Friday, December 28, 2007

Early Morning Adventure

I woke before the sun. Lunch was made, day pack prepped, and the gas tank full. All that remained was loading up the dogs and grabbing my mp3 player for the drive. Too much time has passed since I visited my dear friend nature. Today was set to be a day for adventure.

The drive north along highway 55 was quite pleasant. The trees and mountain tops were dusted with snow creating beautiful scenery and nice roads. Turning off the main highway onto the forest road was a bit different story. Pavement was hidden by snow pack covering patches of ice. Still, there was not as much snow as I had anticipated for this time of year. My husband and I arrived at our first destination, Trail Creek hot springs. Amazingly the parking lot was vacant. As usual the trail down was treacherous. I managed to make it all the way to the bottom of the trail before slipping on an insignificant spot of ice. This made for some great comic relief for my other half. I did not find this to be so humorous. After snapping off a few pictures we decided to continue on the days journey.

Earlier this summer my favorite place to camp and hot spring endured raging wild fires. I was anxious to see the extent of damage caused. Would my spring even still be soakable? I had heard a couple of rumors that it had survived, but I couldn't wait to see for myself. To put it mildly, I was awestruck as we entered the burn area. Ponderosa pines, birch, shrubbery, almost everything charred to a crisp. Entire mountain side stood vacant of any objects save for a few random standing bits of burnt tree. I could actually see the river in spots that I didn't even know it ran through! As devastating as the fire impact was, something saddened me even greater. Turning onto north I saw real estate signs. We were shocked! How is it that in the midst of national forest there can be land for sale?

The road continued on in its same manner, slick and snowy, and offering up breathtaking views. Destruction can be so beautiful. Arriving at the hot spring I was relived to find it in a pocket of protection, although someone had tampered with the source spout causing the pool to be a few degrees cooler than usual. This was remedied by an eight foot piece of PVC pipe that redirected the water more directly into the pool.

While my body soaked up the healing waters, my eyes soaked in the magnificence of the day. The sky threatened ever so slightly to release more snow. Unsee birds chirped, almost welcoming us to their home. Ice chunks gathered among rocks along the river, reflecting the brief moments of sun light that fought its way through the clouds. Time had passed without my knowing again my soul felt revitalized, and the unwanted journey back to the city was approaching. What will spring bring to this battered land? I can not wait to discover it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Animal Love

Recently I was talking with a friend about The Animal Rescue site. They have a program where their sponsors will donate to care for the animals, and all we have to do is click. It is completely free to visitors except for a few moments of your time.

The Animal Rescue Site focuses the power of the Internet on a specific need — providing food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the U.S. every year. Over 10 million animals are put to death every year in the U.S. alone because they are abandoned and unwanted.
Each click on the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site provides food and care for a rescued animal living in a shelter or sanctuary. Funding for food and care is paid by site sponsors and distributed to animals in need at the
Fund for Animals' renowned animal sanctuaries (including Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in California), pet shelters supported by the Petfinder Foundation, North Shore Animal League, and other worthy animal care facilities supported by the foundation.

This is a fantastic program. Let's get spread the word, and take a few moments to make a difference.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lovely Layers

It's that time of year when we want to be out enjoying Mother Nature as much as possible before she hits us head on with winter. At times the crisp temperatures lead to a snuggle by the fire instead of a frolic through the park. We women are more than capable of enduring a jaunt through the snow blanketed forest, just keep our fingers and toes warm!

I say give me polypro, fleece and my rain proof shell. Give me my base, middle and top layers, and I can take on the world! Of course there are always exceptions. In extreme weather, one must practice caution and common sense. When preparing to take advantage of the cooler seasons, knowledge is our greatest tool. Knowing what to expect and also remembering that a day spent by the fire isn't all bad.

Layers are very important to exercise when hiking. They allow you to stay cool or warm up as needed.

Base Layer: this should be one that wicks away moisture from the body. Sweat is moisture too. Polypro and silk work well as a base. Cotton should be avoided as it traps moisture and takes time to dry.

Middle Layer: here is where one of my favorite materials gets used, fleece! Worn for extra warmth over the base layer.

