Words on Water


Water has always been my constant. Growing up it was my safe haven, my refuge, my power. When I found the river it was like finding my soulmate.

Over the years, it has became my sanctuary, my canyon church, my religion. The spirit of the canyon fed my soul.

The red rocks ground me, the winds sculpt me, the river cleanses me, and the rapids teach me. It has taught me to let go, and to take things for what they are.

The river never stops moving, the canyons never stop changing, and I never stop growing. Around the bend, across the cascade, water to flesh. I am home.

 - From the Instagram of ambassador Natali Zollinger: follower her at @natalizollinger

Fish Talk with Ruth Sims


Ruth Sims has fishing in her blood. Before her, her dad, her uncles, and her grandfather were all commercial fishermen. So three years ago when Ruth took up a fly rod, she was immediately obsessed with it. Though she is entirely self-taught, she heads out to the rivers almost every weekend, exploring new waters and learning all about the various species that inhabit them.

“I don’t know what about it is so exciting,” Ruth says, “but I saw it and I wanted to learn.”

Ruth was born and raised in Seattle, which just so happens to be a steelhead mecca for fly fishing, drawing people from all around the world. But she had no idea this was right in her backyard.

“People are super secretive of their spots, so you research and use Google Earth and have to find it yourself,” Ruth declares enthusiastically. As she was learning, she would walk miles of river bank, slowly her perspective of the rivers of her began to change.

For Ruth one of the unique things about Washington is how the fish change throughout the year. “The river is constantly changing, with different breeds for different times of the year,” she explains. Each species is different, where they sit in the water, how do they like the fly presented.


 “It makes you obsess about every detail, the research, the ecosystems,” says Ruth with a laugh as she explains how fascinating it is that a fish will travel as far as Japan and then come back to the exact same river it was born in. Ruth is also captivated by the unique mentality of fly fishing, the respect, for the land and the water and the fish.

As Ruth began to expand her fishing horizons she looked across the world from Iceland to British Columbia, to Hawaii.


“There are so many different places to fish, so many different factors, to trick a fish into thinking the fly is food,” says Ruth on how she set her sights on Florida for her first salt water trip. So for her birthday, Ruth and a friend headed to Isla Morada to hunt some of the elusive Tarpon. Tarpon are a massive 200-300 pound prehistoric looking beast that is smart and spook easy, not an easy fish to land.

After practicing her distance casting in a park near her home in Washington, Ruth was ready. The guide stands on a platform above the flat bottom boat they were on. He would spot them and Ruth would have to cast 70 feet out, 10 feet ahead of the fish, and then strip the inch long fly, to mimic smaller fish the Tarpon eat.


“Your concentration has to be 100%,” Ruth explains. “In Washington, they like their homes, they stay, but salt water fish move constantly, and you have just a moment to cast perfectly.”

The girls only saw a handful of tarpon, so turned their attention to the other fish, landing some snapper and even a puffer fish. The next day they headed deep into the Amazonian looking Everglades in search of more species.

By the end of the trip, Ruth was casting for 10-11 hours straight. She caught Baracuda, Ladyfish, Jacks.  “It was all species we had never caught before, even a shark,” says Ruth with an almost giddy excitement, “We caught everything else but Tarpon, but that’s how it goes.”

“The trip was really all about fishing with my friend,” Ruth says,When fishing with guys feels more competitive, but with girls, they are cheering each other on.


Written By: Jordan Curet

101 Miles of SUP On the Escalante

Words and Photos By: Jordan Curet

Last spring, I began asking around the river community if anyone had ever SUPed the Escalante River in Southern Utah. The answer I got wasn't much, a few pack rafters had done it over the years, but no SUPs had any beta on the 101-mile section. So with little information, and even less gear packed on the front our boards, we headed west to explore one of the most remote areas in the US by stand up paddleboard.

Because this river is barely a trickle most of the year, there is a small window when peak runoff occurs and enables crafts to brook passage. And while we thought we timed the advent of our adventure perfectly, for the first ten miles the water was merely a drip certainly not a river. We dragged boards, loaded with all our gear over rocks, and laid down to make the meager passage beneath Russian Olive trees hanging nearly to the surface of what water there was.

