Saturday, December 6, 2008

OLE

I'm being spontaneous again! On Wednesday I planned another adventurous trip...possibly the best one yet. I leave on Tuesday so stay tuned for tales of Tango, Gauchos, and lots of delicious meat! Temporary Update: I went to Argentina. It was awesome! Loved every minute of it. Got home to find my house had been robbed and my car stolen. Did not love any minute of that. Grrrr. Pictures and stories on both will be coming soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Geocaching All Over Idaho

Over Thanksgiving I went with bunkerdave on a 5 day geocaching trip across Idaho making some great progress on the Cache Across Idaho challenge cache (GC1HXKC). Basically trying to find at least one geocache in each of the 44 Idaho Counties. We didn't get them all of course but we got A LOT! Here's all the counties we hit in blue and next is the 1800 mile route we took.
It started with a drive to Meridian to his parents house. Usually this drive takes 5 hours...it took us ten and included a really funny story of me stepping in a giant pile of poo and getting it all over the car and then while attempting to clean it up having to explain to a cop what we were doing cleaning up poo in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. Geocaching...duh!
We then cached around the Meridian/Boise area taking a break for a great Thanksgiving dinner with his family. We'd go out for caches and then keep going and going and end up getting back to the house sometimes as late as 4am. Then we'd have to sleep in so long the next day we'd barely have any daylight the next day and would end up night caching in the dark again. It was a vicious cycle. Some of these day trips took us as far as Ontario Oregon where we found a geocache on the grounds of the hospital where Dave was born...
(This is at the hospital cache in Oregon. I like the close up because it looks like he's signing some kind of magic glowing scroll or something....nope just Tupperware.)
...and all the way up to Riggins Idaho near the 45th parallel. As soon as we drove into Riggins I said, "This looks like the kind of town with good chicken friend steak, let's find somewhere to eat!" We picked the one diner out of 3 in the town with people in it(all with burly beards) and boy was my prediction correct...delicious...and covered in gravy. Best chicken fried steak ever. Dave kept ordering it other places thinking it'd be the same but he was always disappointed.
Most the trip we went on 2 lane highways which allowed us to stop at almost every Idaho history or geological sign we saw, even the ones without caches. We ended up reading a lot about volcanoes and Lewis and Clark. We passed through some cool little towns, saw some neat views, and became proficient in climbing barbed wire fences. (I however stumbled into a pile of barbed wire not being used for anything and ripped a number of holes in one pair of pants. These are now my designated geocaching pants) We even had a nice dinner in Sun Valley, and an excellent prebreakfast jeeping/hiking adventure over the hills above Salmon Idaho... where I forgot to bring my camera. But I took a couple pictures afterwards. I was so hungry after the hike but there was a cache by the river and Dave said no food till we found it. This is the river, and were I finally got my food. An open faced roast beef sandwich with more delicious gravy. I can't believe how much gravy I ate on that trip!
We ended the trip with a cache in an old V8 engine out in Teton County before driving strait home. Well, almost strait home, we stopped and took a picture by the Cache Bridge sign just for fun...and found one more really old cache by the Teton Dam...then we went home.
Here's a couple more memorable caches along the way- This was a weird cache we found called Jailhouse Blues. It's a urinal from a prison. If you look it's a toilet with a sink on top combo. It was out in the middle of a field and a funny surprise. Geocaches like this are always fun to find and unexpected.
This was my favorite cache of the trip. We parked at the top and went over the ridge to see this bridge. It's an old sheep bridge and so rickety and scary looking. I was very hesitant about crossing it. It looked like every crazy stereotype bridge from old western movies and cartoons. Dave however just walked down and went over it without thinking. I figured if it could hold him, it could hold anything. Really cool... but still scary.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Orderville with Andy

My adventurous summer continued into September with an invitation from Andy and Emily to hike Orderville Gulch/Orderville Canyon with them. I love slot canyons. LOVE THEM so I couldn't say no. It was kind of short notice and a little tricky to get work off but as I've been able to do with every other trip this year I managed it. They called me on Monday, I picked up some trekking poles on Thursday and Friday we were heading South. We camped that night in Zion and grabbed a few geocaches and ice cream cones in town. It and the first time I'd been down there in years and the first since they had the trams going. They worked out really well. Andy and Emily made some blue cheese mac'n'cheese for dinner, Emily's brother slept in the car, Em and her mom took the tent and Andy and I just rolled our bags out on a tarp. It was so warm in fact I think I was only half in my bag that night.
In the early early morning we caught a van up to the top of Orderville which is a tributary to the Narrows. It's shorter by a few miles but has a little more canyonerring involving some ropes and swimming along the way. We hiked for awhile and saw some great rocks, grottoes, slots, plants, tree jams...then we hit the water. We tried to high step it and stay dry at first but by the end we'd all gotten dunked more than once and had to swim with our packs over our head or throw them to each other and jump in a pool. We had to rappel down some really cool spots with boulders and waterfalls. I tend not to be in a lot of those shots as I kept going down first and taking everyone else's picture. A few times all you could think of was getting to the end and putting on those dry socks you knew you had in your pack. We got back as the skies turned gray and we heard thunder up above. The last couple miles through the Narrows were a lot different and I'm glad we did Orderville instead. We grabbed some Elk burgers in town before the long, tired, dangerously sleepy drive home.

video

Group picture at the beginning...all dryThese are a few of the first obstacles we came to. They got better and and better but unfortunately there was more water at each one and eventually we were over our heads and swimming and it's not too easy to swim and take pictures at the same time so some of the best stuff I can't show you. video
The first jump. It was pretty cool at the time but eventually we all had to do some that were worse.

This the official Zion National Park sign in the canyon. The tax payers really paid a grundle for this one!

This is my favorite picture I took. It was at the very end of the day in the Narrows.