Top Layer: for the outer layer you're looking for something wind proof and water repellent. There are a variety of styles of nylon type jackets that would work perfectly for this. Nylon pants are a must for an outer layer.

Don't forget the extremities either. Gloves, socks and headgear can all be layered as well. We've got to keep those fingers and toes warm to get the most out of all the seasons!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Leave No Trace

It never hurts to have a refresher on how we should treat our environment. Here are the basic principles of the Leave No Trace concept, which should be followed by anyone who has thoughts of enjoying the outdoors. It is my wish to have the forest, deserts, wetlands, tundra, and all wild lands around for my great great grandchildren's children to experience and treasure as I do. We must all work together to conserve, preserve, and educate!

1. Plan ahead and prepare
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of waste properly
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate of other visitors

Don't forget to always pack it out, leaving everything more pristine than how you found it.
For more information:

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Horse Slaughter is Over!

The last Horse Slaughter plant in the U.S. has finally closed. This plant was set in Illinois. They should be proud that they're no longer part of the foriegn based consumption of horses. Please read the entire article at HSUS website.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Storing your camping gear

The end of the season has finally arrived, except for those who enjoy the winter side of camping as well. Here is an informative, easy to follow article from on how to sadly put away our gear for the season. also has some good info. I hope everyone had an adventurous summer. I know I did!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

They can't wait to kill our wolves!

A New Threat to Wolves

The Bush/Cheney Administration announced a proposal that would sanction the killing of more than 700 wolves in the Greater Yellowstone area, including wolves protecting their pups on National Forest lands and Wilderness areas! Under this proposal, these and other wolves could be killed, even if gray wolves in the Northern Rockies remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

If this proposal is successful, it will set the stage for aerial gunning of wolves in Wyoming and Idaho and clear the way for the extermination of three out of four wolves in the Lolo area of Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest.

And, if that's not enough, just last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reversed its long term opposition to Wyoming’s wolf management plan, clearing the way for a state policy that allows wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state if they wander outside the safety of Yellowstone or Grand Tetons National Parks and nearby areas.

Once again, federal officials are bending over backwards to allow the killing of still-endangered gray wolves. And, once again, Defenders needs your help to stop them.

Please take action now.
to oppose the Bush/Cheney Administration’s plans for our wolves.

The deadline for comments is Monday, August 6th. Speak out now. Click here to tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that you strongly oppose its acceptance of Wyoming’s wolf killing plan and proposed changes to wolf management in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

Actions taken so far: 34,198.........................Actions needed: 50,000

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trail Recipe

When backpacking season comes around I begin to think about all of the delicious food that can be brought. I'm not big on dirtying dishes while out and about, so I take advantage of freezer bag cooking. Here's one my favorites that is easy to prepare before the trail. All you'll need to do is add boiling water, eat, and enjoy!

Pasta w/Meat Sauce
At Home
Dehydrate your favorite pasta sauce to the point it looks like leather. Be sure to put plastic wrap on your trays, or a rather large mess will be made.

Dehydrate 1/4 pound lean hamburger or turkey per person. Brown meat, rinse until as much of the grease is gone, pat dry, and your ready to dehydrate. I suggest using the plastic wrap trick here also, as the meat dries it turns into gravel and falls through the holes of the trays.

Cook pasta until aldente (use your judgement on amount, remember when it dries it looks like much less than what it will reconstitute to). I like rotini or penne pasta.

Rip sauce into smaller pieces and place in sandwhich baggie. In a gallon size freezer bag put dehydrated meat, noodles, and sauce pouch together. I also like to add a packet of parmesean cheese.

On the trail
Remove sauce pouch, add about 1/3 cup water, not boiling, mush around. Water from your bottle is fine.
Boil aproximately 1 1/2 cups water. Add boiling water and sauce mix to meat/pasta mix. Stir well, place in foil cozy and let sit for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir well again, add your parmesean and have a delightful dinner on the trail.

Friday, June 22, 2007

One Hour No Power reminder

The day is almost upon us to join in on the One Hour No Power. I encourage everyone to participate, and to begin change!

