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POSTED: May 14, 2003


WHAT: three-day to three-week long programs

WHEN: summer and autumn 2003

WHERE: Slickrock Basecamp, near Dove Creek, CO, elevation 7,200 feet (2,200 meters).

WHO: Workshop leader is Philip Mirkin, Hybrid Adobe builder and experimenter

COST: Registration is required. Contact for details.

CONTACT: Philip Mirkin, email or leave message at 866-305-1403 (24-hr message service), or after May 25th call 970-677-3600 between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM Mountain Time. The earlier you apply the better lodging choices you'll have.


Last year's work exchange programs in Sustainable Building saw over 20 people join us for an average of 10 days each. We had a lot of fun and got creative! We will continue these programs with Avant Garde Travel and Hybrid Adobe from late May until September.


Come to the beautiful Southwest and learn how to build with Hybrid Adobe, working on an actual house building project and new experimental design buildings.

These three-day to three-week long programs will cover many applications of this revolutionary material. This is our fifth year of work exchange programs in the Four Corners region, and 16th year offering wilderness and humanitarian aid relief journeys. For more info on the travel programs the Custom Travel section of the hybridadobe.com website.

Last year we offered about 18 workshops all over the west coast and in Colorado and the Caribbean. They were fun! Children plastered the walls with fanciful figures created of fibered adobe while lively music and conversation filled the air, with dance parties and barbecues afterward.

The response to our work exchange programs so far has been great. Over 600 people have come to seminars and hands-on workshops since we began offering them two years ago. More workshops will be held in California and Colorado, The Caribbean and Bali in 2003. Please watch the website for actual dates and locations as they are announced.

The work gets more creative and experimental from here on out, so join in the fun (no building codes in these parts!). You can experiment with your own ideas and designs, too. Just let us know when you are free to come so we can integrate you into the program.

There are plenty of shady campsites for tents, a small teepee and spots to sleep in the new building, but lodging is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Philip Mirkin will be unavailable by email from June 20th to 26th, 2003 to lead a weeklong adventure in Utah at Zion National Park. If you are interested to join, please contact Philip as soon as possible. Last summer's weeklong Native Culture Adventure took the group to four different New Mexico Pueblos for ceremonies and dances.

Thank you in advance for not sending huge emails or attachments that fill our email storage (anything above 40K) without first letting us know.

We have some fun excursions planned as part of this summer's programs: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are only a 90-minute drive away and offer endless backcountry adventure. Then there is local exploration in the deep Dolores River Canyon just a few minutes away, mountain hot springs and ancient cities. Of course we will be offering programs on the Navajo Indian Reservation and traveling to Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Hovenweep, Canyon de Chelley, Chaco Canyon, Natural Bridges, Anasazi, and the other National Parks nearby.


Healthy people are invited to assist wilderness expedition leader and designer Philip Mirkin to finish the construction of an experimental house addition. It's being built out of Hybrid Adobe (similar to fibrous cement or papercrete), hybrid bale, cedar, willow and more. Help is needed, both skilled and unskilled.

This high mesa forested base camp is the locale where you can also experiment with hybrid adobe making sculptures, pottery, furniture, building materials and do your own artwork. You are free to sell what you make in Durango, Santa Fe, Taos and Telluride, the major art markets nearby. You'll also learn how you might create a business with these low-cost and sustainable materials.


In exchange for part-time work (20-30 hours a week, as you like), you'll learn all about building with Hybrid Adobe and papercrete, gain hands-on experience (the best way to learn is by doing) and have the chance to live and travel in the stunning Four Corners region (where CO, UT, NM and AZ come together). Most food, lodging and local transport is included.

Some people will also be trained to be workshop leaders and earn an income back home leading workshops.


Some people only have a weekend or so to spend in Colorado. We have offered 26 workshops in the last two years, so people can learn to build their own low-cost, sustainable homes and much more during a weekend.


