Mary Tutwiler

How to get outdoors this month

by Mary Tutwiler

With gorgeous spring weather tugging at our senses, Pack and Paddle is offering a boatload of seminars and outings to get people out of doors. Tomorrow is the first talk, a kayak fishing clinic designed to teach what rigging techniques and baits work in local marshes, and where to put your boat into the water. The state’s shallow marshes are perfect for fishing for reds in water so clear you can see the fish before you cast. On Saturday, Pack and Paddle offers a seminar describing five great hikes in Louisiana. Maps, hiking distances, how to run a shuttle and a slide show of the areas are on the agenda. While you’re thinking about the woods, the New York Times has a great travel piece on Cane River country , which describes hikes in Kisatchie National Forest , and a trip to Caroline Dorman’s home, Briarwood , near the town of Saline. Dorman was a forthinking conservationist in her day, preserving woodlands and rare native plants on her property. Now the Caroline Dorman Nature Preserve, 150 acres of old-growth forest, is a private research institute, but in April and May guided tours are offered on the weekends. April is the prettiest month to explore the wilds of Louisiana, so check out the paddling and hiking trips offered by the outdoors shop. Click here for their schedule.