On Sunday July 1, 2007 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. please join me in shutting everything off that you don't need. That means computers, cars, phones, everything that is not absolutely essential. In doing this we can show our support against climate change. Everything we use that is powered by electricity emits some form of "pollution". This pollution contributes to global warming and climate change. Please visit One Hour No Power to join in, find out more information, or spread the word. I urge you to encourage your friends, family, coworkers, bosses, and strangers to participate. Lets stand as a community and show that one hour of no power can begin to make a difference!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Sleeping Beast

The Grand Canyon is pristine, breathtaking, awe inspiring, and most definitely a true wonder to this world. At nearly a vertical mile drop in elevation, the Colorado river snakes through the Canyon, carrying rafters and immense beauty. It lulls you with unlimited horizons and jaw dropping views, until it wakes. The grandeur remains throughout the unrelenting heat, throughout the brutal pack trip. It endures from top to bottom, and back up again. It has not claimed another victim. It rests, so peaceful, so serene, until we meet again.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Well Spent Weekend

I spent last weekend with 150 moms and girls in Donnelly at a Girl Scout service unit's mom & me camp. I had the time of my life experiencing a taste of my aspirations. I had the good fortune to be asked to teach two workshops at this beautiful camp, as well as meet some amazing women and soon to be women. To my sweet surprise, the mothers enjoyed our activities and education as much as the girls! I can't wait for the next opportunity to share and spread the love for our environment so many of us carry, yet are unsure how to express.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Skillern Soaking

On the edge of the Sawtooth National Forest, 60 miles from Fairfield, ID lies Skillern Hot Springs. For 2.8 miles you'll hike above and along Big Smokey Creek, enjoying beautiful views.

I took along my trusty pack and a few friends for an overnighter. Primitive camping was abundant, and only 1/4 mile from the pool! We found two pools along the water, one was definitely soakable clocking in at 102 degrees. The other waterside pool was not as warm since creek levels were still high from winter run off. Perched upon a cliff edge, slightly tucked into a small cove, the main soaking pool was a toasty 104 degrees. Slight improvements had been made since my last visit in September 2006. Logs had been placed as a wind break, and the pool appeared to be slightly wider. The minature hot waterfall still cascaded into the pool lightly splashing its soakers. The water was clean, clear and free of algae. Tiny spiders scurried across the rocks throughout the source and hot overflows. I even saw a poor snake that had curled up to get warm, but alas, the water was too hot for it. The entire area was green and bursting with spring time life.

Skillern is a wonderful spring or autumn day hike or pack trip. Keep in mind that this area gets very warm in the summer months, the trail has little to no shade, and a great portion of the trail follows a ridge with no trees. This is a family friendly area, and you'll more than likely run into people throughout the weekend. We saw a few Saturday on our way out. Though the trip was short, the hike was great, the pool relaxing, and the company enjoyable.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Visit to Vulcan

Along FR 474 S in the Boise National forest you'll take a short hike and come upon one of Idaho's most unique hot springs. Vulcan hot springs provides an unexpected treat to us hot springers. It can be described as more of a hot river than simply a pool. It's dammed in a few places to provide soaking, but the main pool is the golden egg. Large enough to practically swim laps in, yet shallow enough to comfortably kneel, Vulcan sits at approximately 105 degrees. This temperature has varied with people trying to adjust the pool. Recently the pool has been widened, unnecessarily. The creek/river varies from 98 to 109 degrees at its source.

As beautiful and serene as Vulcan appears, there are some draw backs. I worry that the water flow may not be very high due to its size. Also, I have encountered some red spider mite/chigger bites on my various visits. The pool is easily accessible, with bountiful camping at the trail head and throughout the Boise National Forest. With this comes over use, trash, and disrespect for Mother Earth. You'll more than likely pass a group going in or out, but I would still highly recommend a visit.

Rumor has it that "big brother" wants to harness the geothermal power or the Vulcan complex. This would take it away from all of us. Please do your part in keeping this area beautiful.

