Sunday, February 4, 2018

Smith Rock Climbing Trip & Skout Backcountry Review

It's the end of January, but apparently spring is here in the Northwest. Last weekend Max and I took a trip to Smith Rock State Park to get in some winter climbing, on a 3-day trip which featured both tank top weather and snow as Oregon tries to make up its mind if it should be hot or cold right now. Well, I enjoyed both variations on the weather, and I especially enjoyed the snacks we had along with us. We were out with a friend who is a really strong climber, so we had a rope gun to set routes that we wouldn't normally try ourselves. It was fun to push myself harder than I probably have on other climbing trips, and as a result I was much hungrier.
To the rescue was Skout Backcountry, an Oregon-based company which makes organic and tasty pumpkin seeds and delectable trail bars. Their bars are one of my favorites of all the paleo-friendly bars out there...there's just something about their taste that is unique and satisfying. They use dates and pumpkin seeds as their base, and I appreciate how the date flavor isn't overwhelming like it sometimes can be. I sampled one of each flavor, and my favorite by far was the Peruvian Chocolate (no surprise there, I'm sure...). I was surprised by how much I liked the Washington Apple Cinnamon bar and the Oregon Blueberry Almond bar since I honestly don't usually like bars that don't feature chocolate in some prominent way.
It could have been that we ate them at the top of Wherever I May Roam, a fun 5.9 multi-pitch with unbeatable 360 degree views of the entire park...but either way I think they were pretty darn tasty. They're perfect for a small snack, or an addition to a lunch, with each bar being between 110-150 calories a bar, with about 3g of protein (from pumpkin seeds), and between 20-24g of carbs.
We also thoroughly enjoyed their pumpkin seeds. The Spicy Texas Chili seeds were the perfect mix between spicy and salty (an essential flavor boost to the sometimes bland and monotonous trail food options), but if you prefer sweet and salty, you'll love the Paraguayan Cane Sugar and Cinnamon seeds. They have the perfect crunch to them and are somewhat addicting after a few tiring hours of climbing. I can definitely say my muscles appreciated the pumpkin-powered pick-me-up. Skout is especially near and dear to me since the seeds they use are grown in the Willamette Valley, where I currently live and I think local food can connect you to the land in a really special way.

I told you there was snow!
Day 1

  • Eggs at home


  • Leftovers in the car



  • Homemade Sweet Potato Chili (from our freezer) w/ lots of butter & a bag of plantain chips
  • Theo 85% Dark Chocolate

Day 2

  • Scrambled eggs & meat sticks
  • Salami, cheese, avocado, banana

  • Homemade Sweet Potato Chili (from our freezer) w/ lots of butter & a bag of plantain chips
  • Theo 85% Dark Chocolate

  • Day 3
    • Scrambled eggs & meat sticks
    • Salami, cheese, avocado, banana

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

    Spring Break 2017: 9-Day Menu (Car & Backpacking)

    A post from last spring that I just finished up...
    It’s been seven years since I’ve graduated college and I’m still not ready to give up my spring break. This time of year, when it’s been raining for about five months straight in the PNW, the dry and dust of the desert really call me. Also, Max and I conveniently still have some friends living in Salt Lake who love to adventure. We decided to meet up and do some backpacking, but they weren’t available until later in the week, so Max and I took the Nevada route from Eugene down to Utah and made a stop at Great Basin National Park. There we toured the Lehman Caves. I hadn’t been in a cave since I was little so it was a pretty cool experience. Seeing all of the elaborate stalactites, stalagmites, columns, shields, “cave bacon,” and “cave popcorn,” it was so hard to comprehend just how slowly they all grow. It was also a trip when the guide turned out the lights and the darkness was so heavy it felt like it was pushing on my eyes, and I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I was pretty shocked to learn that visitors in the 1800’s would throw parties deep in the caves, with music and food and dancing.

