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Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

It was another busy weekend. I don’t seem to know how to have any other kind.

Saturday I went and help set up at the farmers market, and then socialized for another 3 hours. I was back at my home market after working a different one all winter. I’ve come to love the winter market, the people there, working with BF, and I thought I’d be really sad to leave it. Part of me is, but then part of me is giddy with joy to see the friends from my home market that I have missed all winter. My cheeks hurt from smiling by the time I left. And there was asparagus and strawberries! YUM.

After market we worked about 160 lbs. of compost into the 2 raised beds. It’s probably not enough, but it’s a good start. BF sent the soil samples off to the cooperative extension today, so we’ll see what they say. We broke the hoe (oh, that sounds bad), so BF used the smoothing rakey thing while I used a hand hoe to work it in. Ow. We’re so tickled to have it done though. Next week we’ll get some plants from the market and get them in the ground. I’ve already got rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, chocolate mint, pineapple sage, tarragon, thyme, and basil ready to go. We have a bay tree and marjoram that have survived in pots over the winter, and I have oregano that comes back every year already peeking up and saying hello. I’m contemplating a bit of a tea garden this year. I have chamomile seeds (and some others that I can’t really remember right now) that I think I’m going to stick in a pot and see what they do.

The raised beds are where the stump was from the tree that fell on the house. See, stump removal is a rather misleading way to describe what they do with the stump. They actually grind it up with the existing dirt to create a woody mulch pile. Mound. Hill. In the middle of the back yard. And then you get to decide what to do with the hill. We made a garden because, honestly, we had no other ideas.

Saturday was rounded out with friends coming over for a few beers. It was a good day.

Sunday we slept in and then set out to do some morel mushroom foraging. BF has been doing his research and chose a location that wasn’t too far away. I can’t tell you where because OH BOY did we score big. We ventured from the path into a wooded area and looked at the trees around us. We didn’t really see the elms or tulip poplars that the morels are supposed to grow around. We were set to give up and get back on the trail when I happened to look down. “Oh, oh, oh look what you just stepped directly over!!” Two beautiful morels poking their heads above the leafy cover that BF had just missed with his booted size 13s. Bliss!

Despite the dreary weather, the setting was gorgeous. There were rolling hills with a wide variety of trees (blooming dogwoods, evergreens, elms, oaks, poplars, and who knows what else.) all bursting into spring. There were wildflowers blooming, and we even saw two owls! There was a horse event taking place, so folks on horseback dotted the hills. This was someplace we wouldn’t have gone if not for the foraging, so it was a really pleasant surprise to find it filled with so much beauty. And, we ended up with about 164 morels. Our record before that was, I think 8. Yes, I typed that correctly, 8.

We spent two, maybe more, hours in that spot finding morel after morel. There were veins of them, leading us in one direction, then another. MarleyQ was as patient as she could be with us, occasionally trying to sneak off, but spending a good portion of the time sitting next to us or lying in the leaves and dirt, panting and finding ways to make her presence known. We noticed the time, decided we had a good haul for our outing and very reluctantly got back on the path because we knew THERE WERE MORE OUT THERE. Click to make these bigger…

Owl Tree flowers Flowering Trees Morel Morels under a tree Morel Haul

We also ended up with something even more unexpected…

Ticks

Marley, in her eternal patience, sat herself in a nest of ticks. Lone star ticks. Nymph stage lone star ticks. We were in the parking lot for a good 45 minutes pulling freckle-sized ticks off of her belly. Soon we realized it was much more than we could possibly tackle in the parking lot. We loaded her in the car, got home, stripped at the front door and threw our clothes and backpacks right into the washer, and threw her in the tub. I scrubbed her, conditioned her, and then we had her on the floor with all the overhead lights on and lamps with the lampshades removed placed strategically around us while we combed, tweezed, plucked, and pulled hundreds of ticks off of her body. Most were on her back end—you know, where the hair is really long and thick. The poor girl fell asleep while we, for two hours, went over every square inch of her body. (Did you know dogs can have freckles? So cute! Don’t try to tweeze them off.) This morning we found a few more, and we expect that will continue for a bit. Gross.

Now our skin is crawling and we’re both completely paranoid about every tickle, itch and pinch that we feel. I know there are more on me. Somewhere. Hiding. Sucking my blood. I know it. But jeez, dinner was really, really good last night. And BF is going back for more on Wednesday.

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Supai Pictures

Here we go with some Supai pictures. Click on the thumbnails to see them bigger.

Heading into the Canyon The first glimps of Havasu Falls The pools around Havasu Falls Walkin Across Havasu Falls

View from the top of Mooney Falls View of Mooney Falls Hike to the Colorado River Beaver Falls

We Made it to the Colorado River! Hike back from the Colorado River Havasupai Indian Reservation Hiking out of the Canyon

The top row:
Hiking into the Canyon
Our first view of Havasu Falls
The pools at the base of Havasu Falls
J and I walking across the pools

The second row:
The view from the top of Mooney Falls (and my boots)
Mooney Falls
Hiking out to the Colorado River
Beaver Falls

The third row:
The Colorado!
Green and gray contrast, hiking back from the Colorado
Horses on the reservation
Hiking out of the Canyon

I want to do it all again.

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Ravens Rocks

BF, MarleyQ and I hiked Ravens Rocks yesterday. It was a beautiful, albeit windy, day with temps in the mid 60s and the sun shining brilliantly. The only clouds in the sky looked as if they had been placed there with artistic intent. The hike was as perfect as the day.

We were worried about time. The website said it was a 4-hour hike and we didn’t get started until right around 2. We keep a good pace, especially with Puppergirl blazing ahead, but we’re in no way superstars and with daylight savings yesterday, we wanted to be sure we beat the sunset back down.

