The political/cultural divide extends conspicuously into the Outdoors.
The Outdoors Right fishes and hunts. The Extreme Outdoors Right shoots big game and/or hunts par force du chien. The Outdoors Right wears safari jackets, canvas hunting coats, camo for duck and turkey hunting, and Scarlet Hunt Uniforms for fox hunting.
The Outdoors Left hikes, bicycles, kayaks, rafts, rock climbs, and skis. The Outdoors Left wears the latest artificial fabric in Life -Saver-flavor colors.
The Outdoors Right remembers shopping at the old (the real) Abercrombie & Fitch and Wm. Mills, and buying from the Herter’s catalogue. We still shop at L.L. Bean, Filson, Woolrich, and Cabela’s. We used to buy from Orvis, but now they do.
The Outdoors Left buys from Patagonia, Northern Mountain, and REI.
We lust after custom shotguns. They yearn for custom bicycles and hiking boots.
There is surprisingly little overlap between the two worlds, though –regrettably– A River Runs Through It (1992) resulted in a lot of unwelcome cross-over into fly fishing. Men used to say: “I never met a fly fisherman I didn’t like.” Not anymore. When I see some fashionista on the stream loaded down with expensive, brand-new Orvis equipment, I feel like pushing him in.
I sometimes read Outside magazine, and I commonly marvel (and bristle with indignation) over the cultural differences.
We Outdoors Right types would never dream of spending time in the territory of large predators unarmed. The readership of Outside Magazine is capable of debating the ethics of spraying Old Ephraim in the snout with pepper spray. They bicycle through Mountain Lion country. They camp, unarmed, among the grizzlies. And as you will read in the linked article from the Outside Magazine archives on the late Hendrk Coetzee, the Outdoors Left will go kayaking in cannibal-infested regions of the Congo and down rivers full of crocodiles.
Whitewater kayaker Hendrik Coetzee had decided to call it a career after a decade of first descents on the wildest rivers in Africa. The riverâ€™s most feared predator had a different ending in store.