The Quickie

 

A vista along the Panther Mountain Trail in the Catskills

A vista along the Panther Mountain Trail in the Catskills

Graham somewhere on the  cliffs of the Trapps, Shawnagunk Range, NY

Graham somewhere on the cliffs of the Trapps, Shawnagunk Range, NY

So we’ll admit it, where the Two Hungry Hikers hail from, Northern New Jersey, is not the first area you think of when you think outdoor adventure.  Boulder,  Moab, Salt Lake City – sure.  Seattle, Washington; shoot, the entire Pacific Northwest, even… but Morristown NJ? No.

Its been wonderful to discover, that given our proximity to New York City, we are still surprisingly  close to true wilderness experiences.  In an hour we can be in the Poconos of Pennsylvania or grab a section of the famed Appalachian Trail where it passes through the Delaware Water Gap.  In two or three hours, we’re rock climbing the world class cliffs of the Shawnagunks, or hiking deep into Catskill Mountains.  Four or five hours?  Take your pick! The high peaks of the Adirondacks in upstate New York or try Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Long Trail, or even legendary bouldering at Coopers Rock in West Virginia.

Lucky for us there are so many options close at hand. Not so lucky, we have never ending busy schedules just like any other working schlubs. Thus, we have become adapt at “The Quickie” or the ability to plan, pack and execute a trip at a moments notice.  After all its amazing what 48 hours in the outdoors can do for your peace of mind.  For us, daily commutes and the never ending “to-do” lists make the ability to quickly shrug off the confines of the working world and get outside Essential.

"Sunset Kitchen" on Giant Ledge.

“Sunset Kitchen” on Giant Ledge.

This summer we had the opportunity to flex our “Quickie” muscles when we discovered we had no plans for the long 4th of July weekend.  So with the Panther Mountain Trail in the Catskills beckoning us with promises of great vistas, better camp sites on Giant Ledge and  with the anticipation of a great overnight – we quickly leapt into action.

The sleeping bag department in the Gear Room.

The sleeping bag department in the Gear Room.

First stop the Gear Room.  As we gather our tent and bags we imagine ourselves in that “pre-kickin’ butt” montage sequence from every action movie you’ve ever seen.  The one where the hero is pulling on bandalaros of bullets, sheathing a huge knife, and locking, loading, and holstering every weapon imaginable, all while tying a bandana around their head.  That’s pretty much how it is when we hit our Gear Room, with it’s rows of back packs arrayed by size across from a pile of sleeping bags, ranging from 0 degree up to 36.  Stoves, fuel, guide books, maps, water filtration, cook kits… all found quickly in the gear room and stashed in our packs.

Stocking up on some Pantry items for an upcoming trip.

Stocking up on some Pantry items for an upcoming trip.

However, the real reason we can up and go with packs on our backs at a moments notice isn’t the mountains of gear but it’s the contents of our Pantry.  The time that would have been spent in the supermarket and then repackaging at home is eliminated by keeping a solid basic Pantry; a selection of dehydrated and freeze dried items for dinners, packets of condiments filched from the bagel shop, granola bars in the cabinets… If you want to get out quick simply keep a small selection of these pack friendly items in your pantry and you too can experience the joy of The Quickie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods-  Many of our recipe ideas are inspired by staring long enough at the ingredients in our Back Packers Kit by Harmony House.  Lately we’ve begun to supplement with some freeze dried items from an on line company called PackIt Gourmet, a site well worth the visit for the aspiring trail side gourmand.  Between the two sources, we are only limited by our imaginations.

Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods- Many of our recipe ideas are inspired by staring long enough at the ingredients in our Back Packers Kit by Harmony House. Lately we’ve begun to supplement with some freeze dried items from an on line company called PackItGourmet, a site well worth the visit for the aspiring trail side gourmand. Between the two sources, we are only limited by our imaginations.

