Tony Clevenger, Alberta, Tennessee
I bought my first pile jacket while assisting on a black bear research project in Sequoia National Park. I learned lots of cool things on that project: like locating winter dens of sleeping bears tracked by radio-telemetry, how to carve my first telemark turns at Wolverton Bowl, and just how great that pile jacket was! It went nearly everywhere with me, into bear dens, skiing in the backcountry to look for bear dens, sleeping in it, doubling as a pillow, and many other handy uses.
The photo was taken by my brother Phil who came to visit me in Knoxville one weekend and helped me with some “den work” I had in the Smoky Mountains. We had to locate the den of one of the radio-collared bears I was studying. We carefully inched our way towards where this bear had her den. After putting mom “to sleep,” we discovered she had 3 beautiful cubs that were about a month old. We worked fast. We delicately placed them one by one on my pile jacket – using it as a ground cover and blanket. Phil ended up taking some great shots of them wrapped in the soft, red pile jacket.
I sent this one to Patagonia for their catalog… and eventually it made it in. I still have the catalog, and believe it or not I still have the pile jacket. After probably 500 washes and 30 years, it hasn’t changed at all. It’s indestructible.
Today it’s hanging in my parents place in Morro Bay, California. I wear it every time I visit. Thanks for making such great, functional, long-lasting and fun clothing!