Our lives are journeys. Often times we are not fully aware of our surroundings and how they alter and influence our physical and spiritual beings, but we naturally take the journey. Many of us are fortunate to have the lifestyle to get outdoors and explore a variety of recreational activities. It’s easy to take this part of our journey for granted and see the sport as one of pursuit not realizing what is right in front of us. Then again, there is also a handful of people who do not have the lifestyle to do such a thing. For me, getting outdoors has become not only a journey but a pursuit of opportunity waiting to be discovered and even challenged. I take this journey every chance I get when I go to the river to fish. I appreciate what is around me and in the water of what I may be chasing at that time; fishing simply becomes the by-product. The vehicle of scientific exploration leads me to a self-discovery of “change” which is my transformation, my balance, and my church. Whether I’m chasing trout or steelhead, wadding through the river with fellow anglers scanning the pockets and feeding lines or eddies on the river, I am metamorphosing as a pupil of what Mother Nature is revealing and how I am being shaped.
Soul River was given life as I was standing waist deep, filling my lungs with the pure fresh air, being humbly embraced by Mother Nature’s theater, and ultimately fighting my PTSD from my years serving in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the development of Soul River, a connection of art and design between the outdoor world and the urban world was inspired from the art of fly fishing. The intention is to fold both worlds into a creative, urban, outdoor fashion apparel brand beacon young and old bridging from urban to outdoors. The brand of Soul River represents an embodiment of nature inter-playing between fashion art and design and the beauty of our environment with legs in the community cultivating young minds and veterans connecting to the outdoors raising the mental state of awareness to an ambassador of the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The brand is the soul of nature that is a reflection of ourselves, where we are at in that exact moment in time. It speaks to your individual lifestyle, no matter who you are, where you are, or what your passion is. Soul River represents everyone’s experiences that are interpreted like a unique thumbprint. The brand is viewed differently to each individual who embraces it because each person has their own adventure. Each experience on the water, on the trail, or in the city streets is different based on what is seen or breathed. My Soul River is different from your Soul River with diverse perspectives and experiences. My reality is the healing that water brings to the soul, the medicine to the mental, physical, and the spiritual world. At the end of the day we all stand on a common ground of interest and respect for Mother Nature, whether she’s seen in the urban world or the natural world. The brand welcomes the uniqueness and individuality, as Soul River is unconventional in its approach to the consumers just as Mother Nature is unconventional in Her approach in the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The voice of the brand also advocates our opportunity to stand and fight for the injustices that younger generations face, with intention to inspire exploring the outdoors, becoming ambassadors for tomorrow, understanding that nature is freaking cool and hip. It’s the journey of all groups, including age, race, and socio-economic status, which we take as a universal reminder that we are inherently connected. Part of the brand also gives back to veterans fighting PTSD, in pursuit to provides rich opportunities such as classes & expeditions that are one day to one week outings led by Soul River and partners with US Fish and Wildlife and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and other partners coining the term “Iron Sharpening Iron.” Ultimately, one “iron” is U.S. veterans transitioning into society post-war in hopes that they will find peace and comfort in the healing waters. The other “iron” is community youth transitioning from a troubled past seeking alternative methods of healing by embarking into the outdoors, joining conservation efforts, and gaining a new respect for Mother Nature. Both veterans and youth have similar trials – whether it’s a literal war or a war of his/her own, struggling with street life, drugs, and gangs. By merging these two groups together, they’ll have the opportunity to mentor, learn from one another, and teach through their challenges. Soul River Runs Deep!
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The US Fish and Wild Life Service’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program, a national program aimed at increasing a diverse engaged conservation constituency, is highlighting work of programs that connect youth with nature and encourage conservation. The event will be held on Capitol Hill Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Soul River Owner/Creative Director Chad Brown has been given the opportunity to speak at the event, in front of the organization and members of congress, to share the story of Soul River and our outreach work connecting youth and veterans with the outdoors using fly fishing and conservation as a conduit to spark interest and cultivate a passion creating the awareness to our youth and bring up to ambassadors into the outdoors.
Chad will be covering Soul River’s mission, our partnerships with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and the importance of connecting with nature respectfully while giving back. Chad and Soul River would like to thank US Fish & Wildlife Service for their ongoing support with our programs and events like the recent Celebration of Wild Steelhead and for the opportunity to share our work and inspire others on a national stage.
AMAZING! TIGHT LINES!
The Celebration of Wild Steelhead was an amazing success this past Sunday. Mainly because of all the generous help we received from the local community to make it happen; local businesses, US Fish and Wildlife, and all the dedicated anglers who came out to share their skills. Everyone’s hard work ensured a high level engagement by both youth organizations that planned to attend and curious neighbors who passed through and ended up picking up a flyrod kit, hat and shirt and some info for our future clinics. We are confident that every kid who participated walked away with new skills, and understanding of fly fishing and the wild steelhead, and in most cases hooked enough to continue their exploration of the sport or just becoming an ambassador of the outdoors. The difference of understanding the youth had before and after the event was remarkable; some had no idea what fly fishing was, some had never heard of it, and some had come up with their own creative idea of what it meant to fly fish. Walking away from the event, everyone should feel proud of their involvement and the accomplishments we had that day introducing more youth in the community to the outdoors.
