Dutch Oven Deliciousness

Any time of year is perfect for dutch oven cooking, but I especially enjoy it during the autumn months. Perhaps it gives me a feeling of camp cooking, or it is simply just spending some time outdoors. The beauty of dutch oven cookery is it can be done practically anywhere, no campfire required!

I’m a succer for a delicious coffee cake. My father in-law makes a great one every Christmas morning. Maybe this year I’ll get him to try this one!

Do you have a favorite dutch oven recipe you’d like to share? Submit it to Suniechick!

11 (more) Things Every Outdoors Woman Should Experience

Eleven you ask? Most of these types of ┬álists are ‘ten’. I even have one myself. There is such a variety of experiences I feel should be had by not just every woman, but everyone. Here is a list of eleven more things I’ve added to the list of should dos.

  • Setting up a tent completely on your own. This leads to quite a feeling of accomplishment if you’ve never done it.
  • Starting a campfire from scratch; no firestart sticks, newspaper, just what is provided by nature.
  • Drinking your tea/coffee around a campfire (one of my favorites).
  • Summiting that mountain, whatever size it may be.
  • The scent of evergreens blowing in the breeze.
  • A whispering creek telling bed time stories as you drift into dreamland.
  • Chopping wood, can be difficult but rewarding.
  • Cooking anything over the fire.
  • That moment of peace when you gaze out into nature, feeling the breeze caress your skin while the birds and squirrels hold their conversations. This can be done almost anywhere, even your own backyard.
  • Ice cold creek water running between your toes.
  • Cool grass, soft mud, sun warmed river rocks under your bare feet. This makes me feel so connected, when my feet can touch the earth sans coverings.

Most of these items bring upon a sense of accomplishment for me, no matter how many times I do them. Not because I’m a ‘girl’ that was able to chop my own firewood or set up my own tent, but because I am proud of who I am, and the things I can do for myself. I’m not afraid of a little hard work, and am usually fairly good about asking for help when needed (although I have been known to be quite stubborn). I ask you to try new things, to challenge yourself. You might just be surprised at what you can do.

Are there items on your ‘Experiences List’ you’d like to share? Please, send ’em in!

Day Trip Preparedness

September has arrived, and with it summer begins its transition into fall. This season has been filled with enourmous amounts of heat (and horrific forest fires), making day hiking a bit more difficult. School is starting for some, and ‘regular’ life and routine have returned. The weather has started to cool, and thus begins one of my favorite times of year; day trip season! I continually re-evaluate my day trip needs, reviewing packlists and current contents of my pack. I would like to share with you a bit of day trip prepardness for those non-camping jaunts into nature.

Day Trip Pack List
Depending on your destination, and the journey to get there, your list may vary. These are some things that I ALWAYS take with me despite where I may end up.

Clothing Items
* Extra socks
* Knit hat (beanie)
* Gloves (the little “magic” gloves will do)
* Jacket/hoodie
* Towel

Food
* Granola bars (I prefer Larabars, very few ingredients and yummy!)
* Nuts. dried fruit. trail mix type items.
* Shot Blocs (for extra electrolytes if needed)
[The above items can be stored in your day pack and changed out as needed since they have a longer shelf life and no need for refrigeration}
* Fresh fruit; mandarin oranges, apples, grapes etc
* String cheese (can go awhile without refrigeration)
* PBJ
* Lots of water

Miscellaneous
* Big black trash bag for setting my stuff on or myself, also works as a rain jacket in a pinch
* Small plastic grocery bags for picking up others trash
* Head lamp/flashlight
* Knife
* Lip balm
* Lotion
* Bug spray
* Sun screen
* Camera
* Notepad and pen

A few of these items may seem frivolous or unnecessary, but in my fairly extensive experience these are must haves for me. I dream fondly of the next adventure to come. I’m sure it will be here sooner than later.

Are there any items that are must haves for you to include? Please remember to pack it in, pack it out, to leave the wilderness better than you found it and to tell someone where you’ll be. Safety is important!

