toed footwear for me. I later transitioned to Z-1s, and have never strayed." &nbsp;</p> <p>You visit a lot of diners - what makes the perfect diner?</p> <p>"The name "<a href="">Milt's Stop &amp; Eat</a>" means it's perfect. If it is not named Milt's Stop &amp; Eat, I like it when it has counter seats, decent coffee, breakfast all day, and milkshakes. Preferably the interior design is a little throwback as well." &nbsp;</p> <p>Are you tired of folks calling things epic?</p> <p>"Well, there are other words that aren't as much of an exaggeration. I prefer the term "long day" to describe a suprisingly adventurous day in which no one was injured, instead of "epic." But you can say whatever you want, I suppose." &nbsp;</p> <p>If you only had 24 hours and $20 how would you go about finding an adventure?</p> <p>"Depending on where I was, I would probably use the $20 to buy a map and then find something interesting on it. Or I would use the $20 to buy coffee, burritos, and Peanut M&amp;Ms and go find a multi-pitch climb." &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>What do you look for in a climbing partner?</p> <p>"Safe belaying and ability to talk smack and stay positive." &nbsp;</p> <p>You recently wrote a book called &ldquo;<a href="">The New American Road Trip Mixtape</a>,&rdquo; &nbsp;How long was the book <a href="">bouncing</a> around in your head before you wrote it?</p> <p>"I was actually writing it as it was bouncing around in my head, if that makes sense. I started off on a five-week road trip that didn't exactly end, and had a first draft of the book finished five months into it. I later changed the ending, but most of what was written was stuff I put down on scraps of paper while driving or typed into my phone while hiking." &nbsp;</p> <p>I imagine a lot of folks would love to do what you've done, what kind of advice do you give folks looking to make that first step?</p> <p>"I don't know if everyone needs to quit their job and hit the road, but I think a good road trip is good for almost everyone. Buy an atlas and look at it instead of watching TV, then figure out how much time you can take off work without getting fired (and inquire about the idea of unpaid time off&mdash;a lot of managers are surprisingly open to an extra few days or week of unpaid vacation). And then go, without planning too much."&nbsp;</p> <p>Last question, favorite memory from the last 3 months?</p> <p>"I spent a month on the Colorado River in the <a href="">Grand Canyon</a>, and I will probably never forget jumping into my sleeping bag every night and looking up to see a narrow line of stars hemmed in by giant black canyon walls on either side." &nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 06:16:00 GMT Perfect Conditions <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2014/1/HaleySUP1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">Sitting at the tree lot for the fourth year in a row and making it through another groundhog day. I can&rsquo;t tell you how many times people have told me that I am living the dream and you know what? Sometimes I forget. I am getting a reality check my tree lot life consists of waking up before daylight, walking across the street to the gym. After my work out, I work 9-9 selling trees which is a lot of weight lifting. Now that the season is coming to an end and its sunny and warm. I am getting a chance to escape and go mtn biking, suping on the river, and hot yoga.&nbsp;&nbsp;During this season of work I am reminded on what an amazing life I lead.</p> <p class="p1">For the past year I have been focused on traveling to all the events placing in SUP and kayaking with a few international trips sprinkled throughout the year. While I am living in my truck across the country it sounds like I have an exorbitant amount of free time, but between events and travel, there is not much as you would think. When I am on the road I get salty and jaded. My workouts become training and over-thinking, paddling becomes competing and work, road-tripping becomes an all out overly caffeinated driving marathons, friends become competitors, and in all of this there is no perfect conditions. Each event the water level changes during your training, along with temperatures, lineups, and injuries. After this year of visiting 2 countries, 5 cross country trips driving and flying, and 15 states. I ended my tour in Chattanooga to find some balance in my life and have a roof over my head for the first time in 5 years. I got so burnt out from rushing around I wasn&rsquo;t taking the time to enjoy the journey.&nbsp;&nbsp;I honestly thought that by now I would be content in Chatty and ready to dare I even say the word...settled. After about 2 months of having a roof over my head and now living at the tree lot in a camper. I can&rsquo;t cure the desire to be on the road, I don&rsquo;t think I will ever be cured of this disease. I love that I am totally infected and I might be contagious with being nomadic. I moved my twin size mattress into the back of my truck today and I got to say it feels good. To know that all I need in my tiny life is a vehicle big enough for my 5ft body to sleep in and my excessive amount of boards, boats, and bikes.</p> <p class="p1">Some times when you wait for the perfect conditions or time to take action you miss a wonderful opportunity. I refuse to sit around and wait for the perfect time to attack a dream or even as small as a work out when your really tired. I made myself SUP the other day even after a day of trees and a gym workout. The water was about 80,000 cfs or more and it was super windy...but the sun was out. While paddling I was thinking about how my training is just like normal life. For a while I am paddling upstream - attaining this large open river with the wind to my back helping me along the way. Then turn the bank around the island, I am faced with a head wind that was strong and the river flowing downstream at 80,000 cfs. Its awesome how you can not wait for the perfect conditions to happen but just try and it usually turns out. Training that day turned a 3 mile long paddle that could have been super flat, made me improve my skills in all the different conditions (water reading skills, balance, mental, and physical). The following day was a chilling early 5 mile bike ride with a friend and a yoga class after.</p> <p class="p1">So I could be super bummed about being at the tree lot for tons of hours or make the most of being in one of my favorites towns in the country. I have friends stopping by all the time I am in a perfect outdoor community and location. I tried again but nope I am ready for the road.&nbsp;&nbsp;My paddle board is waiting on me in Florida where my workouts get to be longer and some relaxation before 2014!!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><a href="">Haley Mills</a></p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 07:49:00 GMT A Grand Adventure <p>By <a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p>Chacos have their roots in whitewater rafting. I do not. Pre-2013, I had spent about 36 hours total on rafts, and only one overnight trip. When my friend Forest asked if I would be interested in a 28-day trip in the Grand Canyon this November, I said the only sensible thing I could say: yes.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite my almost total inexperience, a group of 14 people let me hitchhike on what I called "the Mount Everest of Raft Trips" from Nov. 11 through Dec. 8. It was exactly what people have always said it is: the trip of a lifetime. I learned some rudimentary whitewater skills, only swam one rapid, and marveled at soaring canyon walls for four straight weeks.&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Rigging the boats for the first time at the Lee's Ferry Boaters' Camp, Day 1, Mile 0.1. 280 miles to go.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">2. Playing some Frisbee in Redwall Cavern, Day 3.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>3. The kayakers in our group paddle into gusty winds on Day 5.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>4. The sun rises behind Zoroaster Temple on Day 8, at Below Pipe Creek Camp.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>5. Our Day 10 campsite at New Shady Grove was tighter than a Phish concert.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>6. Our first layover day, Day 14, was at Racetrack Camp, and we battled wind and rain most of the day.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>7. The group scouts Upset Rapid on Day 16.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>8. Day 17: We brought an inflatable SUP board, and I paddled it for the first time to here, about 150 feet up Havasu Creek.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/8.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>9. Another shot of the falls at Havasu Creek.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/9.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>10. Forest Woodward celebrates Thanksgiving on Day 18 with some laundry at Tuckup Canyon.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/10.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>11. Day 19, somewhere around Mile 170.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/11.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>12. The group scouts Lava Rapid, the last of the big rapids on the trip, a Class 9 at Mile 180.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/12.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>13. Diamond Peak dominates a pre-storm horizon just above Two Hundred Twenty-Two Mile Camp on Day 23.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/13.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>14. Maybe the best sunset of the trip, Day 23, Two Hundred Twenty-Two Mile Camp.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>15. The wind-sculpted beach at 279 Mile Camp, Day 27.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/15.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 24 Dec 2013 05:14:00 GMT Sometimes I feel like I’ve won the lottery <p>By <a href="">Chris Gragtmans</a></p> <p>It was about a year and a half ago that I quit my full-time marketing job, and decided to make a living on my own. I had taken the job immediately after graduating college to pay off student loans, and it was a great jump-off point. But there was a fundamental problem- I didn&rsquo;t believe in what I was selling. My lack of fulfillment was enough to spur my departure, and I left without too much of a plan, other than to work hard in life and have as much fun as possible.&nbsp;</p> <p>After a two month biking and kayaking &ldquo;sabbatical&rdquo; to Whistler, BC, I came home to North Carolina with virtually no money to my name, but a heightened resolve to make a living on my own terms (and in perpetuity). &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Things were by no means easy. &nbsp;My new lifestyle involved a significant ramp-up period. Slowly but surely, I created work and poured all of my passion into my professional relationships. I started working with <a href="">Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine</a>, a very supportive Southeast mag that still enables me to write consistently about the things that I am excited about. &nbsp;My mind was stimulated like never before as I took the time to reflect on the experiences that I had as a kayaker and outdoors athlete. &nbsp;Those moments only become more powerful when relived a second time with attention to the deeper meanings.</p> <p>A few dollars began to materialize to buy a burrito or put some gas in the tank&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;Shortly thereafter, I took on my current position as Pro Team Manager and Athlete for <a href="">Dagger Kayaks</a>, a company that I have always looked up to as the leader in my sport. &nbsp;That position was a turning point for me, because being on the other side of the table helped me to understand the Outdoors Industry in ways that I never had before. &nbsp;I jumped on every opportunity that I could, doing retailer visits, competitions, and R&amp;D. &nbsp;Life was accelerating.</p> <p>2013 has exceeded every single expectation I could have had. I have forged relationships with brands that I only dreamed of working with in the past (including <a href="">Chaco</a>!). I have been able to pay a lot of knowledge forward to the next generation, an experience that gives me serious d&eacute;j&agrave; vu from when I was in their shoes. Standup paddleboarding, a completely new sport for me, has entered my life, and I am grateful to have achieved podium results on its professional stage. &nbsp;A few key people helped me to learn about and apply the power of appreciating returns and long-term investment strategies for a healthy retirement. And most importantly, I was able to spend a ton of time with my girlfriend, Ashley, and with my family.</p> <p>There have been some tough times along the way as well, but to say 2013 was a beautiful year would be an understatement.</p> <p>Here are a few links, photos and videos from the journey that has become my dream career and life:</p> <p>Finding a new way to interact with a familiar medium&hellip;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/CottageSUP.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Photo Credit: Ashley Woodring</p> <p>This was just a really <a href="">bad idea</a>!</p> <p>Working with <a href="">Camp4 Collective</a>, <a href="">Martin Agency</a>, and <a href="">BFGoodrich Tires</a> on this project was a true pleasure. Every day was filled to the brim with <a href="">passion and creativity</a> by everyone on the team&hellip;</p> <p>Unwinding in California with my camp shoes!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Cali_Chacos.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>And going for a hike with Ashley on her birthday&hellip;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/ChrisAshley.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Credit: <a href="">Nick Gragtmans Photography</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sometimes it just seems as though the world opens up and allows us to achieve whatever we want. &nbsp;I think that the two most important things to do when this occurs are to:</p> <p>1) &nbsp; Appreciate the hell out of it. &nbsp;After all, as residents of the first world, with disposable income to play outside, we are among the most fortunate people on the planet.</p> <p>2) &nbsp; Work hard to achieve our potential. &nbsp;As a child, my parents instilled in me a quote that has resonated ever since: &ldquo;To those whom much is given, much is expected.&rdquo; &nbsp;I think this is self-explanatory- be awesome and do honor to every opportunity that comes along.</p> <p>I hope that all of you enjoy your holidays, and here&rsquo;s to another good one in 2014. &nbsp;Catch ya on the flip side!&nbsp;</p> <p>Chris</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 22 Dec 2013 22:22:00 GMT It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! <p><span style="font-family: 'Avenir Book';"><span style="font-size: 19px;">2013 has been an exceptional year at Chaco. &nbsp;We made amazing footwear, we gave away a lot of stickers and we planned 2014. &nbsp;We thought we would close out the year with a look back at 2013 and a look forward to 2014. Above all, we are grateful for the Chaco community and the opportunity we have to share in your adventures!&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/IMG_7136.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;2013 was a transformative year for Chaco, with several key new additions to the awesome team and a resurgence of sorts for the brand; and I am confident that 2014 will be another strong year for Chaco, and that we will further solidify our place in the hearts and souls of adventure seekers everywhere.&rdquo; Chip, GM of Chaco</p> <p>&ldquo;2013 was busy and full of excitement and successes; 2014 will only be busier and better!&rdquo; &ndash;Elizabeth, Sales</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/IMG_2582.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;2013 was a year of learning both professionally and personally. &nbsp;2014 will be my opportunity to expand my experiences and continue to dream.&rdquo; Sarah, Sales/Marketing</p> <p>&ldquo;This year has been the best yet with the birth of my first baby girl! The Chaco team has been so supportive of me and my new family, making the transition back to work seamless. I love our team and am looking forward to another great year with these awesome people!&rdquo; &ndash; Tina, &nbsp;Product Development</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/12/IMG_2609.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;2013 was a stellar year.&nbsp; ReChaco and MyChaco grew by leaps and bounds.&nbsp; In an environment that allows for creative freedom, learning, and growth the ReChaco team has become stronger and we continue to conquer one (or ten) projects at a time.&nbsp; We look forward to fixing and creating anything that comes our way in 2014. &ldquo; Lisa, ReChaco/MyChaco &nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;2013 will certainly go down in my memory as a year of change. This year, I left my previous city, explored our national parks, worked on a commercial salmon boat, found out I'm about to be a father, and found myself returning to my home state. In the course of this madness, I found Chaco &ndash; or perhaps they found me. I'm the newest addition to the team, so I can't speak about this subject as thoughtfully as my co-workers, but I do know this: I can't imagine being part of a better brand or a better team who makes as great a product as this one. This team lives the brand day and night, and leaves nothing behind when it comes to making amazing products and creating an incredible customer experience. And I get to be part of it &ndash; how incredible is that? Looking back on 2013 and looking ahead to 2014, I'm reminded of a quote by the author Kurt Vonnegut:</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and to exclaim or murmur or think at some point "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."</p> <p class="p1">Believe me, I've noticed. And next year, when it comes to Chaco, I think you will too.&rdquo; Josh, Marketing</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/IMG_2574.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;2013 was defined by change for me; both intentional and serendipitous, but all with forward momentum. I am one of the new members to the team and dove head first in to the world of product development this last July. Like most, I am excited for the challenges and adventures ahead as our brand grows. However; I am most excited about getting to work with the best theme song-singing, taco loving, flannel wearing, adventure seeking, snack sharing, Chaco style setting team!&rdquo; Heather, Product Development&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">"2013 was a year of gratefulness for me; filled with adventure, new friends and unprecedented opportunities. 2014 promises to bring new challenges and more #Chacomania !&rdquo; Kelley, Marketing</p> <p class="p1">&ldquo;Thank you, Chaconians, for a wonderful 2013.&nbsp; We appreciate you sharing your adventures with us!&rdquo; Colin, Marketing Manager</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 06:01:00 GMT PACK RAT OUTDOOR CENTER GUEST BLOG 2013 <p>The Team from <a href="">Pack Rat Outdoor Center</a> told us how they wear their Chacos:</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Sam Farrell.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Samantha Fisher Farrell, Footwear&nbsp;Buyer</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos as much as I can. I got&nbsp;my first Chacos in May 2007, right before a&nbsp;climbing adventure in Colorado.</p> <p>They have&nbsp;been everywhere from climbing, hiking and&nbsp;paddling, to washing the dog and walking&nbsp;all over Disney World at 32 weeks&nbsp;pregnant.&nbsp;</p> <p>As the Footwear Buyer at Pack Rat&nbsp;Outdoor Center, I am lucky to get to work&nbsp;closely with Chaco every season.</p> <p>They&nbsp;keep coming out with innovative ideas and&nbsp;designs that keep them ahead of the game!</p> <p>Thank you for keeping my feet happy and&nbsp;healthy in every adventure I have been on.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Chally Sims.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Chally Sims, Manager/Owner</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos when I take my niece&nbsp;on adventures in the backcountry. I taught&nbsp;her to fish, paddle a canoe, camp on a</p> <p>gravel on bar on the Buffalo River, build a&nbsp;campfire, set up a tent and cook the best&nbsp;ever backcountry spaghetti.</p> <p>My niece was&nbsp;five on that river trip. Since then, we&rsquo;ve&nbsp;begun our adventures in backpacking!</p> <p>We take our Chaco sandals on every&nbsp;adventure we have together.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Carolyn Crook.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Carolyn Crook, Founder/Owner</span></p> <p>When you are as old as I am (over 65), you need to be&nbsp;comfortable when you are on your feet for an 8-10 hour day.</p> <p>During the spring and summer my special make-up Chacos&nbsp;give the support that I need. Comfort is the most important</p> <p>thing as you get older. (Image: Pack Rat Outdoor Center 40th&nbsp;Anniversary custom Chacos)</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Rick Spicer.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Rick Spicer, Buyer/Owner</span></p> <p>I wear Chacos because my feet are happiest in them. I&nbsp;have a lot of other shoes for specific purposes like,&nbsp;climbing, hiking, fitness, etc., but when I don't need</p> <p>something for a specific niche I live in Chacos. I've been&nbsp;sold on them for 15 years and counting and don't&nbsp;remember a trip I've been on when I didn't take them&nbsp;along.</p> <p>I guess you could say they are part of my uniform.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Faebyan Whittle.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Faebyan Whittle</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos... 245 days out of the&nbsp;year...with the exception of leap years then&nbsp;I reunite with my Chacos a day&nbsp;early.</p> <p>But I bet you hear that all the time.&nbsp;However, while some people may simply&nbsp;covet their Chacos because they are</p> <p>hands-down as cool as cucumbers, I&nbsp;have made a life-pact with mine. I am a&nbsp;woman with 10 pairs of shoes and four&nbsp;pairs are Chaco sandals.</p> <p>I begin&nbsp;everyday knowing that anything worth&nbsp;doing in this world most likely should be&nbsp;done in a pair of Chacos. Of course, with</p> <p>freedom and knowledge like this comes&nbsp;responsibility. I would never take my&nbsp;Chacos to place they didn't belong...such</p> <p>as through a fire ant hill or a swamp with&nbsp;alligators. It is common knowledge that fire&nbsp;ants and the webbing on Chacos are mortal enemies and that an alligator will eat Chacos</p> <p>without hesitation. And because I love my Chacos so much, If I had one wish in the entire&nbsp;universe, it would be it would be for world peace. But, if I were given two wishes, I would wish</p> <p>for every person on the planet to have a pair of Chacos because I would want them to be as&nbsp;happy as me. I do know that Chacos alone will not&nbsp;bring you endless joy, but wearing them on your feet surely will.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/12/Ali Williams.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Ali Williams, Community Organizer</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos or have worn my Chacos&nbsp;everyday between the months of March and&nbsp;November until the Chaco tan seems like an&nbsp;inverted birthmark.</p> <p>I have worn my Chacos&nbsp;with socks around many a campfire (maybe&nbsp;even melted a couple of soles). Chacos have&nbsp;been both my "water crossing" shoe and my</p> <p>"12 mile hikers" on numerous adventures. I&nbsp;have always kept at least 2 pair handy, but&nbsp;no more than 5 at any given time. Chacos&nbsp;have been incorporated into about every</p> <p>outfit and "fashion" phase that I have gone in&nbsp;and out of since I started at Pack Rat&nbsp;Outdoor Center in 2006. The nastiest my&nbsp;poor Chacos have ever been was after a</p> <p>torrential rainfall during Austin City Limits in&nbsp;2009. They weren&rsquo;t allowed in the car on the&nbsp;ride home for a reason.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Mirian Daniel.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Miriam Daniel</span></p> <p>Unfortunately, 'I wear my Chacos' is a statement&nbsp;that currently does not apply to me. But, I was a&nbsp;faithful Chaco wearer while I was in high school and&nbsp;into my first year of college. I owned that single pair&nbsp;of Chacos for five years. They ventured on many a&nbsp;road trip....Kentucky, Colorado, Utah, etc. They&nbsp;were faithful shoes that could handle any sort of&nbsp;terrain. I probably broke a few fashion rules along&nbsp;the way, but honestly I think that socks and Chacos&nbsp;are just best friends that people want to keep apart.&nbsp;I was proud of the Chaco tan line that my pale skin&nbsp;begrudgingly formed. I also loved my Chacos&nbsp;because they made my short stature almost an&nbsp;entire inch taller. I have mourned the death of&nbsp;those Chacos for a few years now and I suppose it&nbsp;it time for me to purchase another pair and kindle a new love affair.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/12/Adam Higinbothom.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Adam Higinbothom, Floor Manager</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos everywhere. My hiking&nbsp;boots generally take a backseat to the&nbsp;Chacos on day trips. It&rsquo;s my paddle shoe, my&nbsp;day hiker, my work shoe, and my kick&nbsp;around. If there is a shoe on my foot, it is a&nbsp;Chaco or it has a Superfeet in it. I will wear&nbsp;Chacos FOREVER.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Sandy S..JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sandy Staszkiewicz</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos&hellip;.but I gave them up for love. Yes, I&nbsp;said it...for Love. I gave my Z1 Pro Chacos to my friend&nbsp;Galen. Galen is one of my favorite people that I work with&nbsp;at the Pack Rat Outdoor Center. He is LSU loyal but&nbsp;chooses to live among the Razorbacks of Arkansas. In the&nbsp;process of moving north away from Bourbon Street and&nbsp;the Bayou, he lost his Chaco tan. Yup, it faded. And even&nbsp;though I am a lady, my feet are not. My feet feel more&nbsp;comfortable in a men&rsquo;s size 9 Chaco. Coincidentally,&nbsp;Galen wears a men&rsquo;s size 9. I smile now when I see&nbsp;Galen sporting his Z1 Chaco tan. And my heart is full of&nbsp;love. Like I said, I wear my Chacos but gave them up for&nbsp;love.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Will Dupree.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Will Dupree</span></p> <p>I wear my Chaco Z2&rsquo;s almost everyday during the&nbsp;summer months. Everything from work, fiddling with&nbsp;my boats, to having an adult beverage. Now, I will&nbsp;wear Chacos when it&rsquo;s cold. The hinterlands will be&nbsp;perfect when the digits head south and I can&rsquo;t wear&nbsp;my Z2&rsquo;s. As a light hiker, or all day at the outdoor center, I will be showing my Chaco love!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Hannah Spencer.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Hannah Spencer</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos feeling prepared for the&nbsp;journey ahead. Good gear like good people&nbsp;has come and gone, but my Chacos have&nbsp;remained for 8 years. They have been my&nbsp;companions protecting my feet on all of my&nbsp;big adventures; from exploring the islands of&nbsp;Hawaii, crossing the rivers in Colorado, to&nbsp;wandering the Oregon coast, and beyond. I&nbsp;synch down that webbing and walk out into&nbsp;uncertainty with one comfort, that I'm wearing&nbsp;my Chacos on the journey ahead.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Levi Finn.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Levi Finn</span></p> <p>I wear my Chacos when I hike, bike, run, walk, zip-line, work, and just want to be&nbsp;comfortable. They are my do all, end all&nbsp;shoe, any time of the year. I even tried riding my motorcycle with them, but quickly decided that&nbsp;wasn't the best idea, so instead I wear my Chaco shoes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 02:53:00 GMT The Rites of Fall <p>Guest Blog by <a href="">Jon Bausman</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Brown County and Me.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Each season has their own respective &ldquo;rites&rdquo; if you will. &nbsp;Winter you may find yourself cozied up under a blanket, sipping some hot cocoa, watching Christmas Vacation. &nbsp;Spring can be a time to stop and smell the flowers, while summer is a time to beat the heat and jump into your favorite watering hole. &nbsp;But to me, fall has some of the best rites of any season and these are some of my favorites.</p> <p>Enjoy the Colors and Get Outdoors</p> <p>The color of the leaves changing. &nbsp;The smells of the forest. &nbsp;The sound of the leaves beneath your feet. &nbsp;The opportunity to finally throw on that ridiculously comfortable fleece you&rsquo;ve been eyeing. &nbsp;All of these come together for the fall trekker in the outdoor adventure playground. &nbsp;Whether it&rsquo;s a weekender to <a href="">Red River Gorge, KY</a> or a day hike in <a href="">Brown County State Park, IN</a>, it&rsquo;s always a blast! Hiking, camping, backpacking, climbing, whatever! &nbsp;Go enjoy that foliage folks!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Forest.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Trip to the Orchard or Pumpkin Patch</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a little hard to enjoy apple cider in the middle of July, but come September a trip to the orchard for some fresh cider and apple picking is an absolute must. &nbsp;While you&rsquo;re there, it&rsquo;s fun to try and find the biggest pumpkin and take a few home for some seasonal decorating or getting your Picasso on with some carving!&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/12/Apple Cider On Tap.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Bonfires and Brews</p> <p>With the heat of summer passing and bringing on those crisp fall nights, there&rsquo;s no better way to enjoy an autumn evening then around a <a href="">roaring bonfire</a> with good friends. &nbsp;This is the perfect time to break out those mallows and wash &lsquo;em down with your favorite seasonal brew or the last of your summer stock.</p> <div> <div>The Perfect &lsquo;Smore</div> <div><br /></div> <div>If you&rsquo;re like me, you can&rsquo;t help but quote <a href=";;t=16s">The Sandlot</a> every time someone says, &ldquo;You want &lsquo;Smore?&rdquo; &nbsp;Over my childhood years I became quite the &lsquo;smore connoisseur, exploring the best possible combination. &nbsp;My current favorite is replacing your chocolate slab with a Reese Cup. &nbsp;The key is, once it&rsquo;s assembled, to toast the &lsquo;smore (graham and all) over the fire. &nbsp;Trust me, this is one yummy mess you&rsquo;ll never regret.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Bring on the Hot Beverages</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Whether it&rsquo;s hot chocolate, a cup of coffee, or hot apple cider (or some wassel if we&rsquo;re getting fancy here), grab your favorite mug and have at it. &nbsp; Of course, if you&rsquo;re feeling extra festive, I recommend making a Homemade <a href="">Pumpkin Spice Latte</a> (in a mason jar of course). &nbsp;Staring into the warm glow of a fire slowly dying while enjoying a hot beverage is the perfect nightcap and the rite way to end a great fall day. &nbsp;</div> </div> <div><br /></div> Fri, 06 Dec 2013 05:31:00 GMT It's OK, You Can Do That In Your Chacos <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/YouCanDoThatInChacos.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>By&nbsp;<a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p>Photo by&nbsp;<a href="">Hilary Oliver</a></p> <p>My friend Lee sometimes jokes that he has &ldquo;walking-across-the-parking-lot&rdquo; shoes, making fun of the fact that as rock climbers, we often have approach shoes, crack climbing shoes, sport climbing shoes, all-day climbing shoes, mountaineering boots (summer and winter), ad nauseam. Which is true. Most people who have a lot of outdoor interests probably have a huge shoe collection.</p> <p>Sometimes I get a little lazy and don&rsquo;t want to change shoes for a certain activity. Or I just don&rsquo;t want to trap my feet inside socks and shoes. So I just continue to wear my Chaco Z-1s, and adapt. Scared about smashing your toe into a rock? Be more careful. Worried you don&rsquo;t have enough support? Don&rsquo;t worry about it, try it first. A few weekends ago, a friend asked me to help him move some things, and I showed up in Chacos, unaware that we were going to be lifting 350-pound flagstone slabs into and out of a pickup. That was probably a little bit much for open-toed footwear. But really, you can get away with Chacos quite a few things they weren&rsquo;t originally intended for.</p> <p>Like golf. Unless you&rsquo;re on a golf course that has a super-strict dress code, Chacos are great, especially when you have to fish a ball out of a water hazard. Or easy bouldering, on a backpacking trip or a walk on the beach. Or day hikes. Really, as long as there&rsquo;s no snow, they&rsquo;re pretty ideal. One of my favorite pairs of Chacos I inherited from a cousin who had to buy them as part of his groomsmen&rsquo;s outfit for a friend&rsquo;s beach wedding, so obviously at the right event, they cross the line from casual into formal.&nbsp;</p> <p>I most often find myself wearing them for approaches to rock climbs, and they&rsquo;re great for it, once you master basic rock-climbing and scrambling in them. Then you kick them off at the base of the crag, and if you&rsquo;re cragging for the day, you&rsquo;ve got the easiest shoes to slip into between pitches. Are they ideal? Maybe not&mdash;I&rsquo;ve scraped up my toes more than once, gotten a rock under my foot several dozen times. But overall, they are the best sandals for scrambling, and way better than wearing shoes and socks.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re wondering if Chacos are the proper footwear for an activity, the answer is yes, unless you are wondering about skiing or ice climbing. Chacos currently are not ski- or crampon-compatible. But everything else is pretty much fair game. Are the risks&mdash;a couple stubbed toes, a couple small cuts on the toes, a few people at the cocktail party looking down disapprovingly at your exposed toes&mdash;worth the rewards? To me, they always are.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 06:40:00 GMT Sockos <p>Chaco Guest Blog Contributor&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">River Sports Outfitters&nbsp;</a></p> <p class="p1">Each season brings with it new fads and trends. &nbsp;So what's hot this winter? &nbsp;My answer may surprise you! &nbsp;Sockos! That's the new slang for wearing socks with your Chaco sandals! In the past, old men have been made fun of for this fashion "faux pas" however, sources say this trend is now in! &nbsp;What better way to show off your high-end <a href="" target="_blank">Smartwool</a> socks than wearing them with your nifty Chacos?</p> <p class="p1">We could go on and on about the comfort and support provided by Chacos but you really should know now that they're some of the best sandals around, and now you can wear them year round!</p> <p class="p1">I know that you can find me wearing them while working at <a href="" target="_blank">River Sports</a>! &nbsp;Especially with the wide range of cool and colorful socks we offer. &nbsp;We even can provide you with some unique toe socks to work with your Chacos with the toe strap.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/RiverSportsSockos.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:12:00 GMT The Journey to Norway <p>By <a href="">Haley Mills</a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/HaleyNorway1.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>A long journey to Norway and a week at the Ekstremsportveko in Voss and finally getting my kayaking that was lost in the travel from the states. A series of unexpected events lead me to being dropped off at a house where I knew know one. Standing in the rain and staring at a pile of wet kayaking gear, my bag of clothes, laptop, and my kayak. The only thing of value I saw in the pile was a bottle of Tennessee Honey Whiskey, that I grabbed up and walked inside to a welcoming group of paddlers that later turned into family to me. The next day I am in a van with my clean but still soaking laundry driving to Valldal the next kayaking event. &nbsp;I might be one of the luckiest people dropping into a new country, being able to make so many friends. I saw a country with people that live there and have a grand adventure. &nbsp;In my life of traveling and extremes there are few constants... water.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Just a warning this blog is different than my others its not about "and then I paddle this amazing river, drank right out of the river, danced in a huge tent, skinny dipped in a lake, eat pounds of chocolate, my hatred towards a bike, how I was the goofy American that talked to everyone and always had an obnoxious smile, all in and everything out, furr, crepes, Subrmainini, or stouts". However, all of these grand things did happen. It's more about my rambling thoughts of my experience learning how to be a creek boater.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;In a sport that is male dominated, countless conversations have occurred of guys calling girls siphons. Siphons are defined as girls who keep guys from kayaking or they keep guys paddling lower grade rivers to teach their new girlfriends how to kayak. On the other side there are tons of girls that are confident paddlers that want to step up there skills and "run the sh*t/B&AElig;SJ". &nbsp;Immediately, were judged for being what used to be called a "hair-boater" and put down that they don't have the skills. Or, that you have to style the B&AElig;SJ every time you run the B&AElig;SJ. &nbsp;When I get on the river my main focus is working on my skills so I can style any rapid I never want to make a mistake, miss a line, or flip. &nbsp;How can you advance your skills with out trying? Kayaking is no different than any other sport. Practice makes perfect. Its impossible to style every rapid every time you get on a river. If that was the case I wouldn't be human maybe I would be some kinda untouchable gladiator. We are all in-between swims and some times your just beater.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Before I left for Norway there were only a few people who encouraged me to go and rally. Since prior to my race on Homestake at Go Pro. &nbsp;I was only known for freestyle kayaking and SUP. People told me how I need to paddle certain rivers before I left, and how I was going to be so scared the whole time. This - coming from people that have never been to the country before. Can't help but giggle about those foolish people that try to intimidate me so I would fail.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each paddler has to know their skill level and make the decision for themselves, if they want to paddle a hard rapid or a new river. This trip I felt like I grew as a paddler, not because I paddled some of the most dangerous and intimidating rivers I have ever paddled. I never felt terrified on the river while I was there. Well&hellip; maybe once. &nbsp;After walking around a mandatory portage and getting in my kayaking to paddle down and scout a must run rapid on the Myrkdale. A fellow paddler looks at me and he says this next rapid is where I almost died last year and dislocated my arm. Immediately it caused fear in my brain especially since I almost broke my nose at the beginning of the run and still had blood dripping from my nose. After looking at the rapid I asked him how he managed to hurt himself since the line looked fairly wide with some consequence but looked fun. His response was "oh I just paddled it blind with no beta and with out scouting". &nbsp;Not to say that just because you scout you will not hurt yourself but there are some precautions you can take as a paddler. Lessons I will take away from Nini is while on the river I will trust the decisions my fellow paddlers make and trust myself. I will not be encouraged by others on there choices and I will not impose my thoughts if I am going to run or not run a rapid to persuade someone else. Being positive even when I am nervous makes everything better. Right now in my paddling if I am sitting and looking at a drop if I don't feel really scared or too lackadaisical about the stout I will run it. I try to be as aggressive as I possibly can when I am running a rapid that is scary or has consequences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I know writing a blog like this will probably get you all thinking and you might not agree with my thoughts. These thoughts that I have expressed will probably change a million times in my career. I am just trying to write what I feel is my honest thoughts. I am still evolving as a paddler. Not only am a Freestyle kayaker, River Runner, Creeker, Whitewater SUPer, River Surfer, Ocean SUP racer, and a Ocean SUP Surfer. I am a nomadic female running the B&AElig;SJ of life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Norway- All in and everything out.</a> from <a href="">Haley Mills</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/HaleyNorway2.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/HaleyNorway3.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/HaleyNorway4.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/11/HaleyNorway5.jpeg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 04 Nov 2013 09:41:00 GMT A Family Week on the Road in the Southwest <p>By&nbsp;<a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p>I have told people before that my &ldquo;happy place&rdquo; is inside a puffy jacket, when I&rsquo;m also wearing sandals. It&rsquo;s not the most sensible combination in most places (down jacket and bare toes?), but the place it makes the most sense is the Desert Southwest: All day in the spring and fall it can be sunny and warm, and the evenings cool down enough to warrant a puffy. Hence the outfit.&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve spent a ton of warm days and cool nights in the desert land of Utah, Arizona, and Southern California, climbing rocks, hiking trails, exploring canyons, and getting red dirt in between my toes. But my parents had never seen some of my favorite parts of the country. Until a few weeks ago&mdash;I convinced them to rent a small RV and take a weeklong road trip around the desert and see some of the Southwest&rsquo;s best landscapes. Here are a few photos from the trip.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Showing my dad the ropes (rather, the chains) on Angel&rsquo;s Landing, Zion National Park. (photo by Hilary Oliver)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park. (photo by Hilary Oliver)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dad tries to capture the scenery inside Antelope Canyon, Arizona.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Sunrise, Wahweap Marina, Lake Powell National Recreation Area.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dad gets his first view of &ldquo;Forrest Gump Road,&rdquo; leading into Monument Valley, Utah.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Goofing off at Artist&rsquo;s Point, Monument Valley, Utah. (photo by Hilary Oliver)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dad hams it up at The Mittens, Monument Valley, Utah.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/8.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Mom on her way up and out of the Grand Canyon&mdash;her 63rd birthday present was an overnight hike down the Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/9.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Sunset over the Grand Canyon. (photo by Hilary Oliver)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/10.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Family time on the South Rim. (photo by Hilary Oliver)</p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 03:31:00 GMT Green Race Legacy <p>Green Race Legacy</p> <p>By&nbsp;Chris Gragtmans</p> <p>The Green River has been a powerful influence in my life. &nbsp;That river played a large role in my decision to pursue post-secondary education in Asheville, NC in 2004. &nbsp;I made Asheville my home at that time, and this town and river have been a part of my existence ever since. &nbsp;The Green is an important foundation for me. &nbsp;I paddle its waters weekly and it has accompanied me through all of the high and low points of life. &nbsp;I know every rock in the river, and every paddle stroke needed to run its myriad lines. &nbsp;It is a place of memories about good friends, pushing myself as an athlete, sharing my sport with family, and the development of kayak design. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>My years in Asheville can be referenced by our most intense annual event- <a href="">the Green Race</a>.</p> <p>The Green Race, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is truly a force of nature. &nbsp;There is no financial incentive on the line for this race, yet it remains one of the most prestigious titles in paddlesports. &nbsp;Winning the Green Race is truly an elite accomplishment for any paddler, and is revered the same way as a World Championships title. &nbsp;Every year, 150+ competitors and 1000+ spectators line the Green River Gorge to experience &ldquo;<a href="">the greatest show in sports</a>.&rdquo;</p> <div><br /></div> <div> <div>The Green Race is an exceptionally challenging course because it has so many lines to remember, and the most difficult rapids are at the end. &nbsp;Through that &frac34; mile section, the Green descends over 300 vertical feet! &nbsp;Breaking the five minute mark is a benchmark accomplishment, but the record times are in the low four minute zone. &nbsp;</div> <div><br /></div> <div>This race has also been a vehicle for design change in the paddlesports industry. &nbsp;Dagger Kayaks&rsquo; Snowy Robertson and Pat Keller led the way in 2006 with the design of the Green Boat, a customized Green Race design that swept the podium at the race for four years straight after its inception. &nbsp;LiquidLogic and Jackson have since responded with their respective long boat designs, and the energy surrounding boat design and paddler skill is exciting to be a part of. &nbsp;</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&ldquo;The author dropping into the Green Race&rsquo;s marquee rapid, Gorilla.&rdquo;</div> </div> <div><br /></div> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/GreenRace2010.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In terms of my personal relationship with the Race, I refer to it as &ldquo;my unicorn.&rdquo; &nbsp;I have gotten 2nd twice, 3rd once, 4th five times, won the Ironman division twice, etc. &nbsp;But I&rsquo;ve never taken the title. &nbsp;I love the race, but when I look at my paddling resume, the Green Race is the only piece of unfinished business! &nbsp;I keep telling myself that adage the nothing worth having in life comes easily&hellip;</p> <p>The race occurs every Saturday of November at high noon- &ldquo;like death and taxes.&rdquo; &nbsp;I will be at the starting line again this year, and my fellow paddlers and I will once again push our own limits and the limits of our sport as we charge down that steep course with our hair on fire! &nbsp;</p> <p>It will be another one for the ages, and I hope to see you there.</p> <p>Chris Gragtmans</p> <div><br /></div> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 05:43:00 GMT Incorporating the outdoors into your Halloween festivities <p>By&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Avenir; font-size: medium;"><a href="">Lindsey Wilson</a></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/night bike.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <p>Since the month of October is one of my favorite times of year for getting outdoors, we tend to incorporate that into our Halloween festivities. &nbsp;I'm not into the blood and gore of Halloween, so we try to focus on other aspects... the spiders, owls, bats, and pumpkins, along with some fall colors and crisp cool air-appreciation.</p> <p>A few <a href="">traditions</a> we have enjoyed:</p> <p><strong>Halloween bike ride</strong></p> <p>After it gets dark, throw on a jacket, strap on a headlamp, and take a bike ride around the neighborhood to check out decorated Halloween houses.</p> <p><strong>Halloween tree hunting</strong></p> <p>Much like Christmas tree hunting, we use this as a good excuse to get out in the woods. We search for the perfect "spooky branch" to decorate. Note: This branch can later be recycled for a <a href="">Thanksgiving thankfulness tree</a>.</p> <p><strong>Night hike</strong></p> <p>There is always a <a href="">full moon</a> sometime around Halloween. This makes for a great night to take a Halloween hike. Look for critters out after dark. You could even take a hike in your costumes for added awesomeness.</p> <p><strong>Outdoor Halloween Party</strong></p> <p>Last year we were fortunate enough to accompany some friends on their traditional Halloween camp-out at the beach in central California. All the kids brought their costumes and participated in Halloween party, camping style. Bobbing for apples in the wash basin, doughnuts hanging from stings on the tent trailer awning and hunting for pirate treasure buried in beach sand.</p> <p><strong>Destination Trick-or-Treating</strong></p> <p>Since October is a great month to travel, consider a family vacation around this time of year. We're rarely home for Halloween and have enjoyed trick-or-treating in some small out-of-the-way desert towns.</p> <p><strong>Pumpkin picking</strong></p> <p>And of course a trip to the pumpkin patch is always in order. We take the kids out and let them pick their own pumpkin to take home and carve up. &nbsp;</p> <p>And of course, don't forget these <a href="">nature themed do-it-yourself costumes</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Happy Halloween season!</p> <p><em>If you have an outdoor tradition, please share!</em></p> <div><br /></div> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 06:32:00 GMT Lessons from the River <p>By Chris Gragtmans</p> <p>The river is a powerful thing. &nbsp;</p> <p>When experienced from the seat of a kayak, it teaches us important lessons, many of which apply to our day-to-day lives more than we immediately realize. &nbsp;After spending a lifetime immersed in the river and trying to understand its intricacies, I feel compelled to share few lessons that I&rsquo;ve taken from the river to find a place in my day-to-day life. &nbsp;I smile when I think about any of these, and I love how often I am reminded of them on the water and in life&hellip;</p> <p>1) Look Positive. &nbsp;</p> <p>When you are paddling through rapids on a river, you always look at where you want to go, and not at where you don&rsquo;t want to go. &nbsp;You look positive. <span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>When you look directly at something, your whole body rotates in that direction, and your boat always follows your body. &nbsp;Your boat goes where you look. &nbsp;This applies to kayaking and any other sport you can imagine. You always look and paddle where you want to go, and you will go there. &nbsp;</p> <p>The same goes for life.</p> <p>All of us, during our lives, have and will run into negative influences. &nbsp;Just like on the river, if we orient ourselves towards the right place, and not get caught up in the negatives, we will be successful and happy. Looking positive in life, to me, means not being afraid to separate yourself from influences and people who are trying to pull you off the clean line.&nbsp;This is one of my favorites to discuss with teenagers when I have the opportunity to coach or speak to them.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/5050.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2) Commitment.</p> <p>Commitment is one of the best strengths that kayaking has given me. &nbsp;There are few times that I feel as alive as when I am in an eddy above a thundering rapid. &nbsp;The process before that has been a whirlwind of emotions- scouting, weighing all the factors, setting safety, calculating the risks. &nbsp;But once I am back in my boat above the rapid, and the decision has been made to run it, there is only one thing to do. &nbsp;I peel out of the eddy and into the current, and there is no turning back.