Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Lukewarm Springs Camping Trip & Paleonola Review

What's better than hot springs in the middle of winter? Lukewarm springs!

Back in October, Max and I visited Wall Creek Warm Springs (right there in their name they admit they're not hot) outside of Oakridge, Oregon. Although we had been warned by a guidebook that they were definitely not "hot" springs, we decided to check it out because I am definitely not afraid of less-than-hot water. Our plan was to hike nearby Blair Lake and then stop by the springs on the way back. The day we chose was a rainy, cold, wet day and got pretty soaked. We worried on the way to the springs that it wouldn't actually do a sufficient job of warming us up, but we were pleasantly surprised that they were actually quite close to being hot, and we stayed in for a long time, soaking in the sulfur, steam, and old growth trees alongside a rushing creek. There was no one else there, and there was definitely some magic to that little piece of old growth forest.

Warming our hands after packing up in the morning.
So naturally, when we started planning a camping trip with our friends Sam and Dillon, we suggested the warm springs as a destination. Maybe they weren't as hot as Deer Creek or Cougar hot springs, but they were pretty darn warm. What I didn't take into account was the massive amounts of rain we have been getting the past couple months which filtered through the ground and diluted the pool. We arrived excited to have a little soak in the pool before we cooked dinner. Max was the first in, and yelled to the rest of us on the bank, "It's cold!" I didn't believe him. I thought he was overreacting. I tip-toed down the bank and waded in as well. Yikes. Definitely cold. Sam and Dillon joined us, and we were all shivering pretty quickly. But I am way too stubborn in these situations. I love being in water, and I was holding out hope that maybe, juuuust maybe, it would spontaneously warm up. And if it didn't, I would just have to enjoy the temperature it was. Max and Dillon were out in a couple minutes but Sam and I stubbornly stuck it out, trying to find the "hot spots," and digging our feet into the rocks where the heat was bubbling up.

Needless to say we were more than ready for a hot dinner when we got back to our campsite. We built a fire and roasted grass-fed hot dogs for dinner. We used our cast iron (we don't travel light when car camping) to reheat some stir fry cabbage and carrots we had cooked beforehand. I really don't think anything can beat hot dogs roasted to crispy perfection on a fire.

In the morning we woke up to a delicious breakfast of Paleonola with raw goat milk! I've experimented with making my own paleo 'nola's (grain-free granola), but I think Paleonola takes the cake over all the versions I've made so far. My favorite part about it was that there is so much variety in the ingredients! It's not just coconut flakes and almonds slivers like a lot of 'nolas. The Original flavor has almonds, pecans, pepitas, honey, walnuts, coconut oil, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cranberries, and coconut. I also love what a variety of flavors they have in their line-up: Original, Chocolate Fix, Maple Pecan, Apple Pie, PiƱa Colada, and Pumpkin Pie. I taste-tested the Original and Maple Pecan flavors and, although they tasted pretty similar in flavor to me, they were both so delicious that neither bag lasted more than a day.

It was super filling, especially with goat milk or coconut milk on it. One thing we noticed is that it is easy to feel like you're not eating a lot because it's so dense for its volume. There are supposed to be 10 servings in a bag, but we split one bag 4 ways and it didn't seem like a whole lot of food, even though it was almost 500 calories each (without the goat milk). On the other hand, this does make it perfect backpacking food, because it's so dense. Max and I also ate some pre-cooked hamburgers because I never feel like I've actually had breakfast until I eat some meat. This breakfast kept me super full for the rest of the day and I only had a few snacks until dinner.
Sam and Dillon loved it, too!

If you are looking for a grain-free, paleo breakfast or snack option, Paleonola is the way to go!