Monday, May 28, 2007

One Hour No Power

On Sunday July 1, 2007 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. please join me in shutting everything off that you don't need. That means computers, cars, phones, everything that is not absolutely essential. In doing this we can show our support against climate change. Everything we use that is powered by electricity emits some form of "pollution". This pollution contributes to global warming and climate change. Please visit One Hour No Power to join in, find out more information, or spread the word. I urge you to encourage your friends, family, coworkers, bosses, and strangers to participate. Lets stand as a community and show that one hour of no power can begin to make a difference!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hints and Tips

The season is finally fully upon us, at least in most areas. Here are a few hints and tips for us outdoor gals to make our treks more comfortable. Most of these items are common sense, but it never hurts to have a refresher, especially at the begining of the season. Keep in mind this list is far from complete, and I will be adding to it in later posts. Feel free to offer any suggestions or share what your items are.

Pack towel: these can be found at most camping stores. They are usually made of a micro-fiber material which makes them dry quickly, and they are a lot less bulky to carry than the typical bath towel.

Antibacterial Wipes: they work in a pinch for all of your clean up needs.

Safety Pins: have so many uses from temporarily mending a lost button to acting as a zipper pull.

Pants with zip-off legs: through sun or rain, these are your friends, need I say more?

Trash bags: multipurpose, for trash, a rain parka, floor mat, use your imagination.

Extra socks

Tarp: use as weather protection or under your tent.

Little treats: I like the seasame snap cookies. They satisfy my sweet tooth and are easy to pack.

Small journal: mines goes with me everywhere. You never know when you might be inspired. Don't forget your pen!

And as always, bring your sense of adventure, an open mind, and a willingness for new friendship. There can be so many people on the trail these days, and you might just meet some amazing people.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Moon Cocoon here on Earth!

It's not actually from the moon, but it looks like a great place to live, and earth friendly!

The Eco-Dome is built out of earth filled Superadobe coils, and is tree free. The Domes featured on this website are smaller units. You could use it for an in-law or guest house, studio, or join several together to form a larger living area. It is supposed to stand up to Mother Nature's fury, be cost effective to build, and save on energy for heating/cooling. I think we are heading in the right direction, if only more of us would consider and follow through.

Have you come across unique planet-friendly housing? Please share with me!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Idaho's Roadless Areas Need Your Support!

The Forest Service is accepting comments on Idaho Roadless Areas.
Idaho has more than 9.3 million acres of unprotected backcountry National Forests, more than any state in the lower-48.In 2006, then-Governor Risch asked the Forest Service to protect 8.8 million acres of Idaho’s backcountry roadless areas. His proposal would open over 525,000 acres to mining, logging, and roadbuilding. Most of these so-called “General Forest” areas are located on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.Main Points
The comment period should be extended, and public meetings should be held at this stage. The analysis must evaluate the potential impact to the 525,000 acres designated as “General Forest.” *This is now at 900,000 acres*

No roads should be constructed in these areas for commercial purposes. What You Can Do: Use your own words to discuss these main points in a letter to the Forest Service. To make sure your voice is heard, you must comment by May 10, 2007.

Additional Points:
Talk about specific roadless areas that are special to you.
Discuss how Idaho's best fishing and hunting opportunities are located in roadless areas.
Mention that Idaho's forests already have over 34,000 miles of road and a $660 million backlog of needed maintenance.
Ask that all roadless areas be protected from mining. Use our form on our website to send your comments right away, or:Email your comments to: IDcomments@fsroadless.orgMail to:Roadless Area Conservation – IdahoPO Box 162909Sacramento, CA 95816-2909Fax to: 916.456.6724For More InfoGo to to download the Forest Service notice, Risch Petition, maps and other files.Latest Roadless Area Update Courtesy Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League

Thank you Hot Springs Guy for sharing this with all of us!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Outdoors in Your Neightborhood

When most people envision the outdoors they see mountains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, an array of wildlife and wild flowers. So many forget that nature exsists in our own backyards. In many cities there are miles of trails for you to hike and enjoy the local flora and fauna. Check out the links below to see what might be in your neck of the woods.

