Japanuary

In January, I made the pilgrimage to Japan with Bryan Fox.  Growing up snowboarding in the Northwest, I watched videos of people riding the famous Japanese powder that has inspired names like Japow and Japanuary (its usually the best conditions in January).  Japan's location in the North Pacific gives the area a unique combination of cold temperatures and tons of moister.  With a few days notice,  I packed my things and met Bryan in Vancouver BC.  After 21 hours of travel, we were in a rental van in Hokkaido.  For the next 10 days, we drover around the island looking for hotsprings and powder.  I was blow away by how affordable travel is there when compared to winter towns in the west.  The food is cheap, the 7-11's have delicious sushi.    The hostels are cheap and you can hike to ride world class powder.  They have hands down, the best local snowboarding scene with people living in their vans traveling around in search of the best powder. I hiked around with a tripod and camera and made this lil vid of him shredding for Quiksilver.   We had a blast.

Here are some more links,

Asadachi (Vimeo),

Bryan's blog post on Quiksilver's blog.

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A Brat Saved My Ass In Baja

"Ehhh, I don't know about that mud.  It could be six inches deep, or two feet,"  Scotty said motioning towards a section of single track road that cut a cross fifty foot brackish marsh.

Standing in ankle deep water, I looked around for some solid to wench to, incase one of us got stuck. Except for a few shrubs, there was nothing.  Brackish water in the estuary covered the rutted tracks.  To my left, a grouping of grass swayed in the current.   For a second, I visualized my truck charging down the tracks only to sink down to the axels in two feet of mud with water flowing in the doors. 

"There's no shame in backing out"

"Can I quote you on that?"

"Sure.  It would be so fucked to get stuck in that mess,  not to mention,  who knows if it even connects to the North Road.  It could just be a road the fisherman use to dump trash or something."

The thick mud separated my flip flop from my foot,  holding it under the ankle deep water as if an indication of its seriousness. Grabbing down with my right hand,  I searched around, found the straps and pulled it out with slurp.  Scotty laughed and headed towards his Brat. 

Walking past the Brat and coming to a stop with my hand resting on the side of my camper,  I inspected the 400 or so feet of single track road that hugged a steep hillside before opening up onto a plateau.  A hand built road with a  retaining wall made with rocks and dirt kept water from the estuary and the hillside.  As long as I hugged the uphill side, we would be fine.  The rock retaining wall dropped off into murky salt water. 

 "Well boys,  thats a shit show,  we are going to back out."

"What happens to the road?"  Trevor asked from the back seat.  

"It fades out in a fucked up mud pit,"  I responded with an emphasis on the Fucked Up, doing my best to convince Trevor, Ian and myself that we were making the right call.

"Want us to get out and give you directions?" Ian asked.

"Naaa, I got this, things gotta back up camera,"  I boasted,  slapping the stick into reverse, illuminating an LCD screen in the rear view mirror. The truck jerked into motion as I let off the clutch and we creeped backwards. 

Warming up our toes. 

Moondog heading south and ultimately west towards Fiji and Australia. 

Shelby whipping up Ceviche. 

Rise and shine 

Shred sleds

Waisting away in Tecateville. 

Sunrise in Central Baja. 

Sand Storm 

Scotty's Brat made it from Portland to Central Baja with out incident.  These trucks kick ass. 

Skinning freshly caught fish with the Freescape Camp Knife. 

Waiting for the tide to drop.

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Fifty feet from the safety of the open field, I turned to avoid a boulder and got within half a foot of the edge of the road.  Inching along backwards,  the truck suddenly lurched sidewise as the retaining wall gave out.   In an instant,  the truck dropped a foot and landed with a metal thud on the axels and skid plate.  

"FUck," I gasped.  I swung door open and jumped into waist deep water.  The whole passenger side of the truck was off of the side of the road, hanging over into the estuary.  

"This is.... Gnarly.  Everyone out." 

Climbing over the retaining wall and on to the road,  I stared at the back of the camper.  The truck's suspension was fully articulated.  I heard the Brats high pitch idle cut out and Scotty and Shelby yelled almost simultaneously.  

"What the fuck happened?"

"I got too close to the edge and the road gave out."

"This is fucking bad," Shelby kept repeating. 

"Theres no fucking way we are getting to the boarder by sunset now."  

"No shit.  The only thing we can do is reverse out."

"Get the shovels and start grabbing rocks.  We need to build a ramp to get the back tire up onto flat."

"Do you think the Brat can get around me? It might be nice to get a tug." 

Ian and Trevor stood on the back right corner of the truck while Scotty, Shelby and I shoveled, hauled rocks and built ramps under the tires.  I worked silently,  assessing contingencies.  If the truck dumps into the estuary, the water will break most of the fall but the truck and camper will fill with water.  I cant be more than four feet deep and after the tide drops, I'll offer the fisherman my 10 horse outboard if they can get me upright and back on the road.  That should work.  But think positive,  we are going to get out.  All the truck needs is to get the back driver wheel up on solid ground and we should be good.  It's not going to roll.  

As we worked, a truck pulled up and two fisherman and the dog got out to watch the gringo's spectacle.  

"Alright,  I'm not sure what else we can do.  Kinda have to go for it."

"Yah,  what should we do?"

"I'm going to put the lockers on and give it hell.  You should put some tension on with the Brat and then tug when I say go."

"Sounds good, and if it rolls...?"

"...Its not going to roll but if it does I'll have my seat belt on and the window will be up," I interrupted. 