</p> <p>From that moment onward, it is critical to put aside all self-doubt and crippling anxiety, and commit 100% to what you are doing. &nbsp;In high levels of kayaking, your life literally depends on this commitment. &nbsp;I focus in on what needs to happen, and no matter what happens, I try never to panic. &nbsp;There is always a plan A, B, and C. &nbsp;</p> <p>This applies to real life in such vivid ways. &nbsp;The ability to commit 100% to anything is an invaluable skill. &nbsp;It can apply to school, business, or romantic relationships, as well as a myriad other things. &nbsp;I believe commitment is one of the important ingredients to a truly happy and fulfilling life&hellip; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Sometimes when I have a critically important decision to make, I visualize sitting in an eddy above a huge horizon line. &nbsp;That always makes me smile, and I make the best decision that I can.</p> <p>3) Teamwork.</p> <p>There is nothing like a group of people who are finely tuned in to each other on the river. &nbsp;I have certain friends with whom I don&rsquo;t even really need to talk in order to communicate properly, and when we&rsquo;re in the zone, we can navigate the most heinous class V+ gorges smoothly, each equally dependent and trusting toward the others&rsquo; abilities and knowledge. &nbsp;</p> <p>In spite of kayaking being such an individual sport, this teamwork can push us to a higher level than we could ever reach on our own. &nbsp;</p> <p>In the real world, this same ability to collaborate manifests itself clearly. &nbsp;Those who achieve great things in life surround themselves with exceptional people, and the result of their teamwork is far greater than the sum of their individual efforts. &nbsp;I have noticed this with my business partner, Nathan. &nbsp;We have complimentary skills, and we constantly push each other above what we thought were our capabilities. &nbsp;There is no doubt in my mind that our company will do some incredible things in the future.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/10/MiddleKings_Group.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>4) Risk Management</p> <p>Kayaking is 100% risk management. &nbsp;The river draws us to it because we&rsquo;re not dealing with some regulation-limited amusement park ride. &nbsp;The river is a living, breathing, force of nature that cares nothing of our presence. &nbsp;We can bite off exactly as much as we want of its unlimited power, and the stakes are as high as they get. &nbsp;</p> <p>The act of scouting a rapid is a methodical scan of any and every hazard that may impede a safe run. &nbsp;All possible outcomes need to be visualized very quickly and specifically, and only then can a decision be made about line choice and whether or not it is a good idea at all. &nbsp;</p> <p>This risk management practice shares great parallels with any business decision, entrepreneurial or not. &nbsp;Risk and return are weighed constantly, and emotion must be kept in control. &nbsp;There is nothing that I have ever encountered that has prepared me for this as well as kayaking. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/10/Chris_WestCherry.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Photo Credit: Robin Betz</p> <p>I started kayaking for a very simple reason- because it is incredibly fun. &nbsp;I didn&rsquo;t know when I started paddling that the river would become one of my biggest teachers, that it would be there through the ups and downs, and silently show me how to live life right. &nbsp;</p> <p>I see that clearly now, and I hope to keep going back for many more lessons in the future. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Chris Gragtmans</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 00:41:00 GMT A Guide to De-Funking Your Chacos On The Road <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/chaco maintenance.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>By&nbsp;<a href="">Brendan Leonard</a></p> <p> <p>If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to be able to keep your feet in sandals for the majority of your waking hours, you might notice one negative: they eventually get a little funky. Everyone&rsquo;s got their own method of maintenance&mdash;putting them in the dishwasher, in a washing machine, in a kitchen sink full of soapy water&mdash;but if you&rsquo;re living out of your car on the road (I have been for the past two years), access to the dishwasher, washing machine and kitchen sink is limited.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I won&rsquo;t get into the science of how the funk begins, but I&rsquo;ve got a couple strategies for how to deal with it, and neither one of them costs more than $3, or takes more than five minutes. If you&rsquo;re on a road trip or traveling, these are the least-intensive methods of de-funking your Chacos, and even if you&rsquo;re not on the road, they work really well.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Wear your Chacos in the shower.&nbsp;</p> <p>On a road trip&mdash;or if you&rsquo;re just being lazy&mdash;this is the easiest way to clean a pair of Chacos. I don&rsquo;t know how it exactly works, but it does. Soapy water runs over and through the footbeds and the straps, and of course gets rinsed off when you rinse yourself off. When you&rsquo;re done showering, remove your Chacos and let them dry. Or don&rsquo;t&mdash;they&rsquo;ll actually dry while on your feet, but it takes a little longer.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Use a small brush and scrub a little bit.&nbsp;</p> <p>I prefer this type of <a href=" [ ]">brush</a>, available at most grocery stores. I keep one stuffed inside a Ziploc bag in a duffel, and when the going gets funky, I scrub the footbeds with a little soap and water. On road trips, any type of liquid soap will do: Dr. Bronner&rsquo;s, dish soap, those little bottles of hotel shampoo, whatever. A few drops of soap and a one-liter water bottle is all you need to get your Chacos back to So Fresh And So Clean status again. Put a drop of soap on the footbed, scrub with the brush, rinse, repeat if necessary. This method is a little bit nicer than wearing your sandals in the shower because you can mostly avoid getting the straps wet.&nbsp;</p> </p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:31:00 GMT Chaco Tan Photo Contest 2013 Winners <p>Congratulations to Chaconian "arohde", who's <a href="">iconic photo at Walupt Lake</a> in Washington is the 2013 Grand Prize winner of a Canon EOS 7D with EF 70-300mm f.4-5.6 IS USM lens!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/grand_prize_photo.png" alt="" /><br /><em>"Walupt Lake Float" - arohde</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Chaconians &ldquo;Annadx143&rdquo; and &ldquo;smhirsch&rdquo; are this year&rsquo;s runners up, with photos that embody Chaco&rsquo;s spirit of adventure. Each of the runners up will receive a Canon EOS Rebel T3!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/first_runner_up_photo.png" alt="" /><br /><em>"Edge of the world" - Annadx143</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: start;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/second_runner_up_photo.png" alt="" /><br /><em>"The jump!" - smhirsch</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you to everyone who participated in our biggest photo contest yet! Check out the <a href="">full gallery of photos</a> from the contest.</p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 01:08:00 GMT Open Road – Adventures Ahead – Chaco Road Trip Fall 2013 <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/RoadTripMap_blog.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hey Chaco Nation,&nbsp;Chaco is hitting the road and headed south!</p> <p>Jeff and Kelley are starting this adventure at <a href="">Gauley Fest</a> in Summersville WV.&nbsp;Gauley Fest is awesome because all proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater's river conservation and access works throughout the nation. At Gauley Fest we will be hanging out with Chaco <a href="">ambassadors</a> Haley Mills and Chris Gragtmans along with a ton of Chaconians!&nbsp;</p> <p>Next we head to Morgantown WV, home of West Virginia University!&nbsp;In Morgantown we will be hanging out at <a href="">Pathfinder</a> and giving away some sweet Chaco schwag including two pair of West Virginia custom MyChacos - <a href="">made in the USA</a>. We will be at Pathfinder on Sunday September 22nd from 3-5. <a href="">To join us in Morgantown click here</a>.</p> <p>After Morgantown we head south to Boone NC, home of Appalachian State! In Boone, we are hanging out at <a href="">Footslogger</a>, enjoying the beautiful weather and giving away two pair of Appalachian State custom MyChaco &ndash; <a href="">made in the USA</a>. We will be at Footslogger on Tuesday September 24th from 3-6. <a href="">To join us in Boone click here</a>.</p> <p>Following Boone, we are driving to Knoxville TN &ndash; home of University of Tennessee! &nbsp;We are incredibly excited to meet everyone in Knoxville and we hope you join us at <a href="">River Sports</a> for some amazing giveaways. We will be at River Sports on Wednesday September 25th from 4-6. <a href="">To join us in Knoxville click here</a>.</p> <p>Our Final stop is beautiful Atlanta Georgia! In Atlanta we will be hanging out at <a href="">High Country</a> on Saturday September 28th from 11-1. We have some amazing giveaways planned for High Country so plan on hanging out with Chaco that Saturday! <a href="">To join us in Atlanta click here.</a></p> <p>Finally, we need some road-trip advice. Where should we eat? What should we do when we are not hanging out with you? What are the must-see natural wonders of the southeast? If you were taking this road trip, what would you do?</p> <p>To follow along - we will make updates from the road on Facebook and Twitter throughout our journey. So follow us on Facebook or Twitter to see the adventure unfold. <a href="">Chaco on Facebook</a>. <a href=" ">Chaco on Twitter</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/RoadTripChacos.png" alt="" /></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 03:44:00 GMT 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Bees <p>By<a href=""> Lindsey Wilson</a></p> <p>Bees are cool. &nbsp;Here are five interesting factoids you can spout off to your kids, friends, neighbors, etc, and wow them with your worldly knowledge. &nbsp;Or just take a moment to marvel about how cool these little beasties are.</p> <p>1. There are between 20,000 and 30,000 different species in the world. In North America there are between 3,000 and 4,000. &nbsp;New species are found every year. &nbsp;Really. &nbsp;Every year! And they come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. &rdquo;Where are most bees found,&rdquo; you&rsquo;re wondering? &nbsp;The deserts. &nbsp;Unlike butterflies, beetles, monkeys, hummingbirds, frogs, sloths, and many, many other creatures, bees love dry heat, and are most diverse in the hot and dry places of the world.</p> <p>2. <a href="">Most of them don&rsquo;t live in hives</a>. In fact, only bumblebees and honeybees live in hives (<a href="">and a few species in the tropics</a>). &nbsp;The rest build fantastic homes in the ground, inside twigs and decaying wood, in sandstone, even in <a href="">snail shells</a>. &nbsp;Some even build them out of mud and small rocks, like a mason. &nbsp;Many of them even line the insides of their nest with <a href="">flower petals</a>, or plant wool.</p> <p>3. &nbsp;Most bees don&rsquo;t make honey. Only the &lsquo;hive bees&rsquo; really do that. &nbsp;And even then, bumblebees don&rsquo;t make nearly as much honey as honeybees do. &nbsp;&rdquo;Do they make something else instead&rdquo; you&rsquo;re wondering? &nbsp;Nope. &nbsp;Not really.</p> <p>4. Only female bees can sting. The stinger on a bee serves double-duty; it is both a stinger and an ovipositor (egg-layer). &nbsp;Since males aren&rsquo;t laying eggs, they don&rsquo;t have a stinger.&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Bees are vegetarians. All those nasty flying creatures that buzz around while you&rsquo;re grilling? &nbsp;Those aren&rsquo;t bees. Those are wasps (cousins to the bees), and flies (second-cousins, twice-removed). &nbsp;<a href="">Here&rsquo;s a more official approach to telling them apart</a>.</p> <p>Bees pollinate something like 70% of the flowering plants you see. &nbsp;What&rsquo;s more they help in the pollination of almost all of the colorful fruits and veggies you eat&ndash;everything from kiwis to coffee, apples to avocados, squash, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, coriander, and peppers.</p> <p>Bees are awesome.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/9/Bee Pic.jpeg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 03:27:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Chris Gragtmans on Upper Cherry Creek <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hey Chaconians,&nbsp;</p> <p>Upper Cherry Creek has my vote for the best river on the planet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This river&rsquo;s stats paint the picture of a great adventure:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>11 mile hike in over 9,600 foot Styx Pass (with loaded 80 lb kayak)</p> <p>9 mile river run</p> <p>Two nights out in the granite wonderland of the Emigrant Wilderness</p> <p>6 epic gorges</p> <p>2000+ vertical feet of elevation drop</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve now done Upper Cherry four times in my life, and I hope it&rsquo;s a place that I can return to again and again in the future. &nbsp;It is a fantastic and very challenging undertaking. &nbsp;Here are a few photos to bring you into this peak experience:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 11 mile hike in is dusty and full of musquitos. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s painful, but it is the entry fee to visit Shangri-La.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/ChrisAndrewHike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Camp 1 Sunset. &nbsp;Words cannot describe how good it feels to sit by the fire and chow down on good food after the brutal hike.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Camp1Sunset.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Day 1 on the river- the lunar landscape unfolds before you&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Moonslides.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cherrybomb Gorge! &nbsp;This is the marquee drop of Upper Cherry. &nbsp;It is a class V+ rapid with 7 consecutive drops between inescapable granite walls. &nbsp;It makes you feel very small.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/CherryBomb.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my self-support setup. &nbsp;This includes paddling gear, food, water filter, sleeping bag, bivy, first aid, spare paddle, etc. &nbsp;Traveling self-support is the best feeling on Earth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Gear.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The &ldquo;teacups&rdquo; are right above Camp 2 and are perfect for sessioning until your legs can&rsquo;t take anymore!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Andrew_TeaCups.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Flip EcoTreads rocking out as camp shoes&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Chris_Sandals.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Welcome to the good life. &nbsp;Paddler- Andrew Holcombe.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Andrew_Bubbles.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Andrew styling &ldquo;Groove Tube.&rdquo; &nbsp;This one does not look good to go at first glance!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/Andrew_GrooveTube.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One final roll in the crystal clear waters of Upper Cherry, and it&rsquo;s back to the real world&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/8/ChrisRoll.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The 2013 whirlwind tour is continuing, but three days in this majestic river has allowed me to hit the &ldquo;reset&rdquo; button and come at stresses from before the trip in a different way&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>-Chris</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 06:24:00 GMT Taking Photos in the Chacosphere: Tips from our ChacoPro, Andrew Maguire <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">As Chaconians, we all love being outside and looking for that next great adventure. Whether it's biking through the streets of a bustling city, paddling white water or hiking thin ribbons of trail at 13,000 feet. At Chaco we think it is important for us to remember and document these adventures. Modern technology has made capturing these moments quite accessible and affordable with smaller tools like the iPhone and GoPro that you can easily throw in your pocket or pack and access while on a long trek. If you&rsquo;re like me, and desire a higher quality photo and don't mind the extra weight...the DSLR camera is the way to go. No matter what camera you have on you, it&rsquo;s important to capture the elements and surroundings of each adventure in the Chacosphere so we can revisit and share our experiences for years to come. Here are four quick ChacoPro tips that will ensure you get some sick photos on your next adventure!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">1. GET OUT OF THE CAR: My first ChacoPro tip...and maybe the most important element that will ensure you get a better photo that your friends, is to GET OUT OF THE CAR! Many of the great natural wonders of the world are now accessible by road and have man-made &ldquo;lookout points&rdquo; along the way where you can park and take photos. While the view may be stunning...there really isn&rsquo;t much keeping you from getting a different shot than Joe and Sally sitting in the car next to you. A great photo is only as good as the story that goes along with it. Park you car, get on the trail, and start shooting. You won&rsquo;t be disappointed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndrewInCar.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndrewCar2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">2. COMPOSITION: What are you framing in your shot? What is the point of interest in the scene? What is it you want to capture in this photo to take back home and share with your friends? These are all questions that we should be asking ourselves while taking photos. These questions all sum up what is known as composition. When we are in the process of taking a photograph, the first thing we do either in our head or through the viewfinder of the camera is to compose the shot. Good composition is what sets a photograph above a snap shot. We should be conscious of the elements in our surroundings so that when we take a photo we are capturing all that is important in the scene whether it be a portrait of a friend with the Grand Tetons behind them or a wide landscape shot of Arches in Moab.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndrewComp1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndrewComp2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">3.&nbsp;EXPERIMENT: In my field of work, I usually find myself in some pretty epic landscapes, so it isn&rsquo;t too hard to get a &ldquo;good&rdquo; photograph when you&rsquo;re surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, canyons, etc... I'm sure many find yourself in a similar situation when you&rsquo;re out on an adventure during vacation or on the weekends. This brings me to my third ChacoPro tip. We know thats its possible to get some great shots, so why not take a bit of time and risk to try shots that are a bit different and more unique. Try changing your vantage point. Many folks will stop and take a photo from a standing position and place the camera to their eye and CLICK. Point of View (POV) is a termed used in photography and film that refers to various vantage points such as worms eye view (on the ground looking up), birds eye view (shooting from above looking down) or over the shoulder (from the photographers eye). These POV angles will give your shots a different perspective and and extra oomph that will make you look like a pro! Other things you could experiment with while you're out shooting is framing. Framing deals very closely with composition, which we discussed earlier. Think of framing as a picture frame. A picture frame holds a photo or artwork and provides a border around the media. We can create natural frames while we are shooting in the field with elements like holes in the rock, leaves, grass, trees, etc. We can shoot through the elements to highlight features or people behind them. Check out the examples below that illustrate this technique.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndrewAdv1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndAdv2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndAdv3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndAdv4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">4.&nbsp;LIGHTING: Besides composition, good lighting is one of the other key factors that set good photographs from poor ones. There are two times during the day where the sun sits in the sky and provides the most optimal light. This is referred to as the &ldquo;Golden Hour&rdquo; or &ldquo;Magic Hour&rdquo;. This is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day that produces a beautiful soft and golden light. When I am on location shooting for Chaco, we usually start our shoots quite early in the morning around 5-6am so that our crew and models are hiking on the trails during this golden hour. We will also take advantage of the golden hour in evening as the sun is setting. This doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t get good photos during the middle of the day. The light is just a wee bit harsh and more difficult to work with. A way to soften the harsh effects of mid day light is to find shaded areas under a tree or rock that you can place people or pets under too shoot nice portraits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndLight1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/AndLight2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Boom! Four quick and easy tips to get you out in the field taking pro photos. See you in the Chacosphere - Andrew</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">All photos &copy; Andrew Maguire 2013</span></p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:36:00 GMT Meet Kelley, Chaco's Community Manager <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/3305CHA_Kelley_Main_v13_04B.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/3305CHA_Kelley_Main_v13_04B2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/3305CHA_Kelley_Main_v13_04B3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/3305CHA_Kelley_Main_v13_04B4.jpg" alt="" /></p> Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:09:00 GMT ReChaco Ink <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The team here at Chaco is constantly inspired by all of the amazing Chaconian ink popping up on our social media. &nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Chaconians are clearly a creative and artistic group of folks!</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">This caused us to think of ink on the home front, and on a recent visit to the ReChaco I photographed the stories of ReChaco ink.&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It is my personal perception that every great tattoo has a story and Linda kicked things off by proving this point.</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It took Linda 27 years to get these beautiful blue roses they cover up the name of an old flame!</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.17.34 PM.png" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Amanda was inspired to get these dolphins 10 years after her mothers death</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">and celebrated her mothers love of the color green with a green dolphin.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.22.58 PM.png" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tracy wanted to make a dramatic statement after an epic breakup and went for purple Crown Royal ink. &nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Only Tracy knows the full story here.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.25.11 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tabatha celebrates her love for her three kids and nature with these paw prints.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.26.45 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Ryan truly celebrates the art of ink. His first photo set celebrates the locations he has lived and loved: Michigan, LA and Texas. &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The second set showcases the Imperial shield, his anchor, and the words set sail. &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Ryan&rsquo;s sense of adventure is clear in each image and he certainly channels that idea daily.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.38.50 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.35.50 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Krista&rsquo;s wrist is in homage to her lizard spike and the beautiful Coy is the art of her talented boyfriend.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.41.23 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Todd at Chaco picked up this great arm piece on a memorable trip to Tennessee&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.43.17 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Sisters Beth and Becky have several amazing tattoos. My favorite was a tattoo they each had symbolizing big sister and little sister. &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">These amazing sisters also share a whimsical love of fairies and each has fairy ink.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The final images are of a traditional Chinese song that walks you though metal, fire, wood, earth, and wateron Beth&rsquo;s arm</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">and each star on Becky&rsquo;s leg has the initials of someone she loves.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.46.32 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.47.53 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.49.37 PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Finally we see true Chaco devotion from our fearless leader Lisa with some blue ReChaco Ink.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 12.51.12 PM.png" alt="" /></p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 01:54:00 GMT The Story of Jackson our Telluride Photo Winner <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/JacksonTellPhotoWinner.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tell me about how you took the winning photo, where were you and what were you doing? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;I was on Milos with some friends from high school back in 2007. One of my friend&rsquo;s families is from Milos, so they really knew all of the cool places to go. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I don't remember what the particular beach was called, but it had an awesome 20ish foot cliff with super deep water to jump off of. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">We were jumping off of the cliff, and started challenging each other to do flying squirrels and flips and the like, and [they snapped] the picture of me doing a flip.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> It was very poor form, but it made for an awesome picture!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">How did you decide to enter this photo in our contest? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;One of my best friends, Hunter, told me about the contest because she knew that I am such a Chaco and bluegrass enthusiast. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">After I decided to enter, I found all of my cool pictures in Chacos, and she told me [this picture could win] the best!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">What did it feel like to win?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> &ldquo;Good, no, very good... scratch that, great!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tell us about Telluride:</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">How was the drive up?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> &ldquo;The drive was long but beautiful, particularly the part between Montrose and Telluride. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Telluride may just be my new favorite mountain town (and I live in Park City, Utah).&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Where did you camp?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> &ldquo;We camped at the Lawson Hill Campground. It was on a softball field right by the river. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">It was really nice to wake up in the morning and start my day by jumping in the frigid water, better than any cup of coffee I've ever had.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">What were the festival folks like?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> &ldquo;They were awesome! Chelsea (my guest) and I met a ton of awesome people to hang out with during the festival. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">One of the coolest parts was randomly running into some people we know from Park City (shout out to John and Brandon) and becoming much better friends!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Did you make any new friends? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;Yes! We kept running into this guy Ryan (really we ran into him everywhere) so we ended up hanging out with him a lot. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">We would always spot him by his Atlanta Braves hat, although he said he doesn't like the Braves; he just thought it was a cool hat. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">(Chelsea was disappointed because she's from Georgia) Also we made friends with our neighbors from Lawson Hill, more about them to come.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tell us about the bands, who did you see, who did you like? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;We saw a ton of bands, but we both agreed that the best shows were Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Trampled by Turtles, </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Yonder Mountain String Band, The String Cheese Incident, and Leftover Salmon. I was already a big Trampled by Turtles and Yonder fan</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> and have started listening to a lot more Leftover Salmon and Cheese since the festival!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">What did you wear? Did you wear Chacos every day? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;For the most part I stuck with shorts and a tank top during the day and I would wear an Osprey hydration backpack to make sure I had plenty of water.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> For the evening shows, I just threw on a 750 fill down jacket over the tank top. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I wore Chacos the entire time at the festival, but sometimes for the evening shows I had to stay warm</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> [I wore socks with Chacos] (just push down the toe loop and wear socks under the sandals.)&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Any highlights or moments you really want to share? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">&ldquo;Yes! Our original neighbors from Lawson Hill (they were only there for Thursday and Friday) brought a puke yellow armchair</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> that they found on a street corner on the way to the festival in Denver. We had told them how awesome it was and when they left</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> they offered to leave it for us. Of course we agreed! For the rest of the festival, the chair lived right by the front of our tent. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">At the end of the festival we decided to take it back to Park City with us, instead of throwing it away. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">So it has been well loved on the back porch at Chelsea's house ever since.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Best thing you ate at the festival? </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The Flank Steak Sandwich from the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club tent was fantastic, </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I'm pretty sure I've thought about it every day since the festival.</span></p> <div><br /></div> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 03:55:00 GMT Help Chaco Nominate a group or project to benefit from the Outdoor Industry Foundation’s Outsiders Ball. <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/Outsiders Ball.png" alt="" /></p> <p>The goal of the Outsiders Ball is to support 100 projects that get young people outdoors and active.</p> <p>As a founding partner of the Outsiders Ball, Chaco has the opportunity to identify and invest in three community</p> <p>projects that deserve funding and align with our business and philanthropic strategies.&nbsp;</p> <p>One project is being given up to our social community to choose. &nbsp;(That&rsquo;s you!)</p> <p>The OIA Foundation will manage and oversee all grant activities including project vetting, coordination, oversight,</p> <p>evaluation and all financial responsibilities -- ensuring maximum sponsor benefit and minimum time commitment.</p> <p>Criteria: Projects must meet a few key requirements.</p> <p>&bull; Projects must be managed by a 501c-3 not-for-profit organization (funds will be awarded to these charities)</p> <p>&bull; Projects must increase participation in outdoor recreation among young people</p> <p>&bull; Projects should have clear goals and measurable objectives</p> <p>Comment on this post by July 10th 2013 with the project or group you believe in most and</p> <p>Team Chaco will choose one lucky group or project to award.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/7/OB Fire.png" alt="" /></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 13:07:00 GMT The Chaco Ambassador Life- Haley Mills <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/HM1.jpg" alt="" />Why do I love the life I lead? That was one question I kept asking myself while being overly caffeinated and driving a total of 30 hours across the country solo. The main reason I feel blessed to travel is I am constantly learning. If it's figuring out a new trick, getting a life lesson I won't forget, or just realizing there are highs and lows in competing, and that if I am happy I can give more love to those around me on and off the water. The weeks following team trails were been busy with a SUP race in Chattanooga, TN, surfing the dries, and Richmond River Rocks.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/HM2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Chattanooga Event was the first in flat water SUP race. The week of the race I spent a lot of time doing yoga and trying to work out my sore muscles from freestyle kayaking for months prior. It helps when your friends are yoga instructors. The race was above the Chickimagua dam and the dam was releasing water from all the rain so it made the course difficult since the water was overflowing. I was surprised with being sick and not having spent much time on a race board that I was able to race fast and take 1st place.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/HM3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>After racing I boogied to squeeze in a week in West Virginia. Paddling with good friends on the Dries for the first time and catching 5 boat on the Gauley at perfect levels. Spending time in West Virginia soul surfing for hours a day really revived my paddling. I had one of my best days play boating at 5 boat with a super goofy crew just trying new tricks and being silly.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/HM4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Photos by Lisa Marie</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/HM5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Photos by Lisa Marie</p> <p>_______________________________________________________</p> <p> <div id="stcpDiv" style="position: absolute; top: -1999px; left: -1988px;">About Haley Mills: A modern river nomad hunting out whitewater while living in her truck. In the past few years she has become one of the top female paddlers in Freestyle Kayaking and whitewater Stand Up Paddling. She is currently ranked 5th in the World for Freestyle Kayaking and the US Point Series Championship. - See more at:</div> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <div id="stcpDiv" style="position: absolute; top: -1999px; left: -1988px;">About Haley Mills: A modern river nomad hunting out whitewater while living in her truck. In the past few years she has become one of the top female paddlers in Freestyle Kayaking and whitewater Stand Up Paddling. She is currently ranked 5th in the World for Freestyle Kayaking and the US Point Series Championship. - See more at:</div> </p> <p> <div id="stcpDiv" style="position: absolute; top: -1999px; left: -1988px;">About Haley Mills: A modern river nomad hunting out whitewater while living in her truck. In the past few years she has become one of the top female paddlers in Freestyle Kayaking and whitewater Stand Up Paddling. She is currently ranked 5th in the World for Freestyle Kayaking and the US Point Series Championship. - See more at:</div> </p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 06:04:00 GMT Get Inspired with MyChacos Designs from the Chaco Team <p>With over 246 million possible combinations, you can design your custom <a href="">MyChacos</a> sandals to be just as unique as you are. But sometimes, starting with a blank canvas&mdash;or sandal&mdash;can be a little overwhelming.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/ReChaco-Team.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Chaco team&mdash;who builds your <a href="">MyChacos sandals</a> and fixes your well-loved pairs through the <a href="">ReChaco program</a>&mdash;is here to help. Check out a few of their unique designs for summer and get inspired to <a href="">create your own</a>!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Todd</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Todd.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;I have two pair of Chacos. This pair is what I like to call &lsquo;Fun &amp; Funky Nature&rsquo; &ndash; very bright colors like what you see in nature all around you. Made for the river.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Megan</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Megan.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;I really like earthy tones, so the green webbing and buckles with the brown footbed and sole were perfect. I added the glow in the dark Chaco logo badges because, why not?!&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Tracy</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Tracy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;I love light, bright colors, and love how they look on the Graphite footbed!&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Heather</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Heather.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;I love the basic black with a pop of color in the stitching and the logo. Orange is my jam this summer &ndash; so I fell in love with these tie-die orange Chaco logo badges!&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Head over to the MyChaco tool to <a href="">start designing your own</a>! You can start from scratch with a blank sandal, or start with one of the featured designs and make adjustments to fit your style.</p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 04:20:00 GMT When Was Your Last Visit to the Chaco-sphere? <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: center;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.31.46 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Have you been to the <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> lately? Stop in to keep up with your fellow Chaconians, swap stories and see what, where, and how they are doing!</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="text"> <h2 style="text-align: center;">my new chacos.</h2> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=827505&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme="> Thegodofcorn@13 </a></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tags:</strong> Artistic</p> <div class="description" style="text-align: center;"> <p style="text-align: left;">wearing my new Chacos in my studio....they look so cool!!!!</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="text"> <h2>Jumping into a rapid</h2> <h3><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=658280&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme="> aimeeACE&nbsp;</a><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.06.26 AM.png" alt="" /></h3> <p><strong>Tags:</strong> Other, river rafting awesome rapid</p> <div class="description"> <p style="text-align: left;">This is me jumping in at the bottom of the class 4 rapid, Bull Sluice, on the Chattooga river. My Chaco's went with me every time I went down a river that summer!</p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Climbing Trees</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=785490&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">alib8921&nbsp;</a><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.06.26 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <div class="content"> <div class="text"> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tags:</strong> Other</p> <div class="description" style="text-align: center;"> <p style="text-align: left;">Playing around on a giant tree in the Pacific Northwest! Thanks for the grip Chacos!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="content"> <div class="links"> <p><a id="report-abuse" href=""> </a></p> </div> <div class="text"> <h2>Jam Sesh</h2> <h3><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=663143&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme="> soccerdude01117&nbsp;</a><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.22.52 AM.png" alt="" /></h3> <p><strong>Tags:</strong> Other, 4th of July Fun, Jamming</p> <div class="description"> <p style="text-align: left;">Every 4th of July, our patriotism is expressed through jamming hard to some folk and of course, Iron and Wine.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="text"> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Chaco friends</h2> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=819003&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme="> kylynnrichey </a></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tags:</strong> hiking, adventure, South Africa, Other, Table Mountain</p> <div class="description" style="text-align: center;"> <p style="text-align: left;">Me and my friends studying abroad in South Africa conquered one of the wonders of the world in our chacos. TABLE MOUNTAIN in Cape Town! It was absolutely beautiful up there.</p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/C5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="content"> <div class="links"> <p><a id="report-abuse" href=""> </a></p> </div> <div class="text"> <h2 style="text-align: center;">First Camping Trip of the Season.</h2> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=806414&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme="> dennison.amy&nbsp;</a><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.06.26 AM.png" alt="" /></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tags:</strong> summer, Camp, camping, Michigan, Other, tent</p> <div class="description" style="text-align: center;"> <p style="text-align: left;">Yesterday my husband and I went on our first camping trip of the summer! We dusted off some of our old gear, got to try out some our new gear (recent wedding gifts) and took on the great Michigan outdoors.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 16:01:00 GMT California Dreamin' with Mike Tavares <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 04:44:00 GMT Z Tan on a Maldives Beach <p><a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Lizzie Watson indulges her inner-traveler and shares on one of her favorite travel experiences.<img style="text-align: center;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/Untitled.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I love traveling. &nbsp;If I won the lottery there are many things I plan to do:), most of them include traveling. &nbsp;My dad instilled that love of traveling in me at a very young age. &nbsp;He used to take my brother and I somewhere during our breaks from school. &nbsp;We traveled all over the US including the "great West", we went to Paris when my dad's brother and his family lived there, we went to Mexico, in high school my dad took us down the Grand Canyon for 5 days and 4 nights, we traveled a lot and I&rsquo;ve continued the tradition in my &ldquo;adult&rdquo; life.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8030259.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>One of the most beautiful places I have ever been was the Maldives. I was working for the Four Seasons Resort located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, in Teton Village, WY. &nbsp;The biggest perk about working for the Four Seasons is the comp nights. &nbsp;We were able to stay for five nights at the Four Seasons in the Maldives for free! We flew into the main island of the Maldives and then took a float plane to the Four Seasons' private island!&nbsp;The views on the way to the island were incredible and they made us realize how remote the area was. &nbsp;That was my first time on a float plane. &nbsp;What a crazy experience to land on the water!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8030251.JPG" alt="" />&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Below is the view we had while doing yoga every morning:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8040296.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>After yoga we would have coffee at the end of our little dock and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the ocean.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8040306.JPG" alt="" /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8070386.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>We went snorkeling and saw sea turtles near the shore. &nbsp;Then we went by boat pretty far out into the ocean and snorkeled with manta rays. &nbsp;They are unique creatures.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8070371.JPG" alt="" />&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This little guy was hanging out near our little dock one day.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8080470.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>The Maldives hold a special place in my heart. &nbsp;I hope that someday I can make it back. &nbsp;Next time I probably will not be staying at the Four Seasons, but the islands speak for themselves. &nbsp;The white sand and crystal clear water are what I think of as the perfect beach vacation.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/P8070424.JPG" alt="" /></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:05:00 GMT Highlights from the Boardworks SHUBU Tour Presented by Chaco <p><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_3330.jpg" alt="" />The Boardworks&nbsp;<strong><a href="">2013 Show Up and Blow Up SUP Demo Tour</a></strong> presented by <strong><a href="">Chaco</a> </strong>has kicked off in full force. See some of the fun Chaco times below, then visit the tour website <a href="">HERE</a> to find a stop near you.&nbsp;The tour will visit over 30 sites across the nation, showcasing the latest, most innovative boards, paddles, and Chaco Performance Sandals and Shoes through a series of nation wide SUP events.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_3344.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_2121.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_2096.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_2100.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_2095.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/IMG_3331.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:27:00 GMT Professor of Outdoor Adventures- Tommy Clapp <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/DSCN0773.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">I love being outside, especially with my <a href="">Chacos</a> on. I grew up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains backpacking, paddling, and exploring its caves. I have lived in the greater Knoxville area all my life with the exception of going to Berea College in Kentucky for my bachelors degree.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/DSCN0691.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>I love working with people and have found a love in sharing the outdoors with others. I teach kayaking, outdoor activities, wilderness leadership and outdoor instructorship at Carson-Newman University where I have been for 6 years.&nbsp;I manage a zip line as well as a high and low ropes course in the Knoxville area where I get to work with teens and introduce them to the outdoors as part of my BOLD (Basics of Leadership Development) program. This program also includes excursions in which kayaking and overnight camping is a big part.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/6/DSCN0645.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>I seek adventure locally and abroad and take every chance I can to travel and experience the world as much as I can. I am always up for a challenge and I believe that the right team can do anything they put their mind to. &nbsp;I am very excited to be a part of the Chaco Ambassador team and to see where this journey takes me.</p> <p>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p> <h4><em>About Tommy Clapp:<span style="font-weight: normal;">&nbsp;An avid kayaker, ropes course instructor, and lover of the outdoors, Tommy lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. Working as an outdoor educator he gets the opportunity to use the world as his classroom and his well-worn Chacos are with him every step of the way.</span></em></h4> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 04:20:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Chris Gragtmans- Water Roots <p>I don&rsquo;t know what I would do without the water.</p> <p>I was 11 years old when I first paddled a kayak into the warm and powerful waters of the Ottawa River. &nbsp;It was on that day with my dad and my uncle that the trajectory of my life changed. &nbsp;Once I experienced the power and thrill of moving water, everything else took a backseat. &nbsp;Whitewater kayaking was, and still is, the most incredible sport in the world for me, and 16 years later I am fortunate to call it my profession.</p> <p>I live in the whitewater mecca of Asheville, NC, and paddle the Green River Narrows and other world-class rivers throughout the fall, winter, and spring. &nbsp;Asheville is the perfect home base.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a video of me paddling my home river:</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>Around May of every year, things heat up and the kayaking competition circuit starts. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m not sure what it is about competition that gets me so excited, but let&rsquo;s just say the stoke-meter goes through the roof around that time in anticipation of another summer of traveling and competing. &nbsp;</p> <p>The 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix in Quebec- BIG WATER!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/GP_ChrisMistassini2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><em>Photo Credit: Bryan Kirk</em></p> <p>Alongside my kayaking pursuits, It has also been really fun dabbling in the sport of SUP. &nbsp;Fortunately I am in good company with fellow Ambassadors Mike Tavares and Haley Mills, and I usually try to absorb as much knowledge from them as possible in the paddleboard realm.</p> <p>My second SUP race at the USNWC in Charlotte. &nbsp;I couldn&rsquo;t complain about 2nd in the 12&rsquo;6&rdquo; class&hellip;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/CG_USNWC_SUP.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><em>Photo Credit: Ashley Woodring</em></p> <p>Ultimately, water is the one common thread through almost all of the happiest times in my life. &nbsp;It is what gives me passion to work and play hard, and hopefully it will be something that I can forever return to.</p> <p>Thanks for reading and I look forward to sending a few updates from the road!</p> <p>Good lines,</p> <p>Chris Gragtmans&nbsp;</p> <p>------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em><strong>About Chris Gragtmans:&nbsp;</strong>As a competitive whitewater kayaker, I have been fortunate to travel the world since I was 15 years old to compete, explore, and push myself and my sport. &nbsp;There is no place that I am happier than immersed in a deep river gorge, working with the river to disseminate her intricate puzzles. &nbsp;These days, I can also be found on my SUP board, downhill mountain bike, skis, or doing CrossFit and Krav Maga. &nbsp;I want to be a student of Nature&rsquo;s lessons every day for the rest of my life.&nbsp;</em></p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 27 May 2013 20:56:00 GMT 5 Outdoor Activities For a Windy Day From <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> <a href="">Lindsey Wilson</a> shares windy day fun for <a href="">Chaconians</a> big and little.</strong><img style="text-align: center;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Wind.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Make Wind Chimes</strong>- 
