Hiking in the Wilson Creek Area

10June2015_BeerSixty-one bottles of Cream Stout – My favorite beer recipe!  It spent 3 months 3 weeks in primary, but tasted very good when I bottled it, so I am hoping for a great beer when it is done carbing.  With the end of the school year, the kids getting me sick, and the garden, I simply did not have the time or energy to bottle. 

Just thought I would add a few images of a few of our short (6 –8 mile) hikes in the Wilson Creek area. 

We have been to Wilson Creek four times this year, each time trying to hike a different path.  In February, our first hike, there were no other people and we did a short 8 mile circuit.  While the trails are mostly marked with trail numbers, they do not necessarily correspond to the map that is provided (for free).  However, it is (almost) impossible not to find your way back to the main parking area.  The area is well laid out, with bathrooms in the parking area.  The area is used by hikers, cyclists, ATVers, and people riding horses, with some trail restrictions to keep everything friendly. 

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While there was little wild life other than two herds of wild horses in the winter, there are now thousands of lizards that just love to run right in front of you while you are hiking and not paying attention.  I have seen 4 kinds of lizards, including the one on the right. 

We found a nice place to get out of the rain, if it ever rains, close to the end of the trail.  The area is so different from what we are used to in Juneau, but it, it nice being in an open area, seeing for miles, and watching the small and large animals as the seasons progress.

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First Hike 2014

19Apr14_DSCF2378Not quite sure where we were, but we had out first hike of 2014 this past Saturday.

We were out exploring last Wednesday and found what looked like an interesting mountain to hike, so on Saturday we left early for the hike.  Like I mentioned, I have no idea what the mountain or area is called, I just know that it on either BLM or State land.  When I download my GPS data I will 19Apr14_DSCF2385look a bit closer at the map to get some names.  What caught our interest in this mountain was the color of the cliffs, which were a yellowish-green color. Looking closer we saw that is was some type of lichen that was only growing on these cliffs.

Anyway, the day of the hike was quite warm, starting out in the upper 40’s and getting up to the low 70’s with a nice cooling wind/breeze.  The hike up was steep but steady, climbing 1000 feet in about 0.65 miles.  The top of the ridge was approximately 5800 feet high, giving us a great view of the area surrounding us. 

Once we got to the top, it was a gentle 1.75 or so mile hike along the ridge to the end.  We could have continued on, and may come back for an extended hike in the future. But for now, we just want to do some short exploratory hikes first so see what each area surrounding us has to offer. 

One thing was we really enjoyed was the variety and abundance of wild flowers.  They were small, but very pretty.  I took quite a few pictures, but unfortunately, it was quite windy which made the flowers move, causing some very blurry pictures.  I am posting some of the less blurry ones, and hopefully will return with a better camera on a calmer day.

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I always find it amazing when I find a plant or tree growing where nothing else similar is growing.  This picture is of a tree attempting to grow on the very edge of the ridge.  There are no other trees growing within a mile of this one in the first picture.  We also have a picture of Micha and Misty on the ridge, and in the car the Wednesday prior as we were exploring the area.  Oh, if you Juneau people want to see what a real deer looks like, the last picture is for you!

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Hiking the Owhyee’s

11Sep13_DSCF1794Decided that we needed a bit of outside time, so Misty, Micha, and I went to the Owyhee Mountains in Oregon, a bit east of Rockville.  Our intent was to do some rock hunting for agate, jasper, geodes, and petrified wood, but the majority of the day was spent hiking to various outcrops that were usually on hill tops.  This made for a tiring, but fun day.  Next time will be dedicated to rock hunting.

The image on the left is of, well, cows.

No narrative, just images: 

 

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The center image is of when Misty found a friend – it slithered in front of her and took up position here:

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More scenery:

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Hiking–a New Season

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Have started hiking again, after a very disappointing winter of absolutely no hikes of any kind since the end of October.  The trails are still very slick, with between a few inches to a few feet of snow and ice.    

Because of the ice, and slippery snow, I usually wear Stabilicers.   My last pair of Stabilicers lasted 3 years, with it only necessary to replace some of the screws on occasion.   Because the straps were starting to fray, I bought a new pair this year, but also purchased a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes. 

I used the Microspikes for my first hike, and all I can say is that I absolutely love them.  They are much lighter than the Stabilicers, and also more stable on wet snow.  The Stabilicers always slipped on wet snow, as they have no real spikes that help stabilize shoes and prevent slipping.  One are of concern was the Microspikes slipping on my boots.  However, when on an icy slope there was absolutely no slippage, and stayed perfectly on the boots.  I still like my Stabilicers, but will use my Microspikes from now on, especially on wet snow.West_Glacier_Mar12_-0291

The above picture is of the trail at the beginning of the hike, while the picture on the right is of the “trail” on the way back.  The sun had set, but there was still a bit of light left.  Thanks to daylight savings time, most of my hiking will be in the light.

Hiking and Salsa–A quick post.

