The Sacred Sticker Pile

Admit it, somewhere in your house you have one. A stack of stickers that you have been carefully curating over the years. Every race/ festival/ local shop/ and brewery that has had the pleasure of your attendance is represented.

444AAF6B-2A00-4BC3-A992-CA05EA057650

In the outdoor activity realm stickers are like little vinyl flags that are flown to alert others to our own personal tribe. We put them on our car windows, bikes, home climbing walls, rooftop boxes, and beer fridges. They signal a safe space where other like-minded people gather to do the things that make them feel alive. I always get nervous when I see a vehicle without stickers. Whenever I pull up to a trailhead and I see a clean rig with no stickers I automatically think there is a serial killer waiting for me in the woods.

In short, stickers show the world that you are more than a job title and a bank account. They help others to answer the question, “what do you do?” Because of this we are very picky with which stickers we display. This is where the pile comes in. “I mean, I really like __________, but what if___________.” You hem and you haw about what others will think about your apparent undying love for Company X or Local Race 2017. But at some point you have to make a decision. It’s certainly hard. Some stickers are only made for certain events or product lines and YOU MAY NEVER COME ACROSS ONE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU AND WHO YOU ARE THAT PERFECTLY AGAIN! I totally get that feeling. I used to have a clean car and a massive pile of stickers.

5DAB568B-DFC1-48C3-B157-AABF6F63E57FF23A1DA9-A163-4B84-B589-592E96D4ADE3

I suffered from SAD (Sticker Anxiety Disorder). You know how I got past that? I came to the logical realization there will always be more stickers. My current collection is proof of this concept. Whenever one fades or is lost at highway speed another will come along that may even better represent who you are. You probably already have a perfect replacement lined up on the bench. There it is, behind that regionally specific sticker that only people in the know will get.

-J

Advertisements

New Shop Alert: Bird’s Eye Outfitters

Few and far between: that’s how I would describe the state of quality outdoor shops in the Upper Peninsula.

Enter the new kid on the block:

IMG_0566

It’s always refreshing to see a new silent-sports themed shop open up. However, when I saw the sign, I had mixed emotions: I was excited about a new outfitter, but hesitant to get too excited in case it turned out to be just another low-level jacket pusher for over-stylized hipsters who rarely leave the pavement. All of my fears were quashed the second I crossed the threshold.

IMG_6052

Its well-lit, industrial chic showroom is accented with all sorts of shiny toys. I especially appreciate how they are not stacked like cordwood on sterile shelves or cheap pegboard. The owners have taken the time to work the product displays into an inspired art form. They have a wide array of products for the novice to the seasoned outdoors person.

Bird’s Eye caries the following top-notch brands:

  • Patagonia
  • Arc’teryx
  • Prana
  • Lolé
  • Temple Fork Outfitters
  • MSR
  • Giant Bicycles
  • Salsa Bicycles
  • Fjallraven
  • Chaco
  • Osprey

Aside from offering those killer brands they also rent out kayaks and stand up paddle boards. They will soon be offering river tours and kayak/SUP lessons as well. Future plans also include bike maintenance and repair once lower level renovations are complete.

IMG_6053

MMMM-fresh TFO cork!

Quite possibly my favorite of Bird’s Eye’s many great attributes is the beer and snacks! It’s really nice to be able to enjoy a pint while browsing gear. I love it when my favorite things mash up. The staff also told me that they will be offering Charcuterie plates in the future. I look forward to sitting down to talk shop over salted meats and libations. When you get there ask for the Bird’s IPA, it has hints of Cascade hops, Gore-Tex, and Prima Loft and pairs well with shiny paddle boards or fat tired bikes.

IMG_0553

The front portion of the shop houses Superior Coffee Roasting Company. We will be doing a future feature on them but suffice it to say, they pulled me two delicious shots that I am still thinking about.

Head on over to 107 East Portage St., in Sault Ste. Marie, MI and check them out.