Posted by: noadventure | April 22, 2020

Exploring Wolf Cave (2020 pandemic edition)

Long time, no see. A reader (Hunter) hit me up out of the blue to see if I was interested in him checking out northern Louisiana’s Wolf Cave. As far as anyone knows, this is the only cave in Louisiana.

I actually wrote about it 8 years ago here, but I didn’t have a first hand account. Anyway, Hunter is stationed nearby at Fort Polk and offered to go. Below are his photos of the area.

Editor’s note: also nearby are the only boulders in Louisiana that one could theoretically “rock climb” or “boulder.” I visited these a million years ago (2002) and took a single picture (non digital) of me heel-hooking the top out, but I can’t find the print. The rocks feature two tiny boulder routes and a scenic view of Kisatchie Wilderness Longleaf trail.

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Posted by: noadventure | January 25, 2017

Reader Mail

NOadventure readers often email me for tto ask for help with their own NOadventures. I welcome this and always respond. Here’s one from yesterday:



I’m visiting NOLA and was wondering if you might know how accessible Fort Macomb or Fort Pike are? I didn’t see any info on your site, but thought you might know! From what I can tell both are closed, but I still would like to try and get in.


Here’s what I wrote back:

You can get into both by kayak.
There is a massive bridge next to the easternmost one (Fort Pike). I would visually scout from there.
If memory serves correctly, there is a public boat launch next to one of them (maybe between them). Should be easy from there.
Yep. See if the boat launch with the little blue arrow is still open.
Watch out for:
Slippery rocks
other critters.
Even when Pike was open as a park, I remember the rangers doing hourly snake sweeps whenever visitors were present.
Both forts have been inundated with water and are literally being washed away. Fort Proctor is an example of this.
Fort Proctor:
Look for stalactites in the tunnels.
Stay safe.
Posted by: noadventure | January 8, 2017

2016 NOPB (Polar Bears) Xmas Day Swim

We’re back! After a 2 year sabbatical, the New Orleans Polar Bears camera back for the 5th annual xmas day Polar Bear Plunge.

After a rocky start, this event has found permanence. EVERY YEAR. WEST END AT THE BLUE CRAB. XMAS DAY. 9am sharp. Click on the Polar Bear link above for info. See you there.

Posted by: noadventure | September 15, 2015

How to Climb Kilimanjaro

The toughest part about climbing Kilimanjaro is getting the time off from work. However, I did misjudge how cold it would be and how my body would adjust to the lack of oxygen and altitude sickness.

My little 6 minute iPhone documentary:

A little about Kilimanjaro. It’s the highest mountain on 4 continents (Africa, Europe, Australia/Oceania, and Antarctica). It’s the highest free standing mountain in the world, meaning it’s not part of a range. When you summit Kili, you start at the bottom. There are plenty of 14K footers in Colorado that you can do in a day if you park near the top. That’s not the case in Africa. It’s a a more “rustic” climb.  It’s kind of like climbing the highest mountain in Colorado if you started at sea level in New Orleans. Check out this garbage bin in the nearby town of Arusha:


That said, climbing the Machame Route (whiskey route) on Kilimanjaro is mostly a ton of steep uphill hiking. There are a few rocky parts, but none too technical. The climb is more like a long 8 day slog.

Why is Kilimanjaro famous? Kill is one of the SEVEN SUMMITS, meaning It’s a continental highpoint. It’s crazy high; five thousand feet higher than the highest mountains in Colorado. In fact, the final camp is 1000 feet higher than the tallest mountains in Colorado, and that’s where climbers “sleep” a few hours before summit attempts.


Our climbing party was just me and my brother, Dave. Tanzanian law requires that your climb is guided, so we had a guide and an assistant guide, plus porters to carry supplies. A lot of people mistakenly call them Sherpas, but Sherpa is an ethnicity. They are native Himalayan people that happen to be mountain porters and guides.


