Fly Fishing

Zen Fly Fishing Camp and Retreat


A collaboration of DNK Presents & The School of Zen Fly Fishing


When: June 11-12, *Friday, June 10th optional camping on your own

Skills and services taught: Fly Fishing Rod, Reel, Line, & Basic Fly Casting, Terminal Tackle & Knots, Guided Hike, Meditation, Journaling, Yoga (Sunday morning), Breathing Exercises

Where: Yellowwood State Forest, Nashville Indiana
Fees: $250/Person (Early Bird), $275/Person (After May 22)

All Inclusive, Camping Gear & Fly Fishing Equipment Provided

Who: 14 and over, all genders welcome

What: Fly fishing, Hiking, Yoga, and Mindfulness practice

Included in cost: Professionally trained fly fishing guide (School of Zen Fly Fishing, Cari Ray), 2 wilderness guides (DNK Presents, Danielle and Kate Nolan) group meals, meals included: Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, water and snacks (please bring your own lunch for Saturday and Sunday) group gear (shelter area, camping, cooking equipment) permit fees, insurance, camping fees Saturday night

Not included in cost: Day or Annual Indiana Fishing License, Travel expenses arriving to and from Yellowwood State Forest, camping and meals Friday evening if you decide to camp, fees incurred from expenses leading up to the event, snacks, please bring your own breakfast Saturday morning and lunches Saturday and Sunday

Obtain your Fishing License online here:



Slow down, and enjoy a weekend learning the ZEN approach to fly fishing while immersed in the natural beauty of Brown County. Learn the art of targeting warm water species on the fly while leveraging the meditative properties of the sport to practice presence, model mindfulness, and curate calm. In addition to fundamental fly casting and angling skills, you’ll come away refreshed, with tools to help you remain centered in your day-to-day life. You need only bring your enthusiasm, curiosity, and willingness to learn. Most meals, camping equipment & fees, rental equipment, and evening activities are all included with your registration. 

Entire Weekend: The skills training and practices that are part of this retreat will be taught within the context of the Zen Principles of Fly Fishing. Each day will present a new principle and practice with opportunities for directed journaling, reflection, and sharing.



It’s scientifically proven that learning a new activity or skill “rewires” our brains and enhances our neuroplasticity, allowing us to more effortlessly adapt to new situations. Sounds like a pretty handy ability to cultivate in our ever-changing world, wouldn’t you say? During our weekend together, you’ll learn the skills associated with the pursuit of fly fishing, be presented with opportunities for focused mindfulness practice AND enjoy a restorative stay at the primitive campground nestled in scenic Yellowwood State Forest. But this retreat takes that even further. By pairing fly fishing skills practice with mindfulness practice, you’ll begin to tap into your own ability to leverage the sport, and simply time in nature, as a means to create your own mentally and spiritually refreshing “retreat” any time you wish.



Cari Ray, a native Hoosier who now calls Texas home, spent the better part of her life trekking the forests and wading the lakes, rivers and streams of Indiana. For over a decade, that’s most often been with a fly rod in hand. The pandemic first halted and then presented an opportunity to dial back the rigorous, full-time touring schedule that she and her wife, Dionne had kept previously. It was time to diversify her career. Doing something she was passionate about and working with people were key, so fly fishing seemed the most obvious option. She kicked things off with the Fisher of Zen podcast and began guiding and instruction. A former personal coach and trainer, Cari had long noticed that the activity of fly fishing presented abundant opportunities to practice mindfulness, and she became determined to share the gift with others. Fueled by that inspiration, The School of Zen Fly Fishing, an organization focused on offering fly fishing skills education in a context of mindfulness practice—for everyone—was born. The idea to present this offering came when Cari interviewed Kate & Danielle of DNK Presents for a podcast entitled “Everyone Has a Place in the Outdoors.” Overlaps in passion and purpose led naturally to the idea of collaboration, and a planned tour run to the Midwest offered up the perfect opportunity to present Indiana’s first Zen Fly Fishing Camp & Retreat.



Cari Ray

Fly Fishing Cari Ray








Writer, speaker, & host of the “Fisher of Zen” podcast, Cari Ray has learned that there are more than trophy catches to chase with a fly rod. Much more. A few years ago, while standing knee-deep in a high mountain stream untangling a nest of tippet from a bank side branch, it occurred to her that the principles of personal growth she had learned in years spent as a life coach and trainer could be demonstrated through the sport of fly fishing. And further, its pursuit provided a perfect mirror for our pursuit of life, offering opportunities to connect with self, practice mindfulness, and curate calm. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, the spark of inspiration for the School of Zen Fly Fishing had been lit.



Danielle Nolan

Danielle Wolter Nolan

Danielle obtained her yoga teacher training and meditation certification through SoulWork by Adi Shakti in Costa Rica. She is a Reiki Master, Thai masseuse, carries Wilderness First Aid and her Professional Mountain Bike Certification. Danielle is an adjunct professor at Indiana University and teaches Mindfulness in the Outdoors through the School of Public Health.

Danielle and her wife founded and own outdoor adventure company, DNK Presents, Brown County Bikes, the only full-service premiere bike shop located in downtown Nashville, IN, non-profit organization, Live Adventurously, that hosts the annual Women’s Adventure Giveaway program. Danielle founded the outdoor wellness organization, Soulful Trail.


Kate Nolan

Kate Nolan, DNK Presents
Kate Nolan, DNK Presents









My name is Kate Nolan and I am a cofounder of DNK Presents, Trek Women’s Advocate and Professional Guide. Getting outside has always been a passion of mine and I love sharing that with others. I believe we need a connection to nature in order to live a happy, healthy and balanced life. I grew up camping; backpacking, skiing, trail running and racing BMX and mountain bikes. I believe my bond with nature has helped me to excel in my professional career, to overcome obstacles personally and professionally and the spiritual gain has been profound.

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Women’s Spring Thaw Hike

It’s time to dust off your hiking boots! We decided to make our first Spring Thaw event of 2018 a hike to really ease you into the outdoors because we know as a beginner hiker, camper or backpacker it can be a bit intimidating. That’s why our first event will be a leisure 2 hour hike at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. Join us with our trained and experienced backpacking guide, Katy Williams. We will hike and explore the beautiful trails and give you more information about hiking, camping, and backpacking while getting to know other outdoorsy women in our community.

10am Meet at the 56th street entrance, first parking lot on the right, begin introductions

10:15am Hike begins

~12pmish Meet back at your vehicle, we’ll plan to grab lunch afterwards, and you are welcome to join!

*There is an entrance fee to get into Eagle Creek Park $5 for Marion County residents and $6 for non-residents.

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Winter Camping

Guide to Winter Camping

Guide to winter camping

by: Scott Jackson

As the weather begins to turn and many peoples thoughts turn to Christmas and the warmth of an open hearth, for some people with a sense of adventure the worsening weather isn’t an excuse to forgo the outdoors. As the Scandinavians say “Ikke dårlige vær, bare dårlige klær”, which translates as “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. So don’t make the weather an excuse. With the correct preparations, skills, and gear you can have just as much fun camping during the winter.


Planning to go camping in winter takes more skills and gear than your typical summer frolic in the woods. As such, your prep should be above and beyond to help ensure you have a safe and fun trip. It is a great idea to invite some companions, especially ones who have experience or specific cold weather skill sets, e.g., avalanche training, building snow shelters, etc.

Many preparation elements are similar to those you would do for a summer hike, such as route planning, leaving a trip plan with someone or checking the weather conditions. However, as the margins for error are so much smaller in more miserable weather, you should pay extra attention and go over your plans with your whole group two, three (or more) times to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Also, being able to recognize and avoid avalanche areas is a crucial skill, and we would highly recommend that your whole group receives training if you will be at or near any slopes greater than 20 degrees inclination. Indeed, taking a cold weather hiking or camping course may be beneficial in any event.

