29 Oct

Dirtbags, Fly Fishermen

From Patrick, one of Ed’s sons

Before they founded Patagonia and The North Face, Yves Chouinard and Doug Tompkins were rock climbing pioneers at places like Yosemite. They mockingly called themselves, and many others, “dirtbags”. A dirtbag was someone who would steal away what scraps of time and money they could to devote themselves not to fame or wealth, or not even necessarily accomplishment. It was the adventure and process of their pursuit that bound them.

My dad was a dirtbag. It wasn’t rock climbing and Yosemite, but fly fishing and mainly the AuSable. These guys fished without creature comfort, without notice, and sometimes without catching (and releasing) much. But those weren’t really the prize – the time together, and the appreciation and relation to nature were. My dad is on the left in this picture, with fellow dirtbags Mitchell Powell, Frank Topolewski, Skip Favro, and his brother Richard B McGlinn. As I look at old photos I see many other dirtbags – Vic Prislipsky, Dan Drislane, Bill McGlinn, Rusty Gates, Bob McGlinn, many of my cousins, and many more who shared this passion with my dad, and I’m grateful I grew up knowing their names and hearing their stories. My dad was a lucky man to know them as friends.


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