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A Long Strange Trip (for Bill Walton)

For this week’s Outdoor History I’ve decided to forgo the usual path and take the golden road to a long strange trip. What does this have to do with commentary on features pulled from the archives of Specialty News (SNEWS)? Nothing. What does it have to do about coming up with any reason to feature these unpublished 1978 images of Bill Walton hangin out in the great outdoors? Everything.


I’m not really sure how I came across these photos in the first place. There’s this site called cold splinters, that for awhile, was really putting its finger on the hipsterization of the Outdoor. While just writing that phrase makes my mustache wax freeze, what they ended up doing was curating artful, interesting editorial content for authentic brand’s looking to tell contemporary stories- well, contemporary 15 years ago.  The industry has been flirting with cool since buffalo plaid found it’s way in to Union Bay and the Chess King (okay, maybe cool isn’t the right word, but go with me here). While fleece, puffy, and some form of hiking shoe silhouette come in and out with each new generation, the late aughts and teens saw outdoor brands really start to adopt communication and content tactics previously associated fashion and culture brands. Fine art-inspired photography, fancy zines, and boutique dreams. A look that some brands wore better than others. But one thing’s for sure, Bill Walton setting out in Grateful Dead merch and his aluminum frame backpack is timeless cool.

The caption on the page actually sums it up pretty well:

Sports Illustrated posted a whole slew of unreleased Bill Walton pics from yesteryear. One of the best slideshows I've seen in a long while. What a goddamn look. Grateful Dead shirt and hat. Bold, Walton. Bold.

Bold indeed.

-David Karstad

The Life And Times Of Outdoor History, by Rock Fight Contributor David Karstad, is available to receive early every week by subscribing to Rock Fight's weekly newsletter, News From The Front. Click Join The Mailing List to sign up today.


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