Retallack Lodge

Digging Retallack: The Longest Day

Words by Kona Ambassador Shae James, who is the first female ever invited to dig at Retallack Lodge during their annual building week with the Treelines Crew.

It’s always the last stretch of something that can feel like an eternity.

That last hour of work or the last bit of a long drive home. The more you look at the clock, the more it seems to have just stopped working altogether. Technically, the longest day of the year was weeks ago, but for me, it was the fourth, and final day of digging in Retallack BC. 

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Our crew had been crushing trail all week long. The days consisted of an exciting commute in a M1078 up a steep, and skinny logging road. Followed by a hike in, and 8 solid hours of digging. The combination of the Treelines Crew and the Retallack Dig Crew is made up of hard workers who keep each other moving. To be here, you have already passed the difficult test of proving you are worthy. So, the bar is kept as high as it was set. By the fourth day, everyone is feeling it. The fatigue is as heavy as the rain that rolls in. Swing. Pull. Swing. Pull. At this point, your pickaxe just feels like an extension of your arm. Dig. Pack. Dig. Pack. Your shovel becomes a welcomed relief from the repetition of the axe. Drag. Flick. Drag. Flick. You can finally switch to your less dominant side, and enjoy the instant satisfaction of creating order in the chaos with a rake. 

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We’ve covered so much ground. I can see the road just up in the distance. We’ve got to be getting close. I check my watch. It’s 11 am. Well, on the bright side, it’s only an hour until lunch. Keep digging.

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Keep digging.

Stop and wipe the tears of laughter. 

Keep digging.

Keep digging.

The sun comes out, and it’s lunchtime. We made it! The camaraderie really shines over sandwiches and canned beverages. My body is screaming, but I can’t stop laughing. The jokes, the dancing, the bad singing. The irony that this place is absolutely stunning, and we’ve all been staring at the ground for days. 

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With a second wind, we all go back to our posts and pick up our weapons. It’s 12:30 pm and the race is on. If 5 o’clock hits first, we’ll have failed our mission. If we get to the road first, glory is ours. We all seem to be on the same page of determination because no one says a word and grinds. Hours pass, but it’s only 1 pm.

The sky darkens. Experience has taught us to reach for our rain jackets again. As the last zipper goes up, the clouds open. But it’s thunder in the distance that catches our attention. The second clap tells us it’s headed our way. Lightning strikes the valley next to us. We drop our tools and hunker down. The sound of rain beating on our hoods intensifies the situation. I hold my breath and look nervously at the sky. The tops of the trees are like fingers reaching up, begging to be struck. Finally, time tells us that danger has skipped over us. My shovel looks different now. Like an old friend who betrayed my trust. I forgive it and move on.

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As we keep moving ahead, a river of brown trail is flowing behind us. The trees part and a corridor of greenery is all that is left. Just beyond that, is the gravel finish line we’ve been dreaming of. As the crew catches up to each other, one last push is the final nail in the week’s coffin. The stoke is immeasurable. The sense of accomplishment. But mostly, the pride. Not in ourselves, but in each other. Look what you did! That berm is amazing! That jump is rad! You crushed that benchwork! It wasn’t easy! You did it! High-five! Dance Party! Cheers! 

Celebration. Dinner. Speech! Speech! Laughter. Stories. It’s endless. The day is over, and I wouldn’t change a damn minute of it. It felt like the longest day of the year, but I wish it were longer.

Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena – Full Film

From the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains above Retallack Lodge comes a new project from Graham Agassiz and Mindspark Cinema: Digging for Galena is a short film exposing the new Texas Peak trail through parallel storylines of exploration and adventure. Grab a cold one, sit back, and enjoy a great short film…

For thousands of years we have been scratching through dirt and rock looking for our fortunes. Over a century ago, pioneers carved deep into the mountains surrounding Retallack Lodge, risking ruin in exchange for an ore rich in silver, zinc and lead. They were Digging for Galena.

Today, exploration and adventure comes full circle with the building of Texas Peak, one of the most adrenaline-packed gravity trails ever created. Join Graham Agassiz as he takes you on a journey that blurs the lines between here and yesteryear — a story of risk, adventure and great reward.

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Credits:
Cinematography and Editing by Mind Spark Cinema
Written and Directed by Mitchell Scott
Starring Graham Agassiz
Produced by Retallack Lodge and Mitchell Scott
Sponsored by: SRAM, Kona, and Retallack Lodge

Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena: Trailer #2

At the turn of the century the wilderness surrounding Retallack Lodge teemed with fortune seekers, their lives bound to the rich ore hiding deep underground. We unearth those jewels in the creation of Texas Peak, a trail to end all trails. Watch the story unfold February 24, 2017 as we launch “Digging for Galena,” starring Graham Agassiz.

Credits:
Cinematography and Editing by Mind Spark Cinema
Written and Directed by Mitchell Scott
Starring Graham Agassiz
Produced by Retallack Lodge and Mitchell Scott
Sponsored by: SRAM, Kona, and Retallack Lodge

Connor Fearon on the Cover of Bike Magazine

Coming out of our 27.5 Operator test sessions at Retallack Lodge, Blake Jorgensen‘s photo of Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon has been selected as the cover shot for the December 2016 issue of Bike Magazine.

Head to the Cog post to check out the whole photo set and watch the video from Retallack again, and head to Bike Mag to for a preview and to buy your copy of the December 2016 issue.

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Kona Process Challenge Teaser

Welcome to the inaugural Process Challenge! For this premier event we gathered XC Beast Spencer Paxson, DH Destroyer Connor Fearon and FR Animal Graham Agassiz and started them atop Retallack Lodge’s Reco Peak for an all out blitz to the bottom. We placed each rider aboard a skill specific Process and awarded points for cross country power, downhill steeze and freeride flair to determine a winner. With a mountain of singletrack ahead of them, who emerged victorious at the first ever Kona Process Challenge? Find out when we release the full video at 12:00 PST Monday January 18th.

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Retallack’s Reco Peak is not the worst place to start a race. Spencer Paxson, Connor Fearon and Graham Agassiz get ready to drop in on a race for the ages. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

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World Cup DH rider Connor Fearon follows Graham Agassiz off one massive natural stepdown. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

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Spencer Paxson finds himself all alone on one seriously stunning piece of singletrack. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

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Spencer Paxson uses Retallack’s flowy singletrack to hold off an attack from Connor and Aggy. Can he hold the pole position? Photo: Blake Jorgenson