Photo May 13, 7 01 12 PM.jpg

After two days of this slow struggle, covered in scratches and bruises, we were exhausted and questioning our decision. But after a few more turns beneath towering cliffs, and tributaries adding a few CFS we remembered why we had set out to explore this unknown stretch of water. The river banks were close in and the current meandered around horseshoe curves, in a landscape that was carved by the elements for over many millennia. The going wasn’t easy by any means, portaging rapids created by rocks the size of school buses that had fallen off the cliff face, and downed trees blocking the current, everything kept us on our toes. But the breathtaking scenery was impossible to curb our enthusiasm at what each new bend in the river would reveal.

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So we picked our way slowly, gaining around 20 miles a day. Other than a few mountain lion tracks, we saw little wildlife and even fewer humans. We camped on the side of the river, finding sandy shores were we could drag our boards out of the water. And collapsing in exhaustion, stayed awake just long enough to boil river water and make warm, freeze-dried meals. Using the little information we had, we looked for streams along the way to refill, winding up narrow slot canyons to find fresh water dripping from a crack in the rocks.

A few days in the weather changed. After an overcast morning, the sky suddenly erupted sending pellets of hail down on us. As it got exponentially more intense by the second the river rose around us and we made the call to get off the water, and find shelter. A cave high on the canyon gave us a safe haven to watch as flash floods poured down the cliff walls around us. When the weather finally subsided we had additional flow on the river, but it was churned up and thick as chocolate milk.

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The further we traversed into the landscape the more it changed around us. The seemingly mile high cliffs finally gave way, and widened, leaving towers of ancient rock in the middle of turns. The last 5 miles was the most unknown, we were officially in Lake Powell but the water level is down over 100 feet and we had no idea what to expect in terms of miles to travel. On a SUP we were able to skim above the 2" of water above quick sand. The landscape, not long ago under water, was eerie and desolate. Coming around a final turn, we were confronted with the emerald waters of Lake Powell. We had successfully navigated 101 miles of twists and turns, and rapids and trees on nothing but a standup paddle board. We celebrated the only way that seemed appropriate- backflips into the clear lake and frolicking like water nymphs to think all we had passed through in just 7 days.

Brittany on RVR 2 RVR and Entrepreneurship

 Photographer: Heather Jackson

Photographer: Heather Jackson

Taking on your own business is really hard. We live in an ever growing society thats recognizing they’d rather be their own boss than answer to one. We go into it with words like FREEDOM, CONTROL, and MONEY written across our eyes in sparkly gold letters. But once you go live or turn that closed sign to open the harsh reality sets in and you realize it’s going to be a long time before those words manifest into your reality.  

Our transition to entrepreneurship begins like most business love stories. First, there was passion. Natali Zollinger and I are long time river rats and once we found stand up paddling it was hard to imagine doing anything else. We wanted to share this with as many people as possible and noticed there’s only a small number who have discovered this wildly fun activity. Second, we saw a demand. The river is a scary place and the idea of standing up down it is a fairly new and scary concept to many. Natali and I were so use to people approaching us and saying things like, “I wish I was as brave as you.” or “How do I get into this?”. We decided to be the answer to their questions and thus RVR 2 RVR was born. 

 Photographer: Heather Jackson

Photographer: Heather Jackson

RVR 2 RVR became the first instructional business of it’s kind. We travel the country, partner up with local shops, and help build the community in river towns. We have an amazing amount of support from our sponsors including Heidi Michele Designs. Each client gets what we call a ‘River Booty Bag’ full of swag and discounts from our sponsors. Heidi donates one of her artisan hats to each one of our clients! Our focus on river safety, technique, and environmental awareness to local waterways is very close to her heart and so she’s become one of our most committed sponsors.

As we’re preparing to embark on our second tour since we’ve been a business we’re once again rethinking our approach. This is the beauty of owning your own business and personally what I view as the most exciting part. See something you don’t like? Change it. Not making enough money? Rework your whole approach. There’s none of that putting yourself back into the work force to look for a job that serves you better. Suffering through the nervousness of an interview and those awkward first couple of weeks at a new job. Having the ability to shape and mold your business to serve you in a way that speaks your truth is incredibly gratifying. 