We want to thank all our volunteers, soul river ambassadors and our partners US Fish & Wildlife, Tualatin River Refuge, The Intertwine, Native Fish Society, LOOP, SpeyHeads, ZAP Team Oregon Zoo, Fly Fishing Collaborative, Jim Teeny & Donny Teeny, OPST, Scientific Anglers, Rising Buffalo Tribe, Oregon Department Fish Wildlife, Donny Adir, Stone fly Society and all the participating youth organizations; Momentum Alliance, PPS Title VII Indian Education, City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, and Boy Scouts of America. Everyone who came out and did their part behind the scenes made all this possible! Moving onward and upward, we will be holding five clinics, once a month, open to all youth who came out to learn this past weekend to continue their education as an angler and outdoor ambassador. They will be held at various locations throughout Portland. Stay tuned for more specifics. We could talk for days about what a success the event was and how our hard work paid off but instead we’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Thank you to Ben Paull from OPST awesome photography from the event below!
Since the opening of Soul River’s retail space, there have been growing pains to the changes, celebrations, and struggles. This crazy formula in entrepreneurial life forces one to grow up quicker in order to make better sense of what the hell you’re doing! Through the consistent and gracious support, we are making changes everyday to be a better small business and pillar in our community. In turn, we have streamlined, clarified, and sharpened our mission:
We are born from the sport of fly-fishing. We cast our line into a confluence of our soul where we inspire others, develop a community and form meaningful partnerships. We connect youth and veterans to a conscious outdoor lifestyle centered around conservation, art, design, and humanity through quality products and services to all communities. We are Soul River Runs Deep.
Brad Cunningham , Yakima Washington
All of my patterns are proven on Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Some of the closer to home rivers includes Deschutes, Klickitat, Grande Rhonde, Cowlitz just to name a few. Brad patterns are more in the way of summer and fall patterns for steelhead. Brad been tying and fly fishing on and off for 30 years. Brad takes a different mindset when tying and thinking outside the box. You can walk into any flyshop and buy a cookie cutter pattern but like anything He thinks if your not evolving with your patterns and materials you could be missing the next big thing (fly). Brad also ties spey style and stinger style flies but he loves tying the classic style and have noticed in the past two years that fishermen are leaning back toward classic styles and some big names in the industry have mention how they are seeing it as well.
The fly box above are custom tied flies Brad put together himself for the Celebration Wild steelhead. Even though it is steelhead focus but he thought would be more fitting to folks to give custom tied trout flies for the special person who is getting into the sport! Whoever gets this box of flies is priceless! And will be very lucky to have a set of custom tied flies which you cant buy at a shop!
I hope these flies get into the right hands and right mindset to embark on an awesome fishing experience!
When the Celebration of Wild Steelhead ends, what are the next steps?
Soul River and our friends and partners have planned a retention plan to keep the youth in attendance interested and motivated in cultivating their passion as an angler while developing a sense of community.
Soul River is continuing our commitment to the next generation, connecting youth to the outdoors by issuing “Soul River Passports” at the event to encourage youth to continue learning about nature and the sport. The passport lists workshops at the event to attend as well as five additional “urban outdoor clinics” that will be offered throughout the rest of the year around Portland in local urban parks, where they can come to learn more about the importance of conservation while practicing and honing their skills with the guidance and encouragement of dedicated outdoorsmen.
The urban outdoor clinics will focus on fly casting, fly tying, entomology, river navigation, and a film showing. As the anglers advance and cultivate their new skills into the new year, they will also have future opportunities presented by Soul River and U.S Fish and Wildlife.
We want to thank the Stonefly Society for their generous donation of a flyrod package that will be given away at the Celebration of Wild Steelhead event September 7, 2014!
The Stonefly Society is a group of like-minded anglers that are concerned about conserving wild life and aquatic habitats along Utah’s Wasatch range.
“Facing a STEELHEAD is a moment of beauty only to those who seek it.”
Steelheads, the great sea-faring rainbow trout of the Pacific Northwest have been long sought out by anglers. They have become a powerful symbol representing the last bastions of legendary untainted wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Like the lions on the Serengeti, they have become an icon to the region, and similar to the lion, they are among the species most threatened by the modern world.
Standing waste deep in cold frigid water for hours on end in the northwest, day after day, every season in the wild pursuit at just the opportunity to hook this amazing creature is a moment of beauty and praised silence. One on one time with the legendary species is beyond compare. Just listen to any angler who has had the honor of hooking in. When the moment finally comes when you best the creature for the first time in its native environment and hold it up to take in the moment (and often times capture photographic evidence), is a rite of passage for Pacific Northwest anglers.
That moment, is something that should be both treasured and shared. Anglers have a divine responsibility to pass on the rush and triumph of interacting with the chrome warriors with young anglers who can in turn pass down the experience for generations to come. If you have ever had the opportunity to go toe-to-fin with a wild steelhead you know how special these creatures really are and what is at stake.