Prepared Meals and Foods from the Super Market- While we would probably not prepare alfredo sauce from a pouch for consumption at home, it can be a great jumping off point for a classic camp site creation.  (chicken & mushroom alfredo pasta by a fire? Been there!) Cheryl’s Miso Noodle Bowl gets a jump start from packaged powdered miso broth and everyday udon noodles.  Everything has been pre-measured for you, allowing you more trail time success and less test time in the kitchen.

Prepared Meals and Foods from the Super Market- While we would probably not prepare alfredo sauce from a pouch for consumption at home, it can be a great jumping off point for a classic camp site creation. (chicken & mushroom alfredo pasta by a fire? Been there!) Cheryl’s Miso Noodle Bowl gets a jump start from packaged powdered miso broth and everyday udon noodles. Everything has been pre-measured for you, allowing you more trail time success and less test time in the kitchen.

Proteins in a Pouch - Again items gotten from the grocery store as you do your weekly shopping. Tuna - versatile for lunch and dinner. Dehydrated milk can be added to homemade granola or your alfredo mix. Salmon makes an excellent pasta dish when you have ready access to water for clean up… Graham’s been sneaking that corned beef pouch in our packs in hopes that Cheryl may loose her mind one day and consent to a corned beef and hash breakfast…

Proteins in a Pouch- Again items gotten from the grocery store as you do your weekly shopping. Tuna – versatile for lunch and dinner. Dehydrated milk can be added to homemade granola or your alfredo mix. Salmon makes an excellent pasta dish when you have ready access to water for clean up… Graham’s been sneaking that corned beef pouch in our packs in hopes that Cheryl may loose her mind one day and consent to a corned beef and hash breakfast…

Snack pack! Granola bars, cookie packs & trail mix are your constant companion throughout the day. We always have them on hand for Grahams lunch at work but lately we’ve been stocking up when our favorite items go on sale… Lets face it- you could spend a fortune on snacks… A sneakily delicious treat is the Rice Krispy bar - unbelievably light and so super sweet that it makes a great apres lunch treat!

Snack pack! Granola bars, cookie packs & trail mix are your constant companion throughout the day. We always have them on hand for Grahams lunch at work but lately we’ve been stocking up when our favorite items go on sale… Lets face it- you could spend a fortune on snacks… A sneakily delicious treat is the Rice Krispy bar – unbelievably light and so super sweet that it makes a great apres lunch treat!

Flava Flav!!! Your homes’ spice cabinet can be the never ending source of yummy add ons. We’ve saved tiny little jars and pouches so we can add a touch of extra virgin oil or a sprinkle of smoked paprika or a fun flavored salt… and that little touch of “something special” is often just the thing those dried meals and packaged foods need!

Flava Flav!!! Your homes’ spice cabinet can be the never ending source of yummy add ons. We’ve saved tiny little jars and pouches so we can add a touch of extra virgin oil or a sprinkle of smoked paprika or a fun flavored salt… and that little touch of “something special” is often just the thing those dried meals and packaged foods need!

Condiments and Squeeze Packs - Ever peeked at the condiments available at your local bagel shop? Grocery store sandwich counter? Favorite burrito joint? Chances are there is an array of flavor at your fingertips! BBQ sauce, salad dressings, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper!!! Many times Graham has been seen sneaking a packet or two of something into Cheryl’s purse… However, for those not interested in a life of condiment crime PackitGourmet has pouches of everything from Jam to Extra Virgin Olive oil… We get our favorite hot sauce & powdered lime from them and even tried their powdered honey this past summer - love that website!

Condiments and Squeeze Packs- Ever peeked at the condiments available at your local bagel shop? Grocery store sandwich counter? Favorite burrito joint? Chances are there is an array of flavor at your fingertips! BBQ sauce, salad dressings, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper!!! Many times Graham has been seen sneaking a packet or two of something into Cheryl’s purse… However, for those not interested in a life of condiment crime PackitGourmet has pouches of everything from Jam to Extra Virgin Olive oil… We get our favorite hot sauce & powdered lime from them and even tried their powdered honey this past summer – love that website!