"Lets do this. Leroy JAAckens,"  I yelled as i opened the door and crawled into the drivers seat.  Firing up the ignition, I turned on the rear locker, and rolled down the passenger window.

"You guys ready?" 

The Brat fired up.  "YAH, lets go."

"If Scotty's Brat pulls me out,  I'm never going to hear the end of this,"  I said to myself as I dropped the clutch and pinned the gas. 

Here are some more links,

Out of Reception (Tumblr),

My Instagram (Fosterhunting).

Limited Prints

With the shipping of the second Edition of Home Is Where You Park It!, I thought it would be time to release some images from the book as well as a few other of my favorite shots from the last three years.  All photos are printed on on Hahnemühle Baryta paper by Prophoto Lab in Portland, Oregon.  Sizes range from 15x15 for square photos to 10x15 for the rectangular photos.  Each Print is limited to 5 copies and are signed and numbered by yours truly.

The cover shot from Home Is Where You Park It,  Ventura , California April 2013. Shot on a Mamiya 6 with Portra 400.  10 inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Ryan Burch jumping off the wall in the harbor at Mundaka, in the Basque Country, January 2013.  Shot on a Mamiya 6 on Portra 400. 15inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper,  limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Sleeping for two on a beach in Central Baja.  Shot on a Mamiya 6 with Portra 400. 15inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Trevor Gordon skating on a dirt road in Central California,  July 2012.  Shot on a Contax T2 with Portra 400. 10 inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Matt Whitehead's CT100.  He road this from Vancouver Island to San Diego, March 2013.  Shot on a Mamiya 6 with Portra 400. 15inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper,  limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Availablehere.

May showers in Western Colorado,  May 2013.  Shot on a Mamiya 6 with Portra 400. 15inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

A life guard from Ocean Beach, San Francisco's Baja set up,  February 2012.  Shot on a Contax T2 and Portra 400. 10 inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Heading east on Highway 14 in the Columbia River Gorge,  November 2011.  Shot on a 5d Mark II. 10 inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

Triple decker hammocks in Big Sir,  July 2013.  Shot on a Mamiya 6 with Portra 400. 15inches by 15 inches, printed on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, limited to 5, Signed and Numbered. 150$ Available here.

All prints are shipped via shipping tube.  International shipping is available.  Thanks for the support and happy holidays.

Here are some links,

Store (Arestlesstransplant).

Shelter

"This isn't looking familiar, but I think we're going in the right way,"  I announced as I continued hacking through an alder saplings with a machete.  My jeans were drenched from 45 mins of hiking on a compass bearing through dense second growth forest that more closely resembled canopy jungle than a Pacific Northwest forest.

Landon, Bill and Tucker acknowledged my reassurance with silence and continued their personal battles crawling over and under saplings.  The rain had subsided, but the trees, ferns and bushes held water like a paint brush.  Stopping,  I thrust the machete into a moss covered stump and pulled a rumpled up waterproof topo map with a handful of GPS coordinates highlighted in red from the pocket of my fleece.

"Tucker... I think this is where we are,"  I said, pointing towards a small plateau indicated by  a U-shaped flat spot on the map.

Tucker looked up and scanned the surroundings.  "It's pretty fucking tough to see whats going on here, but, yah that looks about right,"

"Do you hear that creek?"   Faintly, over the constant dripping of water off of the fooliage,  the sound of a small creek rushing through rocks was thinly audible.

"Yah, I do. Barely."

Pulling the machete out of the rotting stump, I chopped down a Devil's Club with a deft swipe. "Be careful of this shit," I said holding up a section of the recently severed Devi's Club with the tip of the machete before flicking it to the side.

Fifteen years earlier,  I spent time in the same woods with my Boy Scout troop, working on trails and building a makeshift camp.   The second growth forest had grown considerably in that time and the trails had faded from a group of 12's year olds most sincere attempts at trail design to obscurity.   The only mark of civilization was the lingering evidence of logging; giant old growth stumps,  the occasional road cut and sporadic steel cable rusting away at the hands of 70 inches of annual rainfall.

Taking a break from the progress at The Cinder Cone, we loaded into Lando's pick up and headed to the southern tip of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest during a break in the fall rain.  Inspired by childhood days spent building forts,  we brought food and minimal camping gear with the intention of building a shelter to protect us from the forcast rain.

Lando, time warped from 1971.

We found a clearing in the early afternoon and set off to work.

Starting a fire form the leftovers from the night before's fire.

Rise and shine.

We constructed the shelter out of alder logs and used lap joints with a few Gerber Hatchets, a folding saw and a machete.

Tucker owns this DVD.

The American Boys Hand Book was one of my favorites as a kid and has tons of plans for forts, boats and other good ways to spend a day in the woods.

Warming up.

We framed the fort between three conveniently located Y-shaped alders.  The platform was triangle shaped with a square, A-framed roof.  We built the roof out of layers of ferns,  maple leaves, and branches.

Early morning.

We worked feverishly for four hours,  finishing the roof shorty after sunset. Passing out after a gorging on a dinner cooked on rocks,  I prepared for the arrival of the predicted rain.   Waking up, I rolled over and looked at the fire,  the last remnants of a log were melting in to ash. Unzipping my sleeping bag,  I jumped down to take a piss.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

"Guess we didn't need this fort after all," I thought to myself as I stared up at the stars through the Alder tree canopy.  The chilly October night ended my star gazing. I grabbed handful of logs and threw them on the fire before sliding back into my sleeping bag.

Here are some more links,

Out Of Reception (Tumblr),

Home Is Where You Park It (Webstore).