Happy Adventuring!

Coping With the Unexpected

Life has a way of throwing up unforeseen obstacles that must be overcome. This transcends into time in the outdoors. There are some trips, no matter the detailed preparation, that the unexpected creeps up and can whap you in the kisser. One such journey into the forest recently happened to me.

I was planning on spending a few days in the Payette and Boise National Forests, with the intentions of avoiding the traditional holiday campers. I looked back through old trip notes as well, because I also wanted to avoid the Tribal Salmon fishing season. I have entered into this area in the past during fishing time, and was greeted with an overwhelming amount of people, noise and rude behavior. My notes dictated that this particular event was still a couple weeks away. I was in the clear!

For days I was looking forward to campfires, starlit nights and serene hot spring soaks. My food was in order, gear double checked, weather forcast perused and the vehicle had been given the preliminary once over. I was ready. The drive, as usual, was gorgeous. The scent of pine and earth drifted through the open windows. A smile split my face from ear to ear. It was just me, SS and our four legged friend. The trip was lining up for perfection, until we turned onto the forest road of our destination.

This narrow, winding mountain road had turned into L.A. gridlock. Almost every pullout was packed with cars and trucks. Our usual campground was filled beyond capacity. We slowly made our way further down. We found a half full campground! The first night was quite peaceful. There was even a midnight soak to be had.

Upon awaking with the sun, the campground had filled up completely. There were even illegal makeshifts spots created by the creek. I was dumbfounded. The holiday was still 5 days off, how could there be so many people? As we sipped our tea and coffee, the answer was shown to us. Truck after SUV after car rolled by with traditional spear and nets. We had arrived just before salmon fishing started. The signs had not yet been posted when we entered the forest road. Run-off was also early this year so fishing was able to begin sooner. I was almost crushed. There went our peace and quiet. There went our private soaks. There went less stressful driving. We had already paid our camping fees, so we decided to make the best of it.

Up went the privacy shelter, which helped tremendously. The volume of people was not the only issue we faced. Mother Nature decided to be about 15 degrees hotter than the weather man predicted. Now 15* doesn’t sound like much, but when it is 90* as to 75*, with little shade and the creek being bogarted, it’s just plain hot.

Solutions, solutions. The privacy shelter helped with the overfilled campground and provided a little extra shade. We also explored a new trail which we didn’t have to drive to which led to another section of the creek with bountiful trees and a great spot to picnic. The biggest and most important solution, was an attitude adjustment. Sometimes you simply can not predict what is going to happen. During this same trip we experienced a few more unexpected obstacles. However, making up my mind to enjoy my time in the mountains, not letting the unplanned grate my nerves, allowed me to truly experience nature. I still found my moments of tranquility, my moments to reconnect. And I took away a valuable lesson; to cope and adjust are a necessity if one is to adventure.

National Park Adventures to be had

There are 58 national parks in the United States, covering over 55 million acres.

You’ll find every type of terrain from forest to desert to high mountain grandcanyonfamilypeaks. Any adventure you’re craving can be found within these pristine areas.

National parks are fantastic places to start exploring the great outdoors, or expand your experience. They are a great place to take the family to educate and entertain every generation.

Whether you’re looking for a simple day hike or a multi-day pack trip, national parks are a great place to begin.

Find a national park by you

Happy Exploring!

One Hour No Power: Vote for Earth

voteearth

On March 28th from 8:30-9:30 p.m I will be placing my vote by switching off my lights, laptop and anything else that consumes power in my home in honor of 2009 Earth Hour.

It is time for all of us as global neighbors to stand up, switch off and take action! It is time to protect our home, Earth. We only have one of her, and she has taken abuse for too long. As a result climates have been changing and severe damage has occurred.

What can you do?

Join me and millions of others in turning off your lights for one hour on March 28th and visit www.voteearth2009.org to learn more about what you can do to cast your vote for Earth!