Ridge to Rivers: Boise

Forest Park Wildwood Trail: Portland

Salt Lake City, UT

Seattle, WA

Spokane, WA

There are so many more than what I have listed here. Be adventerous and try to find your own paths. Happy hiking!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bonneville Hot Springs

Travel up HWY 21, winding your way through mountain roads. You'll arrive at the namesake campground for Bonneville Hot Springs. Take a short hike (.25 miles in the summer) to find a hillside soak shack and several pools along the river. The shack houses an old tub, which is in pretty good shape and barely holds two. If you're looking for privacy, that's the place to soak. Down by the river you'll see the silt bottomed user built pools. They vary in temps, but are all usually a fairly nice soak. However, depending on water levels you may have to stir the water to keep the temps even (not my fav, but works nicely).

During summer months these springs are extremely popular. You'll have difficulty getting them to yourselves, and will definetely be sharing the campground. Winter months offer a bit more solitude, however it is a prevalant snowshoe/nordic area. The campground is closed from first snow fall through mid May, which leaves you to park along the highway in designated areas. Swim suits are a definite must, unless using the shack.

My last visit was January of this year. It was the ideal time. The hike was quite enjoyable. With only the sound of our boots crunching the crystalized snow and the wind whispering through the pines, all was quiet. I did pass another couple, he was on snowshoes, she was on skies, both were friendly. I patronized the shack, as the air was very crisp. Despite the popularity of this area, it holds extreme beauty, wild flowers, and the occasional wild life sighting. In the past I've seen deer, elk, and a few families of turkeys. As usual, please step with a light foot and leave as little trace as possible. While the trash levels are normally fairly low, many like to leave their garbage where it doesn't belong. Thank you in advance for taking care of Mother Nature.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Today is Day of Action for Elephants!

My heart contains many passions. The greatest is for the environment and all that comprise and live in nature. Today my heart is filled with compassion for the elephants. Please take a few minutes to take actions. If we speak as one voice, then a difference can be made.
Thank you, ~ Soker Grrl

Today, Wednesday, April 18th, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is taking to Capitol Hill for its "Congressional Leadership Day."

This is a great opportunity for us to speak up and bring attention to the plight of elephants in zoos!

While AZA seeks increased federal support, let's remind Congress that elephants are suffering in zoos and it's just not right!

Today we are asking everyone to call, fax, or email your Senators and Representatives in Congress to demand that the zoo industry make big changes for Earth's largest land mammal.

The U.S. Animal Welfare Act requires zoos to provide adequate space and conditions to maintain elephant health and well-being. Zoos are violating this federal law by holding elephants in cramped and inadequate conditions that cause them to sicken and die prematurely.

IDA has submitted a Citizen Petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at zoos holding elephants.

Ask your Senators and Representative to support the IDA petition by calling the Secretary of Agriculture and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

It's time for zoos to stop violating the Animal Welfare Act. If zoos cannot provide the vast space and naturalistic conditions that elephants need to thrive, they should not hold elephants.

The Capitol Hill Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. For email and fax information for your representatives, see and

Please use the talking points below:

In the wild, elephants:
- Walk for miles every day on soft ground and grasses.
- Live in large, tightly-knit extended families in which females live together for life.
- Possess a sophisticated ability to communicate, intricate social structure, and mourn their dead.

In zoos, elephants:
- Spend their entire lives in tiny yards of only a few acres or less.
- Live in small groups of unrelated elephants.
- Cannot exercise adequately and are forced to stand on damaging hard surfaces, such as hard-packed dirt and concrete, for years on end.
- Are confined to concrete-floored barn stalls for extended periods of time, especially during the winter.
- Develop painful problems with their joints and feet, as well as other disorders, due to zoo conditions.

Recent surveys document that a majority of elephants in zoos suffer from painful and often fatal arthritis and foot disease -- a direct result of spending their lives in cramped, unnatural and inadequate zoo exhibits.

Elephants need large, naturalistic habitats to thrive. The two U.S. elephant sanctuaries provide the model for zoos to follow.

"As a scientist who has studied elephant behavior and communication among free-living individuals for 30 years, I am stunned that the AZA is not able to perceive the empirical evidence that elephants need much more space than what is currently allotted to them."
- Joyce Poole, Ph.D.