 Photographer: Heather Jackson

Photographer: Heather Jackson

We are very excited about this season on the road but we’re even more excited for what’s to come next season! We’ll be coming back with a bang and offering experiences that are so unique and life-changing. With that said, if you see that we’re going to be in your neighborhood for a weekend clinic this year it may be the last time for awhile that we’ll be visiting your area. If you’re interested in taking our whitewater SUP and river surfing clinic be sure to sign up now visit www.rvr2rvr.com to register now. 

Stoke and Flow, 
Brittany Parker

Meet the Sewers!

Heidi Michele Design takes pride in the fact that all of our eco-friendly panels are hand sewn. Each one of our sewers has a unique story and a special connection to the outdoors . We're putting a face to those hands that work hard to give you the artisan trucker hats you love...

Dawn Hendrix

     Dawn is the daughter of a USAF pilot and considers herself from all over. She is now an outdoor enthusiast that lives in Westfir, OR. Sewing Heidi's hats is a fun past-time for her when she's not running her B&B, the Westfir Lodge or coming up with some new herbal concoction that she uses in her B&B. How she finds time to sew amongst her many hobbies we're not sure. She's always immersing herself into nature on long hikes, bike rides, or snowshoe adventures. Dawn loves all of Heidi's hat designs and admires the creativity that goes into each one. 

Nelly Drogin

     Nelly Drogin is a desert baby, born and raised in Moab, UT. Her love for the outdoors alines perfectly with us. Mountain/road biking & yoga is her jam, "I love the feeling of physical power, mental freedom, and camaraderie I get from these sports..." exclaims Nelly. She works full-time at Nichols Expeditions as their office manager setting people up with their next epic adventure! 

Nelly's favorite Heidi Michele Products





Barbara Miller (AKA Heidi's Mom)

     Barbara and Heidi's Dad live in Redding, CA. "I don’t have a “real” job. I am merely always “on call”. On Call to fetch materials for Heidi’s Dad at Home Depot. On Call to take cats that swallow things they shouldn’t to the Vet. On Call to babysit our grandchildren in Alaska during school breaks. On Call to help Heidi with her hat sewing when she’s got a really big order and is in a panic about meeting her deadline." 
     As you can she she's a very busy woman. She would always ensure that Heidi and her two brothers were out of the house playing outside, "to get them out of her hair", she admits. Their family outings consisted of exploring the Arctic tundra in Heidi's youth and in her teen years they would tromp through the rock canyons of the Desert Southwest. 
     Age hasn't slowed her Mom or Dad down. They get out regularly to enjoy a peaceful sail off the West Coast or to hit the slopes at the nearby resorts. As long as they can they will continue to make the most of the outdoors that are around them and enjoy them any and every way they know how. Barbara has been collecting pins on vacations long before Heidi was born so it's no surprise that her favorite product of Heidi's is her pins and patches

Nadia Almuti

     Nadia grew up in Northern New York and currently resides in Grand Junction, CO when she's not traveling across the country in the Bot van (her van is literally covered with spray paint robots and goblin heads...not as creepy as it sounds). She met Heidi how she meets most people because of their mutual love of the river. Nadia loves the challenge of paddling whitewater standing up, she loves how it puts you in the moment and finds it very meditative. She's paddled all over the world from Japan to Zimbabwe. Her love of nature drove her to pursue a career working as an environmental scientist, as well as the media and team manager for Hala Gear Paddle Boards. Be sure to follow her amazing adventures on Instagram @gnardia and visit her website www.nadiaalmuti.com

Nadia's Favorite Heidi Michele Product

Ashley Coey

     Ashley lives in Bend, OR...not far from the Heidi Michele HQ in Oakridge. She's a certifiable badass working as a paramedic and CrossFit coach. Thrill and adrenaline is what she looks for in her outdoor activities. She loves the rush of gravity sports like mountain biking and snowboarding. If it means going fast down a mountain then Ashley's all over it. 

Ashley's Favorite Heidi Michele Products

     HMD is always on the look out for new talent in the Oakridge, OR area. We're committed to helping create jobs in the town we're based out of and love so much. If you have a knack for sewing and live in Oakridge or in a nearby surrounding area please reach out to us!


The Best Idea America Has Ever Had

You may not know this about Heidi Michele Designs but hats and earrings aren't our only forte, Heidi Michele is the designer for most of the National Park's pins and patches. About 75% of the parks are currently selling one or more of Heidi's designs. If you've been to a U.S. National Park visitor center chances are you've seen or even purchased a pin or patch designed by Heidi. With today's current events we'd like to pay tribute to our parks and give fellow nature lovers ways they can ensure these beautiful lands stay protected. 