    After the cave tour, we tried our hardest to get up to the Bristlecone Pine trail, but since the road to that trailhead is closed until a little later in the season, we had to start at the Upper Lehman campground, which added 3.6 miles to the trip, most of it post-holing in soft snow. We hadn’t brought snowshoes or even micro-spikes, so it was a laborious 3.6 miles. We made it to the campground but decided to turn around, since the snow had been getting unpassably deep for us without snowshoes.

    My favorite part of the trail was the rose hips we found. We collected some for tea later and nibbled on the bright, sun-warmed red flesh as a little trail treat. They tasted like a fruit roll-up.
    Then we headed to Ibex, Utah for some rock climbing. The first day of climbing outside after a winter of only gym climbing is always humbling. But that’s part of why I climb because the rock can really cut through your ego and teach you some real lessons. Essentially I climbed nothing beyond a V1 the first day, and even failed on some V0’s. The familiar discouragement set in, threatening to ruin the trip for me.

    But the next morning we grabbed our rope and headed up to the Scorpion Slab for some 5.8/5.9 sport climbs. We started to figure out the rock a little more on these climbs, a little more comfortable experimenting with the safety of a rope. The rock in Ibex is quartzite, which I really liked. It took a while to trust my feet, but I finally realized that my shoes were gripping even the tiniest of ledges, and I didn’t have a foot fail the entire time. The sun baked us by noon, so we headed down to siesta in the shade of the boulders for a couple hours and then broke out the crash pads for another afternoon session once the sun had gone behind the cliffs. We chose a boulder that had about eight solid V0’s and V1’s all around and just really enjoyed the routes. It’s true when they say that you have to ignore the grades and just climb.

    The first half of our trip was car camping, so we had the luxury of a cooler. Breakfasts were Soft-Boiled Eggs with Butter & Mustard, a hot dog, and a Morning Glory Muffin. Lunches were various takes on sandwich-style “Bowls” (which are really more like salads without the lettuce). On this trip we alternated between sardines or pepperoni, and added bell pepper, apple, carrot, avocado, and of course mustard. We didn’t bring enough olive oil to use some for lunch, but usually we douse it in some good extra virgin for a little extra fat. We always buy sardines packed in olive oil, so that helped a little, but the pepperoni definitely needed a little something to bring it together. Just to highlight how much we love mustard: we used an entire bottle in the first three days and ran out by Thursday breakfast. That was rough.

    Sunday - Drive from Eugene, OR to Spring Valley, NV
    (meals were mostly a bunch of leftovers or pre-cooked foods we brought in our cooler)
    Breakfast - hard boiled eggs, avocado, yogurt & carrot radiccio salad
    Lunch - grass-fed burgers, steamed carrots with olive oil, green salad
    Dinner - grass-fed meat, onions, and mushrooms cooked in tallow, delicata squash, green salad

    Chicken Pesto Broccoli
    Monday - Great Basin National Park: Lehman Caves, Lehman Creek Trail
    Breakfast - Soft-Boiled Eggs with Butter & Mustard, hot dog, Morning Glory Muffin
    Lunch - Sandwich “Bowls”
    Dinner - Chicken Pesto Broccoli, delicata squash (leftover from home), Theo chocolate

    Tuesday - Bouldering in Ibex, UT
    Breakfast & Lunch - same as above
    Dinner - Salmon-Apple Bake (same as the Onion Apple Tuna Bake, but with salmon), delicata squash, carrot radicchio salad, Theo chocolate

    Wednesday - A few sport climbs and some more bouldering in Ibex
    Breakfast & Lunch - same as above
    Dinner - Salmon Coconut Curry, Theo chocolate

    Thursday - Headed to SLC to meet up with some friends and prep for the second half of our trip
    Breakfast - same as above
    Lunch & Dinner - city food