Every day was blazing hot, even as we advanced up the mountain. Every night was bone-chillingly cold. The only night that I wasn’t cold was right before summit. I was wearing fleece cycling pants, hiking pants, rain pants, 2 pairs of merino wool socks, a long sleeve t shirt, a cowboy pearl snap shirt, a down puffy jacket, another down puffy jacket, a wool hat, and I was inside a Mountain Hardware expedition-weight down sleeping bag with all of those clothes on. I get pretty cold in the alpine desert.


You are essentially out of the jungle at the end of the first day. The next climate is called “heather.” Next is desert, then glacial mountain peak. There are monkeys and elephants in the jungle, but the only animals you see above the tree line are vultures and mice, and they are all over the mountain, except for the last few thousand icy feet to the top. This is a common view: desert with clouds below your feet.


One of the wildest parts about being on Kilimanjaro is water consumption. If you are taking Diamox (prescription anti-altitidue sickness drug), you will be peeing constantly. The solution is to drink 4 liters of water per day, plus tea or coffee, and soups. In some of the lower camps, there are nearby streams, but at a certain point on the mountain, water is no longer easy to get. The porters carry 5 gallon (20 liter) containers on their heads to bring water up and down the mountain. At the longest stretches, they have to go 4 or 5 mountain miles each way to get the water. Yes, on the uphill part of the hike, the water containers are full.IMG_0090IMG_0105

Also noteworthy was our eating of meat and other perishables high on the mountain. I never saw a refrigerator the whole time I was in Africa (except for in the city of Arusha and at the airport). The porters were not carrying ice or cold packs either. We ate beef, chicken, and wild caught fish that had not ever been refrigerated. The animal was killed, then prepared for cooking or storage. I don’t know if they have a salting technique or other curing process to make it last longer. It was cold at night, but like I said before, the days were blazing hot.

The porters were also responsible for doing med-evacs for injured climbers or climbers who couldn’t continue due to exhaustion. They called these steel cages “stretchers.” It would really suck to be wheeled off the mountain on one of these, especially with an injury. These are the modern versions that have a motorcycle wheel and shocks. The old version was a modified wheelbarrow.


Below you’ll find a few pics from the summit. I originally planned on doing pushups at the top, but by the time I got there I was loopy from speed climbing in the dark, so we just snapped a few photos and left. Still, it was definitely satisfying to reach the the top, or Uhuru Peak.


Then we cruised 10 thousand feet vertically down the mountain in 10 hours to get to Maweka camp. The climb was relatively easy, but the descent had me limping with achilles and knee injuries.

Back under the jungle canopy 1 day later.


Posted by: noadventure | December 5, 2014

3rd Annual New Orleans Polar Bear Plunge (XMAS DAY 2014)

Posted by: noadventure | September 29, 2014

Hobie Cat the Pontch

As an adult, I’ve always preferred the simpler of two machines. I like motorcycles, but I like bicycles and scooters more. I like big boats, but I REALLY like paddling (kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards).

Hobie Cats are perfect for minimalist sailing. And… they’re FAST. The only downside is, they’re kind of hard to maneuver around a marina or pull into a slip because they are 100% wind powered. Beach entry is ideal. Or, if you’re like my friend Hoover, you have a buddy who has a 20′ Hobie and a nice place on the water to launch from.

Here’s Hoover having a blast on Lake Pontchartrain:

AND, here’s that awesome Hawaiian dude who gets his catch almost stolen by a HUGE shark:

Posted by: noadventure | August 26, 2014

Northshore Goat Boating

If you don’t know what goat boating is, I don’t blame you. A goat boater is what surfers call kayakers who are surfing waves. So technically, no “goat-boating” is taking place. It’s more of some decent kayak treks on Cane Bayou and the Tchefuncte River.

Check out Hoover’s tail-of-the-summer GoPro adventures.

Cane Bayou:

AND the Tchefuncte to the lighthouse:

I did my own Cane Bayou NOadventure a few years ago. The audio might be NSFW.

Posted by: noadventure | August 18, 2014

Urban Ruin: Lindy Boggs Medical Center

Editor’s note: Yet another awesome post from Whitney Mackman (@wmackattack). Enjoy.