A Matter of Perspective

An old foundation along the Delaware Ridge Trail.

An old foundation along the Delaware Ridge Trail.

A wet start.

A wet start.

The Hike, much like life is a matter of perspective.  Take our last backpacking trip: a 3 day 2 night hike over 27.3 miles in the Western Catskills, on a series of trails known collectively  as the Delaware Ridge Trail.  The trail is described in Adirondack Mountain Club’s Catskill Trails Essential Guide, 3rd Edition as the following  “… provides a rugged and thoroughly interesting network of trails.”  The key word you must read here, and the one to be wary of is “interesting”.  We found the author clearly mistook the word “interesting” for hard, difficult, and prepare to suffer!

Drying out at first camp, the morning of day two

Drying out at first camp, the morning of day two

Which brings us back to the matter of perspective.  Yes, the hike was difficult and boy did we suffer, however, interspersed with the challenges are things of great beauty and experiences that belong only to that moment.  So which will you choose to remember?  The suffering and hardship, or the beauty and experience? What we choose to remember of life defines our perspective.

Cheryl on a hot and exposed ascent.

Cheryl on a hot and exposed ascent.

The conundrum of course is that you can not have one without the other, hardship and beauty seem at times to have been born holding hands.  Without the pouring rain the first day, causing her to have to look down and pay close attention to footing, Cheryl may have missed literally stumbling across the fresh ramps she was looking for to complete a Miso Noodle Bowl recipe she was working on.  Without slogging straight up mountains where some parasite or blight has taken the trees and left a trail that is a hot scar of weeds, rock and brambles exposed to the sun, would we  appreciate as much the gentle grades through pine forest where walking on the fallen needles is like walking on a carpet of the deepest pile? Without emptying our last drink of water and having to hike on for another hour before finding more, does the cold clear mountain stream seem as mystic or vital?

Picture Post Card lunch spot.

Picture Post Card lunch spot.

So which will we choose to remember?  Having to make a cold and wet camp the first night, or the way the rising sun burned away the mist the next morning?  Hot exposed climbs that seemed to be prime venomous snake territory, or that Cheryl saw her first bear in the wild (or at least his plump bumbling backside running away from us)?  The fact that we got a later start than we wanted and didn’t make it to the scheduled lean-to, or the fact that we found a completely secluded back country camp site and didn’t see another person for 24 hours? Should we choose to remember the feeling of blisters growing underfoot, or the lunch taken in an idyllic meadow of the kind only seen in magazines?

Sunrise from the tent the morning of day three.

Sunrise from the tent the morning of day three.

Back at home. Clean again, bellies full and laying in soft fresh sheets, the ache of the exertion of the past days slowly leaves our muscles – leaving us with only the pleasant memories of time well spent.  So as it turns out, the Hike is much like life; without the pain of suffering and sadness we do not acutely and fully experience all of the joy and gladness the Trail has to offer.  As the author of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Catskill Trails Essential Guide, 3rd Edition has said, it is all a very “interesting network of Trails”.

Miso Noodle Bowl

  • 2 pks instant miso broth
  • 1 bundle of udon noodle
  • 2 tsp freeze dried garlic
  • 5 tbsp freeze dried mushroom
  • 2 tsp freeze dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freeze dried jalapeño
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 bouillon cube – any flavor – but beef is super yummy with mushroom
  • 2 packs of soy sauce
  • 4 heaping tbsp of dehydrated cabbage
  • 24 oz of water
  • 2 ramps sliced thin, stalk and greens (optional!!)
Miso Bowl Fixins

Miso Bowl Fixins

On your walk keep your eyes open for ramps and when you find them harvest by loosening the bulbous base with your trekking pole tip and then pull up by the stalk. Wash really well – with your filtered water – and toss in your pack where they won’t get too terribly smooshed.miso

In camp add the miso, bouillon  and cabbage to the water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the freeze dried items and seasonings, stir in well until all the freeze-dried items are saturated. Break the noodles in half and place in water, simmering for another minute. Turn off the stove and let rest for 5 minutes. Add two packs of soy, serve and enjoy!