Get a stick and dangle all sorts of noise making objects from the stick. Nails, jar lids, shells, beads, silverware, tin cans, bells etc. Hang them up in the wind and listen to the beautiful music you&rsquo;ve created.</p> <p><strong>Make Parchutes For Toys</strong> - Get out some little toy figures, stuffed animals, cars or even rocks. <a href="">Make them little parachutes</a> and see if they set sail. Might want to also tie a string to the toy in case this works a little too well.</p> <p><strong>Fly a Homemade Kite</strong> - Making kites is easy. We&rsquo;ve made them out of paper bags and <a href="">garbage bags</a>. There are more <a href=";aq=f&amp;oq=make+your+own+kite+instructions&amp;aqs=chrome.0.57j65l2j0.4453&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8#hl=en&amp;sclient=psy-ab&amp;q=make+your+own+kite&amp;oq=make+your+own+kite&amp;gs_l=serp.3..0l4.4433.4433.0.4703.;pbx=1&amp;fp=1&amp;biw=1315&amp;bih=747&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&amp;cad=b&amp;sei=uVCfUY_sNMev4APJkYHgDw">kite tutorials</a> on the web than their are <a href="">ostriches on the planet</a>.</p> <p><strong>Make a Sail Boat</strong>- 
If you live by the water try to make a boat and put a sail on it. Might just work? I particularly like the idea for a <a href="">plastic bottle boat</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Make Windy Day Observations</strong> - Once again, appeal to your child&rsquo;s inner scientist. Have your kids sit outside and listen to the sounds, &nbsp;let them sit by the window and write down or draw observations. Tie different items to a clothesline outside and see how each one acts differently in the wind.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 May 2013 11:16:00 GMT Enter to Win Tickets to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Courtesy of Chaco! <p><span id="fbPhotoSnowliftCaption" class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption">You could win tickets to the Telluride Bluegrass festival, just follow the this&nbsp;<a href="">LINK</a> for details!<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/ChacoBG.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p>Win 2 tickets to the sold-out 40th anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival! Submit a photo of yourself kicking back at a festival, concert, or your favorite outdoor spot-<a href="">Chacos</a> in tow. We&rsquo;ll pick one finalist, the public will pick another. Then the two finalist photos will go head-to-head in a public online tug-of-war to see who&rsquo;s going to be partying in Telluride! Photo Contest will run from May 6th&nbsp;&ndash; 24th, Tug-of-war&nbsp; contest of the top two photos will run from May 27th&nbsp;to the 31st. Transportation to festival and expenses not included.!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 20 May 2013 02:51:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to know <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Lindsey Wilson</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.17.41 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong> St.George, Utah</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> Stansbury Park, UT</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong>&nbsp;My old school Chongs followed by my 10 year old Z/2s.</p> <p><strong>Nickname:</strong>&nbsp;Beez.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.18.21 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong>&nbsp;8</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong> Southeastern Utah desert.</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong>&nbsp;Honest Answer: Audio books, usually Children's classics.&nbsp;Ideal Answer: Neil Young, The Jayhawks, Griffin House, Manu Chao, Widespread Panic, Slaid Cleaves and Travis Marshall.</p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;Escalante River (at flood stage).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.18.06 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?</strong> She-Ra: Princess of Power.&nbsp;The first (and likely only) superhero action figure I ever owned. She would beat up my barbies and whisk Ken away.</p> <p><strong>Where is the strangest place you&rsquo;ve worn your Chacos or the strangest thing you&rsquo;ve done in them?</strong> I was once running through the desert (in my Z/2s) jumping over bushes when I landed unexpectedly right on top of a Mojave Green rattle snake. Thankfully, it must have been a Chaco fan, because it didn&rsquo;t even try to strike me. Strangest thing ever.</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> Wherever you are, be there.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.18.38 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>About Lindsey Wilson&nbsp;</strong><span style="font-weight: normal;"><em>An environmental educator, outdoor fanatic, and mom to three little adventurers. The outdoors is infused into everything she and her family do. She is the founder of <a href=""></a>, a blog dedicated to providing inspiration and tips for making family adventure fun, easy, and accessible.</em></span></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 05:05:00 GMT Chaconian Weddings with MyChaco <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Wedding2.jpg" alt="" />Want to feel comfy and special on your wedding day? Fit for adventure of any kind, <a href="">Chacos</a> are the perfect choice for one of life's biggest adventures- weddings and marriage. The <a href="">MyChaco</a> team will build <a href="">Chaconian</a> brides and grooms unique, custom sandals for the big day, crafted on the <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> platform for trusted comfort and support.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Wedding1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Looking for a webbing outside of our current selection? The MyChaco team is happy to help. If you don't see what you're looking for online give customer service a call and they'll guide you to more options. White webbing does not stay white over time in the warehouse so we do not keep it in stock BUT the MyChacos team will help you locate and order the perfect webbing for your wedding MyChacos.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Wedding3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For more information of MyChacos for your wedding check out <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 13 May 2013 23:30:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Michael Tavares <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to know <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Michael Tavares</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/MT1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong> Richmond, VA</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> RV travelling all across the US!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong> <a href=";search=Search">Fathom Flips</a>, <a href=";search=Search">Tedenho Pro Boots</a>, <a href="">Helm Shoes</a>.</p> <p><strong>Nickname:</strong> Mike T</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/MikeT.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Q&amp;A</strong></p> <p><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong>&nbsp;I would say a rough count is 15.</p> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong>&nbsp;So far I have felt the most at home at various surf breaks in Southern California, and paddling and surfing on whitewater rivers throughout the Rocky Mountains. Hoping to discover another this year!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong>&nbsp;Hot Water Music, Pinback, Built to Spill.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/MikeT3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;Honestly there have been too many great paddles to pinpoint one, but I try and treat every day on the water as the best day on the water! You get more out of each day and each paddle that way.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?</strong>&nbsp;The Silver Surfer, simply because he flies around on a surfboard! Sounds like fun!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> &nbsp;<em>&ldquo;Live your heart and Never Follow&rdquo;</em> &ndash; Hot Water Music</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/5/MikeT2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>About&nbsp;</strong><strong>Mike Tavares:&nbsp;</strong><em>A professional Stand Up Paddler (SUP) and kayaker, Mike Tavares is a true Chaconian adventurer, competitor, and advocate for his sport. &nbsp;This year Mike will be travelling from coast to coast, showcasing the sport of SUP through demos, events, clinics, and races on the Boardworks Show Up and Blow Up Tour presented by Chaco.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 09 May 2013 22:20:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Susan Shain <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to know <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a>&nbsp;Susan Shain</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 1.43.08 PM copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong> Hamilton, NY</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> Ketchikan, AK</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong>&nbsp;My incredible <a href=";search=Search">Chaco flips</a>!</p> <p><strong>Do you have a nickname:</strong>&nbsp;Suz, Suzie, Sue</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.01.26 PM copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Q&amp;A</strong></p> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong> There&rsquo;s no way I can narrow this down to even five places! Let&rsquo;s just say anywhere that I&rsquo;m enjoying good food, good music, and good company. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong> Everything from Taylor Swift to The Grateful Dead to Pretty Lights.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;Any day spent in the <a href="">Misty Fjords National Monument in Southeast Alaska</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Untitled.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?</strong> I&rsquo;d be Wolverine -- he&rsquo;s tough (and hot!). Plus, I went to the University of Michigan, so it&rsquo;s a natural choice for me.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Where is the strangest place you&rsquo;ve worn your Chacos or the strangest thing you&rsquo;ve done in them?</strong> I&rsquo;ve worn my Chacos all over the world. As for the strangest place? Maybe while eating camel cheese in a Mongolian yurt in the Gobi Desert.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> &ldquo;And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.&rdquo; - Roald Dahl</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/pineapple in thailand copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em><strong>About</strong> <strong>Susan Shain:&nbsp;</strong>working seasonal adventure jobs and traveling the world since 2008, she's worked everywhere from Colorado to Korea and traveled to all corners of the earth -- Chacos in tow! She's worn her Chacos everywhere from exploring the deserts of Mongolia to kayaking in Southeast Alaska to working as a volunteer teacher in Nicaragua. She writes for Chaco and in her travel blog at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 07 May 2013 10:45:00 GMT Broken Chaco, ReChaco, New Chaco! <p>Dads are good for fixing many things, but perhaps not your favorite <a href="">Chacos</a>. For that task we recommend the highly skilled and specially trained&nbsp;<a href="">ReChaco</a> Team.<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/ReChaco.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 14:23:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Lizzie Watson <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to Know <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Lizzie Watson</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 1.41.32 PM copy.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong>&nbsp;Durham, NC<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span></p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> Jackson, WY</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong> My old school not sure what they were called, but closest to the <a href="">Z/2 Yampa</a> sandals. Plain black.</p> <p><strong>Nickname:</strong>&nbsp;Watson, Ldubs, Lizard, etc&hellip;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/LZ2.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Q&amp;A</strong></div> <div><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong>&nbsp;4</div> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong>&nbsp;Anacapri, Italy</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong>&nbsp;<a href="">Mumford and Sons</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/LZ3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;Middle Fork of the Salmon River, beautiful place with amazing people!</p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?</strong>&nbsp;Superman, because I&rsquo;ve always dreamed about flying.</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> &nbsp;<em>&ldquo;Dream as if you&rsquo;ll live forever. Live as if you&rsquo;ll die today.&rdquo;</em>&nbsp; -James Dean</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/LZ1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4>About Lizzie Watson:&nbsp;<span style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Lizzie left for Jackson, Wyoming with plans of staying for one winter. That was seven years ago. Lizzie is a certified river guide with <a href="">Mad River Boat Trips</a>, as well as a part-time fire fighter/EMT for the local rescue squad. Lizzie loves the outdoors and anything that allows her to spend time in the mountains and on the river. She is an avid snowboarder, rock climber, cyclist, kayaker, and hiker.</em></span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><em><br /></em></span></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:02:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Tommy Clapp <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to Know <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Tommy Clapp</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/TC.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong> Knoxville, Tennessee</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> Jefferson City, Tennessee</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong> <a href="">Hip Thongs</a>, I have 4 pair actually.</p> <p><strong>Nickname:</strong> Not really, when your last name is Clapp you tend to steer clear of nicknames!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/TC1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Q&amp;A</span></strong></p> <p><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong> 11 of my own, 17 with my family!</p> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong> After looking all over there is really no place like the Mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Where else can you be on the water in the mountains year round? Plus it is nice to have a good balance of all 4 seasons!</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong> A little bit of everything really, I am an equally opportunity listener. FUN. Has been showing up a lot but I love rocking out to some good 80&rsquo;s and 90&rsquo;s mix on the way to the river.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/TC2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;Recently took a trip to the North Eastern U.S. and had an awesome experience with a great group of guys. So many rivers in one trip I think the whole experience counts as my best paddle!</p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?</strong> Probably Thor; he can fly, is super strong, and a cool guy. Who doesn&rsquo;t want to be all those things? &nbsp;I have a Thor t-shirt&hellip; does that count?</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> <em>"Work had to be enjoyable on a daily basis. We all had to come to work on the balls of our feet, going up the stairs two steps at a time. We needed to be surrounded by friends who could dress whatever way they wanted, even barefoot. We needed to have flex time to surf the waves when they were good, or ski the powder after a big snowstorm, or stay home and take care of a sick child. We needed to blur that distinction between work and play and family."</em>&nbsp;-Yvon Chouinard</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/5/TC3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div> <h4><em>About Tommy Clapp:<span style="font-weight: normal;">&nbsp;An avid kayaker, ropes course instructor, and lover of the outdoors, Tommy lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. Working as an outdoor educator he gets the opportunity to use the world as his classroom and his well-worn Chacos are with him every step of the way.</span></em></h4> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 28 Apr 2013 18:41:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to Know <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a> Haley Mills</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/HM.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Home Town:</strong> Elizabethtown KY</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:</strong> In a GMC White Truck</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong> <a href="">Flip</a>, <a href="">Tediho boots</a>, and <a href="">Mara Boots</a></p> <p><strong>Nickname:</strong> Firecracker</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/HM Tetons.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Q&amp;A</span></strong></p> <p><strong></strong><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong>&nbsp;To many, yet still never enough.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong> Uganda.</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?</strong> Booty Shaking music!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/HMbigwave.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong> I am still searching for my favorite river. My favorite days are on the river is when its sunny and a new river.</p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?&nbsp;</strong>Super Girl- She is extremely strong, independent, and has lots of attitude.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Where is the strangest place you&rsquo;ve worn your Chacos or the strangest thing you&rsquo;ve done in them?</strong> The strangest place might be at a club dancing my booty off. The strangest thing is classified info.</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> <em>"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."</em>-Henry David Thoreau&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 9.55.54 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <h4><span style="font-weight: normal;"><em>About Haley Mills: A modern river nomad hunting out whitewater while living in her truck. In the past few years she has become one of the top female paddlers in Freestyle Kayaking and whitewater Stand Up Paddling. She is currently ranked 5th in the World for Freestyle Kayaking and the US Point Series Championship.</em></span></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 23:29:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Chris Gragtmans <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Get to know <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a> Chris Gragtmans!</strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 1.51.55 PM copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Home Town:</strong>&nbsp;Picton, Ontario, Canada.</p> <p><strong>Currently residing:&nbsp;</strong>I&rsquo;ve lived in Asheville, NC for nine years and it is now my home. I love it here and think this will be home base here for the foreseeable future!</p> <p><strong>How many pair of Chacos do you currently own?</strong> Four.</p> <p><strong>Chaco sandal or shoe of choice:</strong>&nbsp;Definitely the <a href="">Flip EcoTread</a> for kicking it on the beach or around the grill!&nbsp;The <a href="">Ponsul</a> is my shoe for the river. It&rsquo;s crucial to be confident in what I have on my feet when I&rsquo;m scrambling around slippery rocks to scout or portage committing drops and canyons. This shoe is also comfortable and supportive for long hikes in and out of rivers.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 10.47.01 AM copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Q&amp;A</span></strong></p> <p><strong>Where is your favorite place in the world?</strong> Tough one, but if I had to pick just one it would be my parents&rsquo; place in Picton, Ontario. Incredible Hobie Cat sailing and SUP right off the dock, and only a three hour drive to the world&rsquo;s best freestyle kayaking on the Ottawa, Gatineau, and St. Lawrence Rivers.</p> <p><strong>What is playing on your iPod?&nbsp;</strong>Variety is the spice of life. Macklemore, Zion I, Bob Marley, Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty, Sting, Rihanna and many others keep me pretty stoked. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Best paddle of your life?</strong>&nbsp;I think I&rsquo;d have to chalk up the two weeks that I spent at the 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix as the best paddle of my life. &nbsp;It was an unreal event with 25 invited kayakers from across the globe, traveling around to the best whitewater in Quebec during a massive spring runoff to determine the best overall kayaker in the world. &nbsp;I pushed myself as hard as I could, ran some of the toughest rapids and surfed the biggest waves of my life, had great times with my friends, and even got Giardia. &nbsp;I was stoked to come home with 6th place overall and can&rsquo;t wait to try to improve on that in the 2014 WWGP.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="text-align: center;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Untitled 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why?&nbsp;</strong>As long as we&rsquo;re dreaming, I think I&rsquo;d rather be an animal than a superhero. And my top choice would be a Peregrine Falcon- fastest animal on Earth.</p> <p><strong>Favorite quote?</strong> &nbsp;<em>&ldquo;When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. &nbsp;When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. &nbsp;I wrote down &lsquo;happy&rsquo;. &nbsp;They told me I didn&rsquo;t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn&rsquo;t understand life.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em><em>-John Lennon</em></p> <p><em><strong>About Chris Gragtmans:&nbsp;</strong>As a competitive whitewater kayaker, I have been fortunate to travel the world since I was 15 years old to compete, explore, and push myself and my sport. &nbsp;There is no place that I am happier than immersed in a deep river gorge, working with the river to disseminate her intricate puzzles. &nbsp;These days, I can also be found on my SUP board, downhill mountain bike, skis, or doing CrossFit and Krav Maga. &nbsp;I want to be a student of Nature&rsquo;s lessons every day for the rest of my life.&nbsp;</em></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:13:00 GMT Introducing the New and Returning Faces of the Chaco Ambassador Team <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 2.56.29 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>At <a href="">Chaco</a>, we take pride in our <a href="">Chaconian</a> following. It&rsquo;s our Chaconians' dedication and pursuit of adventure that is at the heart of the Chaco brand, breathing life into the shoes as you adventure-on!</p> <p>It is with this in mind that we are excited to introduce the individuals of the <a href="">Ambassador Team</a>, seven enthusiastic Chaconians dedicated to living an adventurous and active life outdoors. Comprised of professional athletes, modern-day nomads, and outdoor educators, this select group represents our greater community by passionately seeking adventure everyday and sharing their experiences with you.</p> <p>Look for our ambassadors on the water, on land, and online as we bring you their epic outdoor stories right here on the <a href="">Chaco blog</a>. Connect with them on our Chaconian social places <a href="">Facebook</a>, <a href="">Twitter</a>, <a href="">Instagram</a>, and <a href="">Pinterest</a> and allow their expertise and endeavors to spark your own pursuit of adventure.</p> <p>Without further hesitation, Meet Your <a href="">Chaco Ambassadors</a>:</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/MT1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Mike Tavares<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">As a professional Stand Up Paddler (SUP) and kayaker, Mike Tavares is a true Chaconian adventurer, competitor, and advocate for his sport. &nbsp;This year Mike will be travelling from coast to coast, showcasing the sport of SUP through demos, events, clinics, and races on the Boardworks Show Up and Blow Up Tour presented by Chaco.</span></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/HM1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Haley Mills<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Haley Mills is a modern river nomad hunting out whitewater while living in her truck. In the past few years she has become one of the top female paddlers in Freestyle Kayaking and whitewater Stand Up Paddling. She is currently ranked 5th in the World for Freestyle Kayaking and the US Point Series Championship.</span></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/LW1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Lindsey Wilson<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Lindsey Wilson is an environmental educator, outdoor fanatic, and mom to three little adventurers. The outdoors is infused into everything she and her family do. She is the founder of <a href=""></a>, a blog dedicated to providing inspiration and tips for making family adventure fun, easy, and accessible.</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br /></span></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/TC.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Tommy Clapp<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Being an avid kayaker, ropes course instructor, and lover of the outdoors, Tommy lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. &nbsp;Working as an outdoor educator he gets the opportunity to use the world as his classroom and his well-worn Chacos are with him every step of the way.</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br /></span></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Susan Shain<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Susan Shain has been working seasonal adventure jobs and traveling the world since 2008. She's worked everywhere from Colorado to Korea and traveled to all corners of the earth -- Chacos in tow! She's worn her Chacos everywhere from exploring the deserts of Mongolia to kayaking in Southeast Alaska to working as a volunteer teacher in Nicaragua. She writes for Chaco and in her travel blog at <a href=""></a>.</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br /></span></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4><strong>Chris Gragtmans<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: normal;">Chris is a competitive whitewater kayaker who&rsquo;s been fortunate to travel the world exploring, competing, and pushing the limits of the sport. There's no place he'd rather be then immersed in a deep river gorge, working the river, and deciphering her intricate puzzles. Off the water, Chris enjoys pushing himself with downhill mountain biking, skiing, and Cross Fit.</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"> </span></p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/LW2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h4>Lizzie Watson<br /><span style="font-weight: normal;">Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Lizzie left for Jackson, Wyoming with plans of staying for one winter. That was seven years ago. Lizzie is a certified river guide with Mad River Boat Trips, as well as a part-time fire fighter/EMT for the local rescue squad. Lizzie loves the outdoors and anything that allows her to spend time in the mountains and on the river. She is an avid snowboarder, rock climber, cyclist, kayaker, and hiker.</span></h4> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 03:55:00 GMT Spring Cleaning, Tips to Clean Your Chacos <p>Well worn <a href="">Chacos</a> can show their adventures in scents. If your sandals are getting a little to fragrant here are some helpful tips to remove offensive odors.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Sun.jpg" alt="" />Scrub the sandals&mdash;including the straps in + out of the footbed&mdash;in a paste of baking soda and water. Rinse with warm water, and place in the freezer (this kills the bacteria) overnight. Take them out, place them in direct sunlight and let them dry completely.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/WM.jpg" alt="" />You can also throw them in the washing machine with your next load of laundry (cold water is best). Avoid bleach and do not put them in the dryer. Again, let them dry completely.</p> <p>We do NOT recommend using the dishwasher. It can get too hot and cause the soles to delaminate. No fun!</p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 23:04:00 GMT Introducing the Lovely FANTASIA Sandal <p>Part of <a href="">Chaco</a>'s new <a href="">NearGround collection</a>, the <a href="">Fantasia</a> offers the legendary <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> footbed support in a lightweight, low profile, and super easy to adjust sandal. Made with a sole of 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; merges high-traction with eco-function.</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 06:30:00 GMT Chaco and Boardworks Join Forces, Bringing SUP to Chaconians Nationwide <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Tour_Header_2013.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In an effort to get more people on the water, learning and enjoying the sport of Stand Up Paddling(SUP), <a href="">Chaco</a> and <a href="">Boardworks</a> introduce the <a href="">2013 Show Up and Blow Up SUP Demo Tour</a>. The tour will visit over 30 sites across the nation, showcasing the latest, most innovative boards, paddles, and Chaco performance <a href=";search=Search">sandals</a> and <a href=";search=Search">shoes</a> through a series of national SUP events.&nbsp;</p> <p>The tour makes all areas of SUP from flat water and whitewater to coastal paddling available to interested consumers free of charge. Consisting of product demos, clinics, and races, each stop on the tour is an excellent way for first-time SUP'ers or long-time enthusiasts to engage in the sport. The Tour began March 30 in Florida and continues on to North Carolina in April; Virginia and Colorado in May and June; Idaho, Utah and Montana in July; Oregon, Washington and California in August and California, Georgia and Tennessee in September and October. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:35:00 GMT Happy Birthday MyChacos <div style="text-align: center; "><strong><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">In Celebration of Your Adventurous Soles!</span></span></span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: center; "><strong><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: center; "><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/mychaco_logo_small.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Today we not only celebrate the first anniversary of <a href="">MyChacos</a>, but all of you - your creativity and custom designs that continue to inspire the <a href="">Chaco-Nation</a>! Here&rsquo;s a look back at our first year of Chaconian design, vision and LUV. Read on for fun tips, tricks, and tales&hellip;</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide4.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide5.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><em><strong><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Tips + Tricks from MyChaco Guru, Lisa K.:</span></span></strong></em></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">1.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Create your school or camp sandals by using their colors.&nbsp;</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">2.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Grab your pal + create matching sandals.</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">3.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Different size feet? We can make sandals in a different size for each foot.&nbsp;</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">4.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Wide feet? We build custom sandals in wide widths too!</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">5.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Adjustments? We can lengthen or shorten straps (main strap, heel riser, buckle strap, or heel leash) to make them fit perfectly.</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">6.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>Not enough sole choices for you? Or need a stickier sole? We can do that! In the special instructions box you may request our Unaweep or Pro soles.</span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">7.<span style="white-space:pre"> </span>See all the new options for the Chaco logo badge including our iconic Gecko in color. &nbsp;Hint - Click on the Gecko for a surprise option!</span></span></div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><br /></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Adventurous Souls (and soles)</span></span></strong></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide2.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide3.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/4/Slide1.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 05:06:00 GMT Get Excited... The KOLB is Here The all new <a href="">Kolb</a> is built with <a href="">Chaco's</a> supportive <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> footbed, premium, full-grain leathers, and our proprietary EcoTread&trade; outsole. <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:25:00 GMT Chaco Sponsors World Kayak Hometown Throwdown Series <p><a href="">Chaco</a> is proud to sponsor <a href="">World Kayak</a> in their 2013 Hometown Throwdown series! &nbsp;Each event offers kayakers of all levels, beginner to pro, a chance to show off their skills and win awesome prizes! &nbsp;Check out the map below to see if an event is coming near you!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/WK.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:52:00 GMT Paddling Uganda with Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills <p>After fighting sleep for hours I decide to stumble my way to make coffee and open my computer that is fully charged for the first time in months. Its four in the morning and my body is living somewhere between Africa and the US time zone. My first sip of coffee doesn&rsquo;t taste like the gray gritty coffee that I am used to from the island. If I was still living island life it would be 12pm, I would be finishing up my first paddling session and probably playing water volleyball while lunch was being prepared. Now I am in a house in the states trying to type up a blog that will some how recap all the awesome adventures I have experienced in the past month while in Africa.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/H4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When I left for Uganda I had few expectations for my trip. I knew that I wanted to kayak a ton and escape before my busy competition season starts up. I made a few goals before I left, to be fully present while away. Not to hurry my experience by thinking about what I need to do when I get home. &nbsp;I wanted to relax and enjoy paddling with out having frustration toward my paddling performance so I could rejuvenate my spark for kayaking and life. I improve when I am relaxed, focused, and having fun. Another goal was to hang out with friends that I traveled with from the states and make new ones. Lastly, I wanted to experience Uganda not just from looking out the car window on my way to and from the safe comfortable island life.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/H1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Its an easy life on the Harry Lemon Island were meals are included and you have no responsibilities. I was able to spend all my energy paddling twice a day. I was on the island for 22 day of my trip because of the proximity to awesome waves. From the island its about a 10 minute paddle up stream to one rapid. That had Club Wave that's in when the water is low usually in the morning, and Nile Special that was good when the water was high in the evening. When I wasn&rsquo;t paddling I spent the day stretching, slack-lining, water volleyball, napping in the sun, playing banana grams, and reading. Everyday I would be woken up with a rooster crowing or Monkeys swinging from the trees above my tent. At night I would fall asleep to the sound of the river.</p> <p>Once a week the group would go the Nile River Explorers near Jinja to get some African Internet, stay in the bunk houses, and visit Jessie Stones Clinic. Our first day going to work at the clinic Emily and I decided it was a great idea to walk to the clinic in the middle of a huge rain storm. Half way to the clinic the rain storm turned into a violent hail storm. The locals invited us into their homes but we declined until the hail got bigger so we sprinted for the closes building a bright yellow mosque were we waited the storm out. After the storm we helped Jessie with a net sale where we traveled to a village inside of a sugar cane plantation. Jessie does an amazing job of educating the locals about Malaria and the importance of prevention. &nbsp;After the net sell Nick and I spent time with the kids chasing them around the soccer field playing tag. While visiting the villages I was surprised how the locals live in simple small houses with out many possessions, clothing, abundance of food, or health care. It put things into perspective on how its extremely possible to survive with out excess and be happy. I lead a simple life in the states but nothing compared to how minimal they live.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/H2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/H3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We returned to the island for a few more weeks keeping up with the usually routine and trying to enjoy every day since they were numbered before we had to leave. The last week we spent at NRE going to Super hole on the upper section of the Nile River getting some training on a hole rather than waves. It was a good switch to get ready for the US Freestyle Team Trails at the end of April since its in a hole not a wave. We would surf in the morning when the water was low and then go back and spend time swimming, and resting up. At night I ventured out on bota botas little motorcycles and travel to town to eat dinner, and visit friends. I am not sure I have ever laughed so hard before flying down a bumpy dusty dirt road in the dark but for some reason felt completely safe. I was told that was one of the most dangerous thing I could do in Uganda was riding a bota at night, the other would be forgetting to taking your malaria medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Madam do you want me to be fast and furious?&rdquo; said by the best bota driver in jinja I am guessing self proclaimed.</p> <p>I am extremely proud that I managed to complete all of my goals for my trip and accomplish some new ones I hadn&rsquo;t thought of before leaving. The trip ended abruptly like I had just been ripped out of a deep sleepy dream. I am sure I have forgotten to add a ton of great African memories to this blog. I have no idea why I waited so long to go to Uganda to paddle. Now I just have to make it back before they dam the river. This trip has gotten me fired up for my next international adventure. Until then I am gearing up for whats bound to be my best freestyle and SUP tour season yet. Webale to all my friends that made my trip incredible!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Until Next Time,</p> <p>Haleythenomad&nbsp;</p> <p>Fit For Adventure.</p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 03:10:00 GMT Ode to My Chacos PART 3- on hiking <p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><em>Below we've reproduced part three of a really great post by Julie Trevelyan of the blog&nbsp;<a style="cursor: pointer; color: #3b5998; text-decoration: none;" rel="nofollow" href=";h=EAQGOKhHX&amp;s=1" target="_blank">Wild Girl Writing</a>. You've gotta check her out! She's the real deal, and we're proud to call her a <a href="">Chaconian</a>.</em></span></p> <p>Hiking</p> <p>Okay, Chacos aren&rsquo;t really meant to be hiked in. They&rsquo;re supposed to be river sandals. But most of the people I know hike in them, me included. Have Chacos, will trail travel.</p> <p>I know people who&rsquo;ve backpacked in them for miles, pack upon back. (No, I&rsquo;m not recommending that, as you can seriously mess up your feet if you twist your unsupported ankles.) I often hike in my Chacos all day.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-large wp-image-535 " title="chillin'" src="" alt="" width="452" height="602" /></p> <p>Do I sometimes need to put on sneakers instead, do I get hot spots, have I worn my skin raw, especially if multiple water crossings happen? Yes.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-large wp-image-537 " title="water lovin' sandals" src="" alt="" width="452" height="602" /></p> <p>Have I been stabbed so many times by those damned leaping cacti (I swear to all that&rsquo;s holy, the cactus around here lies in wait for the unwary Chaco-clad foot and then strikes with deliberate intention)? Oh, yes.</p> <p>Do stones and pebbles launch themselves with stinging force at my bare toes when I unwittingly kick them at my own feet? Uh, yes.</p> <p>But even with all that, I still hike in my Chacos.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="size-large wp-image-536 " title="have Chacos..." src="" alt="" width="452" height="602" /></p> <p>Thanks Julie! Keep up the big adventures.</p> </p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:53:00 GMT Here Comes the SLEET, an all new women's sandal <p>Part of <a href="">Chaco</a>'s new NearGround collection, the <a href="">Sleet</a> offers the legendary LUVSEAT&trade; footbed support in a lightweight, low profile, and super easy to adjust sandal. Made with a sole of 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; merges high-traction with eco-function.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:27:00 GMT How cool is that? A Chaco wire sculpture! <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/StephenWardSculpture copy.jpg" alt="" />Our Fan Friday Feature is Alec Ward! Here's his story...</p> <p>I'm a 20 year old Sophomore art major at the University of Arkansas. I grew up in Fayetteville and absolutely love the atmosphere and lifestyle that surrounds the city. There's something special about this town and I would need a longer blurb to explain, but for now,&nbsp;I'll leave it at that.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/StephenWardSculptureguy copy.jpg" alt="" />I've been creating and exploring art since I was little, but I really started making my own work about 5 years ago. Most of my work focuses&nbsp;on drawing and painting with acrylics, but I'm always open for a challenge. This sculpture was actually my first time to work with any kind of wire and was an assignment for a studio class last semester.&nbsp;The sculpture took about 3 weeks to create with multiple wire size sand over 400 ft of wire is included.</p> <p>I focused on the idea of making something that you could literally hold in your hand, was to scale of&nbsp;the original object, and explained who I was. I always have my Chacos on, so they became the muse (If you will) during the project. I love my pair of <a href="">Chacos</a> and always have them on when I can. Whether I'm&nbsp;hiking, playing Ultimate frisbee or I'm just hanging around Fayetteville, they are my shoe of choice, just as it is for many Fayetteville natives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:25:00 GMT Chaconian Adventures Are Among Us, Bring the Right Tent Along! <p>Finding the perfect tent is something every growing outdoor family has to figure out. Usually more than once. Now that we're a family of 5 humans and 1 canine we had to upgrade. We put a lot of thought into our tent selection, so I thought I'd share some of the things we considered when purchasing our new tent.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/family tent.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>1. What kind of camping are you going to do?</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Backpacking (or river trips): Obviously you will need to consider the weight and size quite seriously.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Car Camping: You can get something more roomy and a little heavier, but make sure to consider how much space you'll have available in your vehicle.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Road trips: You'll be putting the tent up and down a lot (sometimes in the dark, often by yourself while your spouse tries to keep the kids from running through a cactus patch), so make sure to get something with a simple design so it's easy to set up. Also, campsite sizes will vary if you're moving around a lot, so pick something on the smaller side.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Stationary camping: If you're setting the tent up once, in a place your familiar with, and staying put you can choose a tent that's bigger and more complicated to set up.</p> <p><strong>2. How much and what kind of space do you need?</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Do you want to be able to stand up in your tent?</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Do you want to store all your bags inside the tent, under the tent vestibule, or leave them in your vehicle?</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Do you mind all being squished together or do you want something roomy? Two rooms perhaps?</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Will you need enough room to fit some sort of pack-n-play device?</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Need room for the dogs?</p> <p><strong>3. What kind of weather will you be camping in?</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-I'm canceling if it's bad weather: If you don't plan to ever camp in bad weather a good rain fly is not as important (although keep in mind the possibility of an unexpected storm).</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-I'm willing to camp in most weather conditions: Pay close attention to the rainfly. You'll need one that keeps out precipitation and dirt/sand if it's windy. &nbsp;Make sure the bottom of the tent is like a 'bathtub', with raised sides and seams above floor level. Look into getting a 3-season or 4-season tent.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. How long do you want the tent to last you?</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Quality: If your looking for something to last you well into the future it's worth the investment to get a good quality tent (see more thoughts on quality below).</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Family Size: Say you only have one kid right now. A 4-man tent will do just fine. But what if you want two more kids? Do you want to plan for that now, or upgrade when the time arrives?</p> <p><strong>5. Where and when do you camp?</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Desert in the summer: You'll need a lot of mesh on that tent to get the breeze blowing through--doorways on both sides are really nice too because they let the breeze flow through.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Along the coast: Mesh could be good here as well, but be sure to consider the possibility of wind storms on a beach, and all that dew that settles on your tent at night.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Mountains: Depending on the time of year a lot of mountain locations will be hot during the day and chili at night. You'll want a well ventilated tent during the day (for naps) but has a good rain fly to keep the warmth in at night (depending on time of year, might also apply to deserts).</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">-Winter: Get a good 4-season tent (or build a snow cave).</p> <p>And one last piece of advice. I personally believe in getting a good quality tent. Quality doesn't necessarily mean expensive, but the return on your investment will not only be comfort, but also peace of mind on a trip&mdash;fewer zipper problems, tears and pole breaking. Quality also has a greater resale value if you decide to adjust your equipment needs.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 01:58:00 GMT The MIGHTY Has Arrived <p>Minimal meets <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> support in the <a href="">Mighty</a>, <a href="">Chaco</a>&rsquo;s lightest weight and most comfortable sandal yet. A revolutionary new strapping system allows custom adjustment to keep your feet secure and personalize your fit. A siped <a href="">EcoTread&trade;</a> outsole keeps you grounded on wet or dry terrain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Sun, 10 Mar 2013 08:13:00 GMT Wintertime Training with Chaco Ambassador Mike Tavares <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 07:35:00 GMT Ode to My Chacos PART 2- the why <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><em>Below we've reproduced part two of a really great post by Julie Trevelyan of the blog&nbsp;<a style="cursor: pointer; color: #3b5998; text-decoration: none;" rel="nofollow" href=";h=EAQGOKhHX&amp;s=1" target="_blank">Wild Girl Writing</a>. You've gotta check her out! She's the real deal, and we're proud to call her a <a href="">Chaconian</a>.</em></span></p> <p>Why</p> <p>The first fascination belongs to some sort of coolness factor. Have you ever seen those Chaco ad posters, with the feet that have Chaco tan lines? Something about that screams friends, fun, outdoors, rugged, laid-back, in the sunshine. And most of my friends here were living that actual life. As a result, I wanted it too. (Take a bow, Chaco marketing department. Your ads live in real life, and they apparently work.)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/Chaco2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Secondly, Chacos are functional. Sure, you can wear them in the water, they&rsquo;re sturdy as all get out, and they last a long time depending on how hard you use &lsquo;em. But I mean they&rsquo;re also just functional for everyday use, as I noted above. I approve of that. Heck, I have many friends who&rsquo;ve gotten married in their Chacos. (Too bad Chaco doesn&rsquo;t make white pairs&hellip;yet. However, you can buy white webbing and get it attached to your footbed. Cool!)</p> <p>Another reason why is that they&rsquo;re easy. It&rsquo;s simple to slip them on, kick them off, throw them in the back of your truck. You can attach them to the outside of your pack to use as camp shoes or river crossers. Washing them is no problem. It&rsquo;s okay if they get dirty (and really, they&rsquo;re meant to), so you don&rsquo;t have to watch every foot placement for fear of scuffing them. (Oh, the horror.)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/3/Chaco3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Final reason why: the famous Chaco foot tan. Dude. It&rsquo;s ridiculously fun, silly, cool, and a clear demonstration of the kind of life one leads. For example: whenever I visit my family in southern California, I notice how few Chacos and Chaco tans I see. &lsquo;Nuff said.</p> <p><em>Stay tuned to the Chaco blog for part three of Julie's story... on hiking.