Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Food Drying

We had a really fun seminar last night. Karla Coriel came over from Baton Rouge to lead a workshop on food dehydrating. She showed everyone how to prepare their own dried foods at home. These foods are great not only for camping trips but also for hurricane foods.

Karla started off showing basic things like a 1 lb bag of broccoli dried into a small ziploc weighing less than 4 ounces. She did the same for spinach and several other vegetables. Karla then rehydrated a couple of types of cole slaw. She then moved into fruits, passing around dried apples, fruit leathers and other delicious goodies. Then Karla rehydrated several meals including red beans and rice, ham broccoli rice, and an amazing meal that used noodle ramen as a base and added in dehydrated ground beef, tomatoes, and several veggies. They were awesome!

Everyone loved the seminar and took tons of notes. We very much appreciate the trouble Karla went to in preparing for and doing this seminar. What a treat!

This seminar marks the last time we use our current small space for an event. Starting only a week and a half from now, we'll be moving our events into the very cool new space that we've been working on this summer. Looking forward to seeing ya'll at P&P soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When Nature Whispers

Update on entry one year later:
Here's an update on my little piece of nature in Lafayette. As the song goes: "Pave paradise, put up a parkin lot". I took this photo to show you what's become of this little piece of green in Lafayette. Obviously progress is important, and everyone has the right to do what they want with their property. I don't know any solutions, other than to look for opportunities to preserve greenspace for future generations when they appear. Things like the Horsefarm park and the Atakapas Ishak trail must be supported to keep greenspace a vital part of Lafayette.

Original Entry - September 18th, 2007:
I always get a little surprise while riding home on my bike on these slightly cooler days. When we come up Pinhook between Chili's and Kaliste Saloom, we ride near some patches of forest. Each time, you're just riding along, traffic whizzing by and then all of a sudden you hit a nice pocket of cool air. It's like a silent little treat from nature on the otherwise thankless concrete of Pinhook.

Folks, we need to fight to maintain green spaces in our city. I won't preach to you about why. We all know the myriad of reasons. But - somehow in our busy urban lives we seem to forget. Riding through these cool pockets of air is nature whispering it's reminder to us that trees and green space make the difference between a town that's unique and beautiful and one that's a clone of the strip-mall America that we're careening toward.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Tha Wookie?

I've had friends asking about the event we have coming up on the 29th with Nate "Tha Wookie" Olive. I thought it might be a good idea to give you some background and tell you a little about the event and what we are hoping for.

Early in the summer, we were looking for a speaker that we could bring in that could embody what we envision for our new room. Becky sometimes looks through online journals of thru-hikers to read their experiences. She was looking through Trail Journals ( when she came across Tha Wookies journal. A side note: Tha Wookie is a "Trail Name" or nickname that hikers give each other when they are doing thru-hikes of long distance trails. Anyway - she started reading Tha Wookies journals.

We were taken with his writing skills and insights into life on and off the trail. We did a little more research and found his site ( and read about his historic hike of the American West Coast Trail. His pictures were so phenomenal, and his writing so inspiring, we decided to ask Nate if he would come to Lafayette to speak.

At first, he was hesitant. Nate is pursuing a doctorate in forestry and wasn't sure if he would have the time to do a program in Lafayette. We kept pursuing him, plying him with tales of great food and great people. He finally relented and agreed to come.

To me, Nate is the perfect speaker for our facility because he embodies everything we dream of in a program: His program focuses on outdoor adventure. He brings beautiful photography that will inspire us. He's an interesting speaker that will challenge our thinking on the outdoors and life. He will be combining original live music (banjo and guitar) with his presentation that will bring a beautiful artistic flair to the whole event.

So - that's the story of how the Wookie is headed to Lafayette. We are very excited and hope that you'll attend.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reaching into the Future

I can remember being a 11 year old boy scout at Camp Thistlewaite. A counselor took a red external frame Kelty pack out of his tent and showed it to us. Then he described hiking in the mountains. We were HOOKED! A year or 2 later, my experiences in hiking New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana with my scout leaders Dr. John Meriwether, Ken Roy and John Sullivan helped to shape much of the rest of my life.

This week, I gave presentations at two groups outside the shop. One was a group of local scout leaders and the other was a school group that has a great outings program.

Being at these meetings brought me back to the days when Becky and I led a high school outings group for four years. I remembered the tremendous time commitment it took to organize and run a group like this. From this experience, as well as looking at the thread of my own life, I know first hand the effect wilderness can have on the lives of kids. It can build character, confidence and even give a sense of direction that you just can't find in the city.

With this blog post, I just really want to say thank you to the volunteers that take the time to invest their outdoor experiences into the next generation. What you do is essential and critical. Your effort and leadership has effects on people that reach far into the future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Eagle Rock Trip Report

Our intrepid band of 9 hikers headed to Arkansas to hike on the Eagle Rock Loop. Known as the most beautiful loop trail in the state, we were treated to tall mountains, beautiful creeks and nice trail.

We hiked in around midnight on Friday, and set up camp. The night was cooler than I expected. I had brought a thin sleeping bag liner and woke up freezing! I put on my raingear and then later had to wrap up in my bug net to try to keep warm. Definitely not what I expected. Ironically the next day one of our group was affected badly by the heat - followed by another member on Sunday.

With a couple of route modifications, we arrived at Winding Stairs on Sunday night and enjoyed an evening of swimming in the cold creek and then laying out on the sun-warmed rocks. A good time was had by all!