Adirondack-Style Pack Baskets

Thank you to everyone who made our first pack basket class such a success!  Even though it was a (rare) sweltering weekend in August, everyone did a great job with their baskets.  Both the August and upcoming September class sold out.  We will look at the upcoming 2017 schedule to fit in some additional dates for this popular class!

In the meantime, some pictures from our August class:


Thank goodness there was a tent in the yard for some much-needed shade!


Here are students closing in on the final product…


…and with their beautiful finished pack baskets.  Congratulations on a job well-done!



Adirondack-Style Pack Baskets

New Basketry Intensive Program!

Thanks to a very enthusiastic response from prospective weavers, we are excited to announce that Karen’s new 7-month Basketry Intensive program begins November 4, 2016!

Karen willow baskets

Earlier this summer master weaver Karen Sherwood floated the idea of a new Basketry Intensive program where students would learn not only how to weave with different natural plant materials, but also how to identify, harvest, and prepare their own materials for basketry use.  She has since crafted an in-depth program that familiarizes students with the plants they use, in addition to teaching a variety of weaving, stitching, and dying techniques.

This class gives students the unique opportunity to learn basketry “from the ground up.” Classroom instruction is supplemented by field trips (including one overnight) to gather plant materials. Except for the overnight field trip, classes are held at the Earthwalk Northwest classroom in Bellevue, WA.  More information about the program can be found here, and the schedule and curriculum overview are listed below.

Applications are already rolling in and class size is limited to 10 students.  If you are interested in committing to this new seven-month program, please call or email us soon!

Schedule and Curriculum Overview
Regular classes are held from 9 am – 5 pm.  Follow-up classes are held from 6 am – 9 pm.


Cedar Plaited Tool Pouch (follow up)
November 17 (Thu); 6 pm – 9 pm


Flat Twined Bag
December 9 – 11 (Fri – Sun)


Flat Twined Bag (follow up)
January 5 (Thu); 6 pm – 9 pm


Techniques of Birch Bark
January 27 – 29 (Fri – Sun)


Willow Basketry
February 17 – 19 (Fri – Sun)


Willow Basketry (follow up)
February 23 (Thu); 6 pm – 9 pm


Pine Needle Coiling & Natural Plant Dyes
March 3 – 5 (Fri – Sun)

Pine Needle Coiling & Natural Plant Dyes (follow up)
March 23 (Thu); 6 pm – 9 pm

Cedar Bark and Root Harvesting
March 31 – April 2 (Fri-Sun)
**Overnight field trip


Cedar Basket
May  5 – 7 (Fri – Sun)                        

plaited cedar basket

New Basketry Intensive Program!

Path of the Hunter

Our unique Path of the Hunter Mentoring program starts September 7, 2016!  We are excited about two additions this year:  Frank has explored and will be sharing new hunting areas just for this year’s program, and this year’s students will be among the first to use Frank’s recently-published Hunting Journal to record outing details.

We are able to take a couple more students, so call or email soon if you wish to join us!

Schedule and Curriculum Overview

September  7 – 10                                            Orientation
Wed – Sat; 9–4 p.m.                                           Issaquah classroom


October 28 – 30                                                Field to Freezer
Fri and Sat;  9–4 p.m.                                        Issaquah classroom
Sun; 9-12 pm.

November 9 – 13                                              Big Game and Grouse Hunt
Wed – Sun                                                           Remote Interior Camp


December 9 – 11                                               Waterfowl Hunt
 Fri – Sun                                                              Remote Interior Camp


January 7 – 8                                                      Fishing A-Z with Mike Isaac
Sat and Sun; 9–5 p.m.                                        Issaquah classroom


February 10 – 12                                                Razor Clams & Surf Fishing
Fri – Sun                                                                Coastal Camp

March 4 – 5                                                          Turkey Calls
Sat and Sun; 9–4 p.m.                                         Issaquah classroom


March 31 – April 2                                             Clams, Oysters & Blackpowder
 Fri – Sun                                                               Shelton Rendezvous Site


May 4 – 7                                                              Turkey Hunt
Thu – Sun                                                               Remote Interior Hunting Camp


Path of the Hunter

Forager’s Forecast

It was evident at last weekend’s Wild Edible Plants and Food Foraging class that berry season is upon us!  It has been an unusual harvest year with many wild foods appearing and ripening here much earlier than “normal.”  Here are just a few of the edible favorites that we gathered and enjoyed in the varied dishes gracing our table.


Red huckleberry bushes can be found atop decomposing logs and tree stumps. Now is the perfect time to harvest red huckleberries; bushes in the Puget Sound area are laden with some of the fattest berries we’ve seen in a long time. Many people enjoy these small, tart berries as a trailside snack. We used them to adorn our cattail pollen crepes.


salal berries
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Contrary to what you might have heard, salal berries are not only edible, they are quite tasty! These berries are typically at their peak in August and September. Surprisingly, we were already finding ripe salal berries over the 4th of July weekend in the San Juan Islands. They are packed with Vitamin C and make a great trailside snack as well as jelly and base for fruit leather.


Goldenrod likes moist soil and often can be found growing in damp meadows, at the edges of fields and in ditches along the sides of roads. The just-opening flower buds make a sunny addition to muffins and hotcakes (which we lovingly refer to as “golden cakes”). The leaves can also make a medicinal tea.


Cattail offers us a year-round supply of food. In the spring, we collected protein-rich pollen which we used for the beautiful crepes pictured above. On this trip, we harvested the vegetative stalks (the ones without the “hot dog”) and scraped out the “flour” from the rhizome. Once blended, we teased the fibers out and used the cattail flour in our acorn muffins. Note: Always harvest from a non-polluted area!