We can all preach all day about these precious steelhead we continue to pursue day in and day out, chasing that original rush of finally pulling one in. The importance of catch and release. We can attend meetings and conferences stressing the importance of protecting these creatures and their environment, but it will all be in vane unless we can pass on the spirit of conservation and raise the collective conscious to the youth of the next generation. Strength in numbers in important and young anglers are the future of both the sport and conservation. Many young anglers aren’t yet aware of this amazing gift the Pacific Northwest has provided and it is our responsibility to share how important they are. That is our goal as dedicated anglers and as stewards to the environment.
To all anglers who share this deep passion for this amazing species that has provided so much to us as sportsmen and outdoorsmen, we urge you to pass down your expertise and experience and passion, with the youth in your community. Even if you are unable to attend the upcoming Celebration of Wild Steelhead we urge you to give back by passing on the message and tag your Facebook and Instagram photos with #CelebrationWildSteelhead to spread the word and share these amazing fish with your community and if we all work together, the world.
All youth and adults coming into the Celebration of wild steelhead event will be told to log on and with #CelebrationWildSteelhead on facebook and instagram to see your wild steelhead images.
Please be responsible and show proper respect to the fish and the sport in tagged photos.
The most beautiful and practical folding knife.
In 1995 Baladeo, a French partner of hikers worldwide, has created a line of knives and accessories for every outdoorsman. Baladeo products are crafted with the utmost care with respect to both the craftsman and the environment. Every piece, from the traditional Laguiole shepherd’s knives to compasses and multi-tools, is built to the highest standards and backed by a lifetime warranty. Enjoy the perfect pleasure of their work! as a part of your lifestyle with high functionality in the outdoors. Deejo is ideal to the unique, purist, style and functionality for the Hiker, Angler and backpacker whom approaches the outdoors with ultra light gear and understands how extra weight can interfere and become a burden in your productivity when embarking in the outdoors on your next adventure. And lets point the Deejo is a master of concealment in size and slimness. We are proud to offer in our Soul River space, A convergence where many rivers coming together through art, design, humanity and fly fishing.
DESCRIPTION Ultra-light knife in 420 stainless steel, matte finish. Secure liner lock system. Belt clip. Solid wood handle slab comes in three different types of wood. “Naturally fragrant” Juniper Wood, “Delicately veined” Rosewood and dense ebony Granadilla (black wood) which is visually impressive for its deep black, ebony-like hues. It is also known for being almost completely damp-proof. It is the heaviest, most dense, waterproof wood out there, and perfect for this beautiful piece of craftsmanship.
37 G / 420 STAINLESS STEEL / 11 CM CLOSED / 20,5 CM OPEN /9.5 CM BLADE / 0,9 CM THICKNESS
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE! CLICK ON PICTURE OR NAME
pre-serve: verb \pri-ˈzərv\ to keep something in its original state or in good condition
live: verb \ˈliv\ to be alive
pro-tect: verb \prə-ˈtekt\ to fight in order to keep someone or something safe; to not allow a person or thing to hurt, damage, or destroy someone or something
truth: noun \ˈtrüth\ the quality or state of being true
It just takes a second to hear yourself breath – a mere second to refocus on where you’re at when you’re in the outdoors, in order to appreciate the natural beauty happening around you and others. Every cycle in nature has its own order of routine which has remained consistent since the beginning of time. Forever changing platforms beneath our feet transform from trails to bushwhacking to traversing through rivers, feeling the fighting currents swarm around your legs. One wrong slip and you submerge in this rushing river, suddenly taken down. You are now alive! You feel the adrenaline rush! You are living in the moment! Your spirit is now awake! But you’re actually connected by the intricate threads of your life woven suddenly into the unknown with nature’s thread, feeling out of control as you are being pledged into her realm, giving you a brief understanding of how delicate you are and how powerful she is. Lesson learned.
You can’t mistake the beauty of carelessness without consequences which tend to fall short from our on behavior in how we perceive breath and adapt to the environment. We are only a visitor, we are forced to realize the importance of our existence and how delicate the space we are standing in can be damaged, loved, produced, and nourished. It is our responsibility to pass this on and to share. Nature is not a game, but rather a life of enjoyment, a place of healing and a haven for all souls to be inspired. Inspired by the law of gestalt in order to adopt and extract the theory of humanity and nature forming all animals, insects, plants, and rivers which form together by regular and irregular patterns of design, simplicity, and order. This law implies that individuals of all walks of life, race and color, grand or petite, perceive the world and learn (or re-learn) to eliminate complexity and unfamiliarity by way of observing the reality in its most simplistic and raw form. By eliminating extraneous stimuli such as cell phones, video games, music, television, and media to a place where the mind can regain focus and clarity to create meaning allows our perception to convert into the idea of preserving – to protect, to live and to know the truth which transfers into a global perspective. For us all, focusing from our consciousness to change that which happens around us from our past to our future is comparable to a cause and effect. If nature can be in uniform, in sync, and function as a machine of beauty and life why can’t we?
River Ink – The metamorphism of Change and Cycles of life.