    The second half of our trip we planned to do a little backpacking in Southern Utah. We had picked out Lower Muley Twist Canyon, but when we showed up at the ranger station to get our permit, the ranger on duty told us that they limit the number of parties in the canyons for each night, and that Lower Muley had already hit the limit of three. But she was really kind and pointed out a few other options for us, and we decided to hike Lower Spring Canyon. Because they limit the number of groups in the canyon per night, we didn’t see or hear a single person once we arrived at our campsite and we felt like we had the canyon to ourselves. We took some time to just lie and soak in the beauty of the sandstone walls, played some cards, ate some delicious food, and watched the bats swoop over our heads in our sleeping bags while we stargazed. The next day, we day-hiked Upper Spring Canyon, then returned to our campsite and moved down canyon for the night. On Sunday, we hiked Lower Spring Canyon. The ranger had told us that we would notice a difference between the upper and lower part of the canyon and she was right. The sharp, straight lines of the deep red Navajo sandstone gave way to the softer, rounder, lighter walls of the lower canyon. Since we started early enough, most of the canyon was in the shade the whole morning. At the very end we had to ford the Fremont River to get back to the road. I love any trip that ends in cold water, so I was thrilled.

    Friday - Backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park: Spring Creek Canyon
    Breakfast - eggs & bacon at our friends’ house before leaving
    Lunch - Sandwich “Bowls”
    Dinner - Cream of Mushroom Chicken Soup, chocolate

    Saturday - Backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park: Spring Creek Canyon
    Breakfast - Living Intentions Superfood Cereal w/ collagen & coconut milk
    Lunch - Sandwich “Bowls”
    Dinner - Beefy Spaghetti Squash 'n' Sauce, chocolate

    Sunday - Backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park: Spring Creek Canyon
    Breakfast & Lunch - same as Saturday
    Dinner - Sausages, salad, sweet potatoes, wine, and chocolate back at our friends’ house in SLC

    Monday - Drive from SLC to EUG
    Breakfast - eggs & bacon at the house
    Lunch/Snacks - sardines & oysters, carrots, apple, avocado, trail mix, plantain chips, sweet potato chips, kombucha

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Oregon Elk Hunt & True Primal 100% GRASS-FED! Soup Review: 6-Day Menu

    I never thought I would want to hunt. I always thought of it as just a recreation activity for people who liked to drive trucks, shoot guns, and wear camo. But the more I've tried to learn about ancestral life ways, the more I've realized that hunting is an inseparable part of life. How else would we be able to nourish ourselves from a wild landscape? Foraged berries and leafy greens contribute essential nutrients and are obviously a very important part of a natural diet, but berries and leaves alone will not give us the protein and fat that our bodies have evolved to require. And so I have come to a point in my life where I want to become a huntress. Deciding to become her was the easy part. Learning to become her is much more difficult.
    Most of the hunters I know have grown up hunting. They have been taught by their families, with this knowledge being passed down from many previous generations. Max and I both do not come from hunting families and have very few friends who hunt. Hunting and all the know-how that goes into it is very mysterious to me. How do you find the elk? is the biggest question, but I have many others like, How do you set up so you can get a good shot? How do you read the wind so your scent doesn't give you away? How do you track the elk once they are shot? How do you field dress it? And then there's the matter of being practiced enough with a rifle to take a successful shot. It seems like so many years of knowledge and skill required to make one kill, and I feel discouraged, starting from scratch. A seasoned hunting mentor who lives near us has yet to materialize, so we decided to start on our own this year anyways. We have a friend who has been hunting a couple years and so we planned a trip together to the Umpqua National Forest for Oregon's October elk season.
     This hunting trip required the most sustained energy output I have ever had to give for a trip. Up around 4 or 4:30 every morning, followed by 6-8 miles of tiring cross-country travel with packs, interspersed with hours of sitting still in the cold while glassing across valleys or waiting in a clearing for the chance to glimpse an elusive bull. This was all the energy I could muster on our last day in camp:
    I was exhausted and bone-tired by the end of the five and a half days, and not a single elk was sighted, but I felt like I gained what I had come for. We found a few signs of elk - hoof prints and droppings - and I'm beginning to learn the type of habitat elk like. I made friends with the dark cold mornings, and learned to appreciate sitting in the cold, waiting for the magic of an elk to appear. These elk introduced me, through their absence, to their favorite times of day - dawn and dusk. Never had I so closely watched the coming and going of the days, and without these elk, I might never have done so.
    Like any first time endeavor, this hunting trip surfaced more questions than answers, but it gave me a solid place to start from, on a learning journey that will take a long time. It also helped me decide that I don't want to rifle hunt; I am drawn much more to the backcountry and a bow than roads and rifles. The sound of a rifle, and hours spent at a shooting range to hone the skill is the opposite of the peace and connection I am seeking through learning to be a huntress. I know this will be exponentially more difficult than learning to rifle hunt, but I also feel like I have exponentially more to gain from it.
    Oh yea! And I forgot to mention we saw a PACIFIC GIANT SALAMANDER!!! This is us looking at it, but it fled before anyone could get a picture of it, so you'll just have to take my word. It was giant!
    A notable addition to our camping food pantry on this trip was True Primal's 100% Grass-Fed Beef & Vegetable Soup. I wrote a review on their original soup a while back, but recently they switched over to 100% grass-fed beef, and changed from cans to pouches. As before, I was impressed with the taste and quality. My favorite part is the absence of the "canned soup" know what I'm talking about...even Amy's Kitchen soups have it. And each pouch of fully primal/paleo soup has 24 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, and 300 calories (more than the previous version). There's a substantial amount of vegetables and meat in each serving, and with some sweet potato chips or a coconut flour biscuit on the side, makes a pretty filling meal. Max, of course, always likes to add a scoop of butter, too.
    I love companies who go the extra mile and try to make their product the best, and I really appreciate True Primal choosing to go with 100% grass-fed beef. I hate having to compromise quality food while out on adventures, and companies like True Primal make it so I don't have to! I also love that they are now pouches. They are easier to cram into a backpack, and the trash is more packable. We love this soup so much, we brought enough pouches along for 3 of our 5 dinners.

