The Bellwether

the ibex journal

Meet the makers: Harmony heritage farm 

Wool Dryer Puffs

As a child, I lived on a farm where I worked my way up my parent’s cautiously enacted responsibility ladder. This involved looking after chickens, then rabbits and eventually to raising my own sheep. I now operate Harmony Heritage Farm with my husband, Richie, and our adopted daughter, Marilyn. Together we own thirty sheep and forty cows that we rotate around the collective two hundred acres in these hills of South Western Washington. 

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A Family Journey

Retracing a Wartime Bike Ride

In the spring of 1940, my grandmother is 26. She leaves her home and elementary school teacher position in Verneuil-sur-Avre in Normandy to flee occupied France by the Nazis. She uses her bike to travel across the country to meet with her son and parents in law in the south of France. Around that time, millions of people were fleeing the Northern part of Europe to the South. 


Hindsight is always 10a

Trip report with Holly Yu Tung Chen

The local climbers always had their sayings. Moab folks would say, "when the license plate turns green, you know it's fall." Montana climbers boasted about how happy they were to be out of the limelight; no one knew about their hidden little gem of a crag. Rifle climbers said, "the better you are at climbing, the more fun you will have."


Good Walking and Clear Water

Trip report from the Brooks Range

In August of 2015, Sarah and I traveled to the villages of Noatak and Kivalina, northwestern Alaska, as part of the Skiku / NanaNordic volunteer program. These programs provide skis and coaches to village schools throughout Alaska. Skiku has been successful, in large part due to its consistency...


Reach the Peak

Trip report from Pico de Orizaba

Orizaba (aw·ruh·zaa·buh), known as Citlaltépetl to the locals, is the highest peak in Mexico at 18,491’ which makes it the third highest summit in North America behind Denali (Alaska) and Mt. Logan (Canada). 


Hike a Bike

Trip report from the Iditarod Trail

Every spring folks from town head out to the Iditarod trail to make the historic 1,000 mile trip across interior Alaska from Willow to McGrath and eventually up to Nome. Most Iditarod Trail users are on snow machines and dog sleds...

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Like Clockwork

Photo journal from Last Skier Standing

It’s 6am on Monday, the third consecutive day of The Last Skier Standing (LSS) event. After almost two whole days spent skiing came the 46th lap with racers: Brody Leven, Ben Eck, and Rich Connell remaining from a field of what was close to 100 skiers and riders on the first day. 

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From sheep to Bobbin

A wool story

 A town in earlier days known for its booming mill village.For generations, the S&D Mill and the Dearnley Family have been spinning wool throughout their four-story brick building in the heart of Millbury, Massachusetts. 


The end of a season

On assignment with Ibex photographer

Traditionally, the end of a season is defined by the quarterly transition of sunlight caused by the Earth's tilt and its annual revolution around the sun. These seasonal transitions bring many opportunities for change...

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The great paddle

Circumnavigating Great Wass Island

Whoosh. The bow of my kayak pointed skywards momentarily, before leveling off on the crest of a wave. I quickly glanced to my left, where Cam paddled some six feet below me, in the adjacent trough. 

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Is Merino Itchy?

Ditch the itch in merino gear

If you picture any and all wool garments as being rough and scratchy, you haven’t yet met merino. Although it’s one of the warmest and most naturally high-tech materials out there, standard wool has got a bad rap due to its relatively rough, scratchy feel. But merino wool isn’t your typical wool. 


Does merino shrink?

With proper care, your gear will not shrink

It’s no secret that merino wool is considered one of the finest fibers on the planet. It’s excellent at regulating temperature, keeping you toasty when it’s cold out and cool when it’s sweltering, and helps you better manage sweat when you’re being active. An added bonus?

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a hiker in sheep's clothing

10 day walk in the English Cotswolds

It never occurred to me until I was surrounded on a grassy pasture in rural England to wonder how a sheep might feel to see a hiker wearing wool. I had just passed through a gate marked with the Cotswold Way’s signature upside-down acorn trail marker...

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