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 02:16:00 GMT Please Welcome THE JUNCTION <p>A T-strap sandal that blends Chaco webbing with premium full-grain leather. Don't fret, the leather lined footbed is still built on the LUVSEAT&trade; platform, the Junction will keep your feet happy. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 01:05:00 GMT Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">I do!! I LUV them, Sam-I-am!</span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I would wear them in a boat!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I would wear them with a goat...</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img id="irc_mi" style="margin-top: 0px;" src="" alt="" width="592" height="393" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I will wear them in the rain.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And in the dark.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And on a train.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img id="irc_mi" style="margin-top: 0px;" src="" alt="" width="221" height="393" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And in a car.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"> And in a tree.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><strong>They feel so good so good you see!</strong></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">So I will wear them in a box.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I will wear them with a fox.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I will wear them in a house.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I will wear them with a mouse.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img class="spotlight" style="width: 416px; height: 520px;" src="" alt="" /><br /></span><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">And I will wear them here and there.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><img src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;">Say! I will wear them ANYWHERE!</span></p> <div><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></div> Fri, 01 Mar 2013 03:12:00 GMT Ode to My Chacos PART 1- the transition <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><em>Below we've reproduced a really great post by Julie Trevelyan of the blog&nbsp;<a style="cursor: pointer; color: #3b5998; text-decoration: none;" rel="nofollow" href=";h=EAQGOKhHX&amp;s=1" target="_blank">Wild Girl Writing</a>. You've gotta check her out! She's the real deal, and we're proud to call her a <a href="">Chaconian</a>.</em><br /></span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">Before I moved to Utah, I was a Teva girl. Wore &lsquo;em all the time, had several pairs. But shortly after I discovered the great, empty (well, in the southern portion) state of Utah, I also discovered <a href="">Chacos</a>. Everyone was wearing them. My coworkers. Native Utahn tourists. The rugged outdoorsy guys I liked. The kickass outdoorsy women I emulated. Hell, I think there were some dogs running around in little Chaco footies. (Kidding.)<br /></span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">So I finally went out and bought my first pair of Chacos back in 2002, and the future of my footwear changed forever.<br /></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/J1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">I freaking live in my Chacos during the warm season. Live in them. Other than riding boots or hiking boots, I pretty much wear only Chacos on my feet from April-October, give or take a few weeks depending on the weather. I hike in them, I go to dinner in them, I work in them, I wear them to the store, the post office, the hair dresser. I&rsquo;ve been known to drive tractors while wearing them:</span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/J2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">On trails, on the sidewalk, in my backyard when I&rsquo;m gardening.<br /><br />I wore them in Hawaii last year. Shrug: I just love my Chacos.<br /></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/J3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">Current count of Chaco pairs owned: 8.<br /><br />Current count of Tevas owned: 2. (And although I still really like them, I just rarely wear them.) -<em>to be continured...</em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><em>Stay tuned to the Chaco blog for part two of Julie's story... the why.</em></span></p> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:47:00 GMT Chaco Partners with American Camp Association <p style="text-align: left;">Reinforcing its commitment to inspiring a lifetime of adventure, <a href="">Chaco</a> has partnered with the <a href="">American Camp Association</a> (ACA) to encourage young campers to enjoy a lifetime of outdoor activities and pursuits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/ACA1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Happy Hollow Children's Camp, Nashville, Indiana</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chaco will be the exclusive footwear provider to camp counselors and professionals at ACA-accredited camps across the USA. Additionally, Chaco will make a significant annual donation to the ACA&rsquo;s &ldquo;Send a Child to Camp&rdquo; scholarship fund, enabling thousands of deserving young people to attend an ACA member camp, setting them on a path toward self-confidence, self-reliance, and a commitment to an outdoor lifestyle.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Aca3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>YMCA Camp Willson/YMCA of Central Ohio, Bellefontaine, Ohio</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&ldquo;Oftentimes the best education is outside of the classroom,&rdquo; said Chip Coe, general manager of Chaco. &ldquo;Summer camp offers an environment full of hands-on learning opportunities that become the building blocks for a successful life. We are excited to work even more closely with the camp community, who have always been active brand ambassadors for Chaco.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/ACA2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>YMCA Camp Willson/YMCA of Central Ohio, Bellefontaine, Ohio</em></p> <p>&ldquo;Research shows that camp enables significant growth in confidence and self-esteem, relationship and friendship skills, and independence and responsibility,&rdquo; said Peg Smith, CEO of ACA. &ldquo;We are thrilled to have Chaco, a well loved brand in the camp community, on board to help us drive our mission and positively influence and impact millions of young people&rsquo;s lives.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Aca4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Camp Howe, Goshen, MA</em></p> <p>As a leading authority in youth development, ACA accredits over 2400 day and residential camps that collectively serve about 5 million children annually.</p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:46:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Mike Tavares Kickstarts 2013 with New Adventures <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/M3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">Now that 2013 is up and running, there are new adventures and new challenges ahead. &nbsp;Its exciting to have an entire year of competitions ahead of you and getting to plan and prepare for another year on the road.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/M2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">The winter season is typically an off season of some sorts for me, but this year is shaping up to be nothing of the sort. &nbsp;Right off the bat, I was able to catch some amazing urban whitewater in Richmond, Va. &nbsp;Richmond is unique place as far as whitewater goes. &nbsp;The <a href="">James River</a> runs right next to historic downtown and is on the geographical fall line, when coupled with the old broken dams,&nbsp;levies, and bridges, creates the best whitewater in the region! &nbsp;I was able to catch up with local photographer Rich Young, who captured some amazing pictures of me on me <a href="">Badfish SUP</a> while wearing my <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href=";search=Search">Tedinho's</a>!</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Mike6.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">Before heading to Southern California for the start of our SUP training I ventured to Salida, Colorado for some on-snow and skate time. <a href="">Monarch Mountain</a> is a laid back mountain where you can escape the crowds and enjoy pure CO riding. Salida is also home to one of my favorite skateparks. I have not been skating very much in the past few years because of my other outdoor pursuits, but couldn't resist a day in the Salida Bowl.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri; min-height: 14.0px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/M5.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">For this skate session, I grabbed my <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Holt</a> Shoes.&nbsp;While not designed as a skate shoe, the Holt turned out to be an excellent choice for skating. &nbsp;I have been using it to cruise around on my longboard, but really put them to the test in the park. &nbsp;The low profile sole gave me the feel that I need and the Chaco <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> gave me all the padding that I could want!</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri; min-height: 14.0px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/M4.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">Check back soon for updates from So-Cal and the start of my Winter SUP training including the HanaHano SUP and Outrigger race in San Diego. &nbsp;Until next time.....Mike T&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;">------------------------------------------------</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri;"><em>About <a href="">Chaco Ambassador Team</a> member Mike Tavares:&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">As an inland SUP paddler and professional kayaker, Mike Tavares is a true Chaconian adventurer, competitor and educator. Over the past eight years, he has been immersed in the whitewater paddling industry. In 2012, Mike will be travelling to and competing in every major whitewater festival in the U.S. in both freestyle kayaking and Whitewater SUP.</span></em></p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 02:46:00 GMT 10 Things To Do In The Backyard When it's Snowy! <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Snow Play 4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;">Getting the kids to go out and play in the yard during the winter can sometimes be a daunting task. It's too coooooollld. I've had to get creative. Introducing Ten Awesome Ways You May Not Have Thought Of To Entertain the Kids in the Backyard When There Is Snow On The Ground!</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>1) Build a catapult.&nbsp; </strong>Check out this link: <a href=""><span style="color: #0051e1; text-decoration: underline;">how to build a catapult</span></a> from a few pieces of wood and some surgical tubing. We made a course on the lawn with bulls-eyes. And meaningless 'points' for whoever got closest. Funny how fast kids make up rules and points when given a new game.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>2) Freeze some stuff.&nbsp; </strong>The more interesting the shape of the 'container' the better. Bunt cake pans are cool... so are vases that don't narrow too much at the top... we also experimented with pie tins (I've got way too many of these). Stacking them together afterwards made a beautiful sculpture. PVC pipes that are capped at one end and filled with water make long tubes of ice (you might have to warm the outside with a kettle of boiling water or a hair dryer to get it out--we did). You can also <a href=""><span style="color: #0051e1; text-decoration: underline;">freeze water balloons</span></a> (with colored water of course--food coloring and snow are meant to go together) full of water and get cool round ice cubes.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 0px; line-height: 19px; font: normal normal normal 13px/normal Georgia; color: #333233; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; color: #000000;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Snow Play 2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>3) Collect icicles. </strong>Once you look around, you'll notice not all icicles are created alike. Some are curved, some are long, some have skinny tips. Some are crystal clear and others are kind of smokey. Making an icicle collection from big to small can be lots of fun, so can making a ice jail for your transformers...</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>4) Paint in the snow. </strong>Fill some spray bottles, a few syringes, and a bowl or two with some colored water... be heavy handed with the food coloring--to make it stand out against the snow you'll need very saturated colors. Tramping down the snow before painting makes a better canvas. For added fun, make a snowman and paint him (or her) too.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 0px; line-height: 19px; font: normal normal normal 13px/normal Georgia; color: #333233; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; color: #000000;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Snow Play 3.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>5) Practice your Marksmanship. </strong>We've got a fence in the backyard that made for a perfect bulls-eye for snowball throwing. We practiced at different distances, from different angles, and when one landed on the top of the fence, we practiced doing it on purpose. As with the catapult, rules and point systems evolved instantly and naturally. None of them made sense to me, but it hardly mattered.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>6) Blowing bubbles below freezing. </strong>Did you know if you <a href=""><span style="color: #0051e1; text-decoration: underline;">blow bubbles</span></a> on a cold day they will freeze? Get a plate and put a little bubble juice on it. Blow a bubble on to the plate (so that it is a half bubble) and set it outside for about a half an hour. If you're careful, you can (after the bubble is frozen) spray the bubble with a fine layer of colored bubble juice and freeze it again for a colored bubble. They don't last long, but they are pretty cool while they last. Others have frozen them on their bubble wands, but we didn't try this... if you do you might be able to see the ice crystals forming as it freezes.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>7) Scavenger hunt in the snow. </strong>Hide items in the snow for the kiddos to find. Colored ice cubes are fun. Toys. Treats. Easter eggs. The possibilities are endless.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 0px; line-height: 19px; font: normal normal normal 13px/normal Georgia; color: #333233; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; color: #000000;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Snow Play.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia; color: #333233;"><strong>8) Create a snow maze. </strong>This was as fun to make as it was for the kids... to be honest it didn't last long. Kid feet don't stay in narrow paths as well as you might think. But it was fun all the same. Stomp down the snow into a maze with a 'prize' at the end (note this is also quite the brain workout for parents).</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #333233;"><span style="font: 13.0px Georgia;"><strong>9) Track some animals. </strong></span>There is an added bonus to walking in the winter that you might not think of at first&ndash;the animals that use that same trail as you every day are no longer invisible. &nbsp;They leave undeniable proof of their presence. Appeal to your child's inner detective and <a href=""><span style="font: normal normal normal 13px/normal Georgia; color: #0051e1; text-decoration: underline;">track those animals</span></a>!</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; line-height: 19.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #333233;"><span style="font: 13.0px Georgia;"><strong>10) Eat it. </strong></span>Isn&rsquo;t there some saying about drinking lemonade when life throws lemons at you? In the winter it's more like trying to <a href=""><span style="color: #419cc5;">make icees out of ice</span></a>. Check out the link for recipes!</p> <p> <div class="blog"> <div class="post single"> <div class="blog-content"> <div class="post-info"> <h2><span style="font-size: 10px; font-weight: normal;">---------------------------------------------------------------------------------</span></h2> </div> <div class="blog"> <div class="post single"> <div class="blog-content"> <p><em><a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Lindsey Wilson blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 04:59:00 GMT Spring is Coming, But Chacos New Styles are Here! <p>Hello <a href="">Chaconians</a>!</p> <p>It's almost time to let your toes wiggle free. The sun lingers longer in the afternoon. Soon rapids will curl around your boat hull, the trail will curve around the bend, and you will grip your beloved paddle, bars, or ball. Spring is coming and <a href="">Chaco</a> is ready with new styles to inspire your life of adventure.</p> <p>Here are a few highlights from Chacos new Spring Collection. To see all new sandals and shoes visit the <a href="">New Arrivals</a> page on <a href=""></a> where exciting new styles are being added daily. And as always, a new season means new webbing options for old favorites!</p> <p><strong><a href="">Women's Chari Sandal- $90</a></strong></p> <p><strong></strong><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.56.46 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong><a href="">Men's Mighty Sandal- $90</a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.44.04 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="">Women's Stowe Sandal- $85</a></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.52.41 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong><a href="">Men's Kolb- $80</a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.53.03 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: right;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="">Women's Sleet- $75</a></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.57.03 AM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong><a href="">Men's Rex Sandal- $90</a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.58.59 AM.png" alt="" /></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 04:19:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills Takes a Month of "Rest" Before One Big Adventure! <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/H2.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>After the new year we left the RV in Kentucky at my families house and started driving to Colorado. This was a totally different road trip than my normal life on the road, I have relatively no plans, no competitions, and not much paddling planned. I have been following my new years resolution so far to rest, relax, and try not to use my arms for a month. I want my arms and upper body to have some time to recover from all the paddling I have did in 2012 so I can be strong and fresh for 2013.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/H3.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>During my month of rest I spend some time in Salida&nbsp;hanging out with friends and getting some days on the snow. The next stop was Durango to visit friends and to ride a new mountain. Then on to southern California to see the Boardworks crew, surf, and finish up the 2013 tour plans. After a week or so in California I flew to the east coast to visit with my Wavesport family.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/H4.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>After staying in the south for less than a week it's on to Uganda!! I will be camping for a month near the river, paddling hopefully twice a day, and be able to train with a great group of paddling friends. I have tons of goals for Uganda for my paddling, new tricks I want to learn, becoming more confident, working on timed rides, and having fun. The most important goal is staying healthy since I have just received six different vaccinations for my trip and the medicine for Malaria "could induce hallucinations" as the pharmacist warned.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/2/H5.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>I can't wait to see another part of the world, I have no idea what to expect. I do know that no matter what I think is going to happen or what I think I will see, I am probably wrong. I am going into this trip open minded and knowing that its going to be an amazing eye-opening experience. I am not planning on having much internet so I will update when possible, and have tons of photos and videos when I get back to the states. When I return in March I will be loading up and going to train at the Nantahala River for the US Freestyle Team Trails that will be held in April.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>My pack list:</strong></p> <p>My <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href=";search=Search">Z-1</a></p> <p>Chaco <a href=";search=Search">Valleda Shoe</a></p> <p>Tons of Beyond Coastal Sunscreen</p> <p>Kayaking gear - Wavesport Project X 48, AT Superlight Paddle, All of my awesome IR paddling gear, My Astral Bella PFD</p> <p>The Best Sunglasses Kaenon's</p> <p>G-Form Elbow Pads</p> <p>Protein Bars</p> <p>Go Pro &amp; Video Camera</p> <p>Camping gear</p> <p>Bug Spray&nbsp;</p> <p>7 books&nbsp;</p> <p>Slack-line</p> <p><em>Until the next adventure</em></p> <p>~Haleythenomad</p> <p>--------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em><strong>About Haley Mills:</strong>&nbsp;The word nomad is a great description of myself. I enjoy the unpredictable life of traveling in a RV and constantly being on and around the water. I've been kayaking since I was thirteen years old so I am accustomed to an on-water lifestyle. Over the past few years I've directed my focus to competing in Kayaking, and am becoming a fierce competitor, with solid goals for this year. I am ranked 2nd in the USA and 5th in the world for Freestyle kayaking.</em></p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 23:09:00 GMT A Paddler’s Dream: Kayaking in the Misty Fjords with Chaco Ambassador Susan Shain <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/SS2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="margin: 0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; ">Recently, I had the pleasure of spending three days kayaking in the beautiful <a href="">Misty Fjords National Monument</a>. The Misty Fjords is 2.3 million acres of pristine wilderness -- beautiful, vast, and best of all, empty.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Misty Fjords National Monument is the largest national monument in the United States. Located in the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska, it&rsquo;s inaccessible by roads: the only way to reach it is by boat or floatplane. The glacially-carved fjords are covered in trees, waterfalls, and wildlife&hellip; and not a whole lot else.</p> <p style="margin: 0px; "><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/SS3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Though the area is a kayaker&rsquo;s paradise, most people have never heard of it. I know I hadn&rsquo;t until I moved to Southeast Alaska in the summer of 2010. It&rsquo;s located about 40 nautical miles from Ketchikan, which is the southernmost (and rainiest) city in Alaska. With a population of 12,000, it&rsquo;s also the fourth largest.</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, the 12th largest island in the United States. Most of the island remains uninhabited, with Ketchikan occupying a small strip along the western coast. The town bustles with commercial fishermen and cruise ship visitors (the two biggest industries) during the summer.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Though the cruise ship visitors can get a taste of sea kayaking during their short stay, real kayakers will want to come to Ketchikan independently so that they can get the full experience. There are two flights daily from Ketchikan, or <a href="">Alaska Marine Highway</a> ferries from Bellingham, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. In my opinion, taking the ferry is a cool experience in and of itself -- and is also a good way to transport kayaks and cars.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Once you&rsquo;re here in Ketchikan, you should take a little time to explore the historic village and learn about the area&rsquo;s native cultures before heading out on your paddle.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">My friends and I took a 2.5-hour water taxi from town to Rudyerd Bay, which is the most iconic image you&rsquo;ll find of the Misties: sheer 3,000-foot granite cliffs shooting straight into the Pacific Ocean.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; "><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/6/SS1 copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">We camped in the bay&rsquo;s Punchbowl Cove for the night, where there&rsquo;s also access to a lovely hike up to Punchbowl Lake. (I probably don&rsquo;t have to remind Chaconians to follow Leave No Trace camping techniques and to adhere to the rules of bear safety.)</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">The next day, we paddled first to Checats Cove for lunch, then on to Winstanley Island Cabin, where we stayed for the night. (The US Forest Service cabins in Alaska are an incredible deal at $35/night.)</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">Our third day, we relaxed in the sunshine before our afternoon water taxi pick-up. Just a warning: this wasn&rsquo;t normal weather for the Misty Fjords. It doesn&rsquo;t get its name from nothing! On the 2-hour ride home, we were joined by a pod of resident orcas. After a few blissful days of remote paddling, this was just icing on an already amazing cake.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">2.3 million acres of rainforest and ocean... to yourself? I don&rsquo;t think I need to tell you Chaconians anything else. Get yourself to the Misties!&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">_____________________________________________________</p> <p style="margin: 0px; ">About Susan Shain: working seasonal adventure jobs and traveling the world since 2008, she's worked everywhere from Colorado to Korea and traveled to all corners of the earth -- Chacos in tow! She's worn her Chacos everywhere from exploring the deserts of Mongolia to kayaking in Southeast Alaska to working as a volunteer teacher in Nicaragua. She writes for Chaco and on her travel blog, <a href="">Travel Junkette</a>.</p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 21:19:00 GMT Return to Big Bear Mountain - A Climber Learns to Ski <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One side benefit to being a year round climber is that I have a fair amount of outdoor gear for different types of conditions. So when my Brother in Law asked at Christmas if I wanted to go skiing the next week, I knew that I had enough clothing gear to get me through the predicted chilly temperatures and snow fall. A bonus was that I knew I'd also get to wear my <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Mara Boots</a> (which I have been loving since getting them and had already worn during rainy weather outings).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="decoded" src=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" alt=",1&amp;wid=731&amp;hei=472&amp;qlt=70&amp;fmt=png-alpha" /></p> <p>So here&rsquo;s my deal, I've gone skiing twice before. I've gone snowboarding once. But my short trips (2 days tops in duration) have always been a minimum of 5 years apart. Consequently, while I had fun on these trips, I never really progressed skill wise and am a recurring beginner. After this past weekend I think I can finally say I&rsquo;m beyond that.</p> <p><strong>Saturday:</strong></p> <p>So here&rsquo;s how it went, after about a 2 hour drive, my Brother in Law and I arrived at a busy Snow Summit. At their rental shop I got my first look at the &ldquo;new&rdquo; skis&hellip; the last time I skied was over 16 years ago! I then went with my Brother in Law on the Bunny Slopes, luckily I didn't fall getting off the lift, and I didn't fall on the short run either. Apparently I remembered how to Snow Plow.&nbsp;</p> <p>After one more run, we decided to go up to the Family Fun Park area of the mountain, hoping for shorter lift lines, and also knowing that that area had green as well as green / blue runs.</p> <p>I spent the rest of the day on the various runs up there. I fell at least once on each run. Sometimes I&rsquo;d fall on the blue sections but towards the end of the day I seemed to only fall towards the end of the run where there were lots of people. They were like mine fields to me which made me nervous.</p> <p>All and all it was a great day and at the end my Brother in Law went straight to the office to sign up my two nieces to Little Bear Ski Camp. He was committed to returning.</p> <p><strong>Sunday:</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s snowing!&rdquo; I said excitedly as I saw the first flakes falling as we drove up the mountain a second time, this time with my five-year old nieces accompanying us in the back of the car. As a born and raised Southern Californian (even one with outdoor experience) it&rsquo;s still an out of the ordinary occurrence for me to see flakes coming down. I've been in snow plenty of times but actual snowfall was rare. My nieces were also excited. They at first didn't believe that the white dots were snowflakes.</p> <p>When we arrived in Big Bear we could tell right away that it was going to be different than Saturday, where on Saturday we had to wait in a line to park at Snow Summit, this time we were able to drive right up to the free parking area and find a spot quickly. We breezed the girls through rentals and got them to their class.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/AA.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>After that we went straight for the top of the mountain. The plan was that we&rsquo;d go down the long green Summit run from the top and my Brother in Law would give me pointers on how to do proper turns as we made our way down.</p> <p>After lunch at the summit my confidence was high enough that we decided to split up for the day, just to meet up in time to watch my nieces at their school. Snow had continued to fall throughout the day. I felt really good and this time I didn&rsquo;t fall at all, though this may be partly due to the fact that there were a lot less people about than on Saturday.</p> <p>Riding up a lift by myself I suddenly thought, &ldquo;I get it. I see why folks buy season passes. This is fun!&rdquo; I couldn't help but feel a bit of pride that I had progressed so much in my two days. I couldn't get my turns to the left as good as the ones to my right, but I was actually able to stop without snow plowing (or falling) and I could carve in the snow!</p> <p>By finishing a little early I was able to watch my nieces go on their first real Bunny Slope run, they were so cute doing their Snow Plows, or, as they later told me &ldquo;the pizza slice&rdquo;.</p> <p>In the parking lot of Snow Summit, as we got in the car, both of my nieces declared that it was, &ldquo;The Best Day Ever!&rdquo; &nbsp;I can&rsquo;t quite agree with them, but I&rsquo;ll have to say it was certainly a banner day for me. I finally &ldquo;got it&rdquo; and while I need a lot of practice I think I could become a pretty good skier</p> <p>As it so happens&hellip; apparently my Brother in Law and nieces were so happy with skiing that the whole family (including my sister) will be going back to Big Bear this weekend. They've invited me to go with them.</p> <p>I said, &ldquo;Yes!&rdquo; I gotta at least keep up with my nieces right?</p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 20:59:00 GMT Winter Wonderland- an excerpt from the Chaco-Sphere <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> is a place for <a href="">Chaconians</a> to come together and share their adventures, and it recently got a whole lot better! No matter your <a href="">Chaco</a> adventure of choice, be it hiking, paddling, camping, climbing or kicking back with a cold brew, we invite you to be a part of our party and <a href="">join the fun</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Here are some photos uploaded to the Chaco-sphere by PRO <a href="">Happy Feet-n-NC</a>, a very&nbsp;dedicated Chaconian who refuse to give up his <a href=";search=Search">Chaco sandals</a> even when the snow flies. We can't say we advise this but we sure do appreciate it! Head on over to the revamped <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> and post your phostos.&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Chaco1.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Chaco2.jpg" alt="" /><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Chaco3.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Titled:&nbsp;<span style="font-weight: bold;">Who says you cant wear Chacos in Winter?</span></span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Posted By: <a href="">Happy Feet-n-NC</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="" alt="" /></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"> </span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left; padding-left: 60px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">2013 Winter storm complete with "Thunder snow" </span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Snowy sandals more than your hoes can handle? There is another way to continue your Chaco commintment in the colder months... and no we don't mean socks with your sandals. Check out Chaco's line of <a href=";search=Search">boots</a> and <a href=";search=Search">shoes</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 14:32:00 GMT The Green River Race <p>Take a seat in Chris Baer's Kayak as he races the through the challenging course of the Green River Race. For a little perspective on just how "adventurous" this race is... be sure to stick around to minute 6.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe src="" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:10:00 GMT Here's to 2012, and to a 2013 Full of Adventure for Chaco Ambassador Eileen Ringwald <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/A.jpg" alt="" />So 2012 has come to a close, was it a great adventure year for you? It was for me, and I'm looking forward to 2013. Every year people seem to make resolutions around this time, to tell you the truth, I usually do not. Instead I love to stay prepared for the opportunities that may come my way. Sometimes being prepared means that certain opportunities will inevitably show up, such as in the case of going on say, a permit required backpacking trip, but sometimes that can also mean taking off for an unexpected week in Yosemite because a friend's friend bailed on them.</p> <p>One of the things I do to stay prepared is to try to keep physically in shape. This can mean climbing, hiking and otherwise exercising regularly, but can also mean getting enough downtime to let tendons and muscles recover.</p> <p>Another way to keep physically prepared is to have the right gear. For me this means keeping an eye on climbing and outdoor gear (like <a href="">Chaco</a> shoes!) and making sure they are in good to go condition.</p> <p>Mentally I stay prepared by having mini adventures close to home when I can. For me that means taking beach walks during different times of the day to see the differences in the environment and wildlife. It can also mean taking a photo assignment in a new area just to see what there is to see and to use techniques I don't normally get to use.</p> <p>That being said, there are a few things I hope will cross my path in 2013:</p> <ul> <li>Trying ice climbing finally</li> <li>A return trip to <a href="">Havasupai Tribal Lands</a> to see and document the changes in the waterfalls there since my last visit in 2008</li> <li>A return to Indian Creek&nbsp;</li> <li>Climbing <a href="">Devil's Tower</a></li> <li>A first visit to <a href="">Smith Rocks in Oregon</a></li> <li>Climbing in Hawaii</li> <li>Climbing and photo assignments abroad (Canada, Europe, and/orAsia)</li> <li>The <a href="">5th Annual Joshua Tree Tweetup&nbsp;</a></li> </ul> <p>Who knows if any of those will happen (well, except for the Tweetup, that's a given that I'll make that happen, it's tradition at this point!) but I do know that being prepared is key to any of it happening. So I say, bring on 2013, I'll be ready for you!</p> <p>------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="" alt="" /></p> <p><em>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 06:30:00 GMT Just a Day in my Life - Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson <p>A few months ago I joined in with a few other <a href="" target="_blank">Chaco&nbsp;Ambassadors</a>&nbsp;to make this &lsquo;day in the life of a <a href="" target="_blank">Chaconian</a>&lsquo; video. I took the stance of a Chaconian Mom. A little &lsquo;me time&rsquo; a little &lsquo;play time&rsquo; and some outdoor adventure. The stuff that makes for a great day.</p><iframe width="480" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 06:21:00 GMT A Change of Pace- Chaco Ambassador Mike Tavares in December <p>December was a unique and different time of year for an athlete such as me. After wrapping up a long year of competing and travelling, I settle in at our Christmas tree lot in Chattanooga TN. &nbsp;It is so different from our "normal" everyday life that it takes a little getting used to. &nbsp;</p> <p>This year was no different in the fact that I had to really adjust my speed from travelling most of the year to hanging out at one spot for 5 weeks straight. &nbsp;One cool thing that I noticed this year was the amount of <a href="">Chacos</a> I saw coming into the Tree Lot. &nbsp;</p> <p>One thing that is great about being a <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a> is paying attention to and seeing the scope and reach that Chaco has across the country. &nbsp;This year was a warmer year than usual and people were actually shopping for Christmas trees in sandals and t-shirts. &nbsp;The amount of Chacos that came into the tree lot was amazing. &nbsp;From <a href=";search=Search">flips</a> to <a href="">Z's</a> and <a href=";search=Search">shoes</a>, we saw tons and were able to talk to customers about more than just Christmas trees this year!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Mike4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It was also great to be able to put some of the Chaco Boots to the test day after day. &nbsp;Being on your feet for a month straight for about 10 hours a day is a task by itself and this was the first year that I did not have to worry about my feet at all! &nbsp;This year I got a pair of <a href="">Creedence Boots</a> and a pair of <a href="">Dundas Waterproof</a> shoes and put them to the test. &nbsp;My everyday boot was the Credence's and during rainy days, I slipped on the Dundas' to keep my dry. &nbsp;I would have to say that I am now hooked on Chaco boots!</p> <p>Here are a few pictures from the tree lot this year of us working hard in our new Chacos.....</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Mike1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Mike2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2013/1/Mike3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>On a completely different topic, I had the chance to visit my favorite TN surf spot for a few days before the Christmas tree lot opened and had another chance to put my <a href=";search=Search">Tedinho Pro boots</a> to the test. &nbsp;I have never been happier with my whitewater surf footwear. &nbsp;Here are some photos of the Boots in action as well as a point of view video showing how the boots are the best in whitewater!</p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 00:47:00 GMT New Years Resolutions From Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Lindsey.jpg" alt="" />Last year was rough. A hard pregnancy, a new baby, a move, a change in jobs... But we're back in business this year and excited to set some outdoor resolutions!</p> <p style="text-align: left;">1. Walk, bike (or run when we're late) to school every day</p> <p>My sons school is about 4 blocks away. Close enough to 'walk', also close enough to drive when you're in a hurry, especially since I have to lug all 3 of my kids there to broth drop him off and pick him up. But we're committed to self mobility come rain, snow or wind.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Learn to love the nature in my own backyard</p> <p>We're pretty good at heading out of town on a campout on any given weekend, but we're not that good at really getting to know the places where we live. We just moved to a new area where we're having a hard time trying to figure out all the recreational opportunities surrounding our little valley. This year we hope to get to know our surroundings better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. Spend a lot of time in Southern Utah</p> <p>This goal may seem to contradict goal #2, but I assure you, they can both be done...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>4. More spontaneous &lsquo;adventures&rsquo;</p> <p>I use to be so good at this! Having a kid in school is really cramping my style. This year I need to find the time to start doing things like spontaneous dinner picnics, last minute camping trips and after school mountain biking adventures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Hike to the top of a peak.</p> <p>All of us. The whole family needs to be standing on a peak at some point this year. I even have a peak all picked out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>6. Play more ultimate frisbee</p> <p>Enough said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>7. Get out on more mother/daughter hikes</p> <p>I did a fair amount of hiking with my boys when they were little. I have yet to do a hike with just me and my daughter (8 months). &nbsp;Not cool. I want this to be something her and I do together often while she's growing up. This starts... now!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We'd love to hear what resolutions you have set for yoursevles, or what <a href="">Chaconian</a> adventures you have planned for 2013. Share them below in the comments section!</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 04:25:00 GMT Highlights and Reflection From 2012! <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Haley3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div>As the year is coming to a close I can&rsquo;t help but think about how I have such a blessed life. The year got kicked of with a new to me RV, the addition of Shred doggy, and being added to the <a href="">Chaco Ambassador Team</a>.</div> <p><img style="float: right; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Slide1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In mid spring I started my tour traveling all over the US to competitions. The tour started on the east coast and made its way to the west then wrapped up in Florida The highlights for me this year was pushing myself to compete in over 35 events; a mix of Freestyle Kayaking, Whitewater Stand Up Paddle Board, and Ocean Stand Up events. &nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Haley1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Almost every weekend I was competing in both sports and able to make the podium at all the events. Another great accomplishment was being the <a href="">US Point Series Champion for Freestyle Kayaking</a>. Then having a awesome time getting to Stand Up Paddle a ton of great rivers out west. Getting to compete and see all of my friends at the World Cup for Freestyle Kayaking.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Haley5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The events that have impacted me the most this year were the ones that were in the ocean stand up paddle boarding. Where I was competing &nbsp;out of my element and getting destroyed by extremely fast women. I feel that I learn more about myself when I don&rsquo;t win a competition. It makes me light my fire for the next competition.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Haley4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One last unexpected highlight of the year was getting to spend time with my Chaco family in Arkansas and finally meeting <a href="">Emily Sukiennik</a>, another badass <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a>. I am happy this year is coming to a close. We're done <a href="">selling christmas trees</a> and the last week of 2012 will be spent with family recharging my batteries for another year of adventure. Until next time...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fit for Adventure.&nbsp;</p> <p>Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills</p> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 22:41:00 GMT How young is too young for kayaking Class 5 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This <a href="">Chaconian</a> adventure is brought to you by&nbsp;Holden Bradford, age 10, and <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a> Chris Baer.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="decoded" style="cursor: -moz-zoom-in;" src="" alt="" width="472" height="603" /><img class="decoded" style="cursor: -moz-zoom-in;" src="" alt="" width="603" height="603" /></p> <p>For the last few years I have been "organizing" a race on the Pine Creek section of the Arkansas River. My goal with the race is to have as much fun as possible and create an amazing spectator event. Chaos is always fun and the crowd seems to love it... so mass start is the way I try to start the race. Over a dozen kayaks, seven rafts including the current National Champions, a couple duckies and shredders, toss in a pair of tubers, and a Topo Duo to round out the junk show.</p> <p>Holden Bradford is a fired up 10 year old with a ton of charisma. Race day he woke up early and hiked to the top of a peak just outside of Buena Vista to go paragliding. Right now he is probable tearing up Breckenridge ski resort, day dreaming of the spring when he gets to go kayaking again. Holden started rafting when he was only 18 months old, and has been kayaking for 5 years. He can truly read white water.</p> <p>When I first approached Holden's father about the idea of Holden and I racing together I could see a little apprehension, but what came out of Josh's mouth was YES! The Plan was for Holden and I to race a two person kayak through the class 5 section of the Arkansas River.&nbsp;</p> <p>Race day I chatted with Holden at the put in. I asked him if he had ever paddled Pine Creek before, or been in a two-person kayak, or seal launched? Holden responded a little hesitantly with "well no, but I have looked at pine creek a bunch, and I know we can do it!" Holden and I were about to experience a bunch of firsts together. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img class="decoded" src="" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center; "><strong>Holden and I charging through Pine Creek</strong></p> <p>The pine creek mass start has never been clean, and this year was no different. The field took off in two slightly different waves, and at that point neither Holden nor I was in our kayak. It took a couple seconds to hop in the kayak and slap the spray skirts on. We pushed off the embankment and skidded into the water instantly cranking out strokes trying to make up for our delayed start.</p> <p>Holden paddled like a man on a mission. I couldn't help smiling as our boat flew over waves and crushed into others, plowing Holden deep into the water.&nbsp;</p> <p>Pine Creek went supper well and both of us were glowing from the cheers of the crowd. Coming through triple drop the stern hung up in a hydraulic and I looked up to see Holden a solid 4-5 feet out of the water. As I set the boat back down level Holden let out a laugh and we started to link strokes and pass one white water vessel after the next.&nbsp;</p> <p>Twenty minutes into the race we had passed every one but the two fastest raft teams, and three kayakers. With Holden's father in the raft directly in front of us, we paused for a strategic pass. "GO HOLDEN GO!" I hollered as we came screaming past his fathers raft. The last few minutes of the race were grueling and Holden let out a couple groans as we inched closer and closer to the National raft team.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe></p> <p>As we came across the finish line Holden reminded me that he came in 5th and that I was definitely 6th. Post race we were bombarded with questions. " I felt a little proud watching Holden go from tentative to confident while explaining that there would be no reason for us to roll, and to watch out for next year when hopefully Chris can get a proper start to happen. When asked how we did, Holden smiled and let it be known that "We slayed it!"</p> <p>So how old is old enough to paddle class 5? In the proper craft, with the proper guidance, Holden Bradford, and I would agree, you can definitely fire up Pine Creek when your 10.</p> <p>Thank you Holden for letting me paddle along with you in such a fun event.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 00:08:00 GMT Seasons Greetings From Chaco Ambassadors Mike and Haley... <p>and their dog Shredder!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/photo-4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/photo-9.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 05:38:00 GMT Highline Adventures with Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Emily4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'd love to share a little bit about my most recent highline adventure, which didn't go exactly as planned. I decided that I wanted to go rig a line that I had done a few years back; a very picturesque line with quite a bit of an approach but totally worth it. My boyfriend Mark and I packed up all the gear and invited two other friends Richard and Krystle to join us. They said they would meet us out there so I gave them some vague directions from what I could remember from years past: "Yeah, you just wanna park right before the switch backs and then hike Southwest, following the rim. You should find us within a mile or two."&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Emily1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Mark and I drove to the location and it was a gorgeous sunny day in the desert. Our packs full, we headed out to look for the line. I felt fairly confident that I would remember where it was. We began hiking and it turns out my memory wasn't as solid as I thought it was. This particular area has a bunch of "fins" breaking off of the main "fin" and we started to follow the wrong rim. We didn't realize it was the wrong rim until about 3 hours had gone by and we hadn't found the line. It was hot, our packs were heavy and full of steel, my dog was even getting tired and we just wanted to rest! We didn't want to leave our friends hanging so I whipped out my iPhone and our ultimate savior ended up being the Google Earth App. I didn't have service out there but somehow the application had saved views of the area and we were able to pinpoint exactly where we thought we were. That's when we noticed the multiple "fins". "Oh!! We need to go check out that fin to the right, I'm pretty sure we're just on the wrong one." So we started hiking.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Emily2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We had gone pretty far off course so we had a long way to go. We used our mental compasses to guide us towards the proper fin and as we approached we started to hear: "HEY!.....HEY!! MARK? EMILY?". It was our friends Richard and Krystle who were just as lost as we were. Thank goodness! Now we had four people to look for the line, we were bound to find it now. Just before sunset, Richard spotted the line which ended up being pretty hidden from plain view. We didn't have time to start rigging the line that night so we set up camp, made a fire and drank some wine in the desert moonlight. I feel so lucky in those moments, nothing will ever feel so pure.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Emily3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The next day, we rigged. And by my own mistake, the webbing I brought for both the main line and the backup was just about 20 feet too short. Damn! All this way and we don't even get to walk? Disappointed, I felt so silly. How could I be so stupid?? But then I realized....mistakes are part of the game. I'm always so hard on myself but I had to take a step back and laugh. Without mistakes there is no growth and without mistakes there is no deviation from the path. Our mistakes are our teachers and the one thing I've learned from my mistakes is to enjoy my life despite of them.