Otter Space is off the grid, through a Redwood forest and over a mountain down into the Klamath River valley. We have a 5 acre meadow, and orchard with 50 trees, peaches pears, apples, cherries, plums, pluots, apricots and grapes. We are right on the Klamath river on the Yurok reservation. It's a great place to come and recharge your internal batteries. (We have to start the generator to charge the other kind of batteries, because we're off the grid!)
We have a plenty of places to camp, and we have a shower house with two bathrooms and an on-demand water heater so folks don't have to wait for hot water. There is virtually no telephone or internet service to interrupt your peace and quiet.
We see lots of wildlife, we have silver foxes, a bald eagle, a family of river otters just downstream, ... we see vultures and blue heron and osprey who fly overhead when they catch a salmon and call to each other to brag about it! Sometimes we see timid black bears and we often have black-tail deer in the meadow.
We are surrounded by old trails made by the lumber companies 80 years ago when the clear cut all the old growth redwood on our side of the mountain, and now it's completely reforested with 200 ft tall Doug Fir, Madrone, Cedar, Oak, the pine species and Pepper wood trees.
HIPCAMP – OTTER SPACE
OTTER SPACE - JOE & WENDY MOORE SUSTAINABILITY WORKSHOPS
We are so fortunate to have two people with a huge amount of experience and deep knowledge about a variety of sustainability skills living on site. Joe and Wendy Moore have been living sustainably off the land for over a decade (you can watch their YouTube video – Off The Grid in Kansas In A Straw Bale House III). They have lived a life together with a focus on being as self sufficient as possible. Food is the most important thing to consider; so, Organic Gardening was the first step down the long and winding rabbit hole. And soon (as one thing leads to another) their eyes were opened to the importance of Saving Open Pollenated Seeds, Heirloom Varieties, and Food Preservation methods such as Pressure Canning, Dehydrating, Smoking, and Root Cellars. Next, the question of how to build a Natural and Affordable Shelter. First, they built a beautiful Cob House (the largest cob house in America at the time) but, choosing to relocate, they then built (as you may have already seen from the video) an amazing, round, Straw-bale House; complete with a summer kitchen, hand dug well, and a hand dug root cellar. Here they managed a nice family farm and tended a 2 acre garden; made possible with a Work Horse trained by a nearby Amish Community. Animal Husbandry is part of the deal, so dairy goats, fiber goats and sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys, and even a couple of bee hives, accompanied the horses. The skills acquired from their furry teachers include: Homemade Goat Milk Soap, Dairy Products such as Cheese, Butter and Yogurt ect., Spinning Wool into yarn and Crocheting it into something beautiful and useable; Butchering (sorry vegetarians) and Tanning Hides.
Still seeking to live more sustainably, Joe and Wendy looked further into the past, with many answers found in the Native American lifestyle (prior to the impact of the white man). These skills include Flintknapping, Bow-Drill Fire Building, Archery, Primitive Shelters, Wild Edibles, Natural and Alternative Healing, Sweat Lodge Ceremony and Native Indigenous Peoples Philosophy. Joe has rounded off his education in the high tech world of alternative energy- Solar, Wind, & Water. His off grid home and life style are greatly complimented with his knowledge of primitive technology such as Rocket Stoves, Mass Heaters, and Cob Ovens.
Joe and Wendy now live at Otter Space with their three children, and we have the benefit of their expertise when you come to camp. Take advantage of this unique learning opportunity by attending any of their workshops; or, you can personalize a workshop according to your interest in any of the skills listed above. Just give them a little advanced notice and they will be happy to oblige if possible.
You can enroll in any of the workshops below for a half-day session (2-4hrs) $75/person. Group rate (4 or more) $250. Children 12 and under are free
Wild Edibles: Knowing that Stinging Nettles taste like spinach, are nutritious and harmless when lightly-steamed, could save someone's life. Learning about, and tending the wild perennial food supply, to help return balance to the Earth, is what it's all about. Courses include roaming the forest, gathering, and preparing a sustainable harvest.
Fishing: The Klamath River is well known for its world-class fishing for salmon and steelhead. The infamous "half-pounders" arrive in July (anything under 3 pounds is called a half-pounder) followed by a nice run of salmon in September. Rod, tackle and bait included. Custom smoking is available if you catch the big one!
