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Adventure : Adventure

Inside the Mind of a Dirt Merchant

Jason Fenton owns Halter's Cycles in Monmouth, New Jersey, a bike shop that opened in 1987 and admittedly stocks way more rigs than they need to so that customers have plenty of options. Since 2004, Fenton has been building and maintaining the trails at Six Mile Run Reservoir so that he and others have a good place nearby to ride. For an hour or so a day, he chainsaws and digs and rakes to bring an extra second or two of improved riding to his region. The above video by Adam Nawrot tells his story.

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Airstream Thanksgiving, Part III: Deep Into Canyon de Chelly

Derelict_coal_plantSunset/moonrise over Canyon de Chelly. Photo: Katie Arnold

[This is the third in a series about roadtripping around the Southwest. Read parts I  and II here.]

On our first morning in Chinle, I woke full of hope for Canyon de Chelly. We’d slept deeply in the Thunderbird Lodge, and it was one of those glittery late fall days in the high desert, when the air is so clear and dry it makes everything look sharper, more angular. Out in the parking lot, the Airstream gleamed with frosty promise. We unlatched the door and looked inside: The fridge had slid out of its plywood cabinet, but the table was still bolted to the wall; the closet door was on the floor, but all windows were intact. A few stove knobs lay scattered at our feet, but at least the heater hadn't fallen off. This was cause for minor celebration, so we sizzled up eggs and bacon in our frigid little kitchen, and then carried our plates into our hotel room to eat next to the heater—one last little luxury before camping again.

Located entirely within the Navajo land, Canyon de Chelly National Monument is managed by the National Park Service but it’s under the jurisdiction of the Navajo tribal government. It’s a complicated arrangement, but for the typical visitor it boils down to this: You can’t enter the canyon without an authorized Navajo guide. Because it was low season and we hadn’t bothered to hire one in advance, so we unhitched the Airstream at Cottonwood Campground and drove the quarter mile to the visitor center, where a ranger gave me a list of outfitters. On my second call, I found Adam at Antelope House Tours, who agreed to take us into the canyon in our truck for $30 an hour.

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Adventure Video of the Week: Zack Giffin Skis Alaska

In the last week, Sweetgrass Productions has dropped two new videos. Yesterday, Nick Waggoner and crew released the teaser to their new ski movie Valhalla, a story about "one man's search to rediscover the freedom on his youth." The video is packed with the requisite ski porn and some other stuff you might not expect—funky colored lights, an old man with an impressive beard, and dancing naked people not afraid to show off their butts. Sweetgrass Productions' last movie, Solitaire, pushed the boundaries of what a ski flick could be, and this one looks like it will do the same.

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Airstream Thanksgiving, Part II: The Long Road to Canyon de Chelly

Derelict_coal_plantIn the rough: Road 7950 out of Chaco Canyon. Photo: Katie Arnold.

There’s no direct route from Chaco Canyon, in northern New Mexico, to Canyon de Chelly, across the border in Arizona. Rugged badlands, sandy washes, and vast tracts of arid, roadless country get in the way. Centuries ago, Native Americans traveled back and forth on foot or horseback, but today, in a truck towing a vintage 20-foot Airstream, there are only two ways out of Chaco Canyon: the northern road, or the southern road. And it’s a toss-up which is worse.

Both roads are notorious for roughly 20 miles of washboardy dirt moguls that look benign but are big enough to swallow an Airstream whole, then spit it out in pieces. In our Airstream road trip the day before, we'd lost an entire window coming in from the north, and were so scarred by the experience that for a second it seemed almost preferable to abandon the trailer forever in Chaco than to face that road with it hitched on behind us. The next best thing would be to try our luck on the southbound route. We actually thought, How could it be any rougher?

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This Week's Missing Links, December 8

The best articles, photos, and videos that I didn't post this week—until now. If you only click on one link, make it, "Disappearing Act: James Balog's Quest to Capture Climate Change in Action"

For the best longreads this week, check out "Weekend Reading: Conspirapocalypse."

Why skiing needs a surfline
, Wired Playbook

Paul Kimmage on his evolution from cyclist to journalist, Bicycling

Ligety nabs another victory, and lets loose with some more words on the new FIS regulations, The New York Times

Vonn scores a hat trick, and says she's not giving up in her fight up to race again men, The New York Times

Where is Bode Miller?, The New York Times

The end of snow sports? Outside

Some tips for climbers looking to get life insurance, National Geographic Adventure

Anyone not in favor of Alberto Contador's tainted beef supplier not being the president of the Spanish Cycling Federation? Too bad. The Washington Post

Surfer Keala Kennelly on the possibility of surfing Mavericks, The Inertia

Some really big shoes to fill. Ryan Hall replaces God with a new coach. Innovation for Endurance

World's most popular surfers, as decided by the readers of Surfer Mag, Surfer

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