Eco journey #2


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For our project, we created an illustrated short story about an ecolodge fictionally located in Del Norte, California. Three very different friends road trip to California where they discover what it's like to get back to nature and live sustainably.

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Eco journey #2

  1. 1. A Bend in the River: Journey to Del Norte By Brittany Dalberg and Dylan Nelson Journey #2 April 2011
  2. 2. When Ryan got the invitation to spend a weekend in California, he had to say yes. It wasn’t just any Californian vacation, either: His old college roommate, Ethan, had asked him to come and help him put a few finishing touches on his eco friendly rental in Del Norte. Having WWOOFed in the past, Ryan was excited to visit his friend. Ethan had spent years building and designing an environmentally sustainable retreat in the northern part of California. Ryan couldn’t wait to see what his friend had come up with. Ethan had bounced many ideas off of Ryan for as long as he could remember.
  3. 3. On an early morning in mid June, Ryan packed the car with his girlfriend, Amy. Then they went and picked up her younger brother, Garrett, who had just finished his freshman year at Portland State University. Amy hoped this trip would give her brother a new perspective. Ryan was a self-proclaimed “greenie” and was cautious about his environmental footprint. Throughout their relationship, Amy, who grew up in a family that didn’t even recycle, had learned new things about environmental issues such as sustainability and ecotourism, and was becoming more self-aware of her own impact. She hoped her brother, whose ideal vacation was a Disney Cruise, would become a bit more aware of his footprint as well.
  4. 4. Ryan loved hiking, camping, and anything that involved nature. Amy loved nature, especially the snow, but preferred to have a warm place to go home to. A ski resort was her ideal. Garrett liked Disney Cruises.
  5. 5. As they drove away from Portland, Garrett was full of complaints. “ Why isn’t there a headrest in the backseat?” “I wish there was a DVD player in this car.” “ Why can’t we stop at McDonalds? I need food!! When is lunch??.” “ Ryan won’t support fast food,” Amy told her brother. “Where else do you want to eat?” “ Why won’t you support fast food?” He asked, jokingly adding, “you hippie.” “ The meat industry is a huge factor in global warming. What kind of ‘hippie’ would I be if I ate at McDonalds?” “ Relax kids,” laughingly interrupted Amy. “We need to swing into Eugene and pick up some books a friend of mine was borrowing that I am going to donate to Ethan’s rental. We can eat at the Lotus Garden while we are there.”
  6. 6. After a nice vegan meal the group got back on the road. Though he was surprisingly impressed with the meal, it didn’t take Garrett long to get “bored.” “ I need new games for my iPhone. These are boring me. I wish I had one of those portable DVD players.” “ Here,” Amy said and she handed her brother a book. “Ethan recommended this.” Garrett read the title: The End of Nature by Bill McKibben. It kept Garrett quiet for another few hours.
  7. 8. But as they veered off the Highway and onto a back-road, winding through the forest, Garrett started getting antsy again. “How far away from civilization is this place? Am I going to get cell service out here?” After a long ride into what seemed like the wilderness the group finally arrives at Ethan’s in the early evening.
  8. 9. Ethan was expecting them, and met them out front with open arms. “Welcome,” he professed. “I am excited to have you! You are my first guests since the yurt was completed.” After some quick introductions, the group took a nice stroll around the garden and to the river. Skipping rocks and giggling like children, this is what they had come for. After a while they settled in for dinner on the porch of the place they would call home for the next few days.
  9. 10. “ So what makes this place sustainable?” Garrett asked. “I mean, you have lights right, doesn’t that burn fossil fuels?” “Yes” Ethan replied, “but the electricity is provided through solar power. There is no electric lines out here. It’s off grid. Plus most of the materials were made in the region, minimizing the pollution caused by transporting products long distances.” With a smile and chuckle, Garret said, “ Well, I guess I better keep reading then, huh?” With the sun long set, the group called it a night.
  10. 11. Smelling food and hearing a bustle in the kitchen, the group was pleasantly awoken by their host. “What time is it?” Amy asked with a yawn. “ It’s about 9,” replies Ethan. “Wow I slept in so easy here…it’s so quiet” says Ryan. After breakfast, the group naturally gathered outside on the porch. “Well, I guess we better get down to business then, so we can have some free time later.” Ethan said. “ What do you mean ‘business’?” replied Garrett. With a smile Ryan said, “Yeah, we are here to participate in the everyday life, hopefully getting our hands dirty a bit in the mean time.” “ Ryan, I was hoping to utilize some of your child development experience-- to help me compose a flower and plant finder activity for kids--that I can make available for the yurt rental. There is a Del Norte Wildflower book in the library, that might help you get started.” Ethan said. Ryan agreed, and Amy was excited to help.
  11. 12. Some books on Ethan’s shelf: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart. Ecovillages: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Communities by Jan Martin Bang. Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves by McCamant, Durrett and Hertzman Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben Walden by Henry David Thoreau Self Reliance and other essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold Silent Spring by Rachel Carson Rare Botanical Legacy: The Contributions of Ruby and Arthur Van Deventer by Rick Bennett In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09 by Mary Ellicott Arnold, Mabel Reed A thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf by John Muir Del Norte Bites Barbara J Clausen by Beverly Spitzner The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Brian Fagan