The leaves are about as peak as they’re going to get this year. They’re very rusty instead of fiery, but it was beautiful all the same. The color carpeted the trail and laid a glow over the mountains that we would every so often catch sight of through the trees. The trail was rocky—there was quite a bit of scrambling (note: dangerous with excited dog on leash and ankle boots good) and, even in the flatter parts, you had to focus on where your foot should land next to avoid those tricksy rocks barely poking out from the leaves. Oftentimes hikes are a difficult climb up and then you flllllllyyyyyyyyyy back down. White Oak Canyon, one of the more comperable hikes to this one insofar as difficulty, was that way—a steep, sweaty, wheezing (beautiful) climb up the series of falls, and then about a half hour of wheeeeeeeeeeeeee as we charged back down. This one was a really good level of strenuous throughout. I definitely needed to stop and rest after one of the climbs, but I never said, “OH MY GOD MAKE IT END NOW.”

With the man and dog forging ahead (and finding all the tricky spots for me), I was actually able to reach a meditative sort of zone with this hike that I haven’t reached in a long time. My breathing and footsteps formed a rhythm that let my mind open up and wander. I used to only reach that state running or on long bike trips when there were very few other bikes on the trail. But, the insulation of the trees and the need to focus on my footfalls were the perfect combination yesterday and I felt a floodgate opening and a thought process rekindled that I don’t think is stoppable and I really don’t want to end.

When we did stop, look up, look around, catch the mountains through the trees, it was gorgeous. At the top, the view from the rocks was spectacular. The valley just opened up for you, offering miles of golds and oranges, tiny farms speckling the rolling hills, and never-ending mountains that pull you in and set your mind free. That’s one of my favorite things about being in the mountains, the way they can make you feel almost unbearably small and unbearably PRESENT at the same time.

The round trip hike ended up taking us about 2.5 hours. We beat sunset with plenty of time to spare and were able to stop at Tuskies for a pint while MarleyQ passed out in the car. Seriously, when BF did the beep-beep unlock remote thingy, her head popped up all stunned, confused and excited, ears down and eyes wide and droopy. “I was awake! The whole time, I was! Really!” She had no idea we were gone.

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Hiking and stocking

I wanted to knit all day today. I haven’t even looked at my yarn. Sigh. It’s still early enough that it could happen, but I also have a glass of wine by the computer and so that diminishes chances that any productive knitting could happen. Knitting could happen, sure, but productive knitting and wine do NOT go hand in hand. Yes, that is the voice of experience, thankyouverymuch.

The good news is that the errands have been run, there is a batch of bread dough rising, and the veggie stock is simmering on the stove, giving off an oh-so-delicious smell. There’s nothing like making veggie stock from farmers’-market-fresh veggies. There’s nothing like making anything using only farmer’ market food. Celery root, herbs, scallions, tomatoes (yes, hothouse, but still market fresh), onion, garlic, carrots, portabellos, all from within 150 miles from here. I can’t tell you how tickled that makes me… and how much more it tickles the tongue. The flavor difference is just amazing. So much more robust and pure. Everything was ripened on the plant. It really does make a difference.

My favorite people at the market this week: A Native American woman who first bought some sage and told me about its medicinal properties and how it was used to cleanse a space of bad energies… and then, after paying, noticed the sweet potatoes. “Oh, these will keep me grounded,” she half muttered and half exclaimed and chose a few to buy. She paid with a very pleased smile. The other was a Russian woman who tried the sweet potatoes that Ellen, the farmer, had baked and set out for samples, and then looked at me with a dour face saying that no matter how many times she tried them, she just didn’t like them. They don’t have them in Russia and she just can’t get used to them. But then she saw the sorrel and completely brightened. “Now sorrel, I know what to do with sorrel. I will buy some sorrel.” And she did.

Yesterday, after I got home from the farmers’ market, we took a nice hike at Bull Run. The leaves are just starting to tease us with color here—mainly yellows and a hint of orange, but the weather was perfect, crisp autumn beautiful, and, most importantly, the grounds of Bull Run has sections of oak tree groves. This time of year, if your eyes are focusing and the mushroom goddesses are smiling on you, you can you can sometimes find hen of the woods mushrooms huddled under the wide, old oaks. BF found one when we were in PA last weekend on one of the trails on Falling Waters’ grounds. It’s was HUGE and delicious and, apparently, freezes well (thank god, because did I mention it’s HUGE?). BF was SO excited at the find. We did some morel hunting this year for the first time and found all of 3 mushrooms, but now he’s a Mushroom Forager. And hen of the woods are in season. So we went to Bull Run.

MarleyQ ran. And ran. And then rolled around on something dead. And then went into Bull Run to try to wash the Dead off. And then went back in to swim. And ran. BF and I, on the way in, poked around under trees and studied the branches above. We circled trees and made wide arcs off the trail to look further in where feet were less likely to have stamped down what was trying to grow. There was little fungus of any kind there though. I think it was kind of dry, for whatever reason. There were no hen of the woods to be seen. We did hike the way out though, and that felt awesome. The blood was pumping, the breath was in unison with the feet, the leaves were crunching and the water was running just beyond our sight. It was beautiful.

We stopped at Old Dominion on the way home for their small-batch Hop Harvest that they have on tap right now. And hot pretzels. Dipped in spicy mustard. WHY are they so good??? And then we went home and cooked big batches of chili with homemade corn bread (mental note: baking+drinking=bad) for a few friends and drank the growlers of beer that we’d had filled (um, plus more). It was a very good day. I’m so sorry for this weekend to be ending.

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