joie de vivre-- a cheerful enjoyment of life & an exultation of spirit.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

180º South.

Conquerors of the useless-- that's what we were. When you have a whole life in the outdoors, you realize you have the responsibility to protect these wild places and you learn that what's important is how you got here, not what you accomplished. -- Yvon Choinard

In 2008, outdoor adventurer Jeff Johnson embarked on the adventure of a lifetime-- retracing the 1968 journey of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, through 10,000 miles of wilderness and straight into the heart of Patagonia. Documenting this incredible story of friendship and self discovery, is 180º South-- a documentary that not only brings Jeff's story to the screen in a truly beautiful way, but a documentary that serves as a much needed reminder for us all about the power and importance of living simply. This is a story of persistence and personal triumph; a story of adventure and accomplishment. But most of all, this is the story of discovering a path and a purpose within an incredibly complicated world.

I feel so lucky to have been able to grow up in a family that valued the importance of spending time outdoors-- intentionally getting as far away from the crowds as possible, exploring the open wilderness together, and learning to appreciate the beauty of silence beneath a starry sky. There are few things in my life that I am genuinely, 100% proud of, but being able to say that I've seen and experienced the beauty of this country in a way that few others have is certainly one of them. I've squatted in the fields of Yellowstone and studied the jawbones of a deer killed by migrant wolf packs; I've sat on the banks of Alaska's Copper River, eating salmon fresh from the stream, and listened to the moan of the ice as Child's Glacier calved before my eyes; I've stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, screamed my name into the unknown, and been humbled by its vastness; I've waded knee-deep through tide pools in Arcadia and felt the rush of discovering a cluster of sea urchins; I've stood in the shoes of Ansel Adams and watched the moon rise over Yosemite's iconic half-dome; and I've seen the way the red rock of Zion begins to glow a mighty orange as the sun sets and the skies grow purple around it. I know, first hand, the incredible feeling of energy and inner peace that spending time in the natural wilderness can provide & I can only hope that the innate characteristics and personalities of these unbelievable landscapes are still around for me to share with my own children when that time comes.

Today, 2 million acres in Patagonia are under permanent protection because of the impact that a big ol' chunk of land had on Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins. Just imagine what we could accomplish if more of us were willing to take a step beyond our front door.

To learn more about Jeff, Yvon, Doug and 180º South, check out the main site, here.

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