  12. 13. “ Garrett, I need to turn the compost, and I need to get the last of seasons veggies out of greenhouse and into the ground. Will you help me with that?” Garrett and Ethan walked out to the garden. “What’s up with the goats?” Garrett asked. Ethan explained that they were “nature’s lawn mowers.” “ So what are you studying in school?” Ethan asked as he turned the compost, stirring the morning coffee grounds into the mix. “ I haven’t decided yet. I just took random classes all year.” “ Any idea what you’re interested in?” Ethan asked. “ Not really…” Garrett said, eying a nearby goat uncomfortably.
  13. 14. They finished up in the early afternoon and everyone met back up at the yurt, where Ethan provided a light afternoon snack. With the afternoon heat coming on, the group wanders down the trail to the river to cool down, spending the rest of the day reading and leisurely exploring the river front. Wandering back up the trail, Amy said, “Wow I think I read most of my book this afternoon. The sound of the river was really settling.” “I’m exhausted, ” replied Garrett. “What is for dinner?”
  14. 15. The next morning Garrett was up at daybreak. He grabbed an apple and a handful of blueberries and snuck out for an early morning walk. He wandered down to the river where a fly fisherman was gracefully practicing his art. Not wanting to disturb the man, he smiled, nodded and settled in on an old log washed up on the shore the river, starting a new book. A few hours past and Garrett had used them being lost in the book and a few long gazes upon the natural setting around him. The fisherman wandered up the river toward the trail. As the bearded man walked by Garrett asked, “Any luck out there?” With a chuckle and a smile the man nodded and said “The luck is being here.”
  15. 16. Back at the yurt, Amy and Ryan were sitting in the kitchen rehashing what they had done the day before. As Ethan walked in to say good morning, Amy went to wake up Garrett. “Oh my god! Where is my brother?” she asked Ryan. Ethan promptly responded. “He is sitting down by the river…he’s been down there, reading for hours.” “You’re kidding… my brother ? The same one who was complaining about headrests and cell phone reception?” Amy asked.
  16. 17. A few minutes later Garrett rejoined the group. After a quick meal the group headed down to Jed Smith Redwood State Park for a quick hike in the Redwoods. At noon Amy and Ryan hopped on the bus and head to the farmer’s market in Crescent City to take a walk on the beach and pick up a few things at the market. While the couple had a relaxing afternoon in Crescent City, Ethan and Garrett headed to the Redwood Parks Visitor Centers in Hiouchi, as well as Six Rivers Visitor Center in Gasquet to pick up Visitors Guides and other resources for the rental.
  17. 18. With a few hours to kill before meeting back up with Ryan and Amy, Ethan decided to take Garrett for a ride up to Selma, Oregon to get the schedule of the Siskiyou Field Institute. During the ride Garrett found himself nodding his head to the music and staring at the river.
  18. 19. After a productive afternoon, Ethan and Garrett swing into Crescent City to pick up Ryan and Amy before heading back to the yurt for the evening. As consistent as a clock, Garrett asked, “What is for dinner?” Ryan quickly responded, “I picked up some spaghetti squash and tomatoes at the farmer’s market and thought I’d make a vegan lasagna for dinner to thank our host for a wonderful weekend.” “Deal,” replied Amy. “In the mean time, I am going to take a quick evening dip in the river.” “Good idea,” Ethan and Garrett agreed. “I see how you guys are,” joked Ryan as they quickly shuffled out.
  19. 20. After dinner, Ryan and Amy sipped on some local wine that they’d picked up at the farmer’s market. Garrett spoke in hushed whispers to Ethan on the other end of the porch. “What are you two gossiping about?” Amy called to them. Ethan walked over and sat down at the table, grinning. “Your brother has something to tell you.” “ Yeah?” Garrett reached for the pot of tea. “Now, don’t get too excited…but I think I know what I want to study.” “ Really?” Ryan and Amy said in unison. “ Yeah, I’m thinking environmental studies, something with a focus on sustainability. I’m not sure yet, but this weekend has made me think. Amy couldn’t stop grinning. “ Stop smiling,” Garrett said, in mock seriousness. “It’s not like I’m giving up McDonald’s or anything.” “ Maybe someday…” Ryan laughed.
  20. 21. Garrett showed Ryan and Amy the SFI catalogue and they talked about the possibility of him taking courses through them over the summer. “I’d like to see if it’s a subject I’m interested in...hey! Maybe I could come back and stay with you for a while, Ethan?” “You’re welcome here anytime,” Ethan said. Amy smiled and snuggled into her boyfriend. “I knew inviting him along was a good idea,” she whispered.
  21. 22. On the drive back to Portland, they all shared stories from their weekend. “I wish I could have seen the farmer’s market,” Garrett said. “I should take you to the Saturday Market in Portland,” Amy said. “It’s epic.” “We could have ‘Meatless Mondays’ or something like that.” Ryan said to Garrett. “We could get awesome food over the weekend and have dinner together, once a week.” They all agreed on that idea. As they crossed the border between California and Oregon, they all privately had the same thought: they’d learned a lot that weekend, and knew vacationing would never be the same.
  22. 23. Brittany & Dylan 
  23. 24. References: