Rallying to the cause for conservation, a watchdog and lobbying organization like Carbondale’s Wilderness Workshop might rouse the faithful with statistics about disappearing wildlife habitat, impending effects of climate change and mass extinction or the promise of the incoming Trump administration to expand gas drilling on public lands.

The nonprofit, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, does plenty of that in its day-to-day work. But not on this night.

At its WildFeast fundraiser on Nov. 16, Wilderness Workshop instead harnessed the power of story to honor the wild places it protects. A collaboration with the Justice Snow’s Writ Large storytelling series, the tender evening was hosted and curated by Alya Howe. Between the courses of a locally sourced dinner by Chef Jonathan Leichliter, five locals shared true tales of transcendence, humor, pain, loss, fear and humility in the great outdoors.

Author and Aspen Times columnist Paul Andersen spun a taut tale of two hikes. As he and his teenage son guide a motley crew to the summit of Mount Sopris, he recalled, his wife, her friends and a dog had a bloody encounter with a mountain lion elsewhere in the local forest.

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