Monday, May 30, 2016

Hike prep -- dinners


All of these premix dinners follow the just-add-water approach, with valuable advice from Monica on her fun blog at http://www.theyummylife.com


Cooking instructions for all of these recipes --

Put ingredients in a gallon resealable bag. Bring along a couple of big padded mailing envelopes; put food bag in envelope, pour in boiling water, let stand 15 minutes. Feed. 

Simple, easy cleanup, everything hung up in the bear bag, and into the sack well before hiker’s midnight.
I am one with my JetBoil(™).




Apricot Macadamia Couscous

Ingredients {I doubled these, might try 3x next time. Remarkable how much food it takes to hike all day.}

  • ⅓ cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 tsp chia seeds, optional
  • ⅓ cup freeze dried cubed chicken
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ⅓ cup coarse chopped macadamia nuts {I used almonds}
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 ½ tsp chicken boullion {low salt}
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper {cayenne? Maybe}
  • ¼ tsp salt to taste {none for me, thanks}
Put ingredients in a gallon resealable bag. Bring along a couple of big padded mailing envelopes; put food bag in envelope, pour in boiling water, let stand 15 minutes. Feed. 

Simple, easy cleanup, everything hung up in the bear bag, and into the sack well before hiker’s midnight.


Curry Rice With Chicken And Cashews


Ingredients

  • ⅔ cups instant brown rice
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup freeze dried diced chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews
  • ¼ cu freeze dried mixed vegetables
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 ½  tsp chicken boullion {low salt}
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder {going to get some premium stuff next time}
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt to taste {none for me}

Hike prep -- trail bar recipes

Here’s a couple of the recipes that I found online after the combined shock of the price tags and the ingredients lists on commercial products sent me stomping back into the kitchen. Mom Johnson made sure her son knew how to fend for himself.

Carrot Walnut Oat Bars

Courtesy Daphne Oz -- posted on The Chew (http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted {Lazy cook here, I skipped the toasting}
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed {so these are actually CWO Banana Bars?}
  • 3 Tbsp almond butter {peanut butter works just as well for me}
  • 1 ½ Tbsp coconut oil, plus extra to grease the pan.
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup { I used 1 Tbsp agave instead}
  • ⅔ cups grated carrot
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8x8 baking dish with the coconut oil, then grease a sheet of parchment paper and line the pan with it. {Works great, bars lift right out and cleanup is a snap!}

In a food processor --

  • Grind: oats, walnuts, flaxseed.
  • Combine with: coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Combine with: bananas, nut butter, coconut oil, and syrup.
  • Mix in carrots.
Press batter firmly into baking dish with a big metal spoon and smooth flat. Bake for 15-20 minutes; lift paper to check underside, should be slightly browned.  Cool before cutting.

16 bars, 160 calories each. Considering the ingredients, freezing them seems best until they are packed up to go.


I may try more flaxseed next time to raise the amount of protein.



Quinoa Granola Bars

Courtesy Sarah -- posted on her website at http://feastforallseasons.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond {peanut!} butter
  • ¾ cup honey, maple syrup, or {¼ cup!} agave
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup hemp hearts, optional {good thing, I couldn’t find any at the store}
  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruits of choice, blueberries, cherries, &c. {Costco has a good selection.}
  • ¼ cup chia seeds {lots of protein in these}
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds {I subbed more chia seeds instead}
  • ¼ cup flax seeds {Even more chia seeds}
Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease a baking dish with the coconut oil, then grease a sheet of parchment paper and line the pan with it.

Combine nut butter, syrup, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and mix.


Press batter firmly into baking dish with a big metal spoon and smooth flat. Bake for 20-25 minutes; lift paper to check underside, should be slightly browned.  Cool before cutting.


30 bars, Sarah’s recipe says. I must have cut mine too large. Her recipe says refrigerate, but I froze them and let them thaw out. First couple were a little crunchy.





Savory Oat Bars With Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Courtesy Anja -- posted with copyright restrictions on her website. Here's the link: http://www.anjasfood4thought.com

These are a good dietary counterweight to chomping thousand of calories of nut butter.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Priorities

Another sweltering Memorial Day weekend with the Cadillac Crew chatting through the slow routine of cleaning up trails and repainting cabins suddenly veered into those times when time matters.

A hiker with an urgent look on his face rushed down the side trail to our work site, stopped on seeing us and called out urgently, "Do you have some water? One of our party collapsed, we think it's heat stroke!"

Everyone stopped work, of course. Did you call 911? No. Well, here's a phone, you're at the Blackburn Trail Center. How far back on the trail? Water, quickly, also a towel to wet and wrap around him. Here, ice. What else? Poles for a stretcher -- over the rock stairs you just climbed down? We'll look for something. Here, some Pedialyte(r), better than Gatorade(r).

