Where have you been all my life?!

It’s always a little disquieting to stumble upon something that you should have been a part of all along. It’s like wandering into a room  and you find all of your friends having a party. It’s not that you were intentionally not-invited, it’s that you somehow missed all of the signs taped to every wall in your house.

Sure, it sucks that you weren’t at the party from the beginning, but now that you’re here, you might as well join in.

That’s how I felt when I fell into “The Dirtbag Diaries,” produced by Fitz Cahall. The worst part is that the signs for the party were basically taped to my forehead, and I still missed them! I’ve been following Fitz Cahall through his amazing collaboration with Bryan Smith on “The Season,” a web TV series following climbers, mountain bikers, snowboarders, etc through a season of trying to live the adventures they set out to complete.

Using the word ‘enamored’ to describe my feelings for both “The Season” and “The Dirtbag Diaries” would be drastic understatements. I’ve downloaded every podcast of “The Dirtbag Diaries” available and pretty much have it on an IV drip. You may think that it would be impossible to edit video footage of interviews while listening to Fitz telling amazing stories of adventurers, but somehow I manage.

Search itunes for “The Dirtbag Diaries” or check them out HERE.

Also, check out the beautifully narrated and filmed “The Love Letter.” You’ll be so glad you did.

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Top 20 Microbreweries in America [Matador Network]

Here’s a story that I had a lot of fun writing (and even more fun researching.)

Top 20 Microbreweries in America

1. Kettlehouse Brewing Company, Missoula, Montana

Known lovingly as the “K-hole” by Missoulians, this tiny brewery features an even smaller taproom where you’ll find locals of all stripes downing Cold Smoke Scotch Ale.

They don’t serve food, but the intensely hoppy Double Haul will usher in the perfect ending to a day of fly fishing the Clark Fork (a mere 200 feet from the front door) or exploring Glacier National Park.

[Read more here]

*The images in this story were updated in 2014.

Stalking the Summit of Mt. Rainier

My good friend Jeff Handlin and his brother Scott just fulfilled a dream by attempting to summit Mount Rainier. “We found out there is no such thing as conquering a mountain; it can flick one off like a piece of lint anytime it feels like it,” Jeff said in an email to me. “But if one perseveres respectfully, it may deem worthiness and grant passage for a short time.”

Jeff and Scott battled steep slopes, crevasses and 50mph winds to earn their summit view at 7:30am Wednesday, June 15th.

“We agreed this was pretty much one of the hardest things we’ve ever done,” Jeff wrote, “but we were treated to one of the most grueling and rewarding experiences of our lives.”

Here are a few of Jeff’s photos from the climb.

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At Muir Camp. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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On Disappointment Cleaver Route. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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Worth the Effort. Photo by Jeff Handlin

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A New Day on Rainier. Photo by Jeff Handlin

Congratulations, guys!

Lost Photos Project

Engineer on Mount Washington’s Historic Cog Railway waits for the signal to begin moving forward again.

Recently, I’ve been forced to switch hard drives, leading me to the unenviable task of cleaning up my files. I knew that some day this would happen. What I didn’t know was the treasure chest of unlooked-at photographs buried in there. I had folders of pictures from trips around Maine that I knew existed, but had left behind as new projects came up. In most cases, the images hadn’t even gone through the usual process of digitally organizing them. Embarrassingly, some entire folders hadn’t even been looked at—or hadn’t been looked at in so long that they appeared new to me!

Stream flowing under the autumn leaves in the Maine’s White Mountains National Forest.

I’ve decided to go through them, organize the images and post them in my flickr account. Some of the real stand-outs will also go to my stock agency for sale.

The fist two batches to make the transition are from a trip into New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a drive through Acadia National Park (both with my parents.) Both sets of photos yielded pictures that reminded me of the effect of a great image to transport the viewer to another part of the world. Some photos came up that surprised me. There have also been pictures that have sparked my love of photography again.

A wave crashes against the rocks in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sorting through many of those “lost” files. As those pictures go up, I’ll be posting them here.


JC’s Special Sauce (Arteries of America)

Real travel is when you put yourself in a position where the unexpected happens. Which is something I sometimes do accidentally.

While driving around Dallas with the cast of “Paulie & Me” and Donna, our awesome Keller-Williams real estate agent guiding us through potential sites for a brewery, we happen by a restaurant called Sol Irelandes. The restaurant’s host runs outside to say hello to our guide and ask if she’s coming in for a bite. We look at each-other and silently agree. What the hell, it’s lunch time and the scent of chipotle wafting from the little Irish-Mexican restaurant is making my stomach ache for something with a little kick.

Click HERE for the rest of the story.

Paulie and Me

“Join Paulie and Loren, long-time friends and hilarious duo, as they embark on a journey to build a microbrewery. Together, they hit the road to meet America’s top beer gurus, and learn what it takes to craft unique beers.” This is the tag line of a new TV show I’ve been working on for the last few months. The show is currently “in-development” (what TV-land calls a show before it has anything to show). Today I head to Dallas to film something to show the rest of the world and begin the process turning “in-development” into “in-production.”

This might be a great place to throw in some background on the show. “Paulie & Me” is what’s called a “Follow-doc” reality show, meaning the camera crew is going to follow these two friends as they work on building their brewery. This is something I happen to have a little knowledge of, having written articles on beer and breweries. In fact, that’s how I came to be part of the show. After Loren and Paul read my Matador Network article on breweries around the US, they contacted me to act as their on-camera brewery expert. Obviously, I’m not an expert on the building of the brewery, I more closely resemble an expert on breweries around the country. Why have a breweries expert? Two words: Road Trip.

That’s right, these guys, who don’t know anything about building a brewery, but love beer and want to craft it, are going to hit the road to see how breweries really do their magic.

This first shoot is to get some footage for the website, but when it’s done, it should show this friendship of opposites in its natural (and funny) habitat. These guys have been compared to “The Odd Couple” being polar opposites, Paulie being loud, unkempt and perpetually late, and Loren being routine-oriented and quiet. I don’t know how they’ve been friends for twenty years, but I guess it works for them. What it means for me is that, no matter how much Loren (or any of us) plan the day’s events, it will almost certainly derail without warning.

New Video: Montana Roadtrip in 1,062 Images

Pompey’s Pillar to St. Mary’s Peak – 1062 Images in Two Minutes

Watch video

This short film takes us on a hard-charging road-trip through 847 miles of Montana’s backroads from Pomey’s Pillar, east of Billings, through Yellowstone National Park and ending at the lookout tower at the top ofSt. Marys Peak just south of Missoula.

I grew up in Montana and have lived in one part of the state or another for most of my life. The distances are so vast that people I meet back east can’t really comprehend it. They would say, “You would drive five hours each way FOR A WEEKEND?!” when I told them about quick trips home to visit my parents. It’s those same distances that make life in the drivers’ seat almost inevitable. I cherished sitting back, putting some music on and letting whatever stories I happened to be working on at the time bounce around in my head. The mountains and rolling prairie often produced bolts of inspiration…

(Read the rest of the post HERE.)