Lindy Boggs Medical Center Explorations
Like the Market Street Power Plant, the abandoned Lindy Boggs Medical Center dangles itself in front of me every time I run Bayou St. John. It just sits there, wearing the sad, dark brick, like it would do anything to shake such a burden. A chair dangles stubbornly over the edge of a blown out, third floor window. Dark green water sits silently under the Emergency ramp, harboring 9-year-old lily pads of mold. Mattresses, ones possibly used to transport patients above the floodwater, gather leaves near the main entrance.
water rampelevators
Forty-five people died at Lindy Boggs during and after Hurricane Katrina. When the power failed, the remaining patients were left in stifling heat without life support, crucial medicines, and blood. After the floodwaters rose, the sickest patients and pets were left behind with only three medical professionals. If those professionals didn’t stay, those patients would have been left behind to die, alone, in an empty hospital. I’m glad I didn’t know this during my first exploration, but I could definitely feel that kind of energy inside. Each place that lies abandoned cradles its story within its wall, however moldy and crumbling.
Lindy Boggs 9.5mattress
The damage sustained is shocking. I wandered the halls imagining nurses and doctors trying to find their way in this sweaty, pitch-black apocalyptic labyrinth. Boxes full of sterile syringes, test tubes, and IV needles sit untouched in their boxes above flood level. An x-ray table waits, with a lead apron casually dangling from a nearby counter, as if the next patient is about to walk in from the dressing room. But the creepiest was turning the corner to face a room that caught fire post-abandonment. The burnt paint chips, with their coal black bodies and gray tips, animated the wall. I couldn’t breathe for a moment, as if the room was still on fire, and I had to blink a few times to ensure the room was not engulfed in ghost flames. I take moments like these as my cue to leave.
 Lindy Boggs9
A few months after my first venture into Lindy Boggs and after reading Five Days at Memorial, I felt the urge to get inside one more time. A man pumped the nasty water out of the basement and told me gutting would begin once he was done. They have even painted over all the external graffiti tags. “Coming soon” was finally coming true. A slight panic rose within me: I still hadn’t made it to that third story window that  I always look at while running along Bayou St. John. Also, no one has seen the recently drained part of this hospital in years.
flooded basement
basement chair
After entering, we immediately went to the basement. The ground was red and squishy; the walls were still dripping wet. Above and below us, rust reigns. Trash rests in piles as if someone arranged it. Chairs, metal, gloves, and biohazard cartons stick out of the mud. This floor hasn’t had a breath of fresh air in far too long. I pulled my bandana off my nose for less than a second and knew instantly we had to get out of there.
medical 1
While hunting for my third story room in the dark maze, we happened upon creepy after creepy. All the beds are on the upper floors, crammed into rooms that still have white boards reading: “Today is August 29, your nurse is ____.” There are no mattresses and the bed frames are mangled in painful positions. In one room, a day-by-calendar reads “Today is Tuesday, August 30, 2005,” and tubes still run from the wall to the twisted bed frames. Down the hall at the nurse’s station, a white board announces the names of patients and their assigned nurses. Around the corner, water drips onto debris. It is so loud and rhythmic, it sounds like footsteps.
today is
nurses station
The graffiti is honestly the scariest part. The adrenaline I feel while exploring is full of wonder and shock. I experience only minimal pangs of horror – until my flashlight illuminates, written in classic horror-film-blood-dripping-font, “Are you scared yet?” Other graffiti is helpful, telling us which stairs lead to roof access or pointing out open and plunging elevator shafts. The horrific demon-faced caricatures, however, are not helpful. After finding the room I always look at from Bayou St. John, I enjoyed the gorgeous panoramic view of the city from the roof. However, my throat was getting itchy, and an itchy throat is also my cue to leave.
skyline 1
ER ramp
Lindy Boggs has been looming in my world for the past four years and I feel honored to be able to explore it. I want to help tell a story and spark interest in and anger for what happened to the people who remained in hospitals during and after Hurricane Katrina. The failure of response at all levels of state and government created situations that each doctor, patient, and family should never have to face. The choices they were forced to make are things we cannot forget.
For more information on Lindy Boggs, read:
For a similar story, read Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink.
For not-so-similar, but equally horrific stories, read: Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers,
and One Dead in the Attic by Chris Rose.

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