One of my all time favorite, easy camping meals. It is more of a car camping meal than a backpacking one. I use it often for a first night meal, you know, when you spend most of the day driving to your camping location and you get in fairly late and don't have a lot of time to cook. This meal is warm, savory and a big hit with everyone I've ever served it to, adults and children alike.
P.S. As pictured above, I also make this at home, it so easy and tasty, I never really get tired of it!
Driving in San Francisco, the top down. The air is full of clean, clear crystals. It's hazy out, gray. No, not haze, fog more silver than gray. It's cool. The air is crisp, it makes our lungs seize with cold when we breath in, filling our lungs with the same icy shade of silver. Reminding us that we are alive, that we are fragile, that we, my mother, sister and I, are enjoying this cool, quick escape from the hot high desert.
We are together, mom and Erin in the front seat me in the back. We are driving, driving with no particular destination in mind. We drive, we chat, we laugh, but most of all there is an overwhelming feeling of love and serenity in this precise moment.
We enter an on-ramp to a beautiful, silver bridge. It looks as if it's draped in ice, so cool, clean and quiet. So modern. We drive. We notice we are the only ones on this frozen bridge, so strange and silent for this big city.
The fog becomes so dense it's hard to see. It's so cold, the ice in the air chilling our bones. The fog lifts just enough that we can see through a small opening and through that opening we see that the bridge is unfinished. This is why we feel like ghosts. Why we are here alone, without the noise of the city. The bridge is not done, it ends abruptly just a few feet ahead. We do not panic, but we cannot stop.
We drive off the end of the bridge and are encased by a bank of clouds, we become one with the fog, enveloped by mist and ice crystals; and against the laws of physics we flip backwards, so slowly we flip backwards. I feel the wind in my hair, but I am no longer cold. The ocean comes into view. The ocean should not be above our heads, but below our feet. The sky should not be at our feet, but above our heads. Slowly we drift through the fog towards the ocean. Small waves lapping below, growing larger as we near them.
Mom looks over at us and in a calm that reflects the cool serenity we've been driving in, says "girls, this is it."
Repost from Women, Be Wild, originally posted on 11/16/16
Just over a year ago I joined in on a volunteer tree planting project near Lake Tahoe. During the project one of the other volunteers noticed my little day pack and said "Wow, I really love your backpack." I thanked him and told him how much I love the pack too. It is the type with no internal frame so you can squish it down into your backpacking pack so you can have a day pack if you want to go on day trips during your big backpacking trips--awesome!--and the reason I bought the pack in the first place. I also love how small it is, yet I can fit everything I need into it. I use it all of the time...
As I was waxing on, he said "I mean I love how faded it is. It has really seen the outdoors. It's so sun bleached. I just bought the same pack," pointing over to a beautiful mauve pack that I couldn't believe is the same color mine once was, "I can't wait for it to look like yours!" "Wow," I said, "I guess it really has!" I had never really looked at or thought about my pack and how worn it had become over the years. Thinking back though, it has gone on many outdoor journeys and spent days out in the sun and solitude of the Nevada wilderness. My pack in it's own way is like a journal. It tells its own story of the adventures we have shared together.
Later I was thinking about my pack and what my new friend had said and it made me feel proud. It is a pretty awesome compliment and a good reminder that I have had the opportunity to do some pretty awesome things in my life. Now, when I look at my pack, which over a year later is even worse off for wear, I see it as a symbol; a dusty, stained, faded reminder of all the wonderful adventures my life has brought me. Unfortunately, I have not been so kind to my pack, but from now on I'll try to be less careless with a thing so great!
So thank you pack, for carrying me and my stuff through this crazy, wonderful journey! I'll wash you one day. Maybe.
And yes, I totally did a photo shoot with my pack at Washoe Lake!
Sleep, sleep, sleep.
Let's go over to Moonstill Bookstore and hangout on their lawn
What, but it's 3:00 am
Yeah, but their lawn is awesome and we can relax and view the night sky
Hmmmmmmm, not really wanting to, but I'll play along
Damn what the hell happened here?
Trash everywhere, shade structures thrashed, stinking, smelling food waste all over
Damn, did they have a party and just go fucking crazy
Maybe it was vandals
Maybe we need to get outta here
Maybe the cops will think we did it
Holy shit, you're right let's get out
Oh, fuck, how the fuck did we get back here?
What the hell happened last night?
I only had two beers
Hahaha no you didn't
You were a rock star
You went crazy
You even ended up with a hippy bicycle gang of followers who we partied with all night
We partied hard
But we were at Moonstill at 3:00 am and I was sober
How did we get our party on from there
Oh shit what happened
Note: Dreamland posts are writings based on dreams I've had and in no way represent real events ;)
Yum, iced Tea!
I love tea! I drink a hot cuppa pretty much every morning. I love it to warm up on a cold camping trip and to mellow out after a long, hard day.