    As far as the rest of our food goes...we were in a bit of a time crunch for preparing food, and also discovered last minute that the paleo bread we were trying to bake from Other Foods wouldn't work out because, lo and behold, we don't have a bread pan! So, we had to cut some corners and this isn't a fully paleo menu, but you can easily adapt it to be!

    Food lessons from this trip:
    • Bring more bars!!!! Waking up at 4am means there's a lot more of the day to be eating! 
    • Don't bring breakfast foods (like hard boiled eggs) that require prep at 4 in the morning! Only bring foods you can stuff in your mouth as is. 
    Day 1:
    • roast beef, raw cheese, and mustard on Franz Gluten-Free Bread
    • plantain chips
    • apple
    Homemade Beef & Sweet Potato Chili & Coconut Flour Biscuit
    Day 2:
    • 1 gluten-free blueberry muffin
    • 3 Knee Deep pepperoni beef sticks
    • roast beef, raw cheese, and mustard on Franz Gluten-Free Bread
    • plantain chips
    • apple
    Cooking up a pot of True Primal soup!
    Day 3:
    • roast beef, raw cheese, and mustard on Franz Gluten-Free Bread
    • plantain chips
    • apple
    Day 4:
    • salami, raw cheese, and mustard
    • plantain chips
    • apple
    • trail mix
    Day 5:
    • salami, raw cheese, and mustard
    • plantain chips
    • apple
    • trail mix
    Day 6:
    • Tacos & salad at Falling Sky Brewery in Eugene!!

    Monday, November 6, 2017

    Cream of Mushroom Chicken Soup

    I've been trying to experiment with more dehydrated meals lately and I am particularly excited about this one. It turned out really good and I packed SO many vegetables into it. I've been contemplating a lot lately how we in the civilized world have ended up eating just a few vegetables over and over again. Carrots, onions, celery. Carrots, celery, onion. Onion, celery, carrots. But there are so many other foods out there and each one offers a unique energy for your body to use. So in this meal, I tried to use a wide variety of vegetables. Ideally they would be from the wild because there is so much more energy to be drawn from wild places than from a cultivated garden or farm, but this is what I had available. I used two different types of mushrooms, onions AND leeks, cauliflower, garlic, kale, peas, and sweet potato. I think all the different ingredients also give it a much more complex flavor, something that is essential (and often lacking) in backcountry foods.