The Four Corners is a land of 14,000 ft elevation Alpine peaks and canyons up to 3,000 ft deep. Visitors will also travel to places of natural beauty with a 15-year veteran guide (at little or no-cost), and may visit Native American culture centers, ancient cities, hot springs and hike to some of the most stunning scenery in North America.

It's a relaxed atmosphere, where having fun while working on the project is our focus. The work is concentrated into 20-30 hours a week or 4-6 hours average per day for five days of the week. That way we have ample time for hiking in the mountains, bathing in the river and hot springs, exploring the canyons, making artwork and music and enjoying the peace and quiet away from noisy cities.

Frequently asked questions:

What kind of work will I be doing?

We need help finishing our experimental 550-sq. foot addition and keep our base camp running. This means, running the mixer and pouring blocks, hand-plastering the finish coat on the walls (and adding mosaics!), cutting and weaving willow for the sweat lodge-style roof), carpentry, forestry protection, landscaping, cooking, stone work and keeping the hot tub hot! The work is varied and the schedule and projects flexible depending on your interests, the weather, etc.

How long can I stay?

A minimum of two days, but we prefer that you stay for five days or more. Most people average 10 to 14 day programs (or even more if it's a good match), so you get the opportunity to enjoy the region and really learn these creative procedures.

How do I get there?

You can drive to our project and base camp yourself or we can pick you up if you take public transport (ask us for details and carpooling info). We are located 85 miles SE of Moab, 100 miles NW of Durango, 90 miles west of Telluride or a five hour drive from Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Albuquerque or Flagstaff, AZ, and six hours west of Denver. The small town of Dove Creek, CO is 14 miles south and the basecamp just seven miles east of the Utah/Colorado border. We can help with travel arrangements/carpooling.

Where will I stay?

You can sleep in a tent, our tipi, in the new building, perhaps in the cabin, in a hammock, your own truck or under the stars. There is plenty of room and many beautiful campsites on our two-acre wooded slice of paradise (lots of trees here, 7,200 ft elevation). We have well water, electricity and phone (with limited Internet time) and a hot tub or cold plunge (depending on the weather).

Our Slickrock basecamp lies at the very top of the Dolores River Canyon, a 2,000 foot deep canyon, hundreds of miles long, tributary to the Colorado. Thousands of ancient Puebloan sites are within a 75-mile radius and some of the largest ancient cities are less than 30 miles away. The Dolores River is only 10 miles away and beautiful mountain lakes are nearby. Mountain biking and hiking are right here.

When we do want to enjoy town life, go dancing or get natural foods, we have some great places to kick back in: Durango, Moab and Telluride to name a few. We have an organic garden for fresh greens and access to wild elk meat for the carnivores.

We share food and cooking, cleaning and much else. Our workshop weekends are full of music, dancing, playing in the river and hiking.

We currently need help with:

  • Creating Hybrid Adobe blocks and panels and adding them to the addition.
  • Post and beam carpentry to build shade structures
  • Plastering with Hybrid Adobe and clay mixes
  • Landscaping
  • Stonework
  • Kitchen work
  • New plumbing and electrical (and a simple solar water tank, too)


Philip 'Felipe' Mirkin is the owner of Avant Garde Travel, a travel business focusing on very small and private adventure trips focusing on Native American culture, canyon exploration and humanitarian relief trips. He developed Hybrid Adobe from experimentation with fibercrete, which was problematic for building. Our building site is also our basecamp and we are building a large addition to the rustic cabin and tipi. We have been in operation since 1986 and have provided humanitarian aid for 15 chapters of the Navajo Nation as well as the Ute, Paiute, Puebloan and other native peoples. See the Custom Travel button on our website: www.hybridadobe.com (photos of the region are there too).

Contact us soon as there are a limited number of spaces available through to October 2003!


Philip Mirkin
Phone: 866-305-1403

We welcome your questions. For more information or a copy of articles on our Hybrid Adobe process or our adventure programs please send your address and email to: or P O Box 123, Dove Creek, CO 81324. You can always leave a message at our 24-hrs a day message service 866-305-1403 so Philip can call you back personally. You can also call 970-677-3600 direct after May 25th.


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