Winter hike
Hiker with snowshoes in winter


The first rule of winter hiking and camping is to stay dry and warm, so choose appropriate clothing that’ll insulate you, wicks moisture, dries quickly, is waterproof and breathable.

It is commonly acknowledged that you should be wearing three layers; base layer(s)* next to your skin that will keep you warm and wick sweat away from your body, middle layer which will act as insulation such a fleece shirt or jacket, and finally your outer layer which should be waterproof/windproof and breathable, so you should be thinking about a good jacket.

* in especially cold weather, consider wearing two base layers.

When considering your “big 4” items (Bag, Shelter, Sleeping Bag & Pad), you should look at whether your bag, pad, and tent are appropriate for the weather conditions and upgrade if necessary. You may also need to bring a larger bag than you usually would when you consider the extra gear you will need to bring.

A cold weather sleeping bag is more heavy duty than your summer one, and is often filled with down, has additional features like a hood and draught collars. You should select a bag that is rated for temperatures about 10 degrees F colder than what you expect on the trip. As most heat is lost to the ground when you sleep, be sure to bring two sleeping pads with high R-ratings (R-Ratings are how insulated the pad is). A common hack is to place a closed-cell foam pad on the ground and layer a self-inflating pad on top for maximum insulation

Look around for a sturdy 4-season tent – these are designed with sturdier poles that can support more weight (should you get a substantial dump of snow overnight), and are often double layered to provide extra insulation and reduce condensation.

At the camp

Choosing a site & Setting Up

As you reach your appointed campsite area, make sure you have set out early enough to get there with plenty of daylight left to set up. When choosing an exact campsite location remember the following:

  • do not set up on any ridges or other places exposed to high winds
  • do not set up directly under trees as branches can break
  • do not set up camp if there is a risk of avalanches

Once you have picked a spot, spend some time packing down the snow around your pitch areas. If you can, give it 30 mins or so to settle before beginning to pitch your tents. When pitching your tent make sure to set up the entrance, so it is at 90 degrees to any prevailing winds. Rather than using tent stakes, bring plastic shopping bags, loop the guys through the handles, fill with snow and bury them so only the tops of the handles are visible.

If it is going to be especially cold night, then build either a snow wall to protect your tent from the wind or pack up snow on your shelter from the base up – make sure you have someone on the inside pushing back against the snow, so it holds up. Once it has set this will provide extra insulation than just your tent alone.

Finally, dig out a pit under your porch (about 3 feet), so that you can sit down to comfortably take off your boots before entering the tent, plus it generates more space to hold the rest of your equipment.

Camp kitchen

If you are planning on camping in the same spot for several days or more, consider packing down and digging out trenches to create a table and benches set up to enjoy your meals. If you are just overnighting this probably isn’t worth it, but in either case, it is worthwhile bringing a smaller tent or tarp to give yourself some shelter to cook if the weather turns foul.

At cold temperatures, Liquid-Fuel stoves will perform better than canister stoves, and it is worth bringing a second stove as a contingency just in case the first one fails. Also, remember to bring extra fuel – cold weather reduces the efficiency of all stoves so you will go through more, faster.

One benefit of cold weather camping is the ability to bring boil in the bag meals which tend to be a bit more flavorful than your typical dehydrated meals. Thanks to cold weather these will be kept refrigerated (or frozen) during your trip.

Lastly, a few words when it comes to water on your trip. The first being, DO NOT eat snow! It takes a considerable amount of calories for your body to convert ice to water that it can use, and additionally snow and ice can be full of bacteria and microbes. Always, boil the snow first to kill off any bugs and to prevent yourself from expending energy.

When storing water, it is best to use wide-mouthed plastic containers so you can simply pour your hot (boiled) water into them, then flip them upside down and store them in insulated pockets. Flipping them upside down prevents the lid/drinking tube from freezing.


My Open Country is a 2 person campaign to try and get more people excited about the outdoors and wilderness. We believe life wasn’t meant to be lived behind a computer screen so we provide as much information as we can into one site, so you can spend less time planning and more time doing.

My Open Country

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