    1 TB cooking fat (I think I used lard)
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
    2 cups crimini mushrooms, chopped
    2 large white sweet potatoes, chopped
    1 tsp sea salt
    2 quarts chicken broth

    1 TB cooking fat
    1 large leek, diced
    2 large portobello mushrooms, diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 TB dried rosemary
    1 TB dried thyme
    1.5 lb. ground chicken

    1 bunch kale, chopped
    1 bag frozen peas

    In a large soup pot, heat the cooking fat over medium heat. Add onion, cauliflower, crimini mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and sea salt. Stir to coat with the cooking fat, and cook until veggies begin to get tender.
    Add chicken broth to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
    Simmer veggies in the broth until they are very soft.
    Remove pot from heat and let cool.

    Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of cooking fat in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add leek and portobello mushrooms and sauté until veggies are tender. Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Stir for about a minute to release the fragrance, then add ground chicken. Break up the chicken into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until chicken is cooked through.
    Once broth and veggie mixture is cool, run it in small batches through the blender to puree (I like to put a towel on top of the blender and hold down to make sure splatters are kept to a minimum).

    Add the blended broth mixture to the cooked leeks, mushrooms, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer about 20 minutes.
    Towards the end of the cooking time, add the kale and frozen peas. Stir to incorporate and cook until kale is wilted and peas are thawed.
    Remove pot from heat and let cool.

    Dehydrating & rehydrating directions found here.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Herbal First Aid Kit

    **This is not medical advice and should not be used as such! This post is intended for educational purposes only, and if you are experiencing severe symptoms of any kind, you should immediately leave the backcountry and seek medical help. Some of this information may be useful for interim care, but should not replace professional care.**
    I always carry a jar of salve for bug bites, cuts, burns, and dry lips.
    For the last several years, I have been diving into the wisdom of plants and learning from them how to heal things naturally. I find so much richness in making my own herbal remedies and it is such an empowering feeling to be able to use something I've made to heal myself and my friends. There are a few things I swear by, and I'm beginning to build an herbal first aid kit to carry in the backcountry with my favorite remedies. Here are some of the things I like to use:

    Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises

    • Herbal salve - with ingredients like comfrey, St. John's Wort, plantain, calendula, and yarrow. There are a lot of great options for buying a salve, or if you'd like to make your own, find directions here
    • Yarrow poultice - My favorite remedy to stop bleeding! I've used this multiple times on pretty deep cuts, and it's almost magical how quickly it stops bleeding. If there is fresh yarrow (Achillea millefolium) where you are, you can chew up some fresh yarrow leaf and stick it on the open wound. You can also carry yarrow tea bags (buy them or make your own), and to make a poultice, soak one in water and apply it to the wound. 

    Bug Bites and Stings

    Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago lanceolata) is a great drawing agent, which is good for removing venom from bites and stings. It is such a powerful medicine that some people have even used it to successfully treat black widow and brown recluse spider bites, as well as snake bites.

    This is Plantago major (Broadleaf Plantain). You can recognize both plantains (P. major and P. lanceolata, which are long, thin leaves) by the parallel veins of the leaves.
    • Plantain poultice - Find some plantain, chew it up until it's pulpy, and stick it on the bite or sting. Swallow whatever juices you extracted while chewing it (it's medicine on the inside and the outside!) Most effective if used immediately after bite or sting occurs. 
    • Plantain salve - If you're traveling in an area without plantain, you can carry a small tin of plantain salve for bites and stings.
    • Plantain tincture - Taking plantain internally as well as externally can help with bites and stings, too. 


    • Plantain poultice - Plantain is also a great drawing agent for infections. 


    • Pure Aloe Vera gel - This is by far my favorite option for sunburns - plain old aloe vera gel. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. Just make sure it's as pure as you can get it. Mountain Roses's has preservatives in it, but I don't think you can get around that because truly pure aloe gel would probably spoil quickly. A lot of other products have other fillers in them, including parabens (even if they're labeled "99.9%" aloe gel).