We also enjoyed delectable thimbleberries, tiny but flavorful trailing blackberries, and tender dandelion and dock leaves to name just a few. We invite you to indulge in these nutritious and tasty wild foods that are just waiting for you!

For more detailed information on identification, harvesting techniques, and ethics as well as additional suggestions for preparations, here are some of our favorite foraging books.  We carry these books in our school store.  Please call our office (425.746.7267) or email ( to order.  We appreciate your support!

  1. Discovering Wild Plants, Janice Schofield Eaton
  2. The Forager’s Harvest, Samuel Thayer
  3. Nature’s Garden,Samuel Thayer
  4. The Boreal Herbal, Beverley Gray

Happy Foraging!

Forager’s Forecast

Seaweed Harvest

We weren’t  sure what the weather had in store as we headed out the first day in the San Juans to gather seaweeds. For those of you who read our previous post with pictures of students gathering under the sun last year, you’ll notice quite a difference this year:


Even with the wind blowing, we were able to harvest enough bullwhip kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana), winged kelp (Alaria marginata), nori or laver, (Porphyra spp.), and bladderwrack (Fucus spp.) to make some delicious meals and condiments.

Bullwhip kelp pickles

Bullwhip kelp relish

Sushi rolls and Alaria with lentils

We also enjoyed other gifts from the sea, mussels and gooseneck barnacles:

We wanted to include the perennial favorite, Navarro “oysters” with nori, but they were gone before we could snap a photo!


Seaweed Harvest

How to Practice Your Skills

At Earthwalk, students learn a variety of ancestral living skills such as bow and arrow making, weaving, flintknapping, wild food foraging, fire making and shelter building.  Anyone who has studied ancestral living skills knows that there are a vast number to be learned – and hopefully, some to be mastered.  With so many skills to learn, it can be overwhelming.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.  Start easy – maybe one skill per week.  Make it manageable so you don’t get bogged down.  Be patient, including with yourself.  As you practice over time, your confidence and skills will increase.

Tips on Practicing Your Skills

  • Pick one at a time.
  • Start easy (crawl first, then walk, then run).
  • Go slow. Take your time. Don’t rush.
    • If you rush, you are more likely to make mistakes.
    • Speed will come with experience.
  • There is no magic pill!
  • The more you get into the skills, the deeper the connection you will feel to the earth.
  • Be well-rounded with your skills.
    • You will specialize in some skills, but should practice and enjoy them all.
  • As you practice the skills, let them become a meditation.
  • Go over your notes.
  • Get some good quality tools (cheap ones break).
  • At the end of the day, ask yourself:
    • What went well?
    • What could be improved?
    • If you could do it again, what would you change?
  • Don’t forget to have a life.
  • Don’t neglect your family while practicing! Try to include them.
  • Share the skills with friends and family members who are open to them.
  • Enjoy the experience!

– Frank Sherwood

How to Practice Your Skills

Benefits of Seaweeds

As we are preparing for our Seaweeds and Coastal Foraging class over Independence Day weekend, we are reflecting on the many benefits of seaweeds and feeling grateful for this wonderful gift from the sea.




What are Seaweeds?

Seaweeds, or sea vegetables, are edible plants from the sea that are rich in minerals and nutrients. Sea vegetables are classified by color: reds, browns, greens, blue-greens, and yellow-greens. The color depends in part on the light spectrum available to the plant.

Sea vegetables have been used for thousands of years to help prolong life, prevent disease, promote health and enhance beauty.  Throughout the Pacific Northwest, local nori seaweed was eaten abundantly by indigenous peoples.

17 IMG_2289

Benefits of Seaweed

According to Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods, sea vegetables contain ten to twenty times the minerals of land plants. Ounce per ounce, seaweed is higher in vitamins and minerals than any other class of food.  All minerals needed by humans are found in seaweeds including calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc.  Nutrients include vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, folic acid, soluble fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and trace amounts of vitamin B12. As well, seaweeds contain all of the trace elements that the body needs in the correct balance.

Although there are many different types of seaweed, all of them have health benefits.  Seaweeds help:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Cleanse the body of toxins and pollutants
  • Strengthen bones and teeth
  • Regulate hormones
  • Promote thyroid health
  • Enrich the bloodstream
  • Stimulate and improve blood and lymph circulation
  • Nourish, oxygenate and detoxify the skin
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Correct mineral deficiencies
  • Soften hardened masses or tumors
  • Improve nerve transmission
  • Stabilize blood pressure
  • Strengthen digestion
  • Reduce tension
  • Relieve muscle pain and fatigue

Those are some powerful “weeds”!

In our class, we will be focusing on new and fun ways to incorporate seaweeds into every aspect of our diet to improve health and vitality.  Here is one of the many recipes we will share with students:

San Juan Sea Snacks – from the kitchen of Karen Sherwood

1/2 cup kelp power (Nereocystis, bullwhip kelp fronds)

2 cups hazelnuts, divided

1 cup cranberries, divided

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut flakes

  1. Put 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts into food processor and process until they are a chunky butter texture.
  2. Add 1/2 cup cranberries, kelp powder, maple syrup and mix well.
  3. Add remainder of hazelnuts and cranberries and process until just blended.
  4. Scoop out and roll into small balls.
  5. Roll in coconut flakes.

This is the best trail snack ever!

We have a few unexpected openings left in this very popular class.  Email us at if you’re interested in joining us!


Benefits of Seaweeds