This is a great weight saving meal that cooks quickly and doesn’t use a lot of fuel – a win all around – but especially wonderful when its a bit damp and chilly out.

Serves 2

miso seasoning

 

Have Kitchen, Will Travel

cover photo

Spring seemed to be taking its time here at Spring Hollow Farm. Slowly considering whether to come out from under the cover of drizzle and chill… perhaps hitting that snooze button for just “10 more minutes” before getting up to begin the work of making our world green again. On yet another cold rainy weekend, with nothing on our horizon but a two day session of napping on the couch watching HBO, we decided to get ourselves busy with off season work. Namely: organize the “gear room”. Sorting through piles of sleeping bags, backpacks and rope… crates of lanterns and cook kits… a bag filled with just stuff sacks (affectionately known as the bag of bags)… sigh…  it really turned into such a pleasant afternoon! There is nothing so wonderful as seeing all of your sleeping bags in their oversized stuff sacks for protection stacked up; unless its seeing all of your backpacks hanging on hangers, standing at attention, and just ready for your next adventure! (and what bag shall you need, sir? The 18 liter Flash pack? or perhaps a 28 liter Gregory??)

Well we had gotten everything organized and remembered we had been getting questions about just what is in our cook kit, so we have compiled here a collection of photos of our backpack sized kitchen. While we may add other components based on the needs of the mise en place,  we very rarely roll out with less than the basics shown below. (Mise en Place: Chef speak for your on hand pantry goods necessary for the service you are about to produce, taken from those crafty French who fathered seemingly every culinary phrase used in daily kitchen life – translated: items in place.)

When growing your own kit make sure to think about what it is that you’ll be cooking. Do you have bread and cheeses to nosh on while dinner simmers? Perhaps a knife and something to cut on then. What are you cooking with? Will you be eating from a pouch or will you require a bowl to eat from? And just how will you clean this whole mess up? An awful lot of questions, but these questions are better asked before you are a days hike from your comfortable home with it’s large and decidedly un-packable kitchen appliances!! As for our kit I suppose it is best to start as all good stories and good meals start… at the beginning…

Starter course:  Mini Cutting Board - Size - 6”x7”  Weight: 4oz.  Cost: filched from a picnic pack given to Cheryl by her nephews many Christmas’ ago.  Buck knife - Size: 3” blade 4” handle  Weight: 4oz. Cost: $25 Platypus Wine bladder - Size: 1 liter  Weight: 1/2 oz Cost: $10 Blue foldable bowl /plate- Size: 9” round  Weight: 1/2 oz. Cost: $10  Awesome “Wine Glasses”: part of the GSI Microdualist cook set

Prep It!
Mini Cutting Board – Size – 6”x7” Weight: 4oz. Cost: filched from a picnic pack given to Cheryl by her nephews many Christmas’ ago.
Buck knife – Size: 3” blade 4” handle Weight: 4oz. Cost: $25
Platypus Wine bladder – Size: 1 liter Weight: 1/2 oz Cost: $10
Blue foldable bowl /plate- Size: 9” round Weight: 1/2 oz. Cost: $10
Awesome “Wine Glasses”: part of the GSI Microdualist cook set

 

Cook it! GSI Microdualist cooking pot and lid Snow Peak GigaPower Stove- Size: so silly small - 3.6” x 2” Weight: 3.75 oz Cost: $50 Snow Peak fuel canister- Size: 4oz. Weight: 4oz. Cost: $4 Platypus Water Bladder- Size: 1 liter Weight: 1/2 oz. Cost: $9 Snow Peak Titanium spork- Size: 6” Weight: .6oz Cost: $10 JetBoil stove set (when you need two pans…) Size: 7” x 4.5” Weight with fuel canister: 15.25 oz Cost: $100 1oz Squeeze Bottle - Size: 1oz. Weight: .25 oz Cost: $2 1/2 oz Spice Jar - Size: 1/2 oz. Weight: 1/2 oz Cost: $2