West Glacier_06Apr11_0729Finally! Hiking again. It has been a long time since we have been outside hiking, but we began again today.  There is quite a bit of wet and slippery snow on the trail, but we got to where we wanted to go without issues.  The picture on the left is from the West Glacier Trail.

I made 23 half-pints of hot abrol salsa today.  Processed them in a water bath for 15 minutes.  Recipe is simply:

 

  • 1 ounce dried Arbol chilies (I weight after I seed and de-stem them)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (I use Mexican cumin)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the above:  Blacken the tomatoes, roast the garlic, and toast the spices and chilies.  I rehydrate the chilies in just enough water to cover for abound 30 or so minutes (until re-hydrated).  I put the ingredients in my  Vita-Mix and puree them.  The recipe is from Mark Millers, The Great Salsa Book.  Hot, but good.

And of course, a picture:

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Granite Creek Hike, and Scones

West Glacier_3Aug10_IMG_0301Hiking this year has been sporadic, but the hikes that I have been on have been great. The picture on the left is of the Mendenhall Glacier taken from the West Glacier Trail.

Did a quick 11 mile trip up the Granite Creek Trail yesterday.  It was HOT.  The temperature had to be at least 80, and I definitely felt it.  My heart rate was somewhat higher than normal and my pace was slower.  Also, I was tired at the end.  But, it was beautiful with clear skies for once and very few other people on the trail.  The only negative was the bugs – lots of bugs.  The worst were the biting flies which are not affected by bug spray.  Every time we stopped we were swarmed by the flies, so we rarely stopped, and when we did it was not for a long time.

Some pictures of the hike:

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In order to provide us with fuel for the day, I made some Blueberry Scones for breakfast.  Scones_14Aug10_IMG_0308 They were great with just enough sweetness that was not overpowering.  Just wish I had some whipped cream with them!

The recipe for the scones is fairly basic, and start to finish took about 25 minutes.

2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 shortening

1/2 cup milk

1 slightly beaten egg

blueberries

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Add egg to milk.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix until just combined (I mix with a fork).  Add a few handfuls of blueberries and kneed a few times until blueberries are integrated.

Form into a circle about 1/2 inch high.

Glaze:

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons sugar

Glaze by brushing the milk over the dough and then sprinkle the sugar over that.

Cut into 8 pie shaped wedges and transfer to baking sheet (I use a Silpat on mine)

Bake at 450 until done, or about 12 – 14 minutes.

Serve hot.

Note:  By eliminating the glaze and cutting the sugar to 1 tablespoon, this recipe makes a great biscuit for biscuits and gravy!

End!

Killing Trekking Poles

27Jul10_West_Glacier_IMG_0232I really love my Leki Makalu carbon trekking poles, but I have killed my second pair in four years.  I really believe that the first pair was defective, as it broke in a place where it should not have broken and there was very little pressure put on the pole at the time it broke.  I sent that pair back to REI, and they refunded my money (and I ordered another pair) without issue.  The breakage of this pair, however, was my fault, so I will not be sending them back. 

On to my Monday night hike.  Last night we left the house at 1730 for a late afternoon hike of the West Glacier Trail in Juneau, AK.  This trail is about 1.5 miles from our house, so we are usually there 4+ times per week.  Well, not this summer, but in previous summers anyway.  My ankles were somewhat sore from Saturdays and Sundays ankle twisting incidents, but nothing serious.  The trip up the trail took 1 hour 12 minutes, which is a nice speed.  West Glacier Trail is approximately 7 miles round trip, has a total ascent of 1338 feet where we stop. 

The trail is an easy trail with a few exceptions comprising mostly of slippery rocks and a couple of high steps.  There are drop offs, some very steep and high, but you are mostly surrounded by vegetation.  We arrived at what I call the “false” top when the sun had already gone behind Mt. McGinnis. 

The first picture is of the valley, and Mt. McGinnis on the right.  The second picture is of the Mendenhall Glacier, as is the third picture.

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We “observed nature” for a few minutes, and then strolled down the mountain.  I suppose I was not paying attention as to where I was placing my feet, so my left foot decided it was a good idea to step off the trail.  This caused my left foot to slip down the slope, and me to lunge forward and to the right so I would not fall off the trail and tumble down the mountain (again).  I did a fairly good job of staying on the trail, but my arm landed on my trekking pole, breaking it as seen in the first image.  A few scrapes on my right leg, both arms, and some neck pain was my punishment for not paying attention.  The rest of the hike went rather well.

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Like I said, I love(d) my Leki carbon poles.  I have another pair of aluminum Leki’s, which are OK, and I have a nice pair of Black Diamonds, which I do not like at all.  The Leki’s seemed to have a different vibration to them that I found not distracting, and that is different from other poles.  It also seemed that they were easier to swing forward than other poles.  So, I will probably use my other poles for the rest of the summer, and order another pair of carbon poles when winter arrives.