"Small enclosures with a subsequent lack of exercise causing poor muscle tone, therefore poor joint support, lead to osteoarthritis and eventually degenerative joint disease. Enclosures made with concrete, or other unyielding substrates where elephants cannot avoid standing in their own urine and feces, predispose elephants' feet to toenail cracks, sole abscesses, and eventual osteomyelitis which leads to death."
- Mel Richardson, DVM

For more information, visit or call (919) 732-8983.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Murder King gone Veg?

I recently patronized my local Burger King to find quite a surprise item on the menu. They are now offering a veggie burger. Which I might add, is quite tastey.

Burger King is not only broadening their horizons, but they continue to lead the fast-food industry towards improving animal welfare.

Visit for the full story!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A glorious day of sun, snow and soaking

Idaho never ceases to amaze me. Every turn of every corner one finds something different. This past weekend I traveled into the Krassel district, near Warm Lake. In the mountains where winter is trying to hold on tight while spring pushes through, the sun warms your skin. The roads were clear all the way to Mile 16 hot springs. I arrived to see a few people soaking, which is not uncommon. It gave me the opportunity to go for a small hike that was a few miles down the road.
During my hike I heard a choir of frogs and toads. I made my way down to the marshes along the South fork of the Salmon River. Nary a sight of the musical creatures was to be seen, but it was truly amazing. I then traversed back to the small pull out to enjoy my much anticipated soak.
The pool was freshly refilled, and was a perfect 104 degrees. Sitting a few feet above the river, Mile 16 offers breathtaking views of the Salmon River. (It is important to note that during winter months the drive can be quite treacherous, a 4x4 is highly advised. Also, spring run off can affect the pool. I visited last June to find the pool completely submerged, a first in my experience.)The pool is deep, covering most of your body while sitting. It is fed by a man made spout. There is plenty of room for your closest friends to enjoy. Swim suits are optional, but be aware that you can be seen from most of the trail. The river makes enough noise to hide footsteps coming down the trail. A serene soak in a majestic setting. What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Outdoor Cooking

With backpacking season approaching, it's time to start thinking about food. What to bring is always a huge concern. There are so many things to ask yourself; Does this have enough calories? Does this have enough nutrition? Will this sustain me? How hard is it to put together? How about the weight? How difficult is it to make on the trail? Does this taste good? There are endless questions when it comes to prepping for your pack meals. I would like to share one of my favorite recipes that is a main staple on my pack trips. Everything is prepared before hand, placed in a freezer bag, and is ready to go! Just add hot water. I hope you enjoy!

Fiesta Taco
makes 2

hamburger 1/2 pound (aprox)
instant rice 1 cup divided
taco seasoning 2 - 3 tsp. or to taste
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
tortillas - optional
freezer bags 2-1 quart
Heavy dut aluminum foil

You will need a dehydrator to prepare this.

*Brown hamburger until fully cookes. Rinse and rinse hamburger to remove as much grease as possible. Pat dry.
*Slice olives and dice onions. The amount you use will be to your liking.
Put hamburger, olives, and onions in dehydrator on seperate racks and dry until ready.
*In your freezer bags mix half the hamburger, olives, onions, seasonings, and rice. Voila! Your meal is prepped. Take the heavy duty foil and fold it into a pouch shape, making sure the edges are tight, leaving an opening at the top to slide in your freezer bag meal.
At camp, boil water, about 1 - 1 1/2 cups
*Place freezer bag meal inside foil pouch and pour in boiling water. Close freezer bag and fold over top of foil pouch. Give everything a good squish around to mix. Let it sit for about 10 min, then you're ready to eat. You can scoop the mixture into tortillas if you like. I usually just eat as is. The foil pouches can be reused many times. When you're done with it just fold it back up and put with your food items.