We want to remind the American people why National Parks were, as American novelist Wallace Stegners claims, "the best idea we've ever had". 

The sustained natural beauty amidst an ever growing and expanding civilization has been a source of inspiration for many creatives and conservationists, to the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir. The parks have always been a place of refuge from society, a place to get back in touch with our roots, and to marvel at Mother Natures greatest works of art. 

"Come to the woods, for here is rest," wrote Muir referring to Yosemite, "There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains."

But can we rest assured that these preserved lands will remain so? With the growing population and boom of the cheap natural gas market they may be in danger. While the "anti-parks caucus" looks to have more federal land opened up to more drilling and fracking, former President Theodore Roosevelt is turning over in his grave. 

According to Oliver Milmann, writer for The Guardian, "An analysis by the Center for American Progress (CAP) has found that between January 2013 and March 2016, rightwing members of Congress filed at least 44 bills or amendments designed to undermine or water down protections for national parks."

Along with the encroaching mining and drilling industry, the NPS is experiencing substantial cutbacks on federal funding. A 2017 memorandum by President Trump aims to halt most federal hiring. Rangers are working with crumbling infrastructure and are significantly understaffed. They're finding it more and more challenging to protect, maintain, and meet the demands of the record breaking numbers of visitors flowing in and out of the parks. 

Have some spare time? Do you live near a National Park? National Parks are often times taking in volunteers. Do it as a solo mission or start volunteer groups with your friends and family to help spear-head some of the projects that parks are struggling to finish. 

American citizens are involved in politics now more than ever. It's up to us to keep this momentum going and continue to be the voice for our federal lands. Visit the National Park Advocacy page to learn about what pressing issues the parks are facing and how you can help by voting or contacting your state representative. For those new to the world of politics and political action or if you just want to make it easier on yourself we recommend the Countable app. Countable gives you the ability to review upcoming legislation before the US Congress, email your representatives and express your support or opposition of the bill. 

Attending your state town hall meetings on subjects regarding our federal can have a huge impact on the decision making of your representatives. Here you can have your voice heard by speaking directly to them. Remember, this a democracy, the government works for us. 

So, what is important to us?  In the future, we may hopefully see solar or other more sustainable sources of energy start to have a larger impact and reach in our country.  However, we cannot overlook the current economic dependency on oil.  We also cannot overlook the growing boom of the outdoor industry.  But looking outside of finances and politics, do we really care so little about our past presidents and parents goals and wishes?  Do we care so little about the special places in our country?  We want our children's children to be able to look on in wonder at the towering majesty of Yosemite, or the vast beauty of Yellowstone.  We grow, when we play in Mother Nature.  She teaches us more about ourselves.  So instead of saying we must make room for more factories, maybe we can start looking forward to making more room for nature, and continue to coexist, instead of walking backwards to tread on the dreams and goals of millions just to add more money to an industry that will, without a doubt, come to an end.

Written by: Brittany Parker
Co-Author: Ian Fodder Davis


Sneak peek '17 Hat Designs!!

Blue Pool

National Parks are Heidi's jam so this shot from the Lassen Volcanic National Park comes at no surprise. There is something so energetic about these volcanic hot spots. The heat emitting from these pools is a strong reminder of how alive this planet is. 

Purple Forest

The redwoods on the Purple Forest hat signify strength and longevity. Growing up to 350 feet  and living anywhere from 500-2,000 years they are one of the most unique trees on this planet. If you visit Redwood National Park you will notice there are very few fallen trees; unusual for such giants experiencing strong winds, earthquakes, and flooding. They rely on the solidarity of their neighbors by intertwining their roots with the other.  These trees are a reminder that nature can be one our greatest teachers. 

Emerald Mist

Emerald Mist is from Crater Lake in Oregon. Since designer Heidi recently moved to the Pacific Northwest you can expect to see more hats inspired by the PNW landscape. All of our hats are inspired by the places we've been. The more we travel the more designs you can expect. Eventually, we hope to have a collection that represents all of the countries most beautiful and iconic places. 


There's an incredible juxtaposition between the La Sal mountains and red rocks of the Moab, UT region. It feels as though these formations are a barrier between worlds. A beautiful reminder on how geologically diverse this country is as you move across it. 

Delicate Arch

Adding a vintage touch to this stone icon. This arch is a symbol of the place we love so much as it continues to inspire wonder in all who visit it. 

Alpenglow Mountains

The La Sal Mountains outside of Moab, UT basking in a beautiful alpenglow. These 12,000 foot peaks hold somewhat of a mystical presence in the desert town of Moab.  This is a region of Utah we just can't get enough of. 

Amber Light

Waldo Lake located in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, is one of the purest lakes in the world. The waters have been compared to that of distilled water and often times you can see straight to the bottom in even the deepest parts of the lake. Designer Heidi frequents Waldo Lake to recharge and get her stand up paddle board fix in the Summer months.   

West coast dreamin'

Our designs have often been more mountain and desert focused until this hat. This shot was taken in San Diego at the Sunset Cliffs. Even in a city such as San Diego it's easy to find a place to get back in tune with nature and find some solitude. 

Buffalo Plaid

"Going to the woods is going home", need we say more?  

      Deer Heart     Eagle Feather     Western Arrows

2017 is all about trying something new. Heidi has been experimenting with new textures and graphics. We would love to know what you think. 

That's it for our 2017 hat designs. As you can see the past year was an inspiring one. There's more to come for 2017 so check back soon.  

Spreading Sustainable Christmas Spirit

Between the mass consumerism, wrapping paper, christmas cards, and decorations Christmas is one of the harshest holidays on the environment. But don’t let that squander your holiday spirit. We’ve got five tips to help you have a holly, jolly, green Christmas…

1. Shop Local and Support Small Business

Every year consumers are opting to shop locally and support small business over their corporate counterparts. According to a Forbes article small business make up 3/4 of America’s total businesses and only half survive five years or more. By supporting small business your supporting the prosperity and innovation of the country. Small business recycle more of their revenue back into the local economy and bring more life to your communities. 

 Heidi Michele Designs Headquarters

Heidi Michele Designs Headquarters

2. Christmas Trees

It’s arguable that real trees are more eco-friendly than fake trees. Fake trees are made up of petroleum products, using up resources in production and shipping, and ending up in our landfills. It is estimated that 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. a year and 250 tonnes of them were thrown out after the hoidays, all of which could have been recycled. Recycled trees are used for everything from generating electricity to wood chippings. To locate Christmas tree recycling centers and services in your neighborhood, type in your ZIP code at Earth 911

 Heidi Michele hats and patches make for great Christmas tree decorations. 

Heidi Michele hats and patches make for great Christmas tree decorations. 

3. Cloth or Recycled Wrapping Paper

Think of all the waste that comes from something such as wrapping paper. Our favorite alternative using a nice scarf to wrap up those smaller gifts; wrapping your present with a present. Check out BOBO (http://www.bobowrap.com/) wrapping scarves made specifically for this purpose. Newspapers and magazines are also great options. You can personalize it even more by cutting out articles and pictures that you think the other will like. 

 Beanies make for a fun alternative for Christmas stockings. 

Beanies make for a fun alternative for Christmas stockings. 

4. Light Decorations

Driving through your local neighborhoods to view homes dressed in holiday lighting is a tradition practiced by many families. There’s ways you can save energy without having to risk losing your place in the line up of best christmas lighting. Upgrade your lighting supply with LED and other low-energy Christmas lights. Save energy by putting a timer on your lights so they turn on and off at certain times. No more forgetting to turn the lights off before bed. 

5. Re-usable Cards

Think of the times you’ve received store bought cards then think of those home made cards you’ve received. I don’t know about you but I’ve always treasured homemade cards much more than store bought. Not only will it make the receiver feel special but you’ll be saving resources and money—win-win.
     - Last years calendar, with their heavier paper, make for a great card alternative. 
     - Repurpose old Christmas cards by cutting them into small shapes and using them as gift              tags. 


BONUS Family Activities

- Decorate the trees around your house and feed the birds at the same time with pine cones filled with peanut butter and seeds.
 - Family nature hikes will create more memories than sitting on the couch watching television. Walking stimulates creative thinking and good conversation. 
- Visit your local shelter or sanctuary, spending time with animals has proven to boost         serotonin and increase the likelihood of the little ones being more involved in animal         conservation.