Archery: Wendy's parents met at an archery tournament in Southern California almost 50 years ago. Might mention that her father took the championship; so the fundamental techniques of archery were taught to her at a young age, and is something she still enjoys and practices today. Courses include bow rental, arrows (handmade by Joe), and plenty of target practice. Flying target contest with flu flu arrows for a finale! Fun for all... bring the whole clan for a family discount.
Primitive Fire Building: Bow Drill/ Flint & Steel: What an awesome technology; rubbing two sticks together to the extreme! Making fire without a lighter is something most people can no longer do. Materials are the key... you will take home the knowledge, the bow drill you make, and a nice piece of flint.
Flint Knapping: The art of flint knapping is controlled demolition of stone. It is an art that all of our ancestors engaged in at one time or another. This connection is felt on a very real level every time you produce a tool out of stone. Classes include hands on learning of direct percussion, indirect percussion (Joe's favorite) and pressure flaking with primitive antler or modern copper. All tools and rock provided, with additional rock available for purchase.
Cob building: Probably the most beautiful, natural, and efficient form of shelter ever invented. Joe and Wendy built the largest cob house in America at the time, 30x40 with walls 2 foot thick. It also had cob interior walls and a cob floor. Although cob is probably the best long-term natural building material, it is very labor intense. Courses include discussion on materials involved, hands on mixing, and building a small section of wall. (Full day $500 minimum... advance notice required)
Cob oven: Have you ever had bread from a masonry oven? Something a conventional oven just can't reproduce. Beautiful and functional, Cob ovens are something everyone should have in their backyard. This is going to be a full day workshop! Plan on getting your feet and hands a little muddy; but, at the end of the day, you will walk away with all the knowledge you need to build your own awesome, outdoor oven. (Full day $500 minimum... advance notice required)
Straw-bale building: You can see my video... speaks for itself. Straw-bale is a great, quick building material that looks and feels like a cob house with only a fraction of the labor. If people realized the superior insulation value alone of the Straw-bale house, the stick house would be a thing of the past. Perfect for dry climates, like Southern California, as it's only downfall is sensitivity to moisture. Offered in full day courses that include discussion of materials, and hands on building and plastering. ( $500 minimum... advance notice required)
MORE ABOUT OTTER SPACE...
The Otter Space Conference Center was purchased in 2002 by Dr. Peter Alsop as a place of peace and healing, where human service professionals come to train with Dr. Alsop and learn how to help children and families cope with issues such as chemical dependency, loss and grief, child abuse and trauma. We are located on the Yurok Indian reservation right on the Klamath River just outside Orick, CA. The name Otter Space comes from a family of otters that live just down river. It’s also combination of “Artist’s Space” and “Outer Space” and implies the importance of thinking “out of the box” and valuing music and the arts in healing and living our lives fully, as well as the need to pass on earth and people-friendly skills to help our children survive into the future.
Our Main House was built in 1952 and retains the flavor of the 50’s. It houses a kitchen, dining hall, a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom with a bathtub and shower. It currently houses Joe and Wendy Moore and their three children. Joe and Wendy live sustainably off the land and offer workshops on a number of sustainable practices. They will be available to help if help is needed. They also have emergency phone service to the outside world, … emphasis on “emergency”.
The Barn has two bedrooms upstairs with a shared bathroom, and workshop below.
Our Pumpkin Cottage and our Blue Cottage each sleep 4 people, (or 6 people if 2 don’t mind sleeping on the floor and being crowded.) They each have running hot and cold water, a propane cooktop, and a wood stove for heat. If you use our Cottages, we expect campers to have their own sleeping bags. We have beds with mattresses. If you would like to have clean bedding, there is an extra fee for pillows, blankets, sheets and towels for $12.00 per person. Please let us know in advance.
We have also opened our 2-Story Riverview Yurt for folks who want a full kitchen, a private shower and flush toilet overlooking the Klamath river from the 50 x 50 foot deck. Luscious to sit outside and watch the river flow by during the day, and to let the water lull you to sleep at night. For families (up to 8), old friends, folks who like to fish, or just for a very special get-away.
If you are camping in one of our Meadow Camps, our Riverview Maple or Riverview Pepperwood Camps or our River Teepee, you may want to bring your camper van or smaller RV to the campsite. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may be able to park in the meadow, next to your camp, or up at the main house, and pitch your tent in the site you’ve reserved.