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Emily5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm still learning to laugh at myself and the more I do, the happier I am. Later that week we were all able to go back to the line and walk it with the proper webbing and it was glorious. Mark is working on his slacklining and highlining skills and gave it some great attempts; one of my favorite things in the world is to watch someone push themselves on the line. I had such a great time walking, it had been a while since I had been on a highline. I love pushing myself and feeling strong. Overall it was a great experience, a little adventure never hurt anyone ;-)&nbsp;</p> <p> <p style="text-align: left;">__________________________________________________________</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>About Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik:&nbsp;A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 01:46:00 GMT The Forth Annual Jtree Tweetup <p>The <a href="">Fourth Annual Jtree Tweetup</a>, a camping and climbing tweetup which officially took place from November 9-11, 2012 (though many came early and some stayed later) was a lot of fun as usual. This year it was mainly cold and windy, though thankfully not as windy as the forecasts had originally said it would be (one day had predicted gusts of 50 miles per hour, but I'd guess we only experienced 30 mph gusts at most). The hearty <a href="">Twitter</a> climbers braved it all to camp, meet and climb. One of the things I love about JTree Tweetups is seeing my Twitter friends in person and how a bunch of strangers can become friends, sometimes a little adversity can bring folks together.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/ChacoBlog1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Luke climbing at the 4th Jtree Tweetup with a peanut gallery shadow crew watching</em></p> <p>Climbing was a quest for sun and wind protection so we ended up at <a href="">Thin Wall</a> (yeah not much sun there, but a good wall for folks to get acquainted with/ reacquainted with <a href="">Joshua Tree National Park Rock</a>), <a href="">Headstone</a>, <a href="">Echo Cove</a>, <a href="">Hidden Tower</a>, <a href="">Little Rock Candy Mountain</a>, <a href="">Old Woman</a>, and <a href="">Brown Wall</a>. Small groups also climbed on <a href="">The Blob</a> and on extra scrambles, and bouldering areas.</p> <p>We were fortunate this year to have a bunch of great sponsors, including Chaco (who sponsors me as part of their Ambassador Team) but also stepped up as a sponsor for the Jtree Tweetup this year by providing a $60 gift certificate to giveaway as part of the 10 Year Anniversary events.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/ChacoBlog3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Katherine, from Portland, Oregon, and first time Jtree Tweetup attendee, won the Chaco gift certificate!</em></p> <p>Personally I had a great time, this year a number of folks showed up before the official weekend so I had help with campsite wrangling and an easier time of figuring out where to climb since we could hit popular routes on the weekday.&nbsp;</p> <p>On this trip I also got to mix business and pleasure, squeezing in a photo shoot for Teresa of Mountain Mama and her family at Ryan Campground and at Gunsmoke before we joined more Tweetup goers at Hidden Tower.<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/ChacoBlog4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/ChacoBlog5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Climbing wise I got to on sight a trad climb in the Little Rock Candy Mountain area and to climb other new to me routes there. It was also great seeing others challenge themselves, Terri on sighted an unusual route on Hidden Tower and Nina got her groove back after a break from climbing, leading Wild Wind (5.9).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/12/ChacoBlog2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Narinda having fun at Brown Wall on Captain Chronos</em></p> <p>At the end of the trip there was talk about how 2013 will be the 5th Annual Jtree Tweetup, we even tried to get the group campsite before I had left the park... but it was booked. That's ok, we'll still be doing it, so keep an eye out folks, we will be doing it again!</p> <p>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 02:26:00 GMT Cutting a Christmas Tree... the Chaconian Way <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Untitled.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You don't have to look like this guy to successfully cut your own Christmas Tree.&nbsp;Whether you're hitting the woods around home or heading to the local tree farm, there are some key items that will make easy work of cutting your own tree, which is sure to become an annual <a href="">Chaconian</a> tradition.</p> <p><img style="float: left; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Thermous.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fill a thermos with your favorite warm drink, spiked or not, and bring it along. One of our favorites is&nbsp;<a href="">Spiced Apple Cider</a>:</p> <div class="ingredients recipe-section"> <div class="item-list"> <ul class="content-multigroup-group-ingredient"> <li class="ingredient first"> 32 whole allspice berries</li> <li class="ingredient"> 24 cinnamon sticks</li> <li class="ingredient"> 24 cardamom pods</li> <li class="ingredient"> 12 whole cloves</li> <li class="ingredient"> 12 strips (2 inches wide) orange zest (from about 3 oranges)</li> <li class="ingredient last"> 1 gallon apple cider</li> </ul> <div>Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cider can be kept warm over very low heat. Strain before serving, reserving cinnamon sticks for garnish if desired.</div> <div><br /></div> </div> </div> <div><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Gloves.jpg" alt="" />A good pair of work gloves, with insulation if it's chilly where you are, will help protect your hands from scrapes, cuts and worst of all... sap.&nbsp;High amounts of sap in live Christmas trees give these holiday staples their signature aroma. The sticky resin can also be quite the hassle once it's on your hands... and then clothes.</div> <div style="overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none;"><br /></div> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/sawopened.jpg" alt="" />Use a small to medium sized hand saw or pruning saw, rather than an axe, to cut your tree. They're safer, especially when your hands are cold, and much easier to use. They also allow the cut to be much straighter and flat, which will keep the tree healthy in your home for longer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Tarp1.jpg" alt="" />Pack a tarp to protect the roof of your car or truck bed from the tree when transporting it home. Fold the tarp and position it under the tree before securing it to your car.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Boots.jpg" alt="" />Good footwear, like the&nbsp;<a href="">Chaco</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Dundas Waterproof Boot</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="">Belyn Baa</a>, is essential when chopping your Christmas tree. Keeping feet warm, dry and comfortable is key to enjoying any time outside during the colder months. A lugged sole lends traction on slippery terrain while selecting, sawing and lugging your tree.</p> Sat, 08 Dec 2012 00:21:00 GMT Catching Up with Chaco Ambassador Chris Baer <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Hi Chaco</a> from <a href="">Chris Baer</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 05:06:00 GMT Falling for Chaco... some Chaco-sphere highlights! <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> is a place for <a href="">Chaconians</a> to come together and share their adventures, and it recently got a whole lot better! No matter your <a href="">Chaco</a> adventure of choice, be it hiking, paddling, camping, climbing or kicking back with a cold brew, we invite you to be a part of our party and <a href="">join the fun</a>. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Here are a few of our favorite Chaconian photos from Fall, uploaded by Chaco Rocker's and Pro's... an all new feature on the Chaco-sphere! Head on over to the revamped <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> and post your postos.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Chaco1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Titled: ChacoLUV</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Posted By: <a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=566832&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">ciesla504</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Rocker.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">ChacoLUV my new <a href="">Mara boots</a> for Fall. Keeping my feet warm, dry and feeling ever so fine in my new Mara boots. Whether it's playing (working;) outdoors in the leaves, exploring great Michigan's scenic trails for the best in Fall Foilage viewing, shopping downtown or even a night on the town with my hubz! I #ChacoLUV my new #Chaco boots!! They ROCK my world!</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Chaco 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Titled: Falling in Love</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Posted By: <a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=745939&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">racheleubanks</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/PRO.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In LOVE with my new Chaco booties! They keep me warm and supported for the transition from fall to winter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Chaco3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Titled: Tedinho Waterproof Boots rock my world</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Posted By: <a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=546663&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">smhirsch</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/PRO.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">If you're debating whether or not to get these shoes, I'd say do it. Pictured here at <a href="">Cathedral Lake</a> (elev. 11,400') outside Aspen Colorado. It's a 6 mile round trip hike with 2,000ft elevation gain...and my feet and knees couldn't thank me enough for wearing these shoes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Chaco4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Titled: Comfort and Style</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Posted By: <a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=372573&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">Boo Boo&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Rocker.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Just bought these recently from a third party and really like how they look and feel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Chacos6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Titled: Fall Breeze</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Posted By: <a href=";;;remainInModalOnClose=True&amp;localeID=1033&amp;area=PublicProfile&amp;accountID=611318&amp;email=&amp;sessionTransferID=&amp;theme=">k dk</a>&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/12/Rocker.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">I love sitting outside and enjoying the fall breeze and changing leaves, with my chacos, of course!</p> Sun, 02 Dec 2012 09:10:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson's Adventure in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-2-2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">The two best summers of my life were spent working (and playing) in the <a href="">Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument</a>. It's one of the most beautiful places on the face of this earth... Well, in my opinion.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This fall we headed down there for an extended weekend camping trip. Everything turned out absolutely perfect. Good company, perfect weather and lots of rest and relaxation. What made this trip so splendid was that we headed to the Monument with only one goal in mind. To enjoy being outside.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We definitely accomplished that. We did some hiking, some laying around in hammocks and plenty of spontaneous rope swings.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Words can't describe how much I love that Southern Utah sun.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/southern utah-5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/11/southern utah.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <div class="blog"> <div class="post single"> <div class="blog-content"> <p><em><a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Lindsey Wilson blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 17:36:00 GMT Chaconians Give Thanks <div class="post-info"> <p class="post-date"><a href=""></a></p> </div> <div style="color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><a href="">Chaco</a>&nbsp;takes great pride in our loyal Chaconian following. This season we are very thankful to have such a tremendous community of adventurers.&nbsp;Chaconians are the heart and soul of Chaco, breathing life into the shoes as you explore, teach, reach and perform.</p> <p>The <a href="">Chaco Ambassador Team</a> helps carry our Chaconian message, through competitions, outdoor education and worldly travels these ambassadors organically spread the Chaconian vibe and inspire more people to seek adventures near and far. Below a&nbsp;few of the Chaco Team members share their thankful thoughts with us. Please feel free to do the same in the comments section below this post.&nbsp;</p> <p>Follow all the Chaco Ambassadors here on the Chaco blog and on our Chaconian social places-&nbsp;<a href="">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">Twitter</a>. Together, they represent all of us - our goals; our destinations; our life of adventure! Adventure on Chaconians and stay tuned as we follow the Chaco ambassador team.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>EMILY SUKIENNIK:&nbsp;This thanksgiving I am thankful for my boyfriend, Mark, who has turned out to be the most generous, kind, and supportive person in my life. &nbsp;I am also thankful for the desert which provides me with clarity and strength.&nbsp;</p> <p>A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>LINDSEY WILSON:&nbsp;I'm thankful for all the dirt, mud, bugs, leaves and sticks I clean out of my house on a daily basis. It means my kids have been outside enjoying all the right things! :)</p> <p>Lindsey Wilson is an environmental educator, outdoor fanatic and mom. She is founder of&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, a blog dedicated to providing inspiration and tips for making family adventuring fun, easy and accessible.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>EILEEN RINGWALD:&nbsp;I'm thankful for the wonders of the earth, and the love of my family and friends. I'm also thankful for the different opportunities life has given me in the past year, life is an adventure on which I am happy to be!</p> <p>Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen's spent much of her life scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love for hiking and climbing. She took this love of adventure and formed&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community.</p> </div> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 14:32:00 GMT LUV Stinks <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/PEW.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A new <a href="">Chaconian</a> recently called to share with us how he had discovered <a href="">Chaco&rsquo;s</a>. The story was so great, and made us laugh so hard, we decided it was just to good not to share.</p> <p>The young man&rsquo;s story began on some sort of bus tour he took with his parents. At some point along the way everyone was dropped off for a hike. All was jubilant until the man met a skunk on the trail, which turned out to be very unfortunate encounter&hellip; and we mean VERY, he was completely sprayed.</p> <p>Not wanting to impose his current (smelly) state on the rest of the passengers on the crowded bus the man decided to strip down, discard his offensive garments (including his footwear), and board the bus in only his <em>boxers</em>. Thankful for sparing them the stench the bus kindly stopped at the nearest town where the man was able to shower at a truck stop while his Mom dashed to a nearby retailer to buy him some new clothing and shoes.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Here comes the happy ending!</em></p> <p>Fortunately for the young man, his mother came back with a pair of Chaco&rsquo;s. He boarded the bus in his new footwear and smelling great. He had never worn Chaco&rsquo;s before and called to tell us that due to this seemingly unfortunate event, he now can&rsquo;t live without them!</p> <p>We&rsquo;re sending our thanks to the skunk ;)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 03:26:00 GMT The Great Chaco Kids Giveaway! <p>Attention <a href="">Chaconians</a> with wee ones! We have partnered with <a href=""></a> and a few other blogger friends to give away one pair of <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Kids shoes</a>. All enteries must be time stamped by the blogs server no later than <strong>Thursday, Novermber 15th, 2012 at 9pm Mountain Time</strong>... THAT IS TODAY! So get on over to the participating blogs and leave a comment stating what is the one piece of outdoor baby/kid gear you couldn't live without, or alternately, a knock knock joke, your choice.</p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/Screen Shot 2012-11-15 at 1.32.07 PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p>November 13, 2012</p> <h1><a href="">Review and GIVEAWAY of kids Chacos</a></h1> <div class="postDetails"> <div class="postAuthor">Written by: Lindsey</div> <div class="commentCount"><a title="Comment on Review and GIVEAWAY of kids Chacos" href="">36 Comments</a></div> </div> <div class="thePost"> <p>My son has two pairs of Chacos now. The <a href="" target="_blank">Zanda</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">Z/1 EcoTread</a>. I <a href="" target="_blank">reviewed the Z/1</a> this summer, and after running around the desert and sloshing through slot canyons I&rsquo;ve deemed the Z/1 the greatest kid shoe ever. And why shouldn&rsquo;t they be? <a href="" target="_blank">Chaco sandalas</a> are the greatest adult shoe ever too, in my opinion.</p> <p>This time around Chaco has provided me with a pair of Zandas to review, which have been my sons primary footwear since summer (pictured below assisting him on a rope swing).</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6594" title="Chaco kids Zanda, hey, it's good for rope swinging." src="" alt="" width="670" height="447" />A few words I would use to describe this shoe:</p> <p><strong>Tough</strong><br /> It&rsquo;s made on a Chaco foot bed so the sole is super thick and hardy. Your child will definetly outgrow the shoe before he/she wears down the sole.</p> <p><strong>Muli-Seasonal</strong><br /> He&rsquo;s hiked with them in the summer and never complained about hot feet, he&rsquo;s also worn them through last weeks snow storms and didn&rsquo;t mention cold feet. They have padded mesh screens on top which let air in, and their not gore-tex, so walking through the snow isn&rsquo;t an option, but walking <em>on top</em> of packed snow was fine.</p> <p><strong>Kid Friendly</strong><br /> There are no laces, which means that my 5-year-old could put them on all by himself. A welcome treat for sure.</p> <p>If you buy (or win) these shoes get a size (or two) bigger than you think you&rsquo;ll need. My son&rsquo;s size 12 Z/1&prime;s fit him perfectly, so I ordered a size 13 Zanda, but I wish I would have gotten a size 1. Their the kind of shoe you can buy bigger,&nbsp;especially&nbsp;if you want to wear thick socks and wear them in the winter.</p> <p>So now for the fun part.&nbsp;<em>You</em> can enter to win a pair of&nbsp;<a href="">kids Chacos</a>&nbsp;of your choice&nbsp;by leaving a comment.</p> <p><strong>What is the one outdoor baby/child item you wouldn&rsquo;t want to live without. And if you don&rsquo;t have kids&hellip; just tell me a good knock knock joke.</strong></p> <p>If you want to increase your odds at winning you can also enter to win at the following sites. The bloggers are reviewing shoes and participating in the giveaway as well:</p> <p>Review of the Zanda by <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and <a href="" target="_blank"></a><br /> Review of the Paradox Ecotread by <a href="" target="_blank"></a><br /> Review of the Otis by <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p>One winner will be chosen between this blog and the blogs listed above, so enter away! Good luck!!</p> <p><em><strong>Rules:</strong></em></p> <ol> <li><em>You MUST answer the question (above) to be&nbsp;eligible.</em></li> <li><em>You must supply me with a valid email address when you enter (so I can contact you if you win).</em></li> <li><em>You can only enter once on this blog.</em></li> <li><em>You must be 18 or older.</em></li> <li><em><em>Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.</em><br /> </em></li> <li><em>The contest starts now and entries must be date stamped by our server no later than Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 9:00pm Mountain Time to be eligible.</em></li> <li><em>The winner will be chosen using the number generator at&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;and announced on this post, November 16th, 2012!</em></li> <li><em>Winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to reply to my notification. If I don&rsquo;t hear back, I&rsquo;ll pick another winner.</em></li> </ol></div> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 22:31:00 GMT Ambassador Team Member Mike Tavares Rocks SUP the Magazine <p><a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Mike Tavares recently graced the pages of <a href="">SUP the Magazine</a> and we thought you'd like to see it. To view more of SUP the Magazine visit them online at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/Mike T - SUP the Mag - Idaho copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/Mike T - SUP the Mag - Table of Contents copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="color: #444444; font-family: Verdana; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;"><em>ABOUT MIKE TAVARES: As an inland SUP paddler and professional kayaker, Mike will also be bringing the sport closer to the public through demos, clinics, and fun events. See Mike's blog at<a style="text-decoration: none; color: #5c80b1; background-image: url(; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; padding-right: 10px; white-space: nowrap; background-position: 100% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;" href=""></a>.</em></span></p> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 02:51:00 GMT Don't let this happen to you... <p>but if it does, don't worry. <a href="">ReChaco</a> will help you and your four-legged friend mend fences by meding your favorite <a href="">Chaco</a> sandals. Walk time anyone?</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/11/Chaco Dog dinner copy 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 04:22:00 GMT Malibu Creek Back Areas Approach... in Chaco Sandals! <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sometimes the hike to your favorite crag areas can be adventurous all itself.&nbsp;There is a rock pool traverse that is used to access climbing areas in the back portion of <a href="">Malibu Creek State Park</a>. It&rsquo;s a bit intimidating to some but my <a href="">Chacos</a> have been up to it!</p> <p>I also do a solo climb as a quick way up once I'm past the traverse. I decided to capture some of these sequences GoPro style and you can see that Chacos win again!</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>On a funny note, while I was on the traverse, some guys ahead of me were having a hard time going across and one of them mentioned he wished his shoes would stick better. I mentioned my <a href=";search=Search">sandals</a> to him and he thought at first that I was joking that they stuck so well. "No, I'm serious, they have a special sole on them!" I assured him. When he saw me pass, he decided I was indeed serious and asked me more about Chacos.</p> <p>I'm pretty sure he looked them up when he got home ;)</p> <p><em>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 05:32:00 GMT The 8 Ball Race-A Crazed-Kayak Race <p><strong><a href="">Chacos</a>&rsquo; <a href="">ambassador</a> Chris Baer describes a recent kayak race in Colorado.</strong></p> <p>The ultimate mix of kayaking and American Gladiators, the 8 Ball Race entangles multiple ruthless concepts together to create maximum crowd and participant enthusiasm. First off, four kayak racers are unleashed onto the course together. There are up to a dozen &ldquo;8 balls&rdquo; on the creek, kayakers with the sole purpose of challenging and rearranging the finish order. Put all of these kayaker&rsquo;s agendas together on a tight and crazy creek with a thousand screaming spectators&hellip; that is The 8 Ball Race, and I am an 8 ball!</p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/CB.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Competitors during the 8 Ball Race</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><br /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/b.jpg" alt="" /><em>Smiles and disaster everywhere</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><br /></em></p> <p>The crowd laughed, booed, and screamed for more as kayakers tried to make it past me. By the end of the day it was all hugs and high fives, as competitors and 8 ballers were joking, telling stories of being run over and trounced.</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About Chris Baer: In 2011, Chris Baer's <a href="">Chaco</a> flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chris is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. In his explorations, Chris has come to know the world and is the epitome of many a <a href="">Chaconian</a>. Watch the <a href="">Chaco blog</a> and <a href=""></a> as he continues to embrace and share his life of adventure.</em></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 16:02:00 GMT ReChaco to the Rescue! <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Sorry dog-footprint copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 04:42:00 GMT 10 Year Anniversary - Chaco Boot Give Away! <p>It's been 10 years since <a href=""></a> first launched and one of the highlights of this time period for me has been joining the <a href=" ">Chaco Ambassador team</a>. Well, I was thinking what better way to celebrate a 10 Year Anniversary than to give away something new! I love my pairs of Chaco sandals and flip flops, but I've also discovered their great line up boots!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Boots.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The boots still have that same, knee and stride saving footbed but now come in trail, rain, and snow friendly versions.</p> <p>The winner will get their choice of male or female boots mailed to them! You can see the boot line ups here:</p> <p><a href="">Men's Boots</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Women's Boots</a></p> <p>How to Enter</p> <p>This will be a random give away. You can better your chances of winning by doing all of the below, or just do one of them if you're feeling especially lucky!</p> <p>1. Leave a <strong>comment</strong> on the <a href="">Rockgrrl blog post</a> by answering one of these questions: When did you start climbing? Do you own Chacos?</p> <p>2. On Twitter, follow <a href="">@rockgrrl</a> and <a href="">@chacousa</a> and<strong> tweet</strong> your favorite outdoor location and use the hashtags #RockgrrlAnniversary #ChacoPlaces in the tweet</p> <p>3. <strong>Post a reply with a photo</strong> on the <a href="">Rockgrrl Facebook post</a> about the contest with a photo of the place/area they first got hooked on climbing or the outdoors.</p> <p>4. <strong>Post a reply with a photo</strong> on the <a href="">Chaco Facebook post</a> about the contest with a photo of the place/area they first got hooked on the outdoors.</p> <p>Entries will be counted from today through midnight PST on October 31st and the winner will be announced by noon PST Thursday, November 1, 2012 on the <a href=""></a> blog.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:16:00 GMT Have a Seat at the Lunch Counter with Chaco Ambassador Mike Tavares <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Lunch Counter Wave - Mike T</a> from <a href="">RiverShred</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 19:22:00 GMT Going Solo in the Great Outdoors… with Kids <p>It&rsquo;s something I deal with all the time as a stay-at-home-mom who is also an outside junkie. Even with a 5-, 3-, and five-month-old, I actually really like getting the kids out on my own. &nbsp; I&rsquo;m not much of a home body and getting the kids out for a hike or a trip to the lake always seems like a far better alternative than futzing around the house.&nbsp;</p> <p>Your style for getting outside with just you and them will be all your own, unique to your personalities and situation, but here are some suggestions that make getting out on your own easier.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/a.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>1. Don&rsquo;t psych yourself out.
It&rsquo;s not as daunting as it sounds. One less adult can usually be mitigated with better pre-planning. &nbsp;Remember always what your objective is. &nbsp;To be outside? &nbsp;See something new? &nbsp;Have a wee adventure?</p> <p>Figure out what you&rsquo;re going for and &lsquo;settle&rsquo; for doing only that thing. &nbsp;When the kids cry or complain, when something goes awry, when you call it quits early, just remember your objective&hellip; &ldquo;well, my goal was to get outside for awhile today, and we did it!&rdquo; &nbsp;Have that attitude in mind before you even leave the house and you&rsquo;ll be surprised how easy it is to feel good about your solo trip from the moment you&rsquo;ve locked the front door.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. &nbsp;Pre-Plan.
Because being out with your kids can be a bit more stressful (in the beginning) make sure you take the time to pre-plan.</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Know where you&rsquo;re going and how to get there so that you don&rsquo;t have to navigate on your own. For you&rsquo;re first outing try going somewhere familiar if you&rsquo;re not feeling up for a &lsquo;new&rsquo; adventure just yet.</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>The day before you leave, pack the things you will need. Food, water, <a href="">first aid kit</a>, extra shoes/clothes, and all the gear you will need for your outing (lake supplies, picnic, hike, sledding etc). Packing the day before keeps the stress level down on the day of. I even keep most of this stuff in a box in my van that stays there always to make packing easier.</p> <p>Check out these links to help you pre-plan for your next solo outing with the kids:</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span><a href="">What&rsquo;s in your daypack</a>? (a list of things I bring on every outdoor outing)</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span><a href="">10 best foods to pack for outdoor adventures</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. &nbsp;Think of your kids as a bonus instead of a limitation.
Older children carry enough stuff to be useful. &nbsp;<a href="">Put them to work</a>! &nbsp;Also give them something to remember each time you go on a trip&ndash;the things you forget. &nbsp;They&rsquo;ll love catching you being forgetful, and love even more actually being useful.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>4. &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t expect too much.
You don&rsquo;t have to plan an epic adventure. &nbsp;Be happy with a trip to a local river or lake or embark on a short hike. &nbsp;Stay close to the car if that makes it easier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>5. Snacks.
Bring lots. There are not many problems that can&rsquo;t be solved with snacks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>6. Ask yourself: &nbsp;&rdquo;What&rsquo;s the worst that could happen?&rdquo;
Worried about losing a child? &nbsp;Pick a location with a focal point that is likely to keep their attention. Whatever your worst-case scenario is, imagine it, figure out how to prevent it, and then ask yourself again, &ldquo;Now what&rsquo;s the worst that could happen?&rdquo; &nbsp;When the worst thing that could happen is something you can totally handle on your own, you&rsquo;re ready to go!</p> <p>Also, if you have little kids of napping age, you might find this post useful as well&hellip; <a href="">The dreaded nap: How to have an outdoor life and a well-rested child </a>(tips for dealing with nap time when you&rsquo;re out and about)</p> <p>It&rsquo;s TOTALLY doable, and even fun (especially if you can con a mom friend to join you). There are so many Chaconian adventures to be had, both big a small. Just take it slow. Start out with a trip lasting a few hours and work up to camp outs. It&rsquo;ll be great!</p> <p>Best of luck!</p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <div class="blog"> <div class="post single"> <div class="blog-content"> <p><em><a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Lindsey Wilson blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 04:08:00 GMT Welcome to the NEW Chaco-sphere <p>The <a href="">Chaco-sphere</a> is a place for <a href="">Chaconians</a> to come together and share their adventures, and it just got a whole lot better! No matter your <a href="">Chaco</a> adventure of choice, be it hiking, paddling, camping, climbing or kicking back with a cold brew, we invite you to be a part of our party and <a href="">join the fun</a>.</p> <p>The revamped Chaco-spere can be found at&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Chacospere.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sun, 14 Oct 2012 15:31:00 GMT Hello DARCY <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Fri, 12 Oct 2012 10:27:00 GMT Team Priority Health Member Daniel Yankus on The Secret to Recovery <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/2.jpg" alt="" /><a href="">CHACO SANDALS</a>!</p> <p>I have two checklists to complete every morning, each a tool to accomplish something.&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of us are use to the necessities to complete our day job. The other is our hobby or sport each of us lose ourselves in. I truly believe the nordic (cross-country) skiing I participate in, can be the toughest physical and mental sport. I am very dependent on the weather and must go to the extremes to train for it. To substitute the lack of snow in the preparatory training blocks, I use roller-skis and the local metro parks.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My footwear has become an ever increasing priority as I slide in out of each part of my day. I use to jump right back into my work shoes or running shoes after a workout. I started to notice my feet had swelled like any other muscle during the workout, cramming them back into those shoes would leave me uncomfortable on my drive home. Often I would turn the A/C on and point it at my feet.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One of the advantages of switching to <a href="">Team Priority Health</a> last year was being introduced to a lot of tips and resources to solve problems. The highlight was the addition of my <a href=";search=Search">Chaco Updraft</a>, they offered me comfort and recovery from my long days. Plus my girlfriend no longer has to freeze on the way home from training with me.</p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 23:10:00 GMT Chaco Men's TEDINHO LOW Shoe <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 07:58:00 GMT Chaco Ambassadors Mike and Haley Paddle the Shoshone <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Shoshone Go Pro</a> from <a href="">RiverShred</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Mon, 08 Oct 2012 06:22:00 GMT THE TEDINHO LEATHER WATERPROOF BOOT <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 10:41:00 GMT Adventurous Soles <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Untitled 2 copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 15px;"><strong></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><strong>Missoula toes the line in its beloved Chacos. But what happens when you get cold feet?</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;"><strong>Essay by Carli Krueger/&nbsp;</strong><strong>Photo Credits: &copy; Meghan Nolt/Montana Kaimin</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/A.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline; font-size: 12px;">If every city is a shoe, then Nashville is a faithfully-worn cowboy boot with aspiration stitched into the conditioned leather.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline; font-size: 12px;">New York City is a sexy, sleek Louboutin stiletto pump with a red sole and power in every clacking step. San Diego is any sturdy flip-flop that got you to the beach without burning your feet.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">But Missoula, Missoula is the thick-soled Chaco webbed with patterned, polyester straps and a yearning for adventure &mdash; definitely the Chaco.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">There&rsquo;s a certain pride that seems to come inherently with owning a pair. Many people don&rsquo;t just like Chacos or wear Chacos. They love them and live<em> </em>in them. They are Chaconians. They wear their striking foot tan lines like a badge of honor and could care less what you think about them. They usually go hand in hand with all varieties of Patagonia apparel, a Nalgene water bottle clad in bumper stickers, an off-leash but well-trained black Lab and a firm belief in organic food, but not always. Sometimes, comfort mixed with obsession means the multicolored straps shamelessly clash with a sundress. If Chacos are lucky enough to make it past date two, sometimes they get to go to the wedding &mdash; on the bride&rsquo;s feet.<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Montana2.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The company embraces its customers like a community. (In Missoula, this community includes five stores where you can buy them.) You can sign up on to be an official Chaconian. There was even a &ldquo;Chacos Tan&rdquo; photo contest this year with categories like &ldquo;dirtiest feet&rdquo; and &ldquo;best in-action shot.&rdquo; The company has ambassadors &mdash; eight adventurers from around the U.S. who test and blog about the shoes. &nbsp;If anything, the Chaco culture is embracing all the times the shoes become a fashion don&rsquo;t, which is just about anytime you aren&rsquo;t actually on an outdoor adventure.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">To Chaconians, the shoes are not just a strapped-on pair of sandals. It&rsquo;s not just a simple choice of color when picking out a new pair of Chacos. Which pattern do you want? (They all scream &ldquo;I ate a CLIF Bar today.&rdquo;) One strap, double strap? Toe strap, no toe strap? (No toe strap seems to be the preferred choice.) What webbing pattern do you want? &nbsp;Do you want the heavy, traction-oriented Unaweep sole or the lighter weight Yampa sole?&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Montana1.jpg" alt="" /></span>They might not be the shoes you use to boulder, climb or highline, but they are the shoes that get you to your adventure and patiently wait in your backpack until you&rsquo;re finished. They&rsquo;re the shoes that take you home. Chacos have been everywhere. They&rsquo;ve clung to wet feet in the Bitterroot, the Clark Fork and the Blackfoot. They&rsquo;ve hiked up Mount Sentinel, down Mount Jumbo and through Glacier. They&rsquo;ve been on the north face, the south face and just about any face you could imagine. They&rsquo;ve explored the peaks of Moab, Utah and traveled to Canada, Australia and even Bulgaria (the locals disapprove). They&rsquo;ve guarded arches from glass and grime in subways around the world. They&rsquo;ve been to music festivals, grocery stores and between your dog&rsquo;s teeth. They&rsquo;ve even taken a tumble in your washing machine to get the stench of feet and fish out.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">In a world where we are encouraged to shove our feet into all sorts of painful contraptions for the sake of fashion, Chacos are a gift from the river gods via creator Mark Paigen. Made with a biocentric, polyurethane foot bed called the LUVSEAT, Chacos are meant to simulate walking on sand or soil barefoot. They keep your gait natural, prevent overpronation (when your foot rolls too far inward) and lengthen your stride. The aggressive arch support is better for you than most open-toed footwear, can improve your posture and help prevent injuries all over your body according to</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Missoula podiatrist Karl Mangold recommends Chacos as a summer sandal because you don&rsquo;t have to alter the way you walk to wear them and the straps keep them to your feet. The supportive sandals can help protect against what Mangold says are the most common foot issues he sees because of poor footwear: plantar fasciitis (pain in the arch) and stress fractures.<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="float: right; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/Montana3.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">In the mid-&rsquo;80s Chaco was just a couple prototypes that Paigen made from scrap materials, old tires and the like. Paigen, a fly-fishing and rafting guide, had his fellow guides test out the shoes in the canyons of western Colorado. In 1989 Chaco became a full-fledged company with the Elon as the first model. By 2009 the company sold $20 million worth of Chacos, building its own shoe cult. In the 2000s the company began outsourcing its manufacturing to China &mdash; which angered certain Chaconians&rsquo; national pride. In January 2009 Wolverine World Wide Inc. bought the Colorado-based business it moved to Rockford, Mich. (Most of the manufacturing process of custom Chacos is completed in Rockford &mdash; at least enough to market the shoes as &ldquo;Made in the USA.&rdquo;) &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <div> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Now, fall is here.&nbsp;Chaconians, beware.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">The sun sets early, and the temperature drops. It&rsquo;s time to surrender your strappy sandals for something warmer. Or, you can take a cue from Grandpa, slip a pair of socks on before you strap on your river shoes and accept your life sentence to Joan Rivers&rsquo; Fashion Correctional Facility. Chacos become &ldquo;Sockos!&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Please, don&rsquo;t. Wearing them with your adorable sundress was already crime enough.&nbsp;</span></p> </div> Tue, 02 Oct 2012 17:50:00 GMT THE UMA <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 02 Oct 2012 12:51:00 GMT Summer Highlights from Chaco Ambassador Haley Mills <p>As summer fades into fall, take a minute to reflect on your favorite <a href="">Chaconian</a> moments from the past season, and if you're truely inspired share them with us on <a href="">Facebook</a>. Here are some highlights from <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member Haley Mills. ALSO stay tuned to the blog for more feature videos from Haley and Mike's summer tour.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Surfing the Pipeline Wave on <a href="">Lochsa River</a> in Idaho</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/H4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Winning the <a href="">Point Series</a>!</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/H2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Enjoying a quiet paddle in front of the <a href="">Tetons</a>.</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/H1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>The Lunch Crew at Lunch Counter Wave on the <a href="">Snake River</a>.</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/10/H3.jpg" alt="" /></p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Mon, 01 Oct 2012 04:36:00 GMT Chaco 10 Step Challenge <p>Hey Chaconians, have you taken the <a href="">Chaco 10 Step Challenge</a> yet? Check out this video for the who and the what, the when, where and why. Then tackle it yourself and let us know how it goes on <a href="">Facebook</a>.</p> <iframe width="480" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 00:01:00 GMT Ambassadors Mike and Haley Take a Drop! <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Big Falls Portage Bomb Drop - Chaco</a> from <a href="">RiverShred</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Tue, 25 Sep 2012 07:37:00 GMT The Amazing Flying Emily <p>Since I was very young I've had dreams that I could fly. &nbsp;A part of me thought that I had reached my dream of "flying" by becoming a highline walker. Then I moved to Moab, Utah and became surrounded by BASE Jumpers, Skydivers, and Paragliders.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I hear stories of their flights daily and often get the opportunity to watch them. It's unbelievable what is possible in the realm of human flight and I truly can't believe what these people are doing on a regular basis here in the desert. Watching someone jump off of a 400-foot cliff is indescribable. It gives me goose bumps every time and I can't help but close my eyes and imagine that it's me.&nbsp;</p> <p>On my birthday, July 23rd, I was presented with a gift from my boyfriend Mark, a Skydiver, BASE Jumper and Wingsuit flier himself. That gift was a Tandem BASE Jump with <a href="">Moab BASE Adventures</a>, a company recently launched by Mario Richard: a longtime Skydiver, BASE Jumper and Wingsuit Flier. &nbsp;When I was told that I would be jumping off of a cliff for my birthday, my heart just about jumped out of my chest. Despite my consistent flying dreams and ability to walk across highlines, I am quite scared of jumping off of things (cliff's into the water, rope jumps, etc). My nerves started days before the actual jump and I had to pretend it wasn't happening so that I wouldn't go completely crazy in my head.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The day came and it was an early morning mission. Up at 5am to meet Mario. Myself, Mark and Mario drove out into the desert where the highest cliffs are located. My heart was racing. The hike to the edge was about 15 minutes and upon arrival, Mario began to go over the process of the jump. We did practice "launches" to be sure that it went smoothly. Mario was so knowledgeable and comforting that I trusted him completely and knew that I was safe. I was so impressed by his passion for flying; he was so excited about the whole thing and I could feel that.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It was finally time to step to the edge. I was all harnessed up and Mario clipped us together. It was up to me now; all I needed to do was give a thumbs-up and the count down would begin. I took 15 seconds to breathe and surrender to what was about to happen. I chose to pretend that the whole thing was just a dream and therefore there was no reason to be scared. I gave the thumbs up, the countdown began: 3, 2, 1 and JUMP.....</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I will never forget the feeling of falling SO fast, air rushing past my ears and the horizon quickly moving upwards. About 2 seconds of free fall and the parachute was open. The scary part was over and now we were flying! Past the red cliffs of the desert! I couldn't help but laugh. I was overcome with joy; this was flying!&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I am now working towards flying on my own. I'm saving up to get my Skydiving License so that I can jump whenever I want and perhaps someday, BASE Jump.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">__________________________________________________________</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>About Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik:&nbsp;A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Fri, 21 Sep 2012 00:05:00 GMT Please Meet the Chaco MARA Waterproof Boot <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Wed, 19 Sep 2012 11:02:00 GMT Ambassador Chris Baer's Big Adventure <p><a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> Chris Baer and company set out to tackle the daunting task of paddling from the Third Gorge of Lime Creek(aka Cascade creek), down to the Animas, hiking up and paddling Canyon Creek aka Crazy Women, and then paddling down the Animas through the Rockwood Gorge. Check out the adventure and experience it with them first hand in this video.</p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Animas, all of it and a little more.</a> from <a href="">Chris Baer</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Wed, 19 Sep 2012 04:19:00 GMT How To Adjust Chaco Sandals - With A Toe Loop <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Thu, 13 Sep 2012 11:53:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Mike Tavares's Summer of SUP!....... <p>This summer has been a summer to remember. Haley and I have been leading the charge with the <a href="">Boardworks Show Up and Blow Up tour</a> and it&rsquo;s been a huge success! &nbsp;Boardworks is the first company to have a huge influence and interest in the whitewater and inland paddling scene and it&rsquo;s been turning heads since the beginning. &nbsp;Here are some interesting facts about the tour so far this year.....</p> <p><span style="white-space:pre"> ★ </span>15 states visited</p> <p><span style="white-space:pre"> ★ </span>Over 2000 SUP demos - most demos were first timers</p> <p><span style="white-space:pre"> ★ </span>15-20 Events along the way</p> <p><span style="white-space:pre"> ★ </span>Exposed a whole new population of people to the sport of SUP</p> <p>Here is a video that gives a little background info on the sport of whitewater SUP. &nbsp;The <a href="">Badfish</a> Guys have been leading the innovation and transformation of the whitewater Scene and have really brought some great products and ideas to the Sport...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Whitewater</a> from <a href="">Badfish SUP</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 22:53:00 GMT How To Adjust Chaco Sandals - With No Toe Loop (Open Toe) <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 07:28:00 GMT From the Mouth of Babes-A Kid’s Take On Chacos, reported by Lindsey Wilson <p>The folks at <a href="">Chaco</a> were nice enough to hook up a few of my favorite outdoor kids with a pair of Chacos last spring. After putting their shoes to work all summer these kids are ready to talk about how THEY view their new footwear.</p> <p>We asked Ari (age 5), Adan (age 4), Cohen (age 5), Jackson (age 7) and Tobin (age 7) what they thought of their <a href="">Z1 Ecotreads</a>.</p> <p><strong>Where's the coolest place you've worn your Chacos?</strong></p> <p>Adan: SeaWorld, Papa &amp; Nonnies [Grandparents], <a href="">Rocky Mountain Nation Park</a>, and soon the first day of school.</p> <p>Jackson: <a href="">Lake Tahoe </a>.</p> <p>Cohen: The beach
.</p> <p>Tobin: Cape Cod
.</p> <p>Ari: To my friend Evas house and to Bone Canyon to find dinosaurs bones [aka sticks].</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/tahoe.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>What's your favorite thing to do in your Chacos?</strong></p> <p>Adan: Go on hikes and run really, really fast in them.</p> <p>Jackson: Swim out to the big rock [at Tahoe] in them.</p> <p>Cohen: Riding my bike and going to the beach.</p> <p>Tobin: Walk.</p> <p>Ari: Hike and splash in the water.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/kayaker.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>What do you like most about your Chacos?</strong></p> <p>Adan: I can get them wet &amp; muddy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Jackson: The <a href="">adjustable straps </a>.</p> <p>Cohen: I like them because they make it so I don't have to wear shoes.</p> <p>Tobin: &nbsp;Green thingie - [he means the <a href="">pattern of the webbing</a>].</p> <p>Ari: They help me climb up steep hills.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/hammock.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Is there anything you don't like about your Chacos?</strong></p> <p>Adan: If I wear them for days and days the straps get smelly.