    Bug Repellent

    Sore or Injured Muscle and Joints

    • Arnica salve

    Upset Stomach

    • Activated charcoal capsules - I swear by this for food poisoning-like symptoms (super gurgly stomach, diarrhea, etc.) and have also used it for acid reflux before with success. I have even seen references to it being used for giardia, although I've never had giardia so I haven't been able to experiment personally. 
    • Smooth Move Tea - for constipation.
    • Digestive Bitters Tincture - I always take a digestive bitter before or after I eat, and it really helps my stomach feel less heavy after eating. My favorites are dandelion root or yellow dock root. 

    Cold and Flu

    • Gypsy Cold Care Tea - This one truly makes me feel better when I'm sick.
    • Throat Coat - Indispensable for sore throats. 
    • Usnea tincture - Usnea (Usnea barbata) or "Old Man's Beard" is another one of my favorite remedies. It is specific for respiratory and urinary issues, and is very good for sinus infections, bronchitis, strep throat, staph infections, colds, flu, pneumonia, and urinary tract or bladder infections. I make a double-extracted tincture and at the first signs of symptoms, start taking a small dose (5-10 drops) in warm water every half hour or so. Instructions to make your own here
    • Herbal cough drops - My favorite right now are Ricola's Natural Herb cough drops. They have some interesting ingredients like "color (caramel)"...what does that mean?!...and starch syrup and sugar. But even still, I love them, and they really seem to work for me. I love their herb mix they use (elder, horehound, hyssop, lemon balm, linden flowers, mallow, peppermint, sage, thyme, and wild thyme) and I'm thinking about trying to make my own, but with honey, and without the "color." 


    So I can't verify these claims, but I recently found a website about 101 Uses for Coconut Oil, and a lot of them were first-aid related. I haven't tested any of them out, but I thought I would pass along the information, because if you're looking to go super lightweight, it would probably be handy to have just one bottle that is a cure-all. If you want to see the whole article, I linked to it above, but here are the first-aid related uses:
    • skin moisturizer
    • SPF 4 sunscreen
    • topically to speed healing of skin after injury or infection
    • topically to kill yeast infections - soak a tampon in it and insert for a few hours
    • topically to treat athlete's foot
    • rub on inside of nose to alleviate allergies
    • can help speed healing of sunburn, after initial heat is gone
    • antibacterial skin cream
    • reduce itchiness of mosquito bites

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017

    Elkhorn Crest Trail: 3-Day Menu

    Twin Lakes from the Elkhorn Crest Trail

    Two of our friends got married recently and for a wedding gift, Max and I decided to plan a backpacking trip with them and make all the food. I love chances to try new recipes and especially for other people to test them! We had planned to take them to the Wild Rogue Loop in Southwest Oregon, which I've been wanting to do for a year now, but that area was smothered with smoke and also pretty close to a couple of fires. We spent several nights looking at maps of the fires and smoke, and looking at predictions for the weekend, but nothing looked clear except Eastern Oregon. We finally chose the Elkhorn Crest Trail in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. A little further than we wanted to drive, but it looked like our best option.
    The long drive was made a bit longer and bit more exciting because we drove right past one of the active fires burning along Highway 126. This was the first wildfire I'd seen this close and it was hauntingly beautiful. We hit the burn right as night fell, and in the growing darkness we started to see small fires here and there on the ground, looking eerily like campfires that had been abandoned, or perhaps tended by ghosts. As the line of cars crawled deeper into the heart of it, more and more firelight appeared, now on the trunks of charred trees which crackled with criss-crossed lines of glowing embers. Most of the damage had been done by now and the smoldering forest was now reminiscent of a fire pit in its last hour. A snag burned in the distance. A small stand of baby cedars crackled as they went up in flames. And then we were past it. The road wound up the hillside and we watched from above as the lights disappeared in the darkness, winking away like so many Christmas lights hung from ghosted trees.