Historically, I haven't drunk much iced tea. I don't like buying iced tea and I've always thought it'd be a pain in the butt to make. Lately though I've been drinking a lot of it.
I know, I know there's nothing special about making iced tea. People do it all of the time, especially in the summer. I've only recently, in the last few moths, started making my own iced tea. I got excited about making iced tea when I started making it in single serving large mason jars. I like that I can grab a mason jar of tea and go, similar to small bottled store bought iced tea, but without the expense or the plastic waste.
I like to make a variety of flavors from green tea to black tea. I often add a variety of fruit like lemon, lime, orange, or berries. I also like adding mint. Sometimes I add just mint with no fruit and sometimes I add nothing at all and just have tea straight up.
Occasionally, I don't even add tea. Wait what, you don't add tea? Yep, I make to go "spa water." To the spa water I tend to add lemon, lime and/or mint in a mason jar. I fill it with ice and water and throw it in the fridge. A lot of people like adding cucumber to their spa water, but since I'm not a cucumber fan I don't.
These teas and waters are easy to make; handy to grab and go; and help me drink more water during the day, which makes me stay better hydrated.
I highly recommend buying some mason jars and making your own iced tea. It's fun, easy and yummy!
Repost from Women, Be Wild, written 1/11/17
I am not creative.
I don't really draw or paint. sing or play an instrument, dance or act. Can I write? Well that's yet to be determined, but if so, I tend to be much more of a technical writer--short and to the point--than a creative one. I tend to write fairly flow of conscious and being a scientist, my brain tends to get to points quickly, without much descriptive or expressive language.
So, I am not creative, or at least that is what I grew up believing and, for a long time, I let it be.
As Dan and I were leaving on a recent fall desert excursion, we learned of the passing of Leonard Cohen. I grew up listening to Leonard, his music has a special place in my heart as something I shared with my father. I always enjoyed his music and his lyrics, but never thought too deeply about them. At the time of his death I hadn't listened to his music in quite some time. As we headed out on our desert excursion, we downloaded Leonard's essentials. We listened to them as we drove out into the vast, unfettered desert. It was dark when we arrived at our campsite on the playa. We listened to and danced to Leonard's poetic verses. We drank them up under the dark night sky so full of stars we felt as if we could reach out and touch them, wrap them around our bodies like a crisp, bright blanket. Those stars, you only experience in the few remaining deep, dark places, far away from the lights of modernity. The night got me thinking more deeply about creativity.
One of my current focuses is releasing my wild creative side--or at least not be so afraid of it. I am working on it with this blog, photography, Dan's and my #reneehandstands and a few other projects. With Leonard's passing it made me think more keenly about words and using words creatively to bring home points or motivate or just plain incite emotion. I want to intently read, listen to, study and glean the words and phrases of my favorite bards and use them as muses to help direct my creativity.
I have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn.
Wish me luck!
I've been thinking a lot about sound lately, especially sound you find in untrammeled wild places--natural soundscapes. Recently, I have been taking time to stop and listen to the sounds around me when I'm exploring wild areas. I worry that wild, untrammeled soundscapes are becoming a thing of the past, becoming more and more limited by the encroachment of human-made sound.
I decided it would be an interesting project to start recording and sharing some of the soundscapes I encounter while out. Even though I am no sound expert, I am posting my recordings as it's own blog Natural Soundscapes. I also post them to Instagram and YouTube.
Also, soon after I started my journey into natural soundscapes, I stumbled upon Bernie Krause's The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding The Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places. If you enjoy sounds of nature, you should check out this book!
I hope you enjoy these soundscapes as much as I do!
Thanks for listening!
I am going to start Wild Women Wednesdays. It's similar to an activity I started with my other project Women, Be Wild! When I first started it, it was framed as a Wild Wednesday lunch and hike. We did a few and they were a lot of fun, but then the snow came and my schedule changed and I unfortunately let it die. But, I am going to bring it back, but rather than the set activity of a lunch and hike--I now work until one, a little late for lunch--I am hoping to do a variety of activities just as Wild Woman Wednesdays.
These outings will be for women and I encourage women who are new to outdoor activities to join in. We will start at or after 2:00 since that is as early as I can make it and we can work with people's schedules from there. I'd like to do nontechnical activities, things that most people can do without a lot of expertise. Things like hikes, swimming in lakes, bike rides, potentially mellow water kayaking, etc... And maybe even do a happy hour here and there just to get women together to visit and plan future Wild Women Wednesdays. I hope to do at least two events a month maybe more, especially if there is a good amount of interest.
With Women, Be Wild! I started a Facebook group* called Women, Be Wild Reno Area Women's Adventure Group which I am going to use to post about Wild Women Wednesday Events. If you don't use Facebook, events will also be posted on the calendar located on the homepage of this website.
*I am pretty sure the Facebook group is private so you will need to request to be added if you are interested.
Let's show the world our wild side ladies!