&nbsp;(See tips to keep Chaco sandals clean and fresh smelling&nbsp;<a href="">HERE</a>)<a href=""> </a></p> <p>Jackson: No
.</p> <p>Cohen: This is what I don't like about them. I don't like it when the sand gets in them
.</p> <p>Tobin: &nbsp;Mostly that they gave me funny lines on my feet.</p> <p>Ari: They sometimes don't get enough sticky on the bottom of them and I slip down steep hills.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/warm.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>If you could pick one superhero (or the equivalent) to give a pair of Chacos to who would you pick and why?</strong></p> <p>Adan: He-man, cause his boots look to hot. [Of course Adan's parents think its because He-Man's going for the minimalist look]</p> <p>Jackson: Thor, because he could use a new pair of sandals.</p> <p>Cohen: The incredible hulk because they would make him kick stronger.</p> <p>Tobin: &nbsp;Green Lantern because he's green.</p> <p>Ari: Spiderman, because he could put web slingers on his Chacos.</p> <p>As a Mom I must say I've been mightily impressed with the shoe. I like that there is no Velcro involved, they are easy to take on and off, easy to clean, durable and really cute. Also, pick out some gender-neutral webbing and they will EASILY last through all your children.</p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em><a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Lindsey Wilson blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 16:45:00 GMT Adventure Close to Home: Mixing it Up with Eileen Ringwald in Southern California <p>My life as a <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador</a> isn't always about just one sport. Sometimes it isn't even about a sport at all, it's about adventure and just plain fun. This past weekend was a great mix of all of the above for me.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/IMG_1689.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>Friday I went out for an early half day of climbing with my husband and a friend at <a href="">Malibu Creek State Park</a>. We went early to beat the heat and were lucky enough to have the rocks mostly to ourselves. We left the park in the afternoon so that I could drive further south in time to meet Su, my old friend and former roommate, for a sushi dinner. I used to hike with Su and have also taken her out climbing before. We both love sushi and it had been a long time since I'd had any so she had picked a fun place in LA with a great happy hour rate. This was also our pre-hike dinner because I was going to spend the night at Su's place in anticipation of getting an early start on the hike to the summit of <a href="">Mt. Baldy (aka Mt. San Antonio)</a>, the highest point in Los Angeles County (10,064 feet). Su's been doing this hike regularly to train first for <a href="">Mt. Whitney</a> and now for an upcoming backpack trip she is going on. I thought I'd go along with her for fun and photography since I'd never done the hike.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/IMG_1760.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>Saturday morning came pretty early considering the sushi and socializing on Friday night, but we still got to the trail head by 8:30am. The hike was fantastic and full of surprises. We hiked on a fire road, a ski run, switchbacks with steep drop offs, and on crumbly talus. I even found a boulder to climb on the way down. We saw a ski lodge, a waterfall, intriguing twisted pines, white gnarled branches, great views, a small Sierra club hut, and many fellow hikers on a day with mostly hot but still nice hiking weather. We also saw, I'm happy to report, the summit of Mt. Baldy! It was exhilarating to see a panoramic view of Southern California. You could see mountain, desert, and even (if you squinted) beach environments.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/Untitled 2.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">After the 10.33 mile hike with about 3,950 elevation gain (not counting the boulder problem, hehe) I was quite happy to slip on my <a href="">Chaco Flip Pros</a> and buy a cold soda from a mountain bar on the way down. We ended up eating dinner at <a href="">The Hat</a>, a place known for pastrami sandwiches and large portions. Back at Su's place we did facials and caught up with her sister who was also visiting. We had talked about going to karaoke but didn't realize how late it had gotten so decided to leave that for next time.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/oldtime.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Sunday as I drove home I reflected on the weekend, I got to climb, to catch up with an old friend, eat at two new places, hike a new hike, and try a new beauty treatment. To me all of that was an adventure, one that I didn't even have to fly off to a distant land to do, adventure and a pair of Chacos, you can't beat that!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/IMG_1773.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Fri, 07 Sep 2012 08:36:00 GMT Get to know the Helm <p>Outdoor minded style meets the renowned <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> platform support in this lower profile casual shoe. Slide into your new favorite shoe. The <a href="">Helm</a> offers a sleek and comfortable style to-go. Made from 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; sole merges high-traction with eco-function.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>For more information visit<a href=""></a> or see the Helm <a href="">HERE</a>.</p> Tue, 04 Sep 2012 19:20:00 GMT A MyChacos Story from Lucy Bellwood <div>Regular readers of this blog will likely remember my tender <a href="">tribute comic</a> to my <a href="">Chacos</a>, which finally bit the dust after nine long, dedicated years of service a month or so ago. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/NewChacos_Web.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Yes, folks, it's true. <a href="">Chaco</a> actually bothered to contact me, express their condolences, and offer me new shoes for free. As if this weren't enough to cement my lifelong dedication to the company, I found out I'd be using their new <a href="">MyChacos</a> service to design a custom pair from the ground up. While I tried to condense the hours and hours I spent mucking about with settings and choices into a few panels, I wanted to expand on the subject a little more.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The design tool is a delight to use. Clear, powerful, and laden with choices, it makes the act of designing new footwear as involved and engaging as it should be, considering the product you make could last you up to a decade or more. A few of my favorite highlights included not only the ability to chose from tens of different webbing patterns, but also the option to reverse the webbing and see the alternate colors and patterns on the underside! This effectively doubles your choices for webbing types, and gives you a cheerful surprise when you lift up any of your straps to reveal the secret pattern beneath.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>While the temptation was great to just make a carbon copy of my original sandals, I ended up choosing a few modifications. You can see the original ones gracing my feet below (while standing at the site of the original Olympic games in Delphi, Greece), and the new ones (at my home in Ojai, California).&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2012/9/NewChacosCA.jpg" alt="" /><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/9/OldChacosDelphi.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div>I chose a reversed webbing with a neat sheen to it and brown, slightly lighter soles that would better suit my needs working on replica tall ships in a marine environment. There were many other choices (Seriously, stitching color? It doesn't get much better than that.), but those were the biggest aesthetic differences.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>My shoes arrived quickly and safely and I've spent all week dancing around in them. It feels so good to have Chacos on my feet once more. To those of you lamenting the loss of any well-loved sandals, I highly recommend checking out the MyChacos portal. Solace and comfort (not to mention fabulous new shoes) await therein.</div> Mon, 03 Sep 2012 22:38:00 GMT Team Priority Health member Marie Dershem's "CHACO adventure of a lifetime” <p>No, I didn&rsquo;t climb a mountain in my <a href="">CHACOS</a></p> <p>No, I didn&rsquo;t ride a camel across the Sahara in my CHACOS</p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t even climb to the top of the Empire State Building in my CHACOS.</p> <p>My adventure of a lifetime is truly a lifetime adventure. I looked up the definition of ADVENTURE on Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Here is what I found:</p> <p>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risk</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; b : the encountering of risks &lt;the spirit of adventure&gt;</p> <p>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>an exciting or remarkable experience &lt;an adventure in exotic dining&gt;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TPH1 copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>First thing that came to mind&hellip; PARENTING!</p> <p>While there is the occasional podium finish, a trophy now and again, I spend every day, all day in my CHACOS. I have 3 pair, each with a specific purpose. My red ones are for keeping my feet comfortable while I do dishes, cook, do laundry, play games, cutting hair, and generally being the super-cool mom I am at home.</p> <p>My black CHACOS join me while commuting to the grocery store (and everywhere I can get to by bike) on my awesome urban assault vehicle. When I have to hop in the minivan (yes, I am that cool), I wear my CHACOS while driving kids to and from horseback riding lessons, soccer practice, piano lessons, play dates, the pool, the beach, the park, hiking, biking, and generally enjoying the great outdoors&hellip; you get the idea.&nbsp;</p> <p>My awesome green CHACOS I save for pre and post race. I am a cyclist, runner and triathlete. When I am done with a race, I want nothing more than to free my feet from the confines of my various racing shoes and slip on my awesome, new green CHACOS. This feeling cannot be underrated. Seriously. They are my recover sandals &ndash; ALWAYS.&nbsp;</p> <p>My point is that CHACOS can be worn for almost all of life&rsquo;s adventures &ndash; large or small. My life is filled with little adventures that add up to one, big, lifelong adventure. Thanks, CHACOS, for putting the spring in my step in this adventure of a lifetime.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 17:32:00 GMT Please Welcome the Darcy <p>Outdoor minded style meets the renowned <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> platform support in this lower profile casual boot. Splash around in the <a href="">Darcy Waterproof</a>. An interior membrane keeps your feet dry, while clean lines and soft full-grain leathers keep you in style. Made from 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; sole merges high-traction with eco-function.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src=";list=SPB15B4C8F284FCAE2&amp;hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>For more information visit <a href=""></a> or see the Darcy Waterproof Boot&nbsp;<a href="">HERE</a>.</p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 04:36:00 GMT Ambassador Emily Finds Herself Walking the International Wire! <p>I was recently given the opportunity to with work with a truly amazing individual and photographer: Krystle Wright out of Australia. She is only 25 years old and has already figured out how to live her life as an adventure sports photographer.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/AAA2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>She was visiting Moab for a few weeks and a mutual friend introduced us. We immediately hit it off and decided that we HAD to work together. So far we&rsquo;ve been on multiple excursions here in the desert involving both high lining and climbing. Much to my surprise Krystle informed me that one of our photos had made it into The London Times!!&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/AAA1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I am so thrilled and excited to have made it into such a well-known publication and am very excited for what's to come in working with Krystle. Be sure to check out her website, you won't be disappointed: <a href=""></a></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 07:28:00 GMT Introducing the Chaco Holt <p>Outdoor minded style meets the renowned <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a> platform support. The <a href="">Holt</a> is a functional high-top style with a suede and canvas blend. Made from 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; sole merges high-traction with eco-function.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src=";hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>For more information visit <a href=""></a> or see the Holt <a href="">HERE</a>.</p> Sun, 26 Aug 2012 21:54:00 GMT A Day in the Life of Chaco Ambassador Eileen Ringwald <iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>About <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">Ambassador Team</a> member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 21:18:00 GMT A Lake Tahoe Adventure Weekend with Chaco Ambassador Rusty Sage <p>Recently I helped launch a sailboat and get it prepped for <a href="">Lake Tahoe</a> sailing. We had to scrub the hull, connect tons of cables and raise the mast. I initially was barefoot while doing this and remembered about the <a href="">Chacos</a> that I brought and slung them on, they worked perfect for the boat. They stayed on as I was crawling around and have great traction on the boat.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/aRS.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Sailing</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/bRS.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Shannon on the boat</em></strong></p> <p>Tahoe is about 1-&frac12; hours from my house in Reno and with a full time job, we look for close mini vacations and have found this place to be one of our favorites.&nbsp;</p> <p>The next day we went on a great mountain bike ride, starting at the top of <a href=";view=article&amp;id=176&amp;Itemid=209">Spooner summit</a> and finishes in town. This ride climbs to an elevation of about 9000&rsquo; and has incredible views of <a href="">Lake Tahoe</a> and the mountains surrounding it.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/cRS.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Shannon Leading the way</em></strong></p> <p>The ride winds its way and has some strong climbs, along with the elevation gain and technical sections. Keeping up with Shannon proved to be impossible; she sat waiting for us at the top for nearly 15 minutes.&nbsp;</p> <p>A great weekend with many more to come.</p> <p>-----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About Chaco Ambassador&nbsp;Rusty Sage:&nbsp;A former World and National Champion in the sport of kayaking, Rusty Sage has traveled the world competing and organizing whitewater and surf kayak events. Read more about Rusty at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 07:11:00 GMT Casual Styles For Fall-Meet the Belle <p>Outdoor minded style meets the renowned <a href="">Chaco</a> <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade; platform</a> support in this lower profile women&rsquo;s casual shoe. You'll be the Belle of the ball, or at least the sidewalk, in these suave suede kicks. Made from 25% recycled rubber, our proprietary EcoTread&trade; sole merges high-traction with eco-function.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>For more information visit <a href=""></a> or see the Belle <a href=" ">HERE</a>.</p> Mon, 20 Aug 2012 09:16:00 GMT My Chaco’s go everywhere my feet go- by Team Priority Health Member Chelsea Clark <p>Whether it&rsquo;s to work, to a big cycling event or an ever so thrilling, power walking shopping adventure. However, my favorite place is on top of the podium (I&rsquo;ll even settle for on the podium ). After being cramped in my cycling shoes for hours, it is a good time for my feet to celebrate, while I celebrate.&nbsp;</p> <p>Typically, going on any adventure includes my strappy <a href="">Chacos</a>&rsquo;. Lets be honest here, adventures means sun (hopefully), and sun means tan lines, bonus! Not to mention, the unbelievable amount of support my feet get, no shoes compare. If I am standing on my feet for an extended period of time, the first thing to start hurting is my calf, which in turn affects my performance on the bike. What I love most though, no aching legs! Now, if we use the transitive property of equality, we can deduce that because of my uber comfortable Chaco&rsquo;s, I end up on the podium. Pretty cool, huh? I thought so too.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/A.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>And because I cannot adventure 24/7, my trusted ferocious lion (ok, 2 pound kitten) protects them while they leave my feet*.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/B.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>*Not only does Chaco make perfect sandals, they also make for great kitten beds. ;)&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 20 Aug 2012 05:01:00 GMT 10 Tips for Camping with Kids- from Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/2 year old camping.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>1. Go often, start your kids&rsquo; young, and make outdoor adventures a regular part of your life. This way outdoor adventures will become second nature.</p> <p>2. Pack using a <a href="">checklist</a>. Kids are notorious in their role as packing distractions.</p> <p>3. Let kids help. Small children can gather sticks for a campfire; older kids can pack their own gear and <a href="">help plan</a>. Having a job helps build self-confidence, responsibility and independence.</p> <p>4. Turn the phone off. BE out there with your kids (unless of course your turning your phone on to use one of these fine <a href="">outdoor apps</a>).</p> <p>5. If you have little ones, become a baby wearer. If your young ones learn to love the <a href="">carrier</a>&nbsp;they&rsquo;ll feel at home no matter where you are (and it frees up your hands).</p> <p>6. Don&rsquo;t worry too much about kids getting dirty; it's inevitable. &nbsp;But if you don't want to tuck your child into their sleeping bag looking like pig-pen check out these ideas for <a href="">washing in the woods</a>.</p> <p>7. Food. Bring lots of it!</p> <p>8. Manage (or dare I even say 'lower') your expectations. Resist the urge to cram in too many climbing routes, mountain biking trails, or peaks (as you did during your pre-kids days)&hellip; With kids, the ONLY expectation is to be camping. On some trips, don&rsquo;t even expect to sleep&hellip;.</p> <p>9. If you have young kids who are not use to sleeping anywhere but in their beds check out these ideas for <a href="">getting them to sleep</a>&nbsp;outdoors. Have a sleep plan, and then bring several back-up plans.</p> <p>10. Above all, when camping with kids bring your patience and a sense of humor.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/group of campers.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>Lindsey blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> Thu, 16 Aug 2012 01:55:00 GMT Chelsea Avery MyChacos LUV <p><em><strong>PART 2</strong></em></p> <p>After my successful ordering experience with <a href="">MyChacos</a>, then came the tricky part&hellip;playing the waiting game. I checked the status of my order at least once a day and on the magical day they arrived I got an amazing workout from running back and forth to my front door in anticipation. I finally heard a light tapping on the door (if the <a href="">FedEx</a> guy only knew what he was holding!). I raced to the door, with crazy eyes and a huge smile and thanked the man who handed me my new favorite shoes. It was love at first site.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/a1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Immediately I got down to business of tightening and fitting my new customized <a href="">Chacos</a> and set off for a little adventure. Because I opted for the water/sandy terrian soles, I thought it was only natural we (yes, &lsquo;we&rsquo; is appropriate) to go play in some water and luckily there is a fun fountain just a block away from me!&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/a2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>They are so incredibly comfy and turned out EXACTLY how I designed them. I could not be happier with the MyChacos process-so simple and the results are fantastic. I am so excited to see where these new sandals take me and what new adventures they will carry me on. Another perk is that every time I get compliments on them, I get to brag that indeed I am the designer! Happy Chaco adventures to all!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/a3.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 14 Aug 2012 14:46:00 GMT "RIP Chacos" <p>Our condolences go out to <a href="">Chaconian</a> Lucy on the death of her <a href="">Chacos</a>. But we love the <a href="">cartoon</a> she posted and it looks like they lived a very full life. What is your fondest Chaco memory?</p> <p>----------------------------------------------------</p> <p>My beloved Chaco sandals bit the dust last week after nine years of dedicated service. They carried me through high school, up the Sierra Nevadas, into the Sespe Wilderness, across Greece, South Africa, Italy, France, Spain, and the British Isles, aloft on multiple tall ships in various seas, into the world of making comics, out of college, and into life. I&rsquo;ll miss them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/RIP copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 13 Aug 2012 00:59:00 GMT Hello from Eton Dorney <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TH1.jpg" alt="" />Tomorrow I&rsquo;ll be competing in the Kayak Single (K1) 200-meter heats.&nbsp;My race starts Friday morning at 9:30am in London (4:30am in Georgia). You can watch it live on or later on NBC at 10am and 11:45am.</p> <p>When I&rsquo;m not training on the water, I&rsquo;m resting. When I&rsquo;m trying to recover I lay in bed, watch TV and movies. I don&rsquo;t go out and do a lot of stuff. I&rsquo;m really pretty boring and lazy. I like to browse on the Internet for whatever I&rsquo;m interested in at the time, like kite surfing. A lot of people get super hyped up and that&rsquo;s their way of dealing with the pressure, producing more energy from that energy. I just like to be relaxed, keep doing the same things I&rsquo;ve been doing all year, and that helps me to have that race I&rsquo;m looking for.</p> <p>The coverage is so good on TV, it&rsquo;s not better than in person, but it&rsquo;s pretty darn good. You get the good perspective with the cable on top, the cameras on the side and the guys in the water. It&rsquo;s makes it much more of a spectator event. I think that&rsquo;s what our sport needs to do to make it more popular, to provide that perspective so people can relate better. You can relate to the 100-meters in track because you know how fast that is and everybody can run. But you can&rsquo;t relate to sitting in a kayak because most people haven&rsquo;t done it. But putting it in perspective so people realize how fast it is and how difficult it is, I think that makes it really exciting.</p> <p>The 200-meters is the shortest distance canoe/kayak race at the Olympics. There&rsquo;s no real pacing like there would be in a 1000-meter race. But I can&rsquo;t race it like it&rsquo;s a 50 or 100[-meters], you&rsquo;ll never make the whole distance. &nbsp;There is a little bit of thought on what you need to do. Everybody has their own strengths. Some guys get out in the start better, some guys carry their speed in the middle better, and some guys come home better.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve heard a lot of people talk about the 200-meters as validating the last eight or 12 years in 30 seconds. But it&rsquo;s just like any other day. It&rsquo;s obviously a very special experience. I know I&rsquo;m going to do the best that I can do at that time. And I know that I&rsquo;ll do that.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks for everything,</p> <p>Tim</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 09 Aug 2012 12:23:00 GMT Cheer on your fellow Chaconian, and now Olympian, Tim Hornsby <p><a href="">Chaconian</a> <a href="">Tim Hornsby</a> races in the <a href="">Olympic</a> <a href="">200m flatwater sprint race</a>&nbsp;tomorrow, August 10th. Join Chaco and cheer him on!</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TH1.jpg" alt="" />Hello again, this time from London! I got in Wednesday night and now begins the final preparation for my race on Friday, August 10th.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Opening Ceremonies were absolutely amazing. The feelings I felt when walking into the stadium were unreal. It wasn&rsquo;t until I arrived back at the Village that I realize I had been part of something so much bigger than myself - an event that brings the whole world together, an event that four billion people watched. Before I left for the Opening, many athletes told me it would be too tiring, too long, or too much time on your feet. Although all those things were true, everything else just melted away when I walked through the entrance. It is just you, your country and your dreams. I would not trade that experience for anything. Everyone has worked so hard to be there, I was just so proud to be there with them. It was truly an experience that I will remember forever.</p> <p>What made it even more special was that I was able to walk alongside my girlfriend - 2012 U.S. Olympic pole vaulter Becky Holliday. It had been something we both really wanted to do together and I&rsquo;m so glad she was able to go. We both have worked so hard to be here. Behind the scenes, times can be extremely rewarding, but very difficult as well. The last few years, we have helped each other through these times and it really makes the Opening Ceremonies experience so special for us.</p> <p>We met at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California in 2009 and have been together since. We both just barely missed qualifying for the Olympic Team in 2008. It just didn&rsquo;t work out as we had planned. But for sure, we knew it was possible for both of us to make it to London. It was really just about doing what we knew we could do, executing our plans like we knew we could.</p> <p>The last few weeks in France have been really hard training-wise, and I had set some specific performance goals leading up to the Games. On the last day, I was tired and a bit sick, but was able to record my personal best time in the 200-meter (34.9 seconds) and the 150-meter (24.8). I was very excited to have reached all of my goals leading into London. Now it is just time to execute my plan for the last few weeks and race the way I know I can. I have set some new goals: first to make the Final, and well, you can probably guess the next one. It is really important for me to make these goals and address the challenges of each as they come. The lofty goals I aspire to are enormous and must be taken one step at a time. I know this is corny, but it&rsquo;s just like the old adage &ldquo;How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now is the time to rest and get sharp. Our sessions will be once, maybe twice a day and no longer than one hour. Many will be significantly shorter. The key now is to make sure your body is prepared to empty the tank for one effort only, to go as fast as possible. In the next ten days, I will have a lot of rest time. I&rsquo;m staying at a satellite athlete village closer to the sprint canoe/kayak venue in Eton Dorney, near Windsor Castle. It&rsquo;s important to rest even though you might feel like you have a lot of energy. At this point, everyone has different ideas of what they need to do and for me, it&rsquo;s keeping my stress low and enjoying the experience. I will, however, be going to London on the 6th to see Becky compete. I am really excited for that.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks for everything,</p> <p>Tim</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 14:03:00 GMT Chaco Friend and London Olympian Tim Hornsby on gearing up for the Games <p>Earlier this summer <a href="">Tim Hornsby</a> shared&nbsp;his final preparation going into the <a href="">Olympics</a>, as well as his emotional connection to the <a href="">Opening Ceremonies</a>, with <a href="">Chaco</a>. We thought we'd share this with all <a href="">Chaconians</a> as we get ready to cheer him on this Friday, August 10th in the <a href="">200m flatwater sprint race</a>.</p> <p>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TH1.jpg" alt="" />Hello again. I&rsquo;m currently in Temple Sur Lot, which is in southwest France&nbsp;for a pre-Games training camp with the Canadian Team. On Friday, I will be&nbsp;going to the Opening Ceremonies. I can remember every single Opening&nbsp;Ceremonies that I have watched, including 1992 at my grandmother&rsquo;s house and&nbsp;2008 in Japan with the French, American and Belgian Olympic Teams. Finally&nbsp;in 2012, I will be a part of something I have dreamed of my whole life. Many&nbsp;athletes are not going because they believe it will be too taxing. But for&nbsp;me, the Opening will be a chance to be truly inspired by the Olympic&nbsp;movement, giving me the encouragement and excitement to succeed.&nbsp;Unfortunately, my girlfriend (2012 U.S. Olympic pole vaulter Becky Holliday)&nbsp;will not be there. She was unable to secure a place to train in London, so&nbsp;she is opting to compete in Germany and finish her progress there. But my&nbsp;mom will be there in the stands. She was able to get tickets from Gina&nbsp;Sanchez, a longtime supporter of my quest for the Olympic Games.</p> <p>I am super excited to be part of a movement that has inspired me for so&nbsp;long. Paddling is a very individual pursuit and often I feel like I feel&nbsp;very selfish with my goals and how to achieve them. I am not curing cancer&nbsp;or supporting a cause. Often, I must make the best decisions for myself to&nbsp;achieve those goals. I don&rsquo;t feel like I am making a difference in people&rsquo;s&nbsp;lives. At the Olympics, my hope and goal is to inspire people to take&nbsp;whatever is important to them and make it a priority, to really put&nbsp;themselves out there to achieve their goals and dreams. Everyone can find&nbsp;something that they are passionate about and put themselves out there to be&nbsp;the best or do the best good. That is my hope, that I inspire people to&nbsp;attempt great things.</p> <p>Right now, I&rsquo;m in a tapering period of the training. Our whole training&nbsp;group has been really tired after a giant cycle of training. This past week&nbsp;was lighter than the last two, with shorter, higher quality workouts. I&nbsp;recently turned in my best time in 150 meters. I was super tired at the time&nbsp;and I still went the fastest I&rsquo;ve ever gone in the 150, so that&rsquo;s a good&nbsp;thing heading into London. I feel I&rsquo;m better technically. I really am&nbsp;confident that I&rsquo;ll be able to produce a better result than I&rsquo;ve done&nbsp;before. I know I&rsquo;m faster than I&rsquo;ve ever been and the data shows that that&rsquo;s&nbsp;true.</p> <p>I made a quick trip to London for &ldquo;team processing,&rdquo; which is where you get&nbsp;all the Olympic clothing to wear around the Olympic Village and to the&nbsp;Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The first time I met an Olympian, he&nbsp;described team processing and that it was everything he expected and more.&nbsp;Polo outfitted us with tailored suits and a stylist to make sure we look our&nbsp;best. Then we got two huge bags full of Nike and Polo gear, followed by two&nbsp;backpacks full of more gear, everything you could imagine. It was unreal.&nbsp;The process took almost four hours. This experience is the first time I&nbsp;realized that I really am going to the Olympics and I will forever be a part&nbsp;of something bigger than myself.</p> <p>Thanks for your support,</p> <p>Tim</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 18:00:00 GMT Get ready to cheer on Chaco friend and Olympian Tim Hornsby <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16px;">Hi, I&rsquo;m Tim Hornsby, 2012 Olympic kayaker. I will be racing in the <a href="">200m flatwater sprint race</a> at <a href="">Eton Dorney</a> starting on August 10th. Just a few months ago, I was an Olympic hopeful.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TH1.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">In some ways, everything is different. There are so many people offering support and helping me out. But in other ways, I&rsquo;m training hard like I was before. I&rsquo;m the same person with the same work ethic and the same determination that&rsquo;s always been there. I guess people treat me a little differently now that I&rsquo;m an Olympian. There are a lot more people interested in what I&rsquo;m doing. It&rsquo;s pretty amazing.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">It&rsquo;s great to finally achieve one of the major goals that I&rsquo;ve been working towards for a long time. It hits me at all different times. I&rsquo;ll be sitting around thinking, &ldquo;Oh my gosh, I&rsquo;ve done what I&rsquo;ve wanted to do. I&rsquo;m going to the Olympics.&rdquo; It happens at weird times where it all sinks in and I get really excited. It&rsquo;s something I&rsquo;ve dreamed about for so long. I don&rsquo;t want it to end in a few more weeks. I want it to continue.</p> <p style="font: normal normal normal 16px/normal 'Times New Roman'; text-align: center; margin: 0px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/8/TH2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">I&rsquo;m excited to be able to share this experience with my girlfriend, Becky Holliday. She qualified for her first Olympics in the pole vault. We&rsquo;ve both been working really hard for this moment, so that&rsquo;s special. For sure, I want to race well and I want to have an opportunity to medal. But even more than that, I want to have the best possible race that I can, to just execute what I&rsquo;ve been working so hard for. It&rsquo;s exciting to have that opportunity after trying for so long.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">It hasn&rsquo;t been easy. I&rsquo;ve been super low on funds this whole year. I have a lot of bills and expenses. In an Olympic year, you basically do whatever you need to do. You can&rsquo;t worry about money. You do whatever it takes financially and that&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;ve done. This generous sponsorship couldn&rsquo;t have come at a better time. I&rsquo;m so thankful.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">There&rsquo;s been a lot of great support from Georgia. My club, Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club has given me support. They wanted to host some events for me last time I was home, but unfortunately, I was only home for 12 hours. I haven&rsquo;t really had the chance to go home. It&rsquo;s a bummer that I&rsquo;m not there to be able to show how appreciate I am to everyone that&rsquo;s been there for me. But I&rsquo;m going home for six weeks after the Games. I&rsquo;ll be able to see my family and friends and everyone that has been there through the whole process.</p> <p style="margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.0px 'Times New Roman';">I&rsquo;m the first Olympian to come out of the club, which is an amazing feeling for me. I&rsquo;ve been with Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club since 1997, two years after it started. I started started when I was 11 with the first professional coach they had there. I&rsquo;m a direct result from that program. That&rsquo;s the club that I&rsquo;ve competed and raced with my entire career. The club has produced many amazing athletes and I think it&rsquo;s an important thing for Gainesville to receive that recognition for doing such a good job. I think it&rsquo;s a really good way to show how amazing the community is and the coaching that they are able to produce an Olympian. So it&rsquo;s almost like I&rsquo;m thanking them for everything they&rsquo;ve done for me because I would have never been a kayaker without them. I would have never known what kayaking was.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:12:00 GMT Awesome places I've been in my Chacos by Team Priority Health Member Alan Antonuk <p>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>My back stoop after a long day enjoying a beverage and the twilight</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Tour of Americas Dairyland in Grafton, Wisconsin. My only wish is that I could race my bike in these sandals they're so comfy</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Top of the Park Festival in Ann Arbor, pretending to be fireflies</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 02:06:00 GMT A Yosemite Hike – and some Tips if you hike the Link <p>My last <a href="">blog post</a> here was about my <a href="">Yosemite</a> trip last month, well&nbsp;you're not reading a repeat, I went back this month! &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/IMG_9927.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This trip was actually on the calendar months in advance because it was the weekend of the 2nd Annual Yosemite Tweetup. This is organized by, Luke and&nbsp;Lizzy who I knew through Twitter and first met at the 1st Annual Joshua Tree Tweetup.</p> <p>While great climbing was had, I'd thought I'd share a bit about a&nbsp;hike my husband and I did during the extended part of our trip, wanting to rest our upper body, we thought about hiking. I was interested in getting to <a href="">Glacier Point</a> to take some photos, and my husband suggested we do a linked up hike he had done a long time ago. The link up was to do the <a href="">4 Mile Trail</a> to Glacier Point then take the <a href="">Panorama Trail</a> along the valley rim, and then come down on either the <a href="">John Muir Trail</a> or the <a href="">Mist Trail</a> (Nevada Falls trail). We ended up doing the link up with the John Muir Trail. The views were terrific, on all parts of the trail but I found the Panorama trail was the prettiest just on the trail itself, you also passed by the top of <a href="">Illilouette Falls</a> which was a great stop to eat our sandwiches and &ndash;carefully &ndash; get our feet wet.&nbsp;</p> <p>A few tips for anyone doing the 4 mile Trail:</p> <p>1. There are restrooms and a drinking fountain at the top of glacier point so you don't need to carry all of your water with you, just enough to get to that point and refill.</p> <p>2. They sell ice cream at the top of Glacier Point. I found myself wishing I had brought my wallet. The cones folks were eating sure looked good!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/IMG_9958.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>After Glacier Point, the hiking feels much more solitary compared to the popular Glacier Point look out and one can enjoy nature more. We passed about 3 parties and found one party doing the exact link up we were doing. After the Panorama Trail, The John Muir Trail is mostly gradual switchbacks with a view of Nevada Falls from. Taking this trail to the Valley floor but is a little longer than the Mist Trail, and we were tired by the time we got there, but we had already done the Mist Trail many times so took the John Muir Trail instead.</p> <p>At the end of the day we were pretty tired, the link up took two Yosemite trails labeled as &ldquo;Strenuous&rdquo; and the total mileage was around 15 miles. We had set a good pace as well. The end result was that I felt we had done a great nature hike but also got a good workout, maybe too good for a climbing trip ;)</p> <p>I'd highly suggest the link up for any one wanting a wonderful tour of Valley views. Doing any portions of the trail by themselves is also great. And if you drive up to Glacier Point you can even do the Four Mile Trail as all down hill.&nbsp;</p> <p>Happy Hiking!</p> <p>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><strong>About Chaco Ambassador EILEEN RINGWALD:</strong></p> <p><em>Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 06:55:00 GMT Chelsea Avery MyChacos LUV <div><strong>PART 1</strong></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/11.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>We all love<a href=""> Chacos</a>, obviously. I remember when I got my first pair in 2006, and thinking briefly how neat it would be to personalize them, little did I know, a few years later my dream would become a reality. When my first pair finally wore out this past year and I decided to write a commemorative blog post of our adventures together (from Dubai, to my wedding and into the great pyramids), Chacos read my blog post, "<a href=" ">Chaco Love Runs Deep</a>" and contacted me regarding customizing my very own pair!&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/10.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div><a href="">MyChacos</a> is Chaco&rsquo;s new custom sandal program. When I logged on to explore what MyChacos was all about, it was super easy to navigate and started with asking what style you wanted, what size shoe you wear and if you wanted to start from scratch or with a base model.</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/9.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>Then I went a little crazy. It was so fun to see all of the vibrant colors and designs (which consist of spunky names like 'sassy' and 'fiesta'). I spent hours drafting up different designs, changing the back strap, playing around with the different color soles and did you know you can even change the stitching?!&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/8.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>I&rsquo;m not even exaggerating I sat on my couch for so long that my legs went numb and almost missed dinner. After many hours and then days of playing around on the site with all different 'feels' of my future Chacos, I narrowed it down to 4 choices. The 'list' feature after you sign in to Chacos is amazing because it let me save my designs and then click through them all. I&rsquo;m a big fan of side-by-side comparisons.</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/7.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>I decided since I already have plain black ones, I should do something fun and different.</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/6.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>My final decision was a blue/green strappy mix. During the design process I liked how I could scroll over the different steps and it would show me what I&rsquo;ve selected. It was also super easy to click around and change things to see if there was something I liked better. The poetic version of my choice...the green symbolizes grass, the leaves of a tree and hiking up a mountain while the blue captures the essence of both sky, water and mountain tops. I chose the bright green stitching because I thought it was fun and made me think of little tiny caterpillars holding my sandals together.</div> <div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> </div> <div>And, because I&rsquo;m freakin' Nancy Drew...I discovered that during the 'Chaco branding' part where you can opt to leave the side of your customizable sandal blank, have it say Chaco or have a little lizard...if you click on the lizard up in the right (your cursor won't change or anything) you get an extra SECRET option to change it to a skeleton lizard!&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/3.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>You can get further customization during the ordering process by having them give you a call before they start, shortening the straps, etc.&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/2.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div>After you get done ordering you have the option to shout from the virtual rooftops via Facebook about your designing abilities!</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 06:12:00 GMT How do you spell recovery? <p><strong><a href="">C-H-A-C-O-S!</a></strong></p> <p>Yes! I discovered <a href="">Chacos</a> last year (I&rsquo;m a little behind the times, I know) when I was struggling to fix Plantar Fasciitis. I was trying to find a shoe that I could wear in the summer that offers good arch support, cushioning, and isn&rsquo;t&hellip; well&hellip; hideous.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/NOW copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What I found is a great pair of <a href="">Chaco sandals</a>. In fact, I loved them so much&hellip; I bought a second pair - ne to wear ALL THE TIME inside the house and one to wear outside. Not only have they helped cure the Plantar Fasciitis; they have helped keep it away.</p> <p>So, when I finish a race, the first thing I put on is my beloved Chaco sandals.</p> <p>LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! They are happiness to my feet!</p> <p>---------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About Team Priority Health member&nbsp;Marie Dershem:</em></p> <p><em>I am a mom, student working toward a Masters degree in Nutrition, and a triathlete. In college, I rowed and competed in rowing for about 10 years after college. This became very challenging, however, once my children took priority. A friend, Tom Trout, introduced me to the sport of triathlon and I fell in love. I have competed in 6-7 triathlons each summer for the past 5 years. It has given me a fantastic outlet for my competitive spirit, a great way to meet new friends and athletes, and has provided me with an opportunity to participate in something that keeps me healthy - mind, body and spirit.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 02:46:00 GMT Life Lessons from a Volcano- Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson <p style="text-align: left;">My 5-year-old (Ari) was born with a very "I can&rsquo;t do it&rdquo; attitude. This concerns me. Life is full of hard things. Making decisions, learning a new skill, standing up for what you believe, etc. Life requires a certain amount of perseverance to survive, and an even bigger amount if you want to actually succeed. I want Ari to know he has it in him.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Ari looking aprehensive about the trip to the top.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For this reason I&rsquo;m constantly pointing out to Ari when he does something that he was convinced he couldn&rsquo;t do. &nbsp;Fold his own laundry, learn to read, jump off a rock, ride a bike, and hike to the top of a volcano.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Hattie Master Lists.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Yes, a volcano. Namely the <a href="">Cinder Cone trail in Lassen Volcanic National Park</a>. It seemed like the perfect hike for a volcano-obsessed 5-year old. Four miles is nothing really, and you can actually peer down into the crater at the end! Ari was so excited&hellip; until he hit mile 1.4.</p> <p>The first mile and a half was not steep when measured by any other human. But despite how often I take this kid hiking, the ever-so-slight incline threw him into "can't do it" mode. &nbsp;Luckily the view of the volcano in the distance at mile 1.2 was enough to get him going again. Likewise, the view of the steep trail at mile 1.4 was enough to discourage him.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Hiking the ridge of the cinder cone.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It loomed in the distance. &nbsp;It looked a lot bigger than I had imagined. &nbsp;All of the sudden he &ldquo;couldn&rsquo;t do it&rdquo;, it was going to be &ldquo;too hard&rdquo;.&nbsp;</p> <p>It was a steep trail indeed. Walking on cinder we took one step up and slid a 1/2 step back. &nbsp;Ari collapsed on the trail in true dramatic fashion several times. We would rest. &nbsp;Help him up. &nbsp;Make up more knock-knock jokes to occupy his thoughts and continue on. There were times when we sort of wanted to let him just give up. &nbsp;But we didn&rsquo;t. &nbsp;We couldn&rsquo;t.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Seeking shelter from the wind on the endg of the crater.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>He made it. &nbsp;And I think the view from the top was that much better for the drama of the hike up. &nbsp;I wish I had a picture of his face the moment he saw that crater. &nbsp;The huge grin. &nbsp;The squealing. &nbsp; Him yelling &ldquo;We did it!&rdquo; &nbsp; All of us running for cover as a gale-force wind threatened to catch us mid-victory dance and throw us straight into the crater.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/All smiles on the way down.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Thank you volcano, for showing my son that he can do hard things.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 01:29:00 GMT Watauga Down River Race in Boone NC-Chaco Ambassador Chris Baer and his team, Team Tiger Blood <iframe src="" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <br>The annual Watauga race was approaching quickly and our team, Team Tiger Blood was formed. Ty Caldwell, Tyler Mayo, James Lowry, Matt Redmond, Clay Lucas, Mark Taylor, Ryan DeKay, and I had joined forces to be the almighty cause of chaos and destruction.</p> <p>Imagine lining up against the riverbank with 50 of your closest friends. Make sure the slowest people are downstream and the fastest upstream. Now place a bridge that is only two feet above the river level a little too close for comfort. Nascar fans use the term, "the Big One" for the amazing wreck that takes half of the cars out of the field. The Big One was about to happen on the Watauga.</p> <p>GO!!!! The pack took off and as the slower paddlers were getting to the bridge the faster paddlers had approached full speed, the "big one" occurred directly under the bridge. There were screams and paddles clacking off each other, the bridge, and faces. As the posse reemerged from beneath the bridge the order of the pack was significantly altered. A couple more minutes into the race and the collisions and "rubbing is racing" attitude was in full effect. Ten minutes into the race and the lactic acid was coursing through our veins, the pack had become a single file train through the rapids.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Watauga River is one of the best down river race venues I have ever attended, there is a myriad of good lines through every rapid, and this allows for constant jockeying of position. Thirty minutes in and we were approaching the finish line, State Line Falls. The top competitors were still fighting it out while entering the final rapid.</p> <p>Team Tiger Blood won the race, by having more fun and creating more chaos then any one thought possible. Chris Gragtmans personal blamed me for his loss, lol. Eric Chance the local wonder, did have the fastest time... but who cares. The Watauga race is an amazing grass roots event that put a gigantic smile on my face.&nbsp;</p> <p>Chris Baer-<a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 12 Jul 2012 11:37:00 GMT Team Priority Health Gets 'Uplifted...' to the Chaco-sphere <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em><a href="">Chaco</a> is proud to support <a href="">Team Priority Health</a>. This group of 65 semi-pro athletes from our &ldquo;neck of the woods&rdquo; are a shining example of what we believe in&mdash;Getting outside, playing and pushing the limit. Find out more about them in their blog below.</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/TPH copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Team Priority Health is a group of 65 semi-pro athletes competing in road and off-road cycling, Xterra, running, nordic skiing and triathlons. Our athletes are Midwest-made endurance performers with outstanding commitment to their sport and community by visiting schools, putting on clinics and talking to kids about health, wellness and active lifestyle. &nbsp;Who better to put Rockford-made Chaco sports sandals through the paces?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Slide2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Some of our athletes are hitting the roads, trails, and streams this summer outfitted with Chaco's new <a href=";search=Search">Updraft</a> - a sleek, lightweight, flexible sandal that's prepared to take a beating. Ideally suited for athlete recovery, the Updrafts are easy to break-in and offer out-of-the-box comfort. The shape and design features &ndash; which include nice arch support &ndash; promote post-race circulation. Other athletes are putting the indestructible <a href=";search=Search">ZX/2 Yampas</a> through the paces, with its custom-fit double strapping web and sturdy tread base. Chaco sports sandals have some unique features that fit our athletic lifestyle: the LuvSeat sole that cradles the heel and the sanction of the American Podiatric Medical Association, to mention a few. &nbsp; With Chaco, our athletes recover faster so they can compete more often and perform at their best.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Slide1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Stay tuned as our team bloggers <a href="">Dan Yankus</a>, Alan Antonuk, Marie Dershem, <a href="">Chelsea Clark</a> and Laura Melendez blog their adventures.</p> <p>Check them out <a href="">HERE</a> at the Chaconian blog.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 02:03:00 GMT There’s Something Magical About This Place- Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik on Moab, Utah <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/_DSC3321.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Life in <a href="">Moab</a> gets better and better by the day. Although it has been 100 degrees for two weeks straight, I feel so happy and content to be living here.&nbsp;</p> <p>There's something magical about this place and I can't quite put my finger on it. Being such a small town, everywhere I go I run into someone I know or have just recently met. But it's not just that. It's that all of these people are here for a reason and are so passionate about what they do that I can't help but gain strength and&nbsp;joy from each and every one of them.&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether they're into climbing, boating, hiking, photography, art, music, food, BASE-jumping, slacklining, paddle boarding or whatever else, I can see that every one&nbsp;of them is here for a reason. They see how special this place is as well. After living here it's extremely hard to imagine myself living anywhere else.</p> <p>My recent focus in life has been not just pushing my athletics, but on making true and genuine connections with other human beings. As I said, there are so many different people with a multitude of passions that I feel like I can learn so much from them.&nbsp;</p> <p>I recently met a guy, Jeff, who plays the Jazz Saxophone. What he likes to do is hike out into the desert where he plays his music and works with the echoes of the&nbsp;canyons. As he plays, the sound plays right back to him creating an out of this world experience.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was so intrigued by his unique pastime that we went out together recently and as I walked a highline between one of Moab's stunning natural arches, he played his music and our two passions intersected in a way that I haven't experienced before.&nbsp;</p> <p>I've also met a BASE Jumper, Mark, who I've been working with on combining my passion for climbing and his for jumping. It's exciting to connect with individuals on such a different level. We recently climbed the Ancient Art Tower in the Fisher Towers of Castle Valley and upon summiting he gracefully jumped off of the top.