I hope you all enjoy this. I will be sharing recipes that I have tested throughout this blog, and encourage all of us to share and share alike.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Day hike at Juniper Gulch, OR

An enjoyable day hike to start off the season can be found at Juniper Gulch in southeast Oregon by lake Owyhee, just before Leslie Gulch. Sandy trails, breathtaking rock formations, sage brush, and the occasional pine tree greet the senses. The hike is set in the gulch, with rock cliffs towering above your head. As you gaze around, soaking up the scenery on this short hike (aprox 3.5 mi) you'll notice a multitude of holes in the rocks where bats, birds, and other critters call home. My personal notes for this trip: make sure to stay hydrated. Although the hike isn't strenous you are in the desert, summer months are especially hot with out much shade. The answer to every woman's questions...yes, there are restroom facilities. A semi-well ventilated out house is at the trailhead. Also, make sure your camera is handy. You won't want to miss a thing!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Guide to Roadside Hot Springs

Slipping into the hot water, feeling it envelope your soul and relax every essence of your being while washing away the every day stress of life. This is what it feels like to soak in a hot spring. To me, ther is nothing better than soaking up the earth around you, overwhelming your senses with nature's glory.

Before you can induldge in the serenity, and to be able to enjoy soaking to its fullest, you must be prepared. First decide on what type of hot spring you'd like to venture to. Are yo planning on just stopping road side, backpacking in for one to several days, or some place in between? Despite which time line or hot spring suits your fancy, there are still some basics that you should know and bring with you to be prepared.


First off, know where you're going, how to get there, and be sure to let someone know where you're headed. Safety first!

Towel: very important, especially in winter months

Swim suit for road side soaks. You'll want to check for etiquette (keep checking back here) on hot springs that are further than the beaten path. Remember that clothing can be optional in back country hot springs, so be prepared to see others au natural. If you don't feel comfortable with that situation you can always quietly make your presence knon and wait the other soakers out. For us ladies, the swim suit scenario is very important. If you're planning on soaking alone be cautious. Unfotunately, there are creepies out there. My suggestion; at a roadside wear the suit, back country soaking you should be fine in the buff. There is always safety in numbers. Feel the situation out and see what feels comfortable.

A note about your suits: do not wash them in detergent. Detergents will release into the springs and can cause foreign algae and mosses to grow which can threaten the native ecosystem. This also goes for soaps and shampoos, even those labeled "bio-soap". There are many natural alternatives that can be used. Better yet, just rinse your suit out when you get home and hanig it up to dry. Fabric softener is considered a detergent that can go into the water be it springs, rivers, lakes, or any other body of water.

Water and plenty of it. Your body can become dehydrated while soaking, especially while enjoying the hotter soaks. Also, it is not a good idead t mix alcohol with hot springs. The heat from the spring raises your body temperature and can cause ill effects. If hiking, or soaking for a long while, I suggest a sports drink or some other form of electrolyte replenisher. You'll feel better all around.

Snacks are a great idea. I always seem to be ravenous after soaking. Try something with a good mix of carbs and proteing. A PBJ is usually at the top of my list. Having a good snack can help stave off that too tired to drive feeling after becoming incredibly relaxed. If need be, take a nap. (There's that safety thing again!)

Good Shoes are a necessity when hiking. Your feet have to last your whole life, and the better you take care of them the better they'll take care of you.

Garbage bags are a definite item to bring.
1. To pick up trash so all can continue to enjoy the area. If everyone leaves the place of beauty in better shape than when they arrived, there will be less to continually pick up. This also means to leave the plants, trees and animals where you found them.

2. They duoble as a protector for your clothes and other items in case it rains/snows. At many springs the ground around them is wet, so the bags help keep everything nice and dry.

3. Garbage bags also double as a floor mat t stand upon while changing, keeping your feet clean and dry.

First Aid Kit fairly self explanatory. It's just a good idea.

Backpack to carry everything in.Keep one loaded with your towels, suits, and garbage bags for those spontaneous trips.

Camera to capture nature's beauty. Mine is attached to my hip at all times.

Last but not least....

A Good Attitude! Remember that you are not the only ones out there to enjoy these wonderous springs. We need to do all we can do to preserve nature and all of its splendor.

Of course, this list is just the basic begining. If you wish to go beyond a road side soak you need to take into consideration where you'll be going, for how long, and al of the items that may potentially be needed.

Backpack loaded with...
* Garbage bags
* Swim Suit
* Water or sports drink
* Snacks
* Towel
* Camera
* Hiking Shoes
* Spirit for Adventure
* First Aid Kit

Above all, use common sense, enjoy where you're at. Happy soaking!