    It was amazing to see in all that destruction that many of the larger trees remained standing with green needles held high above the danger zone, and knowing that this patch of forest has a good chance of regenerating. I used to be uniformly saddened by burned forests, but after years of hiking through burned patches, have come to realize that these "damaged" areas are able to host so much life afterwards. In fact, one of the best feastings of thimbleberry I've ever had came from a previously burned patch of forest. However, when so much area burns for so long, one has to this part of "healthy" regeneration for a forest? Or catastrophe brought on by climate change, and poor caretending of our lands? Here's an interesting article from Oregon Wild about it: 9 Things Oregonians Should Know About Forest Fires.

    I think this map from 9-8-2017 speaks for itself. 
    We started at the south end at the Marble Pass trailhead and hiked the 4-6 miles (signs conflicting) on the gradually inclined trail. The weather was hot enough to make us excited for a swim at Twin Lakes, our destination. We made bets on how cold the water was going to be. "I think colder than the McKenzie, but warmer than Blue Pool." "I think closer to the Willamette." It ended up being a perfect temperature and we swam several times in the aqua mountain water.
    Tenkara fishing
     The water was also filled with many of them! It only took me about five minutes of casting before I caught my first fish ever (well...the first one I could legally take) using our new Tenkara rod. Tenkara is a Japanese style of fly fishing that uses only a rod, a line, and a fly. When I first heard about it, I was becoming more interested in fishing as a way of gathering my own food, and I was drawn to it's simplicity. The fish I caught was a small rainbow trout with beautiful markings on its sides. Since I fish only for sustenance and not sport, I now faced the death part. All food comes with a price, and death is a natural and necessary part of life. Feeling full of gratitude for this fish, and for the part of me it will become, I killed it, gutted it, and cooked it to eat with dinner.
    My first catch
    At our campsite, we were graced with the company of a herd of 20 mountain goats that we could see climbing the hills, drinking water out of the stream flowing from the lake, and grazing in the green meadows.

    Day 1:

    Breakfast - Morning Glory muffins & bacon (where we car camped)

    Morning Glory muffins

    Cooking up the Salmon Curry
    Lunch - Smoked salmon, Almond Flour Dill crackers, creamy Toscano cheese soaked in Syrah

    Dinner - Easy Salmon Curry w/ collagen powder

    Dessert - Key Lime Packaroons (from Heather's Choice Let's Go On An Adventure dehydrating e-book)

    This was my best pot of Salmon Curry to date!

    Day 2:

    Breakfast - Banana Nut & Maple Cinnamon Sprouted Buckwheat cereals (mixed together!) with coconut milk and collagen

    Lunch - Salami Bowls, plantain chips

    The salami bowls were a hit!
    Dinner - Chile Verde w/ collagen powder and Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips
    Chile Verde. No that's not butter....good guess, though. It's raw cheese!

    Day 3:

    Breakfast - Banana Nut & Maple Cinnamon Sprouted Buckwheat cereals (mixed together!) with coconut milk and collagen

    Lunch - Salami slices, goat gouda cheese, more sweet potato chips, Larabars

    Snacks -
    • homemade beef jerky 
    • Sea Salt Rosemary Sprouted Almonds (also from Heather's Choice e-book)
    • trail mix
    • dried pineapple
    • plantain chips

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    Taco Surprise

    This was named by Max's cousin when I described it to her as "beef taco stuff." She then dubbed it "Taco Surprise" because...surprise! There's no tacos! No grains means no tortillas, but that doesn't mean we can't have taco filling! It was a hit at Max's annual family Cape Alava backpacking trip. Also, I have a lead on some cassava flour tortillas that I think would do well in backpacks...coming soon!

    Makes 4 servings

    1 TB cooking fat
    2 red or green bell peppers, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    4 large crimini mushrooms, diced
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1.5 lb ground beef
    1/2 TB salt
    pepper to taste
    1 TB chili powder of choice (chipotle, ancho, etc)
    1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
    1/4 cup tomato paste (about half a small can)

    Cook vegetables in a large pot over medium heat until soft.
    Stir in the ground beef, spices, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
    Cook until meat is cooked through.
    Remove from heat and let cool.
    Spread on parchment paper on dehydrator trays and dehydrate 8-12 hours at 150F.