Group photo at the end about 10 hours later and all wet.

Another Amazing trip! Thanks Andy and Emily!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hike to Wolverine with Nate-O

I’ve been hiking around Brighton since I was born but for some reason I’ve never made it to the summit of Wolverine. My brother Nate offered to take me up so off we went. I hadn’t been on a really big Brighton hike since Andy and Nate took me up to Sunset when I was 17. They still make fun of how much I complained so this time I made sure to keep my mouth shut. We left pretty late but the weather was perfect. We didn’t even need jackets and there was no sign of the big storm that was predicted. It wasn’t even windy at the summit and along the ridge. We started by going up to Twin Lakes over the ridge above Wolverine Cirque to Wolverine and then Mount Tuscarora and down Catherine Pass past the three lakes, Mary, Martha, and Catherine and back to where we started. It was a fantastic hike and I’m glad I finally got it out of the way. We expected to see more people since it was Labor Day weekend but we only saw 2 or 3 people along the ridge and a few campers below Catherine Pass. (Although Nate commented on the fact that whoever had gone up before us left boot prints like Nutter Butters and that was all we could think about for the next 4 hours) I loved being able to look down on all the lakes and see Brighton, Alta, Salt Lake, and Heber all around you. Next time I think I’ll try to leave earlier. By the time we got to Lake Mary it was officially dark, my knees made me want to cry, we both had to go to the bathroom, and Nate was being buzzed by bats. Our patience for adventure had reached its limit and we got back to the cabin less than an hour before the storm arrived. I’m a new fan of those trekking poles. They made the last 3 miles bearable. Now the only Brighton peak I have left is Clayton. The hardest part of the hike is done. Top of the cirque looking towards Wolverine along the ridge. Nate's there somewhere on the right. Just below the Wolverine Summit. Looking back along the ridge where we just came from. It's a big deal to ski down this in the winter although it's notorious for avalanches.
Me at the top of Wolverine! Hooray!Looking down from Tuscarora to the three lakes below Sunset Peak. Mary, Martha and Catherine. I couldn't get a good shot of all 3 at the same time.
Millicent looks pretty tame from up here. You can see Twin Lakes on the left and Mary on the right. Nate on the summit of Tuscarora. On the way home down Tuscarora and Catherine Pass. Sunset peak is off to the left.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where does zucchini go when it dies?

In to my kitchen for Berry Upside-Down Cake! It's zucchini heaven. I thought I'd post a recent recipe I made on here since the majority of my spare time at home is cooking. Sometimes when people come over I find myself standing behind my kitchen counter talking to them even if I'm not cooking because that's where I'm most comfortable. This is a recipe I posted on a friends food blog. Let me just preface this with the fact that I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't put food where it doesn't belong. Pepper shouldn't be in cookies, cinnamon and sweet things don't belong in stew and raisins don't belong anywhere. That being my opinion I don't eat zucchini bread... ever. My mom sent me a recipe to use all my yellow zucchini I have in my garden, a CAKE recipe! Gross! But I tried it because it was either cake or the compost bin for a few of those things. One girl can only eat so much yellow zucchinis. It originally called for yellow squash but I didn't grow any this year. I made it and then I tweaked it and made it a few more times and loved it more each time. The last time I made it I was attempting to find a way to get the jam to stay on the inside of the cake. I assembled each of the two cakes differently to see which would work better. Then, when I dropped the experiment version of the cake, the one I had the highest hope for, on the hot open oven door and watched batter and jam run into the bottom of the oven, all over the door and through the hinge onto my kitchen floor I thought, "Forget it, let them conduct their own experiments! I'm done!" I renamed the recipe and updated it with all my tweaks. It is the moistest, tastiest amazing yellow cake I've ever had. I love it! I've eaten 3 of them almost entirely on my own justifying it each time by saying out loud to myself, "It's ok, it has zucchini in it!"

Berry Upside-Down Cake

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix 1 C. Pureed Summer Yellow Squash or Yellow Zucchini 1/2 C. Water 2 T. Vegetable Oil 3 Large Eggs 3/4 C. Sour Cream Boysenberry Spreadable Fruit Jam 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Cut up squash or zucchini into chunks and puree in a food processor. It can be a little more than a cup. Mine always is. Add the water and puree some more. 3. In a mixer, combine the cake mix, squash puree, oil, eggs, and sour cream. Beat on low till combined. Beat in Medium for 1-2 minutes. 4. Spray 2 round 8 or 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Spray it thicker than you normally do. (Or one pan and 12 cupcakes. An 8 inch pan makes a thicker moister cake) 5. Add half the batter to the pan, then drop the jam all over the entire cake in small spoonfuls. The more spread out it is the more consistent looking it will be when you turn it out. I used about 2/3 of a smaller jar of jam. 6. Cover with the rest of the batter and bake at 350. 20-25 minutes for cupcakes and 25-30 for round cake or till the top is light brown and springs back when you touch it. 7. Let it cool in the pan for about 15-25 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the pan and turn it upside down onto a plate. Don't try to force it out or the jam will stick to the pan. Let it sit there upside-down till it drops out. Keep it covered or it dries out fast and gets really hard.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Berry Picking with the Tolls

Every year I try to get up to Idaho to go huckleberry picking with my sister and her family. This year I made it up and we picked for a whole day and that night Jailynn made us a pie. It was so good we couldn't even wait for it to cool down before we ate it. Then the next day we picked currants and raspberries in the back yard and ate them with cream. The whole weekend made for some tasty food, fun pictures, sore backs, and purple fingers...
There were so many berries we couldn't even stop to eat lunch and ended up with huckleberries all over our bagels. Yum! Evidence of a hard days work! Hmmm...both the fingers and the pie!

Even Sugar helped with the raspberries.