Our Shower House next to the Cottages. It has two separate sides, each with a toilet, sink and shower with on demand hot water. There is also an outhouse at the bottom of the road down to the meadow, which is closer to the Riverview, Meadow and River Teepee Camps. Feel free to piss outside (with discretion if there are other campers present), for any solid waste, please use the appropriate accommodations. Any campers can use the shower house. Please be considerate of others.
TIMES Please clean up and check out of your site by 11:am on the day of your departure. You can check in by 1:p on the day of your arrival.
CLIMATE & THE KLAMATH Otter Space is in what many call the “banana belt” of the Humboldt rainforest. Plan on bringing layers of clothing as temperatures can go from hot and warm during the day, to quite cool and even cold after dark. The Klamath River is swift moving (usually about 7 knots, and strong). It runs 286 miles from Klamath Falls, OR to the sea. There are four tributaries: Scott, Shasta, Trinity and Salmon Rivers. Swimming in the summer months is delicious. We have mostly pebbly beaches and a sandy spot upstream near a big rock outcropping that we use for diving. The river is chilly until late June and it cools down again in late September.
NEIGHBORS There are very few neighbors in this area. The Yurok village of Wautek is directly across the river from Otter Space. (Non-native name for Wautek is Johnson’s Bar, which used to be a trading post. Ships could get into the mouth of the Klamath and they would send boats upstream to trade with the Yurok for pelts and fish, etc. In the late 1800’s silt build up made it impossible for trading vessels to come into the river, so the trading dried up.) We also have a couple of neighbors who live on the property next to our meadow on the other side of our organic fruit orchard. Please use our pathways to travel property next to us, and respect the privacy and tranquility of our neighbors by not keeping late hours or playing loud music.
COMMUNICATIONS We are in a remote area and do not have easy access to telecommunications systems. Regular cell phones do not work at Otter Space. This is not an inconvenience; it’s an opportunity to notice how dependent we have become on our electronic connections! We suggest that you make arrangements to be entirely unreachable while you are in Otter Space, and see if the world can get by without your assistance.
EMERGENCIES If someone needs to reach you in an emergency, they can call 913. 424. 8370. and leave a message. We will check messages at least once a day. This number is a special cel phone and outgoing calls will be made for emergencies only. If you need first aid beyond your own resources, please find Joe or Wendy, as they both have training in alternative medicines and will have some supplies or resources that could help. If you are in any way uncomfortable with their suggestions, please let them know and they will call for outside help without a second request. In extreme situations, we can call Humboldt CHP at 707. 268. 2000. They will dispatch the first available medevac helicopter, who will know which hospital is available; Mad River Hosp./Arcata - St. Joseph's Hosp./Eureka - Sutter Coast Hosp./Crescent City. Sutter Hospital can arrange a fixed wing airplane medevac from one of these sites to other facilities for treatment beyond what is offered locally.
FOOD & WATER Please bring your own food, as the nearest market is an hour away in Orick. Our water was last checked in March, and we got a clean bill of health with regard to everything except the usual “coliform” count. Coliform is present in all the untreated ground water in our area. The Klamath is green because of the blue-green algae and the coliform. This does not mean that drinking it will make you ill. All the local people drink the local water, including Joe & Wendy and their kids and our other neighbors. The officials said it’s fine for bathing or cooking, but if you are nervous about drinking the water here, please pack in your own water for drinking. Please keep food and garbage out of the reach and smell of animals so we don’t have animal visitors at night.
GARBAGE If you pack it in, please pack it out when you leave.
FIRES Depending on the time of year, cooking fires are permissible in the fire pits provided. Please NO bonfires. Please self-regulate, as we don’t want to have to be “parental”. Thanks. We have fire wood in the forest around the meadow for use for cooking fires, and there is a “burn pile” full of aged fruit tree trimmings that we’ve elected to leave for campers to cut up and use for fires. If you forget your saw, cut firewood is available for purchase.
PETS Please leave pets at home.
