Juniper Ridge Field Lab

Juniper Ridge Field Lab

Topanga Canyon Trail Soap

Review & Photos by Gale Straub, She Explores

I’ve always been a nostalgic person. As a kid, I lamented my parents tearing out the old claw-footed tub in the bathroom to replace it with a built-in shower that wasn’t rust stained and weighted with years. I didn’t understand why they would rip off old wallpaper and re-sheetrock the walls. I associated the outdated fixtures of a 200 year old farm house with memories – my own and those of all the people that had lived there before me.

For the most part, I’ve outgrown romanticism in extremes. My sense of smell is another story. If I smell roses, I’m back at my grandmother’s house in Long Island. Chimney smoke? Winter is here, as if it never left. Christmas trees? I’m hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It’s involuntary and it’s visceral and it’s what’s so awesome about Juniper Ridge. They’re spending time out in nature and collecting it and putting it in a bottle. In some ways, they’re distilling memories.

The soap can separate in colder temperatures, but that's totally normal! (New Hampshire is chillier than SoCal.) Bag by Vacilando Quilting co

The soap can separate in colder temperatures, but that’s totally normal! (New Hampshire is chillier than SoCal.) Bag by Vacilando Quilting co

I had the opportunity to try the Topanga Canyon Trail Soap, part of their summer Field Lab collection. The Field Lab is where Juniper Ridge does its more experimental work. They’re all small-run batches designed to capture a particular moment in time. There were only ~130 bottles made of the Topanga Canyon Trail Soap, and it’s inspired by spring in Southern California. A native New Englander, I spent three weeks of last spring tracing the Southern Californian coast. I laid on its beaches and walked through the dry green hills. Taking a shower with the trail soap is a bit like going back there – it inspired me to dig out photos I’d left simmering in my hard drive.

Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura, CA

Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura, CA

Looking out at Ventura, CA

Looking out at Ventura, CA

Malibu Beach, CA

Malibu Beach, CA

The soap also smells like tea and wet earth. In September I brought it to Montana with me, a little bit of sunshine amongst the early autumn. I’ve traveled a lot of the United States and at times it can feel like a blur – photographs and scents help bring it back.

Juniper Ridge just launched their Trail Scout Subscription – first access to their seasonal releases as they come out. Each month you get a package worth at least 50% more than what you pay to get in. So wherever you are in the country, you could smell winter California Redwoods. Even if you’ve never been, you’ll find something familiar in its scent. Our connection to the outdoors is powerful and Juniper Ridge has concentrated it.

The Redwood Highway, out of focus.

The Redwood Highway, out of focus.

Photos (C) 2015 Gale Straub

Editor’s Disclosure: We were given the trail soap by Juniper Ridge for review. These are ourĀ unbiased thoughts about the soap.


What’s your favorite smell/memory?

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