&nbsp;</p> <p>I am in awe of the talents of those around me and I am in love with this place we call Moab. A huge Thank You to all that have crossed my path and as always, I am looking forward to what's to come.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/_DSC3232.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 05:58:00 GMT Why Liberating your Feet is Such a Good Thing- Priority Health Athlete Dan Yankus <p>I spend the workday in shoes generally picked for style over comfort. Depending on the season, my feet transition into cross-country ski boots or cycling shoes for the evening workout. They serve their purpose but comfort can sometimes be lacking. My feet feel trapped, so I&rsquo;m always looking to liberate them.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/xc_ski_team.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Over the past 2 years if the temperature is above 50 degrees outside or in my house, I&rsquo;m in sandals. At first it was a cheap pair, but they wore out quickly. Over the course of time I paid a little more but always came up short from the freedom I desired. It wasn&rsquo;t until this spring, finding the <a href=";search=Search">Chaco Updraft Sandal</a> that my feet found a new home. There was no break in period for me as with others I have had, plus they were lightweight and forgot I had them on. They provide a barefoot feeling but give you great support and the ability to walk anywhere. Ah, my feet are finally free!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/7/Updraft copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 05:49:00 GMT Kimshew & South Branch Kayaking with Chaco Ambassador Rusty Sage After a mediocre winter, spring has come to California and now is the time for whitewater across the state. Boaters from all over the world are coming for the most accessible, clean, and smooth granite features of our Class V rivers.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of my favorite towns in Northern California is <a href=",_California">Chico</a>. I spent several years here studying Mechanical Engineering and paddling nearby rivers, most notably all the branches of the <a href="">Feather Drainage</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recently, I had one of the best whitewater weekends I have ever had paddling the <a href="">Kimshew Creek</a> to Upper West Branch aka &ldquo;Lower Stash,&rdquo; totaling over 18 miles in length and dropping a total of over 3200 vertical feet in one day. This is one of the famed classics of California known for its relentless 30-40 foot waterfalls and difficulties in accessibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>During the trip we attacked the South Branch of the Middle Fork. We paddled hard and experienced several tight moves throughout the run and finished off with a BANG! This run has one of the heaviest horizon lines that I have ever witnessed. Recently, someone called this section &ldquo;the steepest section of whitewater ever run in a kayak&rdquo; with its 120+ foot drops into the gorge.</p> <p>Check out my video that I put together on this trip.</p> <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Kimshew & South Branch Kayaking</a> from <a href="">Rusty Sage</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 04:45:00 GMT A Day in the Life of Mike Tavares <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">Chaco</a> Ambbassador Mike Tavares kayaking at the <a href="">Natahala Outdoor Center</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Kayaking at the NOC</a> from <a href="">RiverShred</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 16:14:00 GMT I Love the Wicked Tan Lines- Team Priority Health Athlete Chelsea Clark <p>As an athlete, I spend a lot of time moving. Whether it&rsquo;s in the car on the way to a race or the hours upon hours of training&hellip;I am constantly on the go. &nbsp;The best part is having a pair of shoes that allow me to continue to be active without aching feet at the end of the day. Dressed up, or dressed to race (minus the cycling shoes) I rely on my <a href="">Chaco</a> sandals to keep me moving.</p> <p>From hiking along a river valley to recovering after a hard criterium, I love the amount of support Chacos give my feet, and the security of the straps. Whenever I wear sandals, I am fumbling to stay upright, but not with my <a href="">ZX/2 Unaweep</a> Sandal; the added security of the shoe allows my feet to be secure, which allows me to not fall on my face. Not to mention the I love the wicked tan lines I sport by the end of the summer.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/Chelsea.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 06:27:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Lindsey Wilson shares on keeping little Chaconians safe near fast moving water <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/Playing near the river.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My kids are near water a fair amount especially in the spring when water levels are high due to extra rain and snow melt. While playing near high water is good for me, it&rsquo;s not necessarily the best place for aspiring rock skippers (aka, my kids).&nbsp;</p> <p>Being a kayaker I know first hand the power of water. I&rsquo;ve learned (at times the hard way) to respect it, and I think this has made me more of a safety cop when my kids are around it.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re going to be near rivers and streams here are a few things to consider in order to stay safe:</p> <p>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Water looks like it&rsquo;s slower than it is. &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t be lured into thinking that a mild eddy near shore is a safe place to let your child play with little oversight. Moreover, understand that a child that falls into water that looks slow may be far from where he or she can be easily rescued faster than you think.</p> <p>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Even if your child knows how to swim they are no match for hypothermia. Spring water is cold, and the shock of cold can quickly erase from a child&rsquo;s mind last summer&rsquo;s swimming lessons.</p> <p>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>No matter how stupid life jackets look, or no matter how much of a fuss your kids make when wearing them, they save lives! &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t think that because it is lunchtime on your sunny float down the local canal, that you can take them off. Note: I had my 2 year old son &lsquo;practicing&rsquo; wearing his well before his first &lsquo;river trip&rsquo;.</p> <p>4.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Explain to your kids beforehand the risks associated with water. Set clear rules and boundaries. &nbsp;Stick to them&mdash;show your children that you are serious when it comes to water.</p> <p>5.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Make sure you know where your kids are at all times. As parents, make a game plan beforehand; decide who will be watching whom and don&rsquo;t, at any time during your turn as lifeguard, look at your cell phone.</p> <p>Although bodies of water can be dangerous, that doesn&rsquo;t mean you shouldn&rsquo;t get out and enjoy some time along the river. Use it as an opportunity to introduce some water safety 101.</p> <p>-----------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>Lindsey blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 25 Jun 2012 11:14:00 GMT Beer Tastes Good in the Chaco Vade Shoe <p style="text-align: left;">Our Ambassador Chris Baer celebrates his most recent adventures kayaking in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama by toasting from his <a href="">Chaco</a>&nbsp;<a href=";search=Search">Vades</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"> <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Cheoah, North Fork of the French Broad, and The Little River Canyon</a> from <a href="">Chris Baer</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p> -----------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em> About Chaco Ambassador Chris Baer: In 2011, Chris Baer's Chaco flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chris is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. In his explorations, Chris has come to know the world and is the epitome of many a Chaconian. Watch the Chaco blog and as he continues to embrace and share his life of adventure.</em></p> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 08:07:00 GMT A Chaco Climbing and Camping Week in Yosemite <p>A full week in <a href="">Yosemite National Park</a> with perfect spring weather. Does this sound like a <a href="">Chaconian</a> heaven to you? It certainly seemed darn close to me.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/IMG_0894.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Ever since my first trip to Yosemite with my family as a little girl I have loved the place. Seeing Yosemite, it&rsquo;s giant granite cliffs with waterfalls cascading swiftly down from a tremendous height, always quickens my pulse and my imagination. My most recent trip was perfect in so many ways. My husband and I, along with some friends, climbed, hiked and photographed. We spent time watching wildlife (and people) during a week where the thermometer never dipped below 70 and not a single raindrop fell.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/IMG_0747.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Chacos came in handy during all of this. My <a href=";search=Search">Flip Pros</a> were comforting at the crags and at camp after climbs, handy to wear in the showers at <a href="">Curry Village</a> and to tool around in after showering. My <a href=";search=Search">Updrafts</a> were sturdy on a hike to <a href="">Bridal Veil Falls</a>, which included a short boulder scramble I took to get a better photo of the mist, and also did great with socks for cooler mornings and evenings at camp.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/IMG_0289.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The overall highlight of the trip for me though was my repeat of a climb called <a href="">Snake Dike</a>, a route up <a href="">Half Dome</a> famous for its strenuous hike and for the &ldquo;run out&rdquo; sections, which offer little protection and the consequence of falling is increased. I had done this route years ago, but had not been a leader on it. Being the leader requires a certain amount of mental toughness to climb through those portions. This time I lead three sections (aka pitches) which included run outs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/IMG_0422.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Summiting Half Dome this trip was a surreal experience and unlike any other time before. Half Dome, being the iconic feature it is, is always covered with people. This time my husband and I were the only ones on top, we enjoyed the fabulous view and filled a water bottle with some of the snow on top before heading down the cables and the rest of the long hike back to camp. Arriving back at camp, my husband collapsed in the tent, and I promptly changed into my Flip Pros.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/IMG_0428.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The day after Half Dome was a reward day. We lounged about in <a href="">Chacos</a> on the porch at Curry Village with a store bought coffee, juice, and pastry in hand after a much deserved shower. We were sad to leave Yosemite, but already looking forward to our return in June. While I agree with our friend who said, &ldquo;That was one of my best climbing trips to Valley ever&rdquo;, there's always another adventure to be found in Yosemite.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">More Yosemite trip photos can be seen at <a href=""></a></p> <p>You can also read a more detailed report with an emphasis on the climbing portions of my trip, on <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><strong>About Chaco Ambassador EILEEN RINGWALD:</strong></p> <p><em>Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 19 Jun 2012 14:54:00 GMT A Dog Named Lola <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/Lola2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 22:18:00 GMT Who is Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik? <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 02:59:00 GMT Last Call for Chaco Up for Adventure Sweepstakes Entries. <p> <div style="color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;"> <p>Want to zip-line in the rain forest? Rappel down waterfalls? River raft? The <a href="">Chaco Up for Adventure Sweepstakes</a> ends at noon Eastern Time tomorrow, June 12th.&nbsp;Enter NOW for one last shot to win a dream vacation! Enter&nbsp;<a href="">HERE</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/UpforAdventure copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>As&nbsp;<a href="">Chaconians</a>&nbsp;we vow to live a life of adventure with each step we take. From family fun, to hitting the trail with friends, and spontaneous road trips, we carry adventure in our hearts and souls. But the time has come to dream BIG with the Chaco Up for Adventure Sweepstakes where you can build your own action-packed 9-day vacation!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </p> Mon, 11 Jun 2012 04:04:00 GMT We Promise, Our Sandals are Not Bacon Flavored… <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/6/AA.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our <a href="">ReChaco</a> team repaired over 22,000 sandals last year, some of which have wear and tear from years of adventuring, others that have had shorter lifespans due to the love, hugs and nibbles of your dog. Regardless of the source, our team of sandal repair specialists will patch and mend the worn and torn bits to give your footwear a second chance (and third, fourth, fifth...).</p> <p>We've been making footwear for over 20 years, and each year our materials become stronger and last longer. With the aid of ReChaco, it's conceivable that you'll wear your favorite pair for 10+ years. It'll feel good to know that you've kept a pair of footwear out of the landfill because you worked with ReChaco to extend your footwear&rsquo;s life. Adventures come and go, but your <a href="">Chacos</a> will stay on your feet! Just try and keep them in a safe spot away from the puppy!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Sun, 03 Jun 2012 22:51:00 GMT The Katie Dean Skunk Tour, Live on the Chattooga! <p>Imagine going on a hike with a fifty-pound kayak on your shoulder. Now load that kayak with all your camping gear, squish in some canyoneering equipment, and sling that expensive multi media gear over your shoulder. Self-support kayaking can be a physical challenge but this is not a story about a cumbersome multi-day trip. This is the Katie Dean Skunk Tour, LIVE on the <a href="">Chattooga</a>! &nbsp;</p> <p>Katie Dean was her enthusiastic self when I answered the phone, "I think the <a href=";hl=en&amp;prmd=imvns&amp;tbm=isch&amp;tbo=u&amp;source=univ&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=DceiT-38IYHx6AHt_pncCA&amp;ved=0CEcQsAQ&amp;biw=1280&amp;bih=610">Raven Fork</a> is going to run tomorrow, you want to go?" I responded with a quick, "Of course."&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/B.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Early the next morning I drove to meet Katie and her husband Zach. An hour into the drive, and just a few miles from the Raven Fork Creek, the phone rang again. It had barely rained overnight and I was anticipating the worst. Katie&rsquo;s voice confirmed it, &ldquo;It looks pretty low.&rdquo; After a brief conversation we had a new plan and were headed for Eternity Hole to do some play boating.</p> <p>The river was even lower at <a href=";hl=en&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;hs=7mg&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;channel=fflb&amp;prmd=imvns&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;ei=PceiT5CeA6yN6QHO8cTtCA&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=mode_link&amp;ct=mode&amp;cd=2&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&amp;biw=1280&amp;bih=610">Eternity Hole</a> and the dam release wouldn&rsquo;t start flowing for hours! We were double skunked and morale was low.</p> <p>The only thing <a href=""></a> sourced as having water in it was the Chattooga. After discussing the possibility of a third strike out, the decision was made. We were back in our vehicles and on our way to our final option when Katie came up with a real plan B, &ldquo;How about we overnight it?&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Untitled 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Swinging into the grocery store we picked up rice, beans, brats, beer, and a loaf of garlic bread. Our group&rsquo;s mood was recovering quickly as we went from skunked to supper classic overnighter.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">It had been seven or eight years since I paddled the Chattooga last, and after the first couple rapids I was wondering why I had waited so long to get back on such a fun stretch of white water. We spent the night at <a href="">Sock Em Dog</a>, and paddled multiple laps on the "hardest" rapids the river has to offer. A strong conversation, a few beers, and a small fire kept us company late into the evening.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finishing any multi day is rough and Katie, Zach and I weren't ready for the "real world" yet, so we restocked the next day and headed back into the canyon for another night!</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About Chris Baer: In 2011, Chris Baer's <a href="">Chaco</a> flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chris is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. In his explorations, Chris has come to know the world and is the epitome of many a <a href="">Chaconian</a>. Watch the <a href="">Chaco blog</a> and <a href=""></a> as he continues to embrace and share his life of adventure.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 31 May 2012 07:03:00 GMT Dreaming of Adventure? The Time is NOW! <p><a href=""><strong>Chaco Up for Adventure Sweepstakes</strong></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/UpforAdventure copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>As <a href="">Chaconians</a> we vow to live a life of adventure with each step we take. From family fun, to hitting the trail with friends, and spontaneous road trips, we carry adventure in our hearts and souls. But the time has come to dream BIG with the Chaco Up for Adventure Sweepstakes where you can build your own action-packed 9-day vacation!</p> <p>Want to zip-line in the rain forest? Rappel down waterfalls? River raft? &nbsp;Enter NOW to win a dream vacation! Daily sandal winners and free shipping too! Enter <a href="">HERE</a></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 22:45:00 GMT Chaco Ambassador Jeremy Collins Recounts a day in Venezuela <p><em>Recently Jeremy Collins, one of our Chaco Ambassadors visited Venezuela and recounts his day meeting a local.</em></p> <p><em>Feb 15th, 2012:&nbsp;Gran Sabana Jungle, Venezuela, Yunek village</em></p> <p>Today we met Alberto. He came through our basecamp with a 12-gauge shotgun slung over his shoulder, a machete in one hand and a stick in the other.</p> <p>He had a small backpack on, and from it he presented four fish that were neatly stacked in a small hand woven basket. He wanted to know if we would trade him two double A batteries for two of his fish.</p> <p>We of course said "yes" or "si" and Alberto quickly cleaned them... and we just as quickly devoured them.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/BBB.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>---------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">About Jeremy: &ldquo;Whether your journey is from east to west, or from ground to summit, don't miss the path from heart to head. Between these two destinations we find our voice.&rdquo; As an artist, climber, filmmaker and adventurer, Jeremy Collins is a Chaconian ambassador with the unique ability to find beauty around the world and translate it in his own unique way. View his films and photographs at the 5Point Film Festival and Banff Film Festival as well as special showings and online at <a href=""></a>&nbsp;and on <a href="">Facebook</a></span>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 28 May 2012 13:38:00 GMT So life is a crazy thing, right? <p> <p>I am certainly no expert on life after 25 years of living it, but one thing I've realized is if you don't follow your dreams you will forever wish you did. There comes a point when you figure out what your dreams are, for me it&rsquo;s a life full of adventure, travel, personal growth and most of all &ndash; love. There's really no time to waste and no time but right now so I&rsquo;m choosing to live my dreams!</p> <p>What I love to do the most in life these days is <a href="">highline</a>, <a href="">rock climb</a> and be outside. When I'm doing any one of these things I feel more alive and more focused than I do any other place on earth. I find the elation of physically and mentally conquering a challenge addicting. Just getting out there makes me happy, but successfully walking a slackline set meters above the ground or scaling a cliff face makes me feel strong. I'm learning to transfer the skills I&rsquo;ve cultivated in my athletic life into my every day life and it makes me believe anything is possible.&nbsp;</p> <p>This summer I've chosen to live out of my car in order to learn more about myself, and the world. A few years ago even thinking about doing something like this terrified me, but I finally feel ready to take that leap. You know when something just feels right?&nbsp;</p> <p>Stay tuned for more on my adventures and be sure to follow me on my social networks!</p> <p><a href="">Website</a>:</p> <p><a href="">Facebook</a>:</p> <p><a href="">Twitter</a>:</p> </p> Fri, 25 May 2012 06:21:00 GMT All in the Family <p>There&rsquo;s something special about becoming a <a href="">Chaconian</a>. You enter a larger sphere of existence. Joined by people all around the world who live for adventure, find comfort out on the trail and live in <a href="">Chaco</a> sandals and shoes. We receive LUV letters all the time from our fans, you, Chaconians who LUV us so much. Thanks for joining our family and for making room for us in yours. Here&rsquo;s a nice letter from Vicki, where Chacos are &ldquo;all in the family&rdquo;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Untitled.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Untitled 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 08:48:00 GMT How to Get Started With Rock Climbing <p>I recently realized that I&rsquo;ve been rock climbing for over 20 years. It made me think back on how I started to climb and how much the sport has changed over the years. Climbing has transitioned from something obscure and rarely seen into the mainstream, featured in <a href=";">national commercials</a>.</p> <p>My own rock climbing story began with a slight fear of heights and a class I took at a local university. The class was held at a rock formation I had wondered about for years and curiosity proved to be enough of an incentive for me to take on my fears. After the beginning class I was hooked, I took another class, made some &ldquo;climbing&rdquo; friends and the rest is history as the saying goes.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>So what&rsquo;s the best way to learn how to climb today?</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">1. You can take a class indoors or out.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">2. You can hire a guide.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">3. You can have a mentor/friend teach you.</p> <p>For many folks just starting out I would recommend the first two options. Taking a class is a great way to see if climbing is for you. Classes and guided instruction most often offer equipment rentals, a much better option than buying your own gear before you know if you&rsquo;ll love climbing or what kind of equipment is best for what you want to do.</p> <p>Formal instruction is offered in a variety of ways: through a climbing gym, through outdoor equipment stores, through schools, and through climbing or adventure guide companies. Instruction can be held indoors or out and as single or multiday outings. While a class in a gym is convenient, I think being outdoors in nature while learning is still a best way.</p> <p>With so many options for a beginner climber these days, I think it&rsquo;d be hard to beat a class or guided experience for the best and safest introduction to the sport.</p> <p>When researching your options, find out if instructors are accredited with the <a href="">American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)</a>. This association certifies guides and climbing instructors and is the United States&rsquo; representative to the 21-member <a href="">International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA)</a>, the international governing body responsible for guiding standards and education around the world. If an instructor is certified with the AMGA I&rsquo;d personally give that class priority, especially for higher-level classes.</p> <p>If you are lucky enough to find friend or mentor who is willing to teach you, keep in mind that rock climbing is constantly evolving and instructors and guides will have the most up to date information available. Also, realize that you are putting your life in this person&rsquo;s hands and what that kind of responsibility could mean to your friendship. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just to consider it.</p> <p>Still interested in giving climbing a try? Go forth and research your local options (or take a plunge and book a vacation with an accredited and well reviewed guide). But remember, climbing is an inherently dangerous sport, it should be something that you try with an eye towards fun AND awareness.</p> <p>About EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 20 May 2012 04:48:00 GMT Chaco Ponsul earns noteworthy ink. <p>Have you checked out <a href="">Chaco&rsquo;s</a> <a href=";search=Search">Ponsul</a> shoe yet? The Ponsul is the perfect shoe for water adventure, with a molded TPU toe bumper for protection, a neoprene sock to keep out debris, and Custom Adjust&rsquo;em straps to provide the fit Chaconians know and love. <a href="">Backpacker Magazine</a> and <a href="">Rapid Magazine</a> have taken note and agree with resounding thumbs up!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/P2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Featured in Backpacker&rsquo;s highly respected <a href="">2012 Spring Gear Guide</a>, the Chaco Ponsul has been elected as &ldquo;best for canyoneering&rdquo; in the footwear category. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s ideal for river rats, but it&rsquo;s also more versatile than its funky look suggests.&rdquo; One tester remarked that it&rsquo;s rubber Vibram outsole with low-profile lugs gripped slickrock with &ldquo;Spiderman-like suction.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/P1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="">Rapid Mag</a> also buzzed about the Ponsul in its Spring 2012 issue, noting it &ldquo;offers Chaco&rsquo;s renowned arch support, Vibram outsoles and familiar strap adjustment system.&rdquo;!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 May 2012 09:36:00 GMT ON THE ROAD WITH THE BOARDS <p style="text-align: left; ">The past few weeks have been spent training and getting ready for the upcoming season on the Road. With the <a href="">Boardworks Demo Tour</a> in full swing, it has been great to meet lots of new people, introduce people to the sport of <a href="">Stand Up Paddling</a>, and share my passion for the sport. &nbsp;I&rsquo;ve been paddling both SUP&rsquo;s and Kayak&rsquo;s lately, but have been getting a lot of attention while paddling whitewater on our Stand Up Boards. &nbsp;The other thing getting the attention of paddlers and on-lookers alike, is our new footwear from <a href="">Chaco</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Mike SUPsurf copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Since I got my new pair of <a href=";search=Search">Tedinho&rsquo;s</a>, they have been glued to my feet in the water and have been a great tool for paddling. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/NOW.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Here is a video from my paddling session on the Ocoee River last weekend while wearing the Tedinho&rsquo;s. &nbsp; Simply put, they are grippy, supportive, and protective. &nbsp;I will let the <a href="">VIDEO</a> speak for itself&hellip;</p> <p>Hope to see new faces at our stops along the tour this year! &nbsp;Don&rsquo;t be shy if you see us on the road!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 13 May 2012 12:25:00 GMT Floss, Brush, and Shower... Proper Hygiene for Squeaky Clean Chacos <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Feet get stinky after a day of fun. Here are our tips for taking care of your sandals and avoiding the funk!</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Slide1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>To de-funk your <a href=";search=Search">sandals</a>, follow these quick home remedies for proper <a href="">Chaco</a> hygiene.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Wash.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center; ">Wash sandals frequently. Obvious, but people forget.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Shower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Wear your sandals in the shower. Why not? It's fun and saves some water!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Washing machine copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Throw any <strong>non-leather</strong> Chaco sandals in the washing machine. And air-dry them.</p> <p><strong>Proper Flossing Leads to Overall Sandal Health</strong><br />Because <a href="">Chaco</a> products are designed with simplicity and functionality in mind, all <a href=";search=Search">Z sandals</a> are equipped with a continuous webbing system that flows underneath the footbed. This allows you to adjust the sandal and obtain a perfect fit, every time. To prevent unneeded wear on your sandals, floss the webbing after each wash to remove any grit from the channels.</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; To floss-make a mixture of &frac12; water and &frac12; fabric softener and pour in the channels of each webbing opening. &ldquo;Floss&rdquo; the webbing back and forth to remove grit and allow for proper webbing activity.Flush with water to remove debris and cleaning fluids.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-weight: bold;">Chacos still smelling a little too "adventurous"?</p> <p><em>For Chaco Webbing products:</em></p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Scrub the footbed of your sandals with baking soda &amp; water. Rinse and let air dry.</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Avoid bleach! Allow to air dry and do not place sandals in the dryer.</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Floss webbing! Every few washes pull the webbing back and forth to keep the channels clear of grit &amp; sand. Pour liquid fabric softener into the slits where webbing meets the footbed in order to help slide the webbing.</p> <p><em>For Chaco Leather Products:</em></p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Hand wash with a damp cloth &amp; gently blot the area that needs cleaning.</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Air dry! Allow wet sandals to air dry. Do not place leather sandals in the dryer or near any heat source (this may cause the leather to become brittle and crack).</p> <p>&bull;<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Leather conditioner is your friend. Use a high quality leather conditioner to help preserve your sandals (Note: this may darken their color).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 08 May 2012 19:38:00 GMT Full-on Training for the Nantahala Shootout <p>The past few weeks have been full-on training. Mike and I have been living in friends&rsquo; driveways, Outfitter Shops, and Walmart parking lots that are conveniently located to awesome river features. Since our trailer has been covered with logos we are no longer incognito.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Haley2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My training over the last few weeks has consisted of working on my weakest tricks and spending time repeatedly practicing. Another aspect of my training has been running sprints and down river sprints. The Nantahala river has been a great location for me to train on the 8 mile class 2+ river for my down river sprints. Most of my freestyle kayak training has been at Rock Island TN, Ocoee River, TN, and Eternity hole, NC.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Haley1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>April 20th was our first major competitive event of the season and a ton of competitors came to compete at the <a href="">Nantahala Shootout</a> in NC. This is the location for the <a href="">2012 World Cup Event</a> and <a href="">2013 World&rsquo;s Event</a>. During our tour I paddled almost all the features a few times and it paid off with a second place finish in the K1 Women Pro catagory.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nantahala Shootout was full of fun with Freestyle Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding events and free demos. <a href=" ">LINK</a> &nbsp;</p> <p>More to come with all of the excitement from this weekend.</p> Tue, 08 May 2012 02:13:00 GMT Our Chaco Ambassador Team member Lindsey shares her secrets for Do-It-Yourself Projects for Adventuring Families <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="float: left; border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/Hammock.jpg" alt="" /><strong>1. Make a Hammock</strong></p> <p>Hammocks are the perfect vessel for lounging around camp, in the backyard or even in your <a href="">minivan</a>. &nbsp;They can be pretty expensive to buy, but are cheap and easy to make yourself.</p> <p>All you need is a piece of fabric (or a sheet) and some type of cording (or webbing). There are two methods for assembling your hammock. One involves a sewing machine, the other doesn't even take it that far.&nbsp;</p> <p>Get your instructions <a href="">HERE</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Build a Mobile Kitchen</strong></p> <p>It used to be that cooking items were always the most time consuming thing for me to pack, and I inevitably forgot something. One day I hit up a thrift store and bought everything I would need to assemble a mobile kitchen (i.e a kitchen I would never need to re-pack). I organized it all in a plastic tote that goes on every camping trip with us. Gone are the days of using frisbees as plates and eating spaghetti with a knife.</p> <p>Get a complete list of items <a href="">HERE</a> to build your own.</p> <p><strong>3. Assemble a Fix-lt Kit</strong></p> <p>The idea behind the fix-it (i.e. survival) kit is that whether you&rsquo;re hiking, backpacking, river-rafting, biking, or doing some other outdoor activity, any emergency that happens will generally fall into one of three categories:</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;a) Your equipment breaks.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;b) You hurt yourself.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; 
c) Something is inconvenient and annoying and needs an inventive remedy.</p> <p>In all cases, the point is to fix the problem as best you can on the spot, making something that is &lsquo;good enough&rsquo;, and will get you back to the real world for a proper fix. Make a kit that contains all you need to fix most things that break when you're outside and away. &nbsp;I use my kit all the time!</p> <p>Find out what you'll need to assemble your own <a href="">HERE</a>.&nbsp;</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 03 May 2012 05:16:00 GMT Bring on the UPDRAFT 2 <p>Searching for the perfect sandal with straight out-of-the-box cushioning &ndash; no break-in time necessary? &nbsp;With a lightweight look and feel, the new Chaco&nbsp;<a href=";search=Search">Updraft 2</a>&nbsp;incorporates smart design features for a fresh take on Chaco&rsquo;s versatile heritage. Learn more about this fresh take on the Z-sandal. .&nbsp;<img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/UDM.png" alt="" /><img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/5/UDW.png" alt="" /></p> <p>The <a href=";search=Search">Updraft 2</a> is super lightweight and sleek with the much-loved Chaco LUVSEAT&trade; for support and comfort. The Updraft is built from the ground up with a TPU frame that bridges the foot&rsquo;s arch as well as ergonomic side heelposts that assist with foot alignment. The sandal is equipped with Custom Adjust&rsquo;em straps, toe-loop for a secure hold and a Vibram&reg; outsole for superior slip resistance on wet and dry surfaces. &nbsp;Available in&nbsp;<a href="">men&rsquo;s</a>,&nbsp;<a href="">women&rsquo;s</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href=";search=Search">wide widths</a>, $110. Also available in the&nbsp;<a href=";search=Search">Updraft</a>, and&nbsp;<a href=";search=Search">Updraft X2</a>&nbsp;models.</p> <p>&nbsp;Available at&nbsp;<a href="">Chaco dealers nationwide</a>&nbsp;and at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 16:54:00 GMT Rock It Girl <p>Hi everyone, I'm proud and excited to be part of the <a href="">Chaco Ambassador Team</a>!</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Eileenwriting.jpg" alt="" />I'm a climber, photographer and blogger at <a href=""></a>. I started climbing close to twenty years ago and never imagined the places, people, and opportunities it would bring me. Being asked to be a Chaco Ambassador is definitely one of the highlights!&nbsp;</p> <p>I've been a <a href="">Chaco</a> fan since the minute I strapped on my very first pair. I purchased them because I heard they were good for your feet, I wanted a sandal that could tackle a variety of terrain and, of course, because I liked how they look. Every pair has satisfied me on all counts ever since.</p> <p>I live in California so I&rsquo;m a regular at <a href="">Joshua Tree National Park</a> and <a href="">Yosemite National Park</a>. I&rsquo;ve also had the opportunity to travel around the United States climbing and taking pictures and have some international adventures. When I&rsquo;m not climbing I&rsquo;m hiking, backpacking, biking or I&rsquo;m on the water (I live near the beach so some kind of water activity is mandatory for an outdoor lover!). No matter my adventure of choice for the day, or where it takes me, Chacos always come along.&nbsp;</p> <p>I believe my passion for adventure has come across in posts and pictures on my website, <a href=""></a>, but I look forward to also sharing it here with you!</p> <p>~ Eileen Ringwald</p> <p><strong>About EILEEN RINGWALD:</strong></p> <p><em>Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed <a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen&rsquo;s photography can be seen at <a href=""></a>.</em></p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 29 Apr 2012 15:39:00 GMT Tales From Around the World, Usually Some Place Near Moving Water <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Maybe that <a href="">Saturday Night Live skit </a>with Chris Farley living out of his van down by the river left too much of an impression on me&hellip;. </span></p> <p><img style="text-align: left; float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Chris Now.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: mceinline;">My current home is a 25-year old pickup truck parked by a river with an extensive quiver of kayaks strapped on top.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline;">I am a professional kayaker chasing my dream, big waterfalls, unexplored canyons, gorgeous landscapes, and a cold beer at the take out. These dreams have taken me to almost every state, across the globe, and to the hospital.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/For Sure.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: mceinline; text-align: center;">Standing on the top of a 60-foot waterfall and looking down at the landing zone is terrifying for most people. The difference is I have fear it's just that I truly enjoy it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">Stay tuned for stories of near misses, gorgeous landscapes, international locations, and living in a truck. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: mceinline;">And tune in now&hellip;to this live <a href="">video</a>.</span></p> <p>--------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>About Chris Baer: In 2011, Chris Baer's Chaco flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chis is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. In his explorations, Chris has come to know the world and is the epitome of many a Chaconian. Watch the <a href="">Chaco blog</a> and <a href=""></a> as he continues to embrace and share his life of adventure.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 16 Apr 2012 02:48:00 GMT On Psyche, Time-Bombs and Making Marks <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/JC Headshot.JPG" alt="" /><span style="font-size: small;">I adjusted the top sleeve of the sweater again, pulling it ever so carefully into position like a member of the bomb squad cutting the red wire. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. If I pulled it too far, it exposed that extra inch of skin on my ankle, but if I didn&rsquo;t pull it far enough it didn&rsquo;t provide enough coverage on my butt cheeks. Tick. Tock. But having cold cheeks wasn&rsquo;t my only problem. The problem was, the sweater was on my legs, a size too small, and I was in the trunk of a sedan. It was my first extended road trip and I didn&rsquo;t own a sleeping bag. KA-BOOM!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">We crashed out three miles down a rutted out dirt path in the desert outside of </span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small;">Red Rocks National Monument</span></a><span style="font-size: small;">. Everyone else was outfitted in fancy fleece jackets, and expensive gear imported from the moon as far as I knew. I had a harness, a hideous pair of high top rock shoes that might as well have been roller skates, and a lot of questions. I didn&rsquo;t have much, but what I did have was a big barrel of psyche. Somehow, almost two decades later I still do.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/art1.JPG" alt="" width="248" height="187" /></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/art2.JPG" alt="" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">When people ask what I do for a living, I say, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m an artist.&rdquo; I&rsquo;ve found it&rsquo;s much easier than explaining all the complex ways I exist in this world, seeing as that I barely understand it myself. Climbing rocks and having adventure is certainly one way of making art if the canvas is life. But I do mean it in the more pedestrian sense too. I take little tools and make marks on paper, and feel an exceptional depth of gratitude that I get to do it every day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Those little marks on paper have lead to little marks on film, little marks on canvas, and little marks on the landscape via first ascent rock climbs around the globe.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/JC 2.JPG" alt="" width="232" height="157" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/JC climb2.JPG" alt="" width="151" height="222" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Climbing up untouched rock is possibly one of the most satisfying marks I get to make. It&rsquo;s so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It doesn&rsquo;t cure cancer, solve the earth&rsquo;s problems, or even pay the bills, really. I can&rsquo;t hang it on the wall at the local museum for the local well-to-do to admire. But it&rsquo;s one of the most pure marks I know. It&rsquo;s just you, a chunk of stone, an idea, some birds overhead, a song in your head, and a good (or exceptionally ignorant) friend at the other end of the rope.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">I suppose the idea is that all the little marks add up to making one big one.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">Follow my adventures here and at </span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small;"></span></a></p> <p>----------------------------------------------</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">About Jeremy: &ldquo;Whether your journey is from east to west, or from ground to summit, don't miss the path from heart to head. Between these two destinations we find our voice.&rdquo; As an artist, climber, filmmaker and adventurer, Jeremy Collins is a Chaconian ambassador with the unique ability to find beauty around the world and translate it in his own unique way. View his films and photographs at the 5Point Film Festival and Banff Film Festival as well as special showings and online at <a href=""></a>&nbsp;and on <a href="">Facebook</a></span>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 14 Apr 2012 23:15:00 GMT A Life on Water, Chasing the Dream <p>My name is Michael Tavares and I am a professional Stand Up Paddle boarder and whitewater kayaker.</p> <p>Since my first trip down the river, I have been immersed in the whitewater lifestyle and have been chasing the dream for 9 years. Over those 9 years, I have done a little bit of everything, but the common thread continues to be the love of whitewater competition and the lifestyle that goes with it.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Mike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A couple of years ago I was introduced to the sport of <a href="">Stand Up Paddling</a> and was immediately hooked. I saw amazing opportunities for river surfing as well as paddling downriver. I also loved the fact that I could paddle a board virtually anywhere at anytime, which enabled me to have way more fun training for the rest of my activities. My love for the Sport has grown over the past few years and has turned into both a huge passion as well as a full time job. I am now an athlete with Boardworks and traveling the U.S. this summer bringing the sport of whitewater and inland SUP to as many people as possible through the <a href="">2012 Boardworks Surf SHUBU</a> tour (Show Up and Blow Up).&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/ACTION 1.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>I am equally excited to have <a href="">Chacos</a> to compete and wear during my tour. Get ready to watch me on-water in the <a href=";search=Search">Tedinho's</a> and <a href=";search=Search">Ponsuls</a>- both great looking with awesome support, comfort, and grip. People have been staring at my feet when I paddle up! Hope to see you at a river festival this summer! If you see the RV and trailer, don't be shy! <a href="">LINK</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 11 Apr 2012 03:46:00 GMT A Hunter of Water <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/ACTION 1.JPG" alt="" />The word nomad is a great description of myself. I enjoy the unpredictable life of traveling in a RV and constantly being on and around the water. I've been kayaking since I was thirteen years old so I am accustomed to an on-water lifestyle. Over the past few years I've directed my focus to competing in Kayaking, and am becoming a fierce competitor, with solid goals for this year. I am ranked 2nd in the USA and 5th in the world for Freestyle kayaking.</p> <p><img style="float: right;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/HALEY.JPG" alt="" />My name is Haley Mills and I am a hunter of water. Follow my boyfriend, Mike Tavares, a fellow <a href="">Chaco Ambassador</a> and awesome kayaker and SUP rider, and I as we travel across the U.S. for whitewater events that will put most to shame. <a href=" ">LINK</a></p> <p>And if you are in the area, come out to see us at an event. We are pumped to meet new people along the way and share a friendship as <a href="">Chaconians</a>. Until we meet again... on land or by water!- Haley Mills</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 09 Apr 2012 12:04:00 GMT YOU'RE A ROCKSTAR <p>I'm Lindsey. I love being outside. I'm an environmental educator. The outdoors seems to be infused into everything I do; which explains why the other day when I uttered the phrase "you're a rockstar" my 5-year-old immediately thought I was referring to a meteorite.</p> <p>I grew up in Southern Utah. I spent my childhood outside.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Emily 1.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>When <a href="">Chaco</a> approached me about becoming an <a href="">ambassador</a> it seemed like the perfect fit (no pun intended). Chaco and I have a history. My Chacos were there when I rafted the <a href="">Grand Canyon</a>, backpacked around Costa Rica, traipsed through <a href="">Yosemite</a>'s backcountry, got stuck on a beach in Baja, and sat on the top of <a href="">Angels Landing</a> under a full moon.</p> <p><span style="text-align: center;">My Chacos were with me when I met my husband-to-be eleven years ago. They were on my feet when we got engaged, and went perfect with our wedding attire. They carried me into the hospital for the births of both of my boys, and I expect I'll wear them when I go in for the birth of our daughter in April. They were on my feet when our youngest son first showed an interest in scaling rocks, and as I ran after our eldest first learning to ride a bike.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Emily 2.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>Chacos have carried me on some of the greatest adventures of my life, and I expect they'll be there for many more to come.</p> <p>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p><em>Lindsey blogs at <a href=""></a>, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she's not blogging she's relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or corralling her boys at the wetlands behind her house.</em></p> Tue, 03 Apr 2012 19:50:00 GMT WOMAN ON A WIRE <p>There's something about balancing your way across an abyss that takes you far away from your everyday life and into a place of extreme focus, determination, and overcoming your innate fears. I've become quite fascinated with pushing my personal limits as far as possible, both physically and mentally.</p> <p>I'm Emily and I'm very excited to be a part of the <a href="">Chaco Ambassador Team</a>. I'm 25 years old, am heavily addicted to dark chocolate, love puppy dogs and am a bit of a nomad. My favorite thing in the world right now is slacklining, which is defined as "balancing on a narrow piece of webbing stretched between two anchor points".</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/4/Emily.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Within this unique balance sport there are three categories: <a href=";list=UUBEQKcI1bcTQ6otsx11LL8A&amp;index=10&amp;feature=plcp">Tricklining</a>, Longlining and <a href=";set=a.10150763243334602.465445.14086934601&amp;type=3&amp;theater">Highlining</a>. They are all pretty self explanatory but in short: "Tricklining" is performing tricks on the line (flips, rotations, static poses, etc), "Longlining" is walking anywhere from 100 feet- 1500 feel long and "Highlining" is setting up a line anywhere above 20 feet in the air. I participate in all three aspects of the sport and love themm all but my true calling is, hands down, highlining. If you've seen the movie "<a href="">Man on Wire</a>," replace the tight rope with a slackline and you'll have a pretty good idea of what I like to do.</p> <p>Emily Sukiennik</p> <p>Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>"Subscribe" on Facebook: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Vertgirl Sports</p> <p>Website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>"Like" on Facebook:&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 31 Mar 2012 15:13:00 GMT Chaconian seeks adventure in the Grand Canyon (part two) <p><em></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Steph action long.jpeg" alt="" width="430" height="192" /></p> <p><em>Stephanie Hill dishes about her experiences during her most recent <a href="">Chaco</a>&nbsp;adventure, a three-week rafting trip through the <a href="">Grand Canyon</a>. Besides being a dedicated <a href="">Chaconian</a>, Stephanie is the wife of Chaco guru&nbsp;</em><em><a href="">Brandan Hill</a> (Product Development Director for Chaco), the man behind your favorite sandals and shoes.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><strong>Tell us about life on the river?</strong></p> <p>Life on the river was rhythmic and balanced. The morning was full of work- getting the camp packed up and the boats ready for the water. But as we pushed off for the day, our hard work paid off with a day full of wonder and excitement blended with the relaxation of simply floating through the magical place that is the Grand Canyon.</p> <p><strong><br /></strong><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Steph Cavern.jpeg" alt="" /><strong>Did your trip change anything about you?</strong></p> <p>I got completely swallowed up at times in the beauty of the Canyon. Everyday I would wake and say to myself "THIS is the GRAND CANYON." I made sure I was really soaking it all in! With the&nbsp;focus on me I rediscovered my love of and comfort within the wilderness. Stars, water, rock, and sun is what makes me feel big and small, lost and connected, grounded and free. My surroundings during the trip were a centering place.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>T</strong><strong>ell us a bit about your use of Chacos on the trip?</strong></p> <p>I only brought <a href="">Chacos</a> on the trip. Of course my <a href=";search=Search">Z/2</a>'s (seen below) saw a lot of use! However, I fell in love with my <a href=";search=Search">Tedinho</a>'s! I started wearing them as the days got shorter and cooler. What I loved about all of the Chaco styles is the grip of the soles on the rocks. I was super confident hiking in my Chacos, which made for amazing side canyon discoveries.</p> <p style="text-align: right; ">&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; vertical-align: bottom; float: right;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Yampa Cw.jpg" alt="Chacos Z/2 Yampa" /></p> <p><strong>T</strong><strong>ell us about your Chacos experience on the river?</strong></p> <p>It was super fun seeing my friends get into their <a href="">Chacos</a> for the first time. Obviously they were excited to get a pair but watching them appreciate the comfort and functionality of the shoes was the best part. Our Chacos allowed us to travel by foot to places that we may not have been able to explore. Much appreciated by all!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Stephanie returned home from her three-week trip with renewed sense of self and a rejuvenated passion for the outdoors. Care to share your life-changing adventure experience? Send us a note at&nbsp;</em><em> and we'll consider interviewing you for a future blog post.</em></p> <p>*all trip photos courtesy of Christian Timmerman</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 05:28:00 GMT Meet the Chaco Ambassador Team-Adventurers Just Like You! <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/ACTION 4.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="">Chaco</a> takes great pride in our loyal Chaconian following. Chaconians are the heart and soul of Chaco, breathing life into the shoes as you explore and adventure; teach, reach and perform.</p> <p>Meet the Chaco Ambassador Team - Eight individuals who will carry our Chaconian messages even further. Through competitions, outdoor education and worldly travels these ambassadors will organically spread the Chaconian vibe and inspire more people to seek adventures near and far.