WILD LIFE On the Klamath River - we might see turkey vultures, golden eagles, bald eagles, merganser ducks, cormorants, King Fishers, Great Blue Heron, night heron, white heron and osprey. Forty years ago there were only 6 osprey nests on the river, due to DDT depleting the calcium in the eggs of the females. Now there are over 325 osprey nest sites on the river. Ospreys are said to be monogamous, and they migrate every year from South America. Each of the little swallows that skin the surface of the river in the morning and early evening eat more than 1000 mosquitoes a day (Yaay!) We occasionally see a harbor seal who comes upriver in the summer to avoid the competition at the mouth of the Klamath. We also have seen a family of river otters that live just downstream, and an occasional river beaver.We have never seen a sturgeon at Otter Space. Sturgeon is a fish that has been the same for 20 million years. The biggest sturgeon caught in the Klamath was in 1936, 12,050pounds, 16 feet long, 300-325 years old. They don’t mature until they’re 45-48yrs old. A female will lay 700,000 eggs in her lifetime. Only 2 will reach maturity. There is a “sturgeon hole” about 7 miles downstream where they live.
Black bears - If you are lucky, you might get to see one of the timid black bears that live in the Lower Klamath area. They are not aggressive unless it is a mother bear protecting her cubs. They run the other way when they see or smell humans. We do not have any brown bears in this area. There is a cinnamon colored black bear that visits us sometimes. Please do not ever feed wild animals.
We also have silver fox, chipmunks, possums, raccoons, one guest saw a very rare lynx and black-tail deer graze in the meadow in the morning and evening. We do not have poisonous snakes in the area, but sometimes there are garter snakes in the orchard.
Mountain lions - are dangerous. We have never seen one, but they do live in this area. Here are the California Department of Fish and Game’s suggestions based on behavior analysis of attacks by mountain lions. Do not hike alone. Make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. Go in groups, with adults supervising children. Take a sturdy walking stick: you can use it to ward off a lion. Keep children close to you. Observations of captured lions reveal that they seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.
- Stop! Do not run from a lion. Back away from it slowly, but only if you can do so safely, as running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up so they won't panic and run. Although it may seem awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the lion.
- Do not bend or crouch over. Do all you can to appear larger. A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. Raise your arms. Open your jacket, if you're wearing one. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can grab without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a large voice. Never approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape. Fight back if attacked. Try to stay on your feet if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven off by prey that fights back. Some hikers have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands.
HIKING We are surrounded by old logging trails made by the lumber companies 80 years ago when they clear cut the old growth redwood on our side of the mountain, and now it's completely reforested with 200 ft. tall Doug Fir, Madrone, Cedar, Oak, other pine species and Pepper wood trees. The property surrounding us is mostly owned by Green Diamond Company that cuts trees for lumber and then re-forests with saplings. There are also other properties that are not clearly marked or fenced in. Mostly everyone we have met here are friendly, and we have never had any problems exploring the trails and creeks in this area, but please use discretion and politeness while hiking. If you see marijuana growing, please DO NOT HELP YOURSELF. It’s not wild, and growers do not take kindly to people helping themselves. Even if you get away with it, they may want to “teach us a lesson” at Otter Space. Please respect these wishes.
The Yurok People The Yurok live on the Pacific coast of northwestern California. Many of their villages were either on lagoons or at the mouths of streams; others were along the lower course of the Klamath River. The Yurok placed great emphasis on accumulating wealth and asserting status. The wealthiest members of Yurok society owned multiple sets of dance regalia and served as hosts for ceremonial gatherings. They wore distinctive clothing, such as highly decorative basketry caps, as a means of displaying their wealth. Even their style of speech was more elaborate than the contracted version spoken by commoners.
The natural resources of northwestern California were abundant, permitting the Yurok to live in permanent, year round villages. They harvested salmon, sturgeon, eel, surf fish, shellfish, sea lions, deer, elk, and acorns. Dense redwood forests provided the Yurok with wood for their distinctive split-plank houses, constructed with either single-pitched or double-pitched roofs. Redwood also was used for the manufacture of a variety of household items, such as wooden stools, storage boxes and cooking implements. Using stone adzes and wedges, Yurok craftsmen carved blunt-ended dugout canoes from large redwood logs.
- Check in: After 2PM
- Check out: Before 11AM
- Cancellation policy: Strict
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: None
- Accepts bookings: 9 months out
The vibe at Pepperwood Riverview
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!