Today is a rest day, as I have work to do.  Tomorrow is either West Glacier again, or if it is clear, I was thinking of either doing Granite Creek to Mt. Juneau, or going up to Gold Ridge.  Or maybe, taking my bike to the Herbert Glacier – always a nice ride.

Weekly Totals:

Hiking mileage:  13.5

Hiking.

IMG_0217Finally, now that summer is almost over, and I start work in 16 days, we have started hiking again!  The image on the left is from East Glacier Trail in Juneau, AK.  It is a short, 3.5 mile loop (if you start where we start) that has an approximate elevation gain, as measured my my altimeter, of 679 feet. 

Though it was raining, the hike was pleasant.  One thing I love about hiking in the rain, is that there are no bugs out.  Additionally, all the tourists stay off the trail.  I am really happy that tourists come to Juneau and hike the local trails, but sometimes it is a pain to get around them.  When the tourists are in groups headed by a guide, and if the guide sees us, then things are fine as the guide asks the group to step off the trail until we pass.  However, if the guide does not see us, or if the tourists are alone, then things can get slow, as some people are either stupid, or because they are from larger cities, just plain rude. 

Look, a wet person and some Devils Club: 

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The images above were taken on Saturday.

On Sunday, we went back to the East Glacier train and did the loop twice.  The first time we ran as much of it as possible (especially the downhill parts) and walked the second time around. 

I have very flexible ankles, thankfully.  On the way down the first time, by left foot bent inward so the side of the foot was on the ground.  That really hurt for a while.  On the way down the second time, by right foot did the same thing, but this time it bent inward enough to the top of my foot contacted a rock and left a huge bruise on the sop of my foot.  I actually thought I broke something for a few minutes.  But as usual when my ankle does something like this, all returned to normal after a while, and we continued our hike. 

So, about 10 or 11 miles this weekend.  Not a bad start.  Or actually, not a bad start if this were March!  Oh well, I am looking forward to a nice winter hiking season.

Oh Look. Its Hiking Bars!

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After a two week vacation, summer has returned to the Juneau area, and it is once again time to make Hiking Bars.  I started making Hiking Bars about four years ago, after continual disappointment with the majority of granola type bars available in stores.  Some of the issues I have are with the ingredients, and some with the price.  So, I searched for and found a good recipe, modified it, and make these for hiking, other outdoor activities, as well as for a quick breakfast or snack when needed. 

The original recipe was found on the backpacker.com forums, though I do not have the link to the exact thread.  As for my modifications; I replaced white flour with whole wheat flour, substituted honey for the brown sugar (there was also honey in the original recipe), I use olive oil rather than vegetable oil, and I have added a lot more dried fruit, nuts, an egg, flax meal and wheat germ, some vanilla, as well as a pinch of nutmeg.  The end result is rather pleasing, and a nice source of energy when on the trail.  Someday, some M&M’s will go in the mixture also…….

The procedure for making the bars is simple.  Mix all dry ingredients, dump the wet ingredients in and mix with a wooden spoon (picture 1).  The most difficult part is spreading the mixture on a pan.  I use a Silpat because it is easy to remove the cooked bars to cool and cut.  The trick to spreading the mixture is to use a thick spatula dipped in water.  The water prevents the mixture from sticking onto the spatula, as long as the spatula is wet.  This method makes for a smooth top to the bars, and adds a bit of needed moisture.  You may notice in picture three, that the mixture is placed on an inverted cookie sheet.  This makes it easy to remove the bars for cooling without breaking them.  Removing the Silpat is east once the bars are cool.  Just hold the edge of the bars, and pull the Silpat from under the bars (or roll one edge of the Silpat under itself until it is removed from the bars. 

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Note that I do not spread the mixture to the edge of the Silpat.

Baked at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes, the bars are ready to cool and cut.  I do cut the bars when the mixture is warm, as this helps the bars not break or crumbling when cutting.  The bars are wrapped individually when still slightly warm, and last for about two weeks in a dark cool place.

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The bars look darker in the picture than they really are, but I also should have taken them out of the oven at 30 minutes rather than 35 this time.  Oh well, they taste great!

The Recipe:

Ingredient How Much Huh?
     
Oats, Rolled 199 grams
Four, Whole Wheat 4.125 ounce
Flax Meal 35 grams
Wheat Germ 2 ounce
Salt 0.50 teaspoon
Cinnamon 0.50 teaspoon
Nutmeg 1.00 dash
Walnuts 3 ounce
Blueberry, dry 81 grams
Cherry, dry 74 grams
Cranberry, dry 103.5 grams
Raisin 81.3 grams
Olive Oil 3.75 ounce
Honey 11 ounce
Water 2 or 3 tablespoons
Egg 1 each
Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoon

Please, no comments on the grams and ounces thing.  I did this in order to count the calorie content of the bars, and depending on the vendor of the product used, it came out as grams or ounces.  It does help that I have a good scale though that does both measures. 

A final note:  I do not usually follow this recipe exactly.  I usually add more dried fruit, nuts, and flax meal than noted above.