Cook it!
GSI Microdualist cooking pot and lid
Snow Peak GigaPower Stove- Size: so silly small – 3.6” x 2” Weight: 3.75 oz Cost: $50
Snow Peak fuel canister- Size: 4oz. Weight: 4oz. Cost: $4
Platypus Water Bladder- Size: 1 liter Weight: 1/2 oz. Cost: $9
Snow Peak Titanium spork- Size: 6” Weight: .6oz Cost: $10
JetBoil stove set (when you need two pans…) Size: 7” x 4.5” Weight with fuel canister: 15.25 oz Cost: $100
1oz Squeeze Bottle – Size: 1oz. Weight: .25 oz Cost: $2
1/2 oz Spice Jar – Size: 1/2 oz. Weight: 1/2 oz Cost: $2

 

Eat it!  back to that Platypus wine bladder and “glasses” from the Microdualist kit for a refill because hiking is thirsty work.  Nesting bowl and collapsable spork from the Microdualist kit… pad thai not included. kerchief - the silent and indispensable  partner; potholder, towel, washcloth, napkin, head covering and serious injury bandage. $2

Eat it!
back to that Platypus wine bladder and “glasses” from the Microdualist kit for a refill because hiking is thirsty work.
Nesting bowl and collapsable spork from the Microdualist kit… pad thai not included.
kerchief – the silent and indispensable partner; potholder, towel, washcloth, napkin, head covering and serious injury bandage. $2

 

oh gross… cleanup! (le sighhh) Snow peak stove  and Microdualist pan for heating water GSI pot scraper - Weight: 0.4 oz. Cost: $5 2 Packtowels (one cut from a larger well used towel repurposed as wash cloth) - Size: 14”x 10” Weight: 1oz. Cost: $10 Dr. Bronner castile soap: Weight: 1oz Cost $3.50 Dishpan - Laminated carry bag from - you guessed it - the Microdualist kit!!

oh gross… cleanup! (le sighhh)
Snow peak stove and Microdualist pan for heating water
GSI pot scraper – Weight: 0.4 oz. Cost: $5
2 Packtowels (one cut from a larger well used towel repurposed as wash cloth) – Size: 14”x 10” Weight: 1oz. Cost: $10
Dr. Bronner castile soap: Weight: 1oz Cost $3.50
Dishpan – Laminated carry bag from – you guessed it – the Microdualist kit!!

 

pack it back up again Granite Gear stuff sack - a long time traveler in our pack so specs for this particular bag are obsolete but you can find something similar in a combo pack of three sizes for about $7- $28 depending on whether you want them to be waterproof or not. Over sized Ziplock bag for garbage - Pack It In Pack It Out. Yes, even the nasty stuff!

Pack It!
Granite Gear stuff sack – a long time traveler in our pack so specs for this particular bag are obsolete but you can find something similar in a combo pack of three sizes for about $7- $28 depending on whether you want them to be waterproof or not.
Over sized Ziplock bag for garbage – Pack It In Pack It Out. Yes, even the nasty stuff!

Star of the show! One of our favorite pieces in our packs, The Microdualist!  Cannot say enough about how awesome this piece of gear is! http://www.rei.com/product/830830/gsi-outdoors-halulite-microdualist-cookset#specsTab Microdualist Cookset - Size - just right for two Weight: 18oz without stove or fuel Cost: $54.99  Specs: Pot with strainer lid and great heat resistant handle, two nesting bowls and cup with sip lids, two collapsable sporks, “kitchen sink” laminated stuff sack. Possibilities… endless.

Star of the Show!
One of our favorite pieces in our packs, The Microdualist! Cannot say enough about how awesome this piece of gear is!
http://www.rei.com/product/830830/gsi-outdoors-halulite-microdualist-cookset#specsTab
Microdualist Cookset – Size – just right for two Weight: 18oz without stove or fuel Cost: $54.99 Specs: Pot with strainer lid and great heat resistant handle, two nesting bowls and cup with sip lids, two collapsable sporks, “kitchen sink” laminated stuff sack. Possibilities… endless.