</p> <p>Follow their stories here on the Chaco blog and on our Chaconian social places- <a href="!/Chacousa">Facebook</a> and <a href="!/chacousa">Twitter</a>. Together, they represent all of us - our goals; our destinations; our life of adventure! Adventure on Chaconians and stay tuned as we follow the Chaco ambassador team.</p> <p>Meet them briefly here:</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/HALEY.JPG" alt="" />HALEY MILLS</p> <p>Haley is a top female paddler competing in the Pro Stand Up Paddling and US Freestyle Kayaking circuit. Read more here, <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/MIKE.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>MIKE TAVARES</p> <p>As an inland SUP paddler and professional kayaker, Mike will also be bringing the sport closer to the public through demos, clinics, and fun events. See Mike's blog at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/EMILY.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>EMILY SUKIENNIK</p> <p>A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/LINDSEY.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>LINDSEY WILSON</p> <p>Lindsey Wilson is an environmental educator, outdoor fanatic and mom. She is founder of <a href=""></a>, a blog dedicated to providing inspiration and tips for making family adventuring fun, easy and accessible.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/RUSTY.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>RUSTY SAGE</p> <p>A former World and National Champion in the sport of kayaking, Rusty Sage has traveled the world competing and organizing whitewater and surf kayak events. Read more about Rusty at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/EILEEN.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>EILEEN RINGWALD</p> <p>Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen's spent much of her life scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love for hiking and climbing. She took this love of adventure and formed&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, a climbing and outdoor community.&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/CHRIS.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>CHRIS BAER</p> <p>In 2011, Chris Baer's Chaco flips took him to eight countries and nineteen states! Chris is an adventuring modern day gypsy chasing his dreams one rapid at a time. Follow his journey at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/JEREMY.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>JEREMY COLLINS</p> <p>As an artist, climber, filmmaker and adventurer, Jeremy has the unique ability to find beauty around the world and translate it in his own unique way. View his photographs and film clips at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 23 Mar 2012 17:34:00 GMT Ever wished you could design your own pair of Z-Sandals? Stop dreaming and start creating them now with MyChacos. <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; text-align: -webkit-auto;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/MyChacos.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left; ">Ever dreamt of sitting in the design driver's seat? Our new <span style="text-align: left;">MyChacos</span><span style="text-align: left;"> program gives you the opportunity to create your ideal pair of </span><a style="text-align: left;" href="">Z-sandals</a><span style="text-align: left;">. To start crafting your very own pair, head to </span><a style="text-align: left;" href=""></a><span style="text-align: left;"> Get your adventure started on the right foot!</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: left;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; text-align: center;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Trio.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="text-align: left;">Personalize and build your sandal by selecting the sole pattern, webbing design (over 100 to select from), stitching and buckle colors and logo placement, among other options. </span><span style="text-align: left;">Watch</span><span style="text-align: left;"> the</span><span style="text-align: left;"> entire sandal come to life as your choices immediately appear on screen. To commemorate the "birth" of your sandals, you will receive a signed certificate as well as a photograph of your custom Chacos.</span><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;MyChacos cost $125 plus shipping and typically arrive within 5-10 days.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/webbing.JPG" alt="" /></p> <div style="text-align: left; "> <p>All MyChacos products are built on the much-loved Z-platform&nbsp;known for its versatility,&nbsp;durability and long-term comfort&nbsp;for any adventure. The Chaco <a href="">LUVSEAT&trade;</a>&nbsp;platform cradles, supports and aligns feet and the entire body to functionally maximize performance.</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 20:49:00 GMT Chaconian Seeks Adventure in the Grand Canyon (part one) <p style="text-align: justify; "><em>Stephanie Hill chats with <a href="">Chaco</a> about her three week rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Besides being a dedicated Choconian Stephanie is also the wife of Chaco guru <a href="">Brandan Hill</a> (Product Development&nbsp;</em><em>Director for Chaco), the man behind your favorite sandals and shoes.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Steph 5.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong>What inspired you to take this trip?</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">In truth, it was just an invitation from some dear friends that inspired me. It only took about two seconds to say YES! Once all of the details (like organizing my family)&nbsp;were in place,&nbsp;my YES became a reality. The opportunity was really, perfectly timed. My youngest of three boys had just started first grade, so for the first time they were all at school all day during the week. This lent more time and space to reconnect with my Steph-self and my dreams of adventure (the non-mothering kind) were starting to bubble up. Just a great offer at a great time.</p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/MAP.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong>Tell us about the logisti</strong><strong>cs of your trip?</strong></p> <p><span style="text-align: justify;">Our trip was 21 days, we&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: justify;">pu</span><span style="text-align: justify;">t-in October 15th at </span><a style="text-align: justify;" href="">Lees Ferry</a><span style="text-align: justify;"> and our take-out was November 4th at </span><a style="text-align: justify;" href="">Diamond Creek</a><span style="text-align: justify;">. The entire trip took place during the non-motorized season of the river and the weather was perfect the entire time.</span></p> <div> <div> <p style="text-align: justify; "><strong>What kind of planning needed to occur and what did you bring for gear?</strong></p> <p><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; float: right; " src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Tedinho.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify; ">We had an awesome trip leader who did most of the planning, with the guidance of <a href="">PRO</a>. PRO is an amazing Grand Canyon outfitter that consults with individuals planning private trips.&nbsp;Through PRO we got our boats, three weeks of fresh food (fresh salad on Day 19!!!), and the entire set-up for a great time on the river.</p> <div> <p style="text-align: justify; ">Each person was responsible for bringing their personal gear; sleeping bags, clothes, sunscreen, CHACOS!!! I had been on a couple of short river trips before and knew the boat and water do the hard work carrying gear, but with backpacking in my blood, I still packed really light. Next time I'll pack a little more. Besides my <a href="">Tedinho's</a>, my splash top was my most favorite piece of gear!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em style="text-align: justify; "><img style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/3/Steph 4.jpeg" alt="" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em style="text-align: justify; ">We hope Stephanie's trip i</em><em style="text-align: justify; ">nspired something in you. Adventure on Chaconians and stay tuned for part two of Stephanie's story to come soon. In the meantime tell us where your last Chaco adventure took you or where they will take you next.</em></p> <p>*all trip photos courtesy of Christian Timmerman</p> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 16:46:00 GMT Chaco LUV Letters <p>In the spirit of Valentine&rsquo;s Day, we&rsquo;re celebrating the LUV shared between Chaconians and their sandals! Take a look at some of our favorite LUV notes sent to our ReChaco team.<br /><br />We always knew Chacos were durable, but this Chaconian shares how hers have stuck by her side through the ups and downs of dating.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/2/better-than-boyfriends.gif" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Chacos make great travel companions, and Chaconian Sophie shares how her pairs have traveled with her as a river guide.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/2/satisfiedcustomer.png" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Our ReChaco team is able to repair and replace webbing and soles, keeping waste out of landfills and giving you more time with the sandals you LUV.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2012/2/landfill.png" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Check out our <a href="">ReChaco video</a> to learn more about our repair and custom sandal services, meet the team, and hear even more stories! Visit the <a href="">ReChaco page</a> to order repair services, or email <a href=""></a> to learn more about ordering a custom pair.<br /><br />So wherever you are this Valentine&rsquo;s Day, remember that you&rsquo;re never alone when you&rsquo;ve got your Chacos. And your Chacos LUV you back!<br /><br />Happy Valentine&rsquo;s Day!</p> Tue, 14 Feb 2012 02:28:00 GMT A Very Chaco New Year <p>Happy New Year! &lsquo;Tis the season where we reflect on the fun we&rsquo;ve had all year, and look forward to the goodness that 2012 brings.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/12/G-Paradox1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Little Chaconians embrace adventure too and deserve the same comfort and fit of the LUVSEAT&trade; platform that we big Chaconians enjoy. So in Spring 2011, we launched our new line of <a href="">kids&rsquo; sandals and shoes</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/12/chacotan.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our <a href="">Chaco Tan contest</a> in August was a huge success! With over 350 photos submitted, over two months, in three categories&mdash;<a href="">Most Idyllic Location</a>, <a href="">Wackiest Pose</a> and <a href="">Dirtiest Feet</a>&mdash;the panel of judges here at Chaco had their hands full choosing a winner. Another congrats to <a href="">kywildcatfan16</a>, who took home top prize and a couple pairs of new Chacos!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/12/boots.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Being tough and wearing your Chaco sandals year-round is still a badge of honor, but for Fall 2011, we launched a line of <a href="">men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s boots</a> for those days you just don&rsquo;t feel like freezing your toes off. Check out our <a href="">conversation with Brandan Hill</a>, Chaco Design Guru, from earlier this fall to hear all about the new styles.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/12/rechaco.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our <a href="">ReChaco team</a> has been working hard all year long to re-sole, re-web and re-incarnate well worn sandals&mdash;and has kept thousands of pairs out of landfills this year alone. On top of all of that, they&rsquo;ve been crafting your custom Chaco creations through our MyChacos program. Interested in a pair of custom Zs? Email <a href=""></a> for details.</p> <p><br />We&rsquo;ve got some great new Chaco goodies coming your way in 2012, too! Watch for an expanded line of shoes this spring, including a few offerings in canvas that are already in stock. Check out the <a href="">Otis Canvas</a> for men and the <a href=";search=Search">Pedshed Canvas</a> for men and women. From off-road exploration to urban trekking, we&rsquo;ve got all of your adventures covered this spring.<br /><br />Wishing you lots of Chaco LUV and a great new year!</p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 13:10:00 GMT Letters to ReChaco <p>Chaconians have a special bond with their sandals. From world travels to daily wear, their sandals are by their side day in and day out. For many Chaconians, sending their sandals in for repair is a major event&mdash;the longest they have been apart from their beloved Chacos.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/10/letter-3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>From love letters to drawings&mdash;and plenty of snacks&mdash;our ReChaco team loves to find surprises sent in with sandals for repair.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/10/letter-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Sometimes, we even get to meet the culprits behind the Chaco destruction.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/10/letter-2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Check out our <a href="" target="_blank">ReChaco video</a> to learn more about our repair and custom sandal services, meet the team, and hear even more stories&mdash;including the pair that was chewed up by a penguin! Visit the <a href="">ReChaco page</a> to order repair services, or email <a href=""></a> for information about ordering a custom pair.</p> <p><br />Thanks for sending your photos and videos, and for spreading the Chaco LUV!</p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 08:46:00 GMT A Chaco Chat with Brandan Hill <p>A conversation with Chaco Product Director, Brandan Hill, on Chaco&rsquo;s Fall and Winter product line.</p> <p><strong> <p><img style="float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/9/brandan-hill.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="250" /></p> <p>Why did Chaco decide to make closed toe shoes and boots?</p> </strong></p> <p>We wanted to give consumers the supportive and comfortable LUVSEAT&trade; experience throughout the year &ndash; we believe in our LUVSEAT &lsquo;engine&rsquo; &ndash; for great foot health and alignment &ndash; and keeping our users adventuring year-round.&nbsp; But, it doesn&rsquo;t always need to be a sandal experience.&nbsp; Chaconians were signaling to us that Chaco sandals WERE shoes, way before we started even making shoes.&nbsp; Our community was taking the sandals hiking, backpacking, wearing them with socks and into winter because the underfoot experience was more related to a shoe.&nbsp; We just listened and gave them that experience (laughs) with no more awkward sock/sandal combination.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What was the design inspiration for the fall styles?</strong></p> <p>The inspiration was really about responding to the classic silhouette; being very functional with Fall and Winter feeling.&nbsp; We designed very simply, very restrained and created patterns for everything you need in a pure weather solution.&nbsp; Revving up design details on the woman&rsquo;s line was fun while staying true to classic forms and shapes.</p> <p>The team was further inspired by our core consumer&rsquo;s attraction to elemental design, design that is timeless.&nbsp; This footwear is going to be around for a while &ndash; we needed to make sure that the styling could mold with consumers changing sensibility.</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>How do the new fall styles reflect the Chaco brand DNA?</strong></p> <p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/9/otis.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Well, let&rsquo;s take the <a href="">OTIS</a> for instance; part of what makes it Chaco is the detail you DON&rsquo;T see.&nbsp; We have real hand sewn stitching &ndash; this creates a much more flexible shoe because no materials are turning under your foot - no fabric, glue or lasting boards.&nbsp; This makes the ride a lot like our sandal because it doesn&rsquo;t stiffen up the shoe &ndash; it makes it nice to move in and very comfortable &ndash; super easy walkability.&nbsp;</p> <p>We also created a waterproof gasket around the polyurethane (PU) footbed because you are perforating the PU when you hand sew the upper to the bottom.&nbsp; We went in there and took care of all of those holes with a heat-activated film that fills them all in, sealing out the water.&nbsp; I just had to do it &ndash; Chaco takes care of your foot in there.&nbsp; We don&rsquo;t yell and scream it or market the crap out of it, but it&rsquo;s in there.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve considered your end-use and designed for that, so, functionally they are just dripping Chaco (laughs), no pun intended.</p> <p><br /><strong>What are the Chaco <a href="">LUVSEAT</a> benefits for winter?</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ll give you a good one &ndash; polyurethane has a natural insulative property that almost all other footwear made from foam does not.&nbsp; PU is used a lot in construction as insulation; there are microcells of trapped air and you can effectively heat up that air under your foot.&nbsp; Because nothing is coming between you and the top of the footbed, the heat from your body gets captured and reflected back at you.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s got all the warmth you need in winter!</p> <p><br /><strong>What are you dreaming up for future Chaco styles?</strong></p> <p>(Laughs).&nbsp; I&rsquo;m definitely a dreamer&hellip; What I&rsquo;m visualizing now is what a lightweight experience from Chaco looks and feels like.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t mean that we are physically heavy for our functionality, but what does the next generation of lightweight and durability look like &ndash; smartly.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m envisioning a capable solution for a &lsquo;faster&rsquo; Chaco experience, for users to move a little quicker and re-ringing the bell on durability without compromise.&nbsp; Stay tuned!</p> <p><strong>Thanks! Be sure to check out our lineup of boots and shoes for fall. <a href="">Shop Now&gt;</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 20:43:00 GMT New closed-toe kicks for Fall! <p>As we stride into the cooler months, we&rsquo;d like to introduce you to our new Fall 2011 boot and shoe collection! Built from the <a href="">LUVSEAT</a> platform with the same fit and feel of your beloved sandals, our new closed-toe kicks will keep your feet supported and body properly aligned for year-round adventure.</p> <p>For a limited time, get FREE Shipping* on all our new Fall products with code: CHACOFALL2011. <a href="">Shop our New Arrivals</a>, or <a href="">use this PDF</a> to shop from your desktop&mdash;just click on your favorites and you'll be directed to our website for purchase.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/9/Chaco-Fall-Catalog.png" alt="" /></a></p> <p>And feel free to outfit your computer with our <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Tahoe background</a>.&nbsp; Consider it a warm fuzzy from our hearts to yours!</p> <p>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/9/Chaco_Fall_WallPaper_thumb.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;">*Free shipping offer valid at from 9/1/11 through 11/1/11. To redeem, enter code CHACOFALL2011 at checkout. Offer valid only on standard ground shipping to the contiguous United States. Not valid on prior purchases, purchases at retail stores, international shipments, or shipments to Alaska or Hawaii. Cannot be combined with any other coupon or discount.</span></p> Wed, 31 Aug 2011 14:48:00 GMT Measure Kids’ Feet for a Great Fit! <p>With summer winding down, Chaconians of all ages are thinking back-to-school. To help you get the right fit for your little Chaconians this fall, we developed a downloadable, printable, hang-on-the-fridge-able shoe size chart to measure their feet.</p> <p>&nbsp;<a href="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/8/Chaco_Kids_Size_Chart.pdf"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/8/Chaco-Size-chart-thumb.jpg" alt="" /></a><br /><a href="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/8/Chaco_Kids_Size_Chart.pdf">Download the size chart &gt;</a></p> <p>Download the <a href="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/8/Chaco_Kids_Size_Chart.pdf">PDF size chart</a> and print it at 100% scale (you may need to select &ldquo;no page scaling,&rdquo; depending on your printer). To make sure it printed correctly, place a credit card in the &ldquo;Tip&rdquo; box in the lower left corner. If the credit card fits in the box, you&rsquo;re ready to measure!</p> <p>Follow the instructions on the chart to measure left and right feet. Remember, it is common for kids (and adults, too) to have two different sized feet&mdash;so be sure to measure both and go with the larger size. And don&rsquo;t forget to leave a little growing room!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/8/G-Paradox1.jpg" alt="" width="482" height="322" /></p> <p>That&rsquo;s all there is to it. Once you&rsquo;ve got the right size, check out our lineup of kids&rsquo; shoes and sandals for the fall. Shop <a href="">Younger Kids (sizes 10-3)</a> or <a href="">Older Kids (sizes 4-6)</a>.</p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 21:34:00 GMT Day ONE --- Telluride Bluegrass Festival . 2011 <p>A flourishing box canyon nestled in the San Juan mountains and atop the San Miguel river has been taken over by colorful rhythms and dancing festivarians.&nbsp; Day ONE of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has proven to be the busiest and biggest of them all, breaking all attendance records since it began thirty-eight years ago.<br /><br />The Chaco booth is positioned conveniently between the New Belgium booth, offering delicious cool brew at any hour of the day and Leave No Trace, a long standing partner of Chaco.&nbsp; Lesson ONE of attending a high altitude summer time festival is stay hydrated, so with a fresh brew in hand and layers of sunscreen covering every ounce of exposed skin, we met day one with grace and enthusiasm.&nbsp; To the tunes of the bagpipes, the gates opened at 10am.&nbsp; Festival attendees sprinted their hearts out to obtain the best spot for the day, leaving those non-sprinters in the dust and without choice seats.&nbsp; Regardless, smiles abound like the mountain waterfalls that surround us, gushing and overflowing with richness.</p> <p> <object width="425" height="344"> <param name="movie" value=";fs=1" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" src=";fs=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed> </object> </p> <p>ReChaco is the hit of this festival and close to tears, a man thanked us today for building him a custom pair of Chacos.&nbsp; The line to make Chaco bracelets out of left-over webbing began at 10:05 and around 6:00pm we kindly had to ask people to come back tomorrow because it was time to close the booth down.&nbsp; It is through these heart felt interactions that we feel most connected to our Chaconians and they, to the brand.&nbsp; As we tied bracelet after bracelet onto people's wrists and ankles, the common response was: "Tie that knot tight, because this bracelet is never coming off."&nbsp; From the bracelets $200 of donations were made today for the San Miguel River Guides.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/6/bracelets.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We also sold sandals today to many who have worns Chacos before.&nbsp; Sales were also peppered with those who had never heard of the brand, but who had wandered into the booth attracted by the vibrant colors and visual appearance of support on our footbeds.&nbsp; Joined by our local retailer, Jagged Edge, we were and are able to offer a wide variety of footwear as colorful as some of our Chaconians and as comfortable as a seat under the shade after a long day of hot sun.</p> <p>We are stoked about the next three days of music, good people and festival LUV please come find us, if you are in the area!&nbsp; If you need a re-web, desire a custom webbing, a bracelet or fancy a new pair of dancing sandals ...we've got the perfect solution for your feet.&nbsp;</p> <p>Signing off until tomorrow, with visions of Chaconians dancing in our heads!</p> <p>xo</p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 18:11:00 GMT 38th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival <p>As a main sponsor, alongside New Belgium Brewing, the <a href="">38th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival</a> - June 16-19, 2011 - is going to be the highlight of our CHACO summer! We will be selling product with the help of Jagged Edge, a local retailer, and will have <a href="">ReChaco</a> on site for custom re-webbing, quick fixes and to bring a little more manual 'awe' into your life! So come dance with us for a weekend filled with inspiration, virtuosity, and acoustic adventures at 8,750'.</p> Wed, 08 Jun 2011 13:23:00 GMT 2011 FIBArk Whitewater Festival <p>We hear that the&nbsp;Arkansas river is more than crankin' so for those looking for a good time in a boat, come join us at the FIBArk Whitewater Festival, June 15-19 in Salida, CO! We will have Chaco staff on site to dance, sing, laugh, paddle, toss a disc, drink a brew and you fill in the blank ... with you! For more details visit the <a href="">FIBArk Whitewater Festival website</a>.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/6/FIBArk.jpg" alt="" /></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 22:13:00 GMT World Kayak Partnership <p>World Kayak and Chaco have formed a bond this year, allowing Chaco to sponsor 160 &nbsp;World Kayak events. Working alongside the Colin, Emily and the rest of the World Kayak team has got us stoked on life.&nbsp; The roots of the Chaco brand began while floating rapids as carefully and effortlessly as the World Kayak team does on their tour, and we think that this team is one of the raddest out there. They are incredibly talented people with the most humble approach to life!</p> <p>Anyone interested in jumping in the water with some hard core boaters, check out the World Kayak website and blog: <a href=""></a>. World Kayak events are open to amateur kayakers all over the globe. You don&rsquo;t have to be a pro to get in on the action; everyone entering a World Kayak event will get a chance to win cool prizes. Pros will be in attendance for tips and tricks, and what&rsquo;s better than winning a free pair of Chacos for playing in your kayak?</p> <p>Teaser!! Keep on the lookout for a Chaco &amp; World Kayak contest... coming soon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Daniel Dutton @ the 2011 Nolichucky/Nantahala Hometown Throwdown in Tennessee</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/6/daniel-dutton.jpg" alt="" /></p> Mon, 30 May 2011 21:21:00 GMT Chaco at Mountain Jam! <p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Chaco will be at the 7th Annual </span><a href=""><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Mountain Jam Music Festival</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"> in the Catskills of New York, June 2-5.&nbsp; Mountain Jam is a huge, four-day music festival with a great lineup of artists on four stages.&nbsp; Check out their </span><a href=""><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">web site</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"> for more information and to see a full schedule.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/5/Mountain-Jam.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">We&rsquo;ll be pitching our Chaco tent in </span><a href=""><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Awareness Village</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">, which will feature an acoustic stage where artists (including Michael Franti!) will play special sets all weekend. Awareness village will also have children&rsquo;s entertainment and interactive music areas, a beer and wine garden, performance and sculpture art and physical and spiritual healing areas.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Be sure to stop by the Chaco tent to enter to win our daily Chaco Cash Clean-up contest. The first five people to bring us 10 recyclable items (no dumpster diving!) will win a $55 gift certificate for Chaco Flips&mdash;with our 25% recycled rubber EcoTread&trade; outsole.&nbsp; Anyone who brings us their recyclables will get stellar swag and can still enter to win a gift certificate!&nbsp; We&rsquo;ll also have information about </span><a href=""><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">ReChaco</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">, our super-cool Chaco repair service that helps keep your old sandals out of landfills.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">If that isn&rsquo;t enough, we&rsquo;ll also have lots of fun games and activities, like hula hoops, slacklines, cornhole, the </span><a href=""><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">10 Step Challenge</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"> and more.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">We&rsquo;ll be at the festival with our sister brand, Merrell.&nbsp; Check out their tent while you&rsquo;re there, too!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">See you at Mountain Jam!</span></p> Thu, 26 May 2011 14:31:00 GMT With a Little Help From Our Friends, Chaco Aid to Lend a Hand to the Southeast <p><em>No one can be too prepared for a natural disaster, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean that we can&rsquo;t all pitch in to lend some luv and support to restore lost lives, homes and smiles.</em> <br /> <br /> I spent many a summer paddling canoes and kayaks through the streets of my childhood landscape, rescuing cats, picking up trash and patrolling to help prevent vandalism. I say streets instead of rivers because every now and then the mighty Mississippi would flood our precious fields, towns and homes. The flood of &rsquo;93 is still visible half-way up multiple story buildings where, like a tattoo, the water left its mark. That was the summer that with calloused hands from weeks of sandbagging, the levy finally broke and instead of filling anymore sandbags, we filled our hearts with prayers, knowing that nature cannot be stopped. <br /><br /> Within the Chaco brand, each of us could tell a similar story, about an avalanche, a mudslide, a hurricane or a tornado &hellip;we have all been witness to such erratic and ever-present disasters. However none of our experiences can come near to the most recent experience in the Southeast, specifically Alabama. Many of our most incredible retail partners are in this area and for that reason alone, we felt the need to lend a hand and some shoes. Chaco has been in touch with 4 varying retailers in the Southeast: Mountain High Outfitters, Kinnucan&rsquo;s, Eagle Eye Outfitters and Alabama Outdoors and our Facebook + Twitter Chaconians to better understand what type of help is most needed at a time like this. The response to this inquiry was clear &hellip;shoes + money. So, instead of picking organizations ourselves, we encouraged these 4 retailers to choose local organizations within their territories that we could send some financial luv + product to. <br /> <br /> Below is a list of the organizations. <br /> <br /> 1) Junior League of Birmingham: 2011 Storm Relief<br /> In the name of Mountain High Outfitters <br /> <br /> 2) Humane Society of West Alabama<br /> In the name of Kinnucan&rsquo;s <br /> <br /> 3) East McFarland Baptist Church, Pastor, Doug Reeves, 6007 McFarland Blvd. E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 205.345.2560<br /> In the name of Eagle Eye Outfitters <br /><br /> 4) Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund, PO Box 020410, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35402, 205.758.7588<br /> In the name of Alabama Outdoors <br /><br /> On behalf of Chaco, our hearts of full of luv for you all. As my dad would often say when the shit hit the fan, &ldquo;This too shall pass.&rdquo; <br /><br /> Take good care. <br /> Luv, <br /> Team Chaco <br /></p> Sun, 22 May 2011 13:26:00 GMT Calling all Camp Counselors – we have a VIDEO CONTEST for you!!! <p><strong>To our most favorite camp counselors, we think that you&rsquo;d be rock-stars in your own videos.&nbsp; So how do you feel about showing us a day in the life of being a counselor at YOUR camp for the chance to win free Chacos and some money for your camp!?!?!!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was the fact that you had to sing all of the time that kept me from being a life-long counselor, yet I know so many counselors that pride themselves on leading most of the camp sings and loving every minute of it.&nbsp; There is something about being a counselor that makes it a summer job that many just cannot pass up.&nbsp; I wonder if each camp sings the same songs?&nbsp; I wonder if the same pranks are pulled at each camp?&nbsp; I wonder if most of the counselors at camp began as a camper?&nbsp; Do most counselors wear Chacos?&nbsp;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s questions like these that encouraged us here at Chaco to want to create a contest for all camp counselors.&nbsp; A contest that invites any counselor who would like to participate, to make a short video about the day in a life of what it&rsquo;s like to be a counselor at your favorite camp.&nbsp; What do you do every day at camp?&nbsp; When do you wake up and how many campers are in your cabin?&nbsp; What type of counselor are you?&nbsp; Where do you hide the candy in your cabin?&nbsp; If you&rsquo;d like to participate, the videos can be posted to our website: <a href=""></a> and once posted they will be voted on by your friends, family and our Chaconian social media community; the most votes will win the grand prize.&nbsp;</p> <p>If your video wins, you will receive 10 free pairs of Chacos for you friends and family, plus $3,000 for your camp&rsquo;s scholarship fund for 2012.&nbsp; You choose the focus and you choose how you&rsquo;d like to put the video together &hellip;maybe through song, maybe through story-telling &hellip;regardless we want to see it!?!! &nbsp;&nbsp;The contest will run until the 3<sup>rd</sup> of July, so get your video in early so that you can win the most votes!&nbsp; We can&rsquo;t wait to see your brilliant videos, so show us all what you&rsquo;ve got and have a wonderful summer at camp!!!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> Fri, 13 May 2011 19:32:00 GMT Hello + Bye from a Chaconian to her sandals. <p>After wearing the heck out of my original pair of chaco's bought in 2005, and them even making it through two puppyhood chew fests that lasted years with a basset hound and labrador, I decided to get then resoled. I could handle the buckles being mangled beyond recognition, I didn't use them anymore, had the straps sized to where I just slipped into the shoe anyhow. But the soles were thin and bubbling. I wore these shoes Feb-Nov, I don't get cold easily being born in CT, and although Louisville does have nasty winters, they did see snow often. I also wore them on the five mile vertical hike/climb at the Red River Gorge to CLoudsplitter where I got married while 8 months pregnant. (They did very well for my swollen feet)<br /><br />So I sent them in, and they resoled them at no charge, under warranty to my surprise, there was a defect of some sort in the shoes. But after wearing the shoe for two weeks the new soles starting to come loose from the shoes too, and I had to send them back. They called and deemed them defective all around, and offered to replace them at no cost. I was heartbroken (sappy I know), felt like I was losing a baby blanket or something. And after discussing with the repairman that it would be crazy and pointless to try a resole again, I decided to look at new shoes. I'm super picky when it comes to these shoes, didn't like any of the styles/colors on the website, so they offered to custom make me a pair. Awesome, I don't see that option anywhere else. So I picked a strap that I liked but I figured other women wouldn't pick so that I would still have somewhat unique chacos. <br />This company amazes me. Not only do they have an amazing product that stands up throughout the years and trials, but they stand right by it without question. That's incredibly hard to find these days, and I'm very happy to have fallen in love with a product made by such people. Can't say thank you enough. Not just shoes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/5/2uc_dbd38213d7f64f2d9b455d10325a03ce.jpg" alt="" /></p> Sat, 07 May 2011 07:10:00 GMT A Life of Adventure Starts When You Are Little <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A note from superstar mom and PR goddess for Chaco, Emily Snayd...</p> <p><em>To me, everyday is mother&rsquo;s day because I&rsquo;m a fan of celebrating life and all of its goodness, on a daily basis. I like to live through the wondrous eyes of my children while at the same time inspiring them to live a life of adventure and exploration. I&rsquo;ll be honest, I&rsquo;ve never traveled very far, nor to many places, but I feel that life is full of adventure by simply exploring what&rsquo;s in our own backyards. That&rsquo;s why my kids and I live outside. Hiking, biking, walking, running, making mud pies and splashing in puddles on rainy days.&nbsp; &nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>Just the other day, I woke up and went out for a run. When home, I slid into my Chaco Flips and walked into the back yard tofind my kids digging for worms. My 5 year old came running towards me, gave me a huge hug and whispered &ldquo;one day can I run with you?&rdquo; I smiled, looked her in the eye and responded, &ldquo;Well, do we hike together?&rdquo; &ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; she giggled. &ldquo;Do we hunt for worms together?&rdquo; &ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; she giggled. &ldquo;So then why wouldn&rsquo;t we run together?&rdquo; My two oldest ran inside, put on their sneaks and off we went for a trot around the neighborhood, all smiling, sweating and laughing away. </em></p> <p><em>Each and every day as a mom, my kids inspire me and I hope that I can inspire them as well. I often use running to stay strong, physically, mentally and emotionally. I want my kids to know that being pretty on the sidelines isn&rsquo;t what its all about. Getting muddy, shining with sweat (or liquid awesome as someone just told me) and a few scratched knees are what teach us and let us shine! Cheers to all of the Chaconian moms out there and I hope that today, on Mother&rsquo;s Day (and every day for that matter) you and your kiddos do something fun that let you all shine, together.</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 10:15:00 GMT 2 Legged + 4 Legged Chaco Thru-Hikers <i>We received this letter and photo from some dear Chaconians via our Chacosphere. Knowing that amount of dog lovers out there, we thought that we’d share their story with you all! Best of luck to you, Caterina, Michael and Honey Bunny! Happy trails!</i> <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/honeydog.png" alt="" /> <br><br> Dear Chaco, <br><br> We would like to thank you for having such a great product! We are currently hiking from Florida to Maine raising money for Humane Societies in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. We are Caterina, Michael and our dog Honey Bunny, and our campaign is called Hike for Honey! <br><br> To date we have traveled 1400 miles of the Florida and Appalachian Trail and have raised nearly $1700 from the Everglades to our current location in Erwin, TN. <br><br> We are writing for the following reasons: <br><br> We have hiked over 600 miles in our Chaco’s (nearly half of our journey!) with up to 50 lbs on our back, since Chaco’s are the best sandal for the endless roads and flat lands of the Florida Trail. We are happy to hike with Chaco’s as our camp shoes as opposed to the lighter Crocs that everyone uses since they are more comfortable, better in streams and a great choice for errands all over town on zero days. We also loved visiting the Nantahala Outdoor Center and were pleasantly surprised to see that Chaco was supporting the efforts of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy through a drawing that offered the chance to win a free pair of Chaco’s for a $1 donation, and guess what? We won!! <br><br> Finally, our real reason for writing is that we thought that you would like a picture of our dog Honey at the Chaco tent at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Honey is our reason for hiking and has been with us every step of the way! She was found covered in cigarette burns on a highway in Oregon, and was taken to a shelter by a compassionate person and Caterina was lucky enough to find her. Honey has been the inspiration to hike for our cause and Chaco’s have helped us to reach our goal! <br><br> Thank You Chaco, <br> Caterina (Haalo), Michael (River), and Honey Bunny (Clean Up Crew). <br><br> <br><br> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 09:11:00 GMT Chaco Contest Winner – Nastassja Pace With the help of WEND magazine and in support of 5 Gyres Chaco sponsored an art contest. This contest was meant to encourage fellow creatives to do something about the plastics in their community. We are stoked to announce that out of 115 entrants, all of which were absolutely outstanding, we have a WINNER! Congratulations to Nastassja Pace! Due to the win, we asking Staj to write up some comments on what inspired her piece and who she is …so read on for more good ju-ju! <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/WINNER -- Plastic Wave by Nastassja Pace.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> <i>Thoughts behind creation of this piece… </i> <br><br> Plastics are ubiquitous. From medical advancements to cutting-edge technology, plastics play a vital role in today’s world. However, ever-increasing consumptive habits and hasty life styles have led to one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of our time: single-use plastics. Throw-away products, containers and plastic bags find their way onto the streets, stuck in bushes, filling ditches and clogging storm drains. Many of these plastics end up in our waterways and eventually our oceans entangling, poisoning and causing starvation among marine wildlife and threatening delicate ecosystems. Every time I walk on the beach or surf in the ocean I witness plastic debris accumulating and breaking down into fragmented pieces; too small and too many to clean-up, yet not small enough to actually go away. As plastic floats in our oceans, builds on our beaches and integrates into our sands, I wonder what legacy we will leave behind? <br><br> Gaining motivation from this question, I chose to paint a wave with plastic bags making up the wave crest and white wash to highlight the icon of plastic litter, while illustrating the enormity of plastic pollution and the affects it is having on our oceans. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Nastassja Pace Mtn.jpeg" alt="" /> <br><br> <i>About Staj:</i> <br><br> Raised in the mountains of southwest Colorado with a dubious dream of becoming a beach girl, Nastassja finds balance in soggy Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Art, she ventured to Central America to give her earlier aspiration a try. One year later Nastassja realized her home was in the Pacific Northwest, but not before she found solace in surfing and scouring the sand for plastic remains. Bringing her plastic-eliminating passion back to the states, Nastassja developed camaraderie with the Surfrider Foundation where she now serves as Chair for the Portland Chapter and volunteers tirelessly to raise awareness, fight plastic pollution and ban single-use plastic shopping bags. On the side, Nastassja works full-time coordinating volunteers and watershed restoration projects with Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation while still finding time to make art, plant mobile gardens, rock climb, and frequently make the hour and half bike commute to work. <br><br> Sun, 17 Apr 2011 16:19:00 GMT Ode to My Chacos <em>Below we've reproduced a really great post by Julie Trevelyan of the blog <a href="">Wild Girl Writing</a>. You've gotta check her out! She's the real deal, and we're proud to call her a Chaconian.</em><br><br> Before I moved to Utah, I was a Teva girl. Wore ‘em all the time, had several pairs. But shortly after I discovered the great, empty (well, in the southern portion) state of Utah, I also discovered Chacos. Everyone was wearing them. My coworkers. Native Utahn tourists. The rugged outdoorsy guys I liked. The kickass outdoorsy women I emulated. Hell, I think there were some dogs running around in little Chaco footies. (Kidding.) <br><br> So I finally went out and bought my first pair of Chacos back in 2002, and the future of my footwear changed forever. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Spooky-Peekaboo-July-2010-042-resize1-1024x768.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> I freaking live in my Chacos during the warm season. Live in them. Other than riding boots or hiking boots, I pretty much wear only Chacos on my feet from April-October, give or take a few weeks depending on the weather. I hike in them, I go to dinner in them, I work in them, I wear them to the store, the post office, the hair dresser. I’ve been known to drive tractors while wearing them: <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Chaco-tractor-driving-resize1-1024x768.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> On trails, on the sidewalk, in my backyard when I’m gardening. <br><br> I wore them in Hawaii last year. Shrug: I just love my Chacos. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/happy-chaco-toes1.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> Current count of Chaco pairs owned: 8. <br><br> Current count of Tevas owned: 2. (And although I still really like them, I just rarely wear them.) <br><br> <b>Why</b> <br><br> The first fascination belongs to some sort of coolness factor. Have you ever seen those Chaco ad posters, with the feet that have Chaco tan lines? Something about that screams friends, fun, outdoors, rugged, laid-back, in the sunshine. And most of my friends here were living that actual life. As a result, I wanted it too. (Take a bow, Chaco marketing department. Your ads live in real life, and they apparently work.) <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/ChacoTanLines.MicahErin-300x225.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> Secondly, Chacos are functional. Sure, you can wear them in the water, they’re sturdy as all get out, and they last a long time depending on how hard you use ‘em. But I mean they’re also just functional for everyday use, as I noted above. I approve of that. Heck, I have many friends who’ve gotten married in their Chacos. (Too bad Chaco doesn’t make white pairs…yet. However, you can buy white webbing and get it attached to your footbed. Cool!) <br><br> Another reason why is that they’re easy. It’s simple to slip them on, kick them off, throw them in the back of your truck. You can attach them to the outside of your pack to use as camp shoes or river crossers. Washing them is no problem. It’s okay if they get dirty (and really, they’re meant to), so you don’t have to watch every foot placement for fear of scuffing them. (Oh, the horror.) <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/May.June-2009-0811.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> Final reason why: the famous Chaco foot tan. Dude. It’s ridiculously fun, silly, cool, and a clear demonstration of the kind of life one leads. For example: whenever I visit my family in southern California, I notice how few Chacos and Chaco tans I see. ‘Nuff said. <br><br> <b>Hiking</b> <br><br> Okay, Chacos aren’t really meant to be hiked in. They’re supposed to be river sandals. But most of the people I know hike in them, me included. Have Chacos, will trail travel. <br><br> I know people who’ve backpacked in them for miles, pack upon back. (No, I’m not recommending that, as you can seriously mess up your feet if you twist your unsupported ankles.) I often hike in my Chacos all day. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Grand-Gulch-April-2010-057-resize1-768x1024.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> Do I sometimes need to put on sneakers instead, do I get hot spots, have I worn my skin raw, especially if multiple water crossings happen? Yes. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Chaco-tan-Fish-Creek-Boulder-mtn3-768x1024.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> Have I been stabbed so many times by those damned leaping cacti (I swear to all that’s holy, the cactus around here lies in wait for the unwary Chaco-clad foot and then strikes with deliberate intention)? Oh, yes. <br><br> Do stones and pebbles launch themselves with stinging force at my bare toes when I unwittingly kick them at my own feet? Uh, yes. <br><br> But even with all that, I still hike in my Chacos. <br><br> <img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/Brimstone-resize1-768x1024.jpg" alt="" /> <br><br> <em>Thanks Julie! Keep up the big adventures.</em> Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:36:00 GMT WHY BOGOT? <p>During the month of April, Chaco will partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant up to 60,000 trees, one for each pair of Chacos sold online and at retail, in the Pike National Forest (CO) and the Moss Island Wildlife Area (TN). The program, called "Buy One Get One Tree," celebrates the anxiously awaited beginning of flip and sandal season, Arbor Day and Earth Day. &nbsp;Arbor Day is very conscious to plant only native species in areas that are in need, while Chaco is very conscious to build colorful and very durable footwear that keeps us smiling under the shade of our favorite trees. &nbsp;Thank goodness for such a beautiful partnership!&nbsp;</p> <p>So now how are you going to participate? &nbsp;While we don't recommend planting trees while wearing Chacos flips or sandals, we recognize that if you can sky-dive and run races in Chacos, what's holding you back from planting trees?! &nbsp;So we only offer you support and a note of caution to drive the shovel into the ground with care, while carefully avoiding your toes! &nbsp;If you happen to find yourself out there with the arborists and amidst fellow Chaconians, shoot us some photos to help capture your experience! &nbsp; You can also show your support by walking in to your favorite retailer and out with a new pair of Chacos. &nbsp;For each pair of Chacos sold, we will be planting a tree!<br /> <br /> So happy spring, happy Earth Day and happy Arbor Day to you all! &nbsp;We tip our hats to you all as we too are exclaiming "FREE THE PIGGIES" this spring!<br /> <br /> Plant more and prosper!<br /> The Chaco Team</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/71118 CHA BOGOT 2Col. 4C Ad v3 LR.pdf" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/71118 CHA BOGOT 2Col. 4C Ad v3 LR.pdf" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/4/bogot1_small_without_low.jpg" alt="" /></p> Wed, 30 Mar 2011 21:10:00 GMT Confession of A River Guide <p><em>The following was submitted by Nikki Cooley, a Navajo River Guide &amp; Cultural Interpreter on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers</em></p> <p>Having been a river guide on the Colorado and San Juan Rivers since 1999, I have gone through many pairs of sandals until I bought a pair of black Z/1&reg; Chaco&reg; sandals. Having a high arch on both of my feet, it was hard for me to find comfortable sandals capable of withstanding a variet <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script> y of environments on and off the river. Working as a motor and oar guide, my job (like any other river guide) involves a lot of movement; on and off the boat, back and forth across the wet and dry boat, up and down canyon walls, back and forth across camp and lots of wading through creeks, pools and swimming. I am still amazed at how well my sandals held up especially since my “office” contains a lot of gritty, hot sand, slippery granite, razor sharp limestone and coarse sandstone, and not to mention my constantly wet feet.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/3/nikki-photo-grandcanyon.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My Chacos are not just used for river trips and hiking but I wear them ALL the time. I grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and walked the pinion-juniper lands <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script> cape herding sheep and goats, and riding horses. In the past 10 years of guiding and splitting my time between the Rez, Flagstaff and the rivers, I have always worn my sandals. It is probably against all rules of horseback riding, but I found that riding horses with my Chaco sandals was just as comfortable especially during hot weather. I don&rsquo;t recommend it to everyone, but being an experienced rider, I was happy to find out I could wear my sandals anywhere.&nbsp;</p> <p>So whether I am <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script> on the river, riding horses, or wearing a cute dress, my Chacos are always on my feet. From wet and slippery boats to the dry and hot sandy beaches, to the cool weather of Flagstaff &ndash; you are sure to see me wearing sandals come rain, snow or sunshine.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 12:00:00 GMT Welcome to the Chaco Blog! <p>Hello everyone! &nbsp;It&rsquo;s go time for our Chaco blog and we&rsquo;re leaping for joy! &nbsp;Think of this blog as an extension of the Chaco-sphere, a place for us to tell our stories in addition to posting photos and videos. &nbsp;Much like the rest of our website, we created this blog with the hopes of providing Chaconians with a place to go in depth about a gnarly river trip or a scramble through scree fields with flips on. &nbsp;We&rsquo;d love to hear from the peace corps folk who always have awe-inspiring journeys and lend above and beyond a simple helping hand to meet those in need. Or what about those folks who have a better relationship with their sandals than they do another human being &hellip;what&rsquo;s that all about &hellip;tell us your story &hellip;we promise not to judge!</p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/3/blogphoto1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Our hope is that this blog becomes a journal of sorts, where we all go on a regular basis to brain-dump all of the adventures that each of us is having whether it be on a flight to New York City or on the back of an elephant in Nepal. &nbsp;As we wander through our different adventures, we all meet some pretty incredible folks &hellip;some we think of quite often even though it&rsquo;s been 15 years and others come and go as quickly as a second on the clock ticks by. &nbsp;We all have stories to tell, it&rsquo;s just up to you to decide if this is the right audience for you. Not all stories on this blog need to be epic tails of adventure. &nbsp;Some stories may be quite simple and heartfelt whereas others may bring a smile to your face and laughter to your belly.</p> <p>Regardless, consider this your invitation &hellip;an invitation to you all to write, to tell your stories and to continue to share the Chaco luv through our website. &nbsp;Should you decide to submit your stories, please email them along with any photos to: <a href=""></a> and we will help determine the best time to post your story.</p> <p><img style="border: 0px initial initial;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/CHAR/files/2011/3/blogphoto2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Thanks for keeping the Chaco luv flowing free and we wish you all many adventures this spring!</p> <p>ROCK ON!</p> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 08:54:00 GMT