The overseer found drivers for a couple of cars that might block ambulance access and redirected them out of the way. One of our Wilderness First Aid certified crew members rushed up the long rocky slope to the Appalachian Trail, carrying supplies along with the messenger from the hiking party.

https://goo.gl/photos/wc1BsPnXx4Waov3D6

The road up to the BTC is a tricky climb up a rutted and gravelly dirt track, but the Loudoun County ambulance was prompt enough. I volunteered to lead the EMT's up the slope, half expecting to fade and delay their pace --  but this body has begun to adapt to my new life, and I actually had to slow down a bit so they could keep up.  (Okay, they were each carrying a fair amount of heavy equipment bags, and had been eating a lunch of burgers  and milkshakes. Excuses, excuses ...)

Two trips up the slope later -- and three for our WFA team member -- the patient had a dozen medical techs with him on the ridgeline, and the small parking area at the trail center was jammed with emergency vehicles from the county and the nearest two towns. A helicopter rumbled by above, and the trail center overseer rehydrated the other members of the hiking party with water bottles, sodas, watermelon slices, and fresh chocolate chip cookies. (Sandy may have risen to executive authority in the national ATC, but she still makes a great chocolate chip cookie.)

The patient was hoisted off the rocks at a cliff overlook aand flown away to an emergency room. Informal reports said he was conscious, a good prognosis for escaping  a final payment for his failure to stay hydrated. The firefighters juggled vehicles and got everyone headed back down the dirt road and the hikers thanked everyone profusely before heading on. We went back to work, and celebrated a bit later with our ritual potluck feast.

"All is well, safely rest. God is nigh."  
http://www.usmemorialday.org/taps.html

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hike prep -- support planning

  Through the Shenandoah National Park from Ashby Gap to Humpback Rocks ... 144 miles this time, heading out on June 4 (National Trails Day, they tell me). This will likely be my last hike until the summer's heat fades away in September.

One of the big advantages of the Appalachian Trail is the relative ease of resupplying food, water, and clean socks.

More and more planning as I get farther from Round Hill! Where is there water, where can I camp, how far can I go on the four day supply of food I carry, what should I stop and see? (I may never pass this way again ...)

My mentor suggests that I just load up and walk until I'm done, which has its appeal. After all, I may be using the same spreadsheet tricks I used ├Čn bygone days, but this is not an military exercise in the Arctic. I was much older then.

It's not even a race to cover the full trail in one year, as the thru hikers do ...  NOBOs, northbound hikers who start at Springer Mountain in Georgia and rush north through spring storms in the Smokies and summer heat in Pennsylvania ... SOBOs who begin by climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine and working their way through winter's leftovers in the White Mountains .. and "flip floppers" who start in the center and head north to Katahdin and then return to the middle and march south.

Then, there are purist "whiteblazers" who stick to the AT for the full 2200+ miles, "slackpackers" who count on their support team to drive ahead andset up camp for them and carry little more than water, snacks, and minimal emergency gear, and innovative "aquablazers" who do the Shenandoah Valley section in canoes.

And there are also those of us who are "freeblazing" the AT, out on the trail to enjoy it, going wherever and whenever we please with no particular time objective. (Thanks to "Flower Child" for inventing the catchphrase and posting it in the logbook at Ed Garvey shelter. All kinds of interesting stories and art in the logs, fun reading.)

However ... even freeblazing needs preparation. Every trip has a beginning and an end, and the grocery stores and retaurants in the small towns along the way are not guaranteed to have reasonably priced trail food available. So I work out the number of days I will be on the trail, and premix a double ration rehydratable dinner in a ziploc bag for each day. I bake trail bars, and I repurpose grocery store items like tuna packs, two per day. The dinners, bars, and tuna go into cardboard mailing boxes with a spare pair of socks, a pack of batteries for my headlamp, and a bottle of iodine pills for treating water if my gravity filter dies. I can either mail  these resupply boxes to one of the places along the Trail that will hold on to them, or cadge friends into delivering them to me at one of the multitude of intersections with major roads along the Trail.

Receiving those boxes, though,  requires being somewhere every three to four days and adjusting the delivery plan to make those points match up with locations where I can receive supplies. So the carefree wanderer is an illusion -- not so free, really. 

At least, not yet. I'm working on it.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Makemie Woods, May 14

Happy birthday, my love. Hope you enjoy the music.


Out of conscious thought,
Wrapped in gossamer light
Wrapped in blue velvet and silk
Gently your memory rests
In a quiet corner of my heart.

You may not want to be there.
I left so long ago --
We let the silence build and now
 No moments left for words unsaid.

So – my choice:
Out of conscious thought,
Wrapped in gossamer light
Wrapped in blue velvet and silk
Gently your memory rests
In a quiet corner of my heart.

-- excerpted and amended from "Poem__homecoming"
by Marie Butterfield Johnson



Sunday, May 8, 2016

The trilliums are a bit wilted today


On a day hike this weekend, warming up for another long wander after Memorial Day.  The monthly NOVAC Astronomy Day was also dampened by cloud cover.

On the positive side, the rain also put a damper on the fire hazard in the Shenandoah National Park. Dry forest and large numbers of weekend backpackers, nature's way of spring cleaning.