Be My Valentine

The trail head at the Kelly Cross Country Ski Trail.

The trail head at the Kelly Cross Country Ski Trail.

The plan seemed simple.  A Valentine’s Day-kick the winter blues-overnight in the Catskills.  Head two miles up the Kelly Hollow Cross Country Ski Trail to a lean-to shelter, make some killer romantic food and spend the night in zip together sleeping bags in the back country.  If the going was too rough, or it got too cold for out taste, it was only two miles…an easy hike out and back to the car.  The plan seemed so simple.

Things started going wrong the day before the trip.  Graham was going to pick up some last minute essentials (and a Valentine’s gift of an REI Habanara winter sleeping bag for Cheryl) before leaving work.  Distracted right before he left, he accidentally left the sleeping bag behind.  Now instead of methodically packing, that night found them running back to REI to grab the forgotten sleeping bag and eating a less than romantic dinner at the bar of Applebees.  No worries, we’ll just wake up early, pack our packs, and roll out for the ‘Skills.  After all we’re seasoned professionals, we’ve packed for trips a thousand times before.

Cheryl all packed and ready for trail.

Cheryl all packed and ready for trail.

We woke up early…ish.  Hoping, to be packed and on the road by 11:00am.  Instead, at 11:00 Graham is sounding stressed and irritable, “It’s a two and a half hour drive, and we’re not even finished packing yet.”

Cheryl knows whats going on here, “I’m finished packing except for the food so I’m going to go out and get some egg sandwiches, you’re starting to get cranky” (After all Graham  must have his morning zen).

Finally, two hours behind schedule, we loaded Graham’s  Subaru Impreza (aka the Adventure Mobile) with cross country skis, snow shoes and all the other gear we thought we would need for a winter  overnight.  At last, somewhere about 1:00pm we were on the road, and it was snowing.

The un-broken trail ahead.

The un-broken trail ahead.

After negotiating the interstates North and some sketchy-at-best local roads we reached the trail head.  Two days ago, a storm had brought well over a foot of snow and we had driven through on going snow to reach the beginning of our two mile trip.  It was 5:00pm, the snow was deep, and we assessed our situation.  We decided it was so deep we would ditch the skis for snow shoes and push forward, after all it was only two miles to our destination and we still had at least an hour of daylight.

Cheryl was the first into her snow shoes and to test the trail,  “It’s deep, but there are plenty of trail blazes.”

“Are you sure your comfortable?”, Graham asked. “It’s going to be full on dark soon.”

“I’m good.”, she replied.

Two Hungry Hikers on the trail just before dark.

Two Hungry Hikers on the trail just before dark.

Out on the trail it was clear it was going to be tough going.  There were no previous tracks the snow.  Even in snow shoes, we were post holing shin deep.  We pushed on, taking turns breaking trail, as dark closed in.  At first we were grasped by the sense of adventure, and our usual promise of a good meal at trail’s end.  In the dark we continued, following trail blazes that reflected the glow of our head lamps.  Our pace eventually slowed, set back by deep snow, cold appendages, and (ironically), lack of caloric intake. At every switch of leader, we checked with each other; “How are you feeling?” ,“Are you cold?”, “Are you comfortable with the situation?”

The broken trail back.

The broken trail back.

Three hours out, we had not yet found the lean to and had reached a point  where no clear way was discernible ahead.  Not a trail blaze was to be seen and in the dark there where no landscape contours that would give us a bearing on a map. It was hard to tell exactly where we were or how far we had come to get there. The wind was freshening and puffing our words into the cold, we discussed our options;  1.) Continue on, hopefully finding trail blazes again that would lead us to the shelter in the dark. 2.) Find a level spot, off the ridge line with some wind protection, set up our tent and bivy for the night. 3.) Head back along the already broken trail to the car.

We decided to back track and make our way  to the car.  Graham set a quick tempo back, head down, putting each foot into the foot print already placed in the snow.  He was focused only on the halo of his headlamp, and how the “sluff-whump” sound of his snow shoes combined with the rhythm of his breathing.  When Cheryl lead, she did the same, dragging her trekking poles carelessly behind her.  Thanks to the “ let’s get the H-E-Double-Toothpicks outta here!” pace what had taken three hours out, miraculously took only 45 minutes to get back.  With Graham’s head lamp on it’s last leg, and Cheryl’s left leg cramping we had made it back to the trail head and the car.  Now what?

Appetizers in the Impreza.

Appetizers in the Adventure Mobile.

We started the Impreza for a quick blast of heat, changed into some dry layers and starting arranging gear so we could sleep inside.  Soon, settled and warm in the the back, Cheryl sliced our appetizer of Chorico Sausage and Manchego Cheese paired with a Spanish Riojo.  Meanwhile, between bites and sips, Graham was putting the finishing touches on a Chicken Mole that not only satisfied our hunger, but touched on the romantic with it’s combination of aphrodisiac ingredients. We loaded the Mole with rice into ingeniously folded  tortillas and put them in our faces.  The use of tortillas meant that there were no bowls to wash, and the pots were easily scrubbed out with snow.  All cleaned up, we settled into our sleeping bags in the back of the “Adventure Wagon” and slept as well as if we were in our own bed.

The Impreza in the morning at the trail head.

The Impreza in the morning at the trail head.

Around 8:00 the next morning we poked our heads from the warmth of our sleeping bags into the 13 degree morning.   With a smile at each other we reviewed the lessons learned.  Don’t under estimate how long it will take you to pack, how hard it will be to travel in the snow, or the ability to navigate in the dark.  We learned in an emergency situation the Subie will work as a temporary shelter.  The most important lesson, though not just for the trail, is to remember to communicate often and honestly.  Without that  communication, any trip has the potential to be a disaster.  Instead we woke up cozy and warm and able to laugh about our not so epic adventure.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

The next morning.

The next morning.

 

Romantic Mole– Serves Two (of course) DSC_0016

  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1/2 Cup of quick cook rice
  • 1/4 Cup Freeze Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 Tblsp. Freeze Dried Onion
  • 1 Tblsp. Freeze Dried Sweet Peppers
  • 1 Teasp. Freeze Dried Chilis (we used jalapanos)
  • 1 Teasp. Dried Cilantro
  • 1/2 Teasp. Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 Teasp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teasp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teasp. Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 Teasp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teasp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tblsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (use a high quality cocoa, it’s worth it!)
  • 1 Chipolte Pepper in Adobo-Diced Fine
  • 1 Tblsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 squeeze package of Peanut Butter with Chocolate (we used Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams, you could use Justin’s Nut Butter too)
  • 1 pkg (.49 oz.) Concentrated Chicken Broth (we use Swanson Flavor Boost-no msg, you could also use a bullion cube)
  • 4 oz Canned Chicken (pre cooked chicken used to come in a pouch, but we haven’t seen it in a while, you could substitute freeze dried)

imageBefore you head out: Put the rice in a zip lock bag.  In another zip lock you can combine the rest of the dry ingredients.  In a small sealable container you can put the diced chipolte and tomato paste.  The other ingredients all pack just fine.

At camp: This is a two stover.  In one stove start your rice with 1 cup of water.  In the other stove (one that has a good simmer) bring the other cup of water to a boil and add all you other ingredients.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until your freeze dried veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  If it looks like the sauce is getting too thick just add some water.  When everything is done, serve the Mole over rice.  For easy clean up spoon everything into tortillas and wrap it up.

One stove option:  Put both cups of water into your pot, bring to a boil and add ALL of your ingredients.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until your rice and veggies are tender.  If things start looking too goopy, adjust by adding water as needed.