Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Second Book Is Now Available

My new book is now available through Kindle at It's an ebook, which means you can be reading it within minutes and its available worldwide.
I used the photo below to create the cover. I'm crossing Lyle Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail. My good friend, Cobweb took it for me.

To see
Everything Except Corn Pasta
just click on this link.

The book contains recipes for on the trail and preparing food at home for backpacking and camping. There are trail stories  and photos, information for those who like to use slow burning stoves and bake and much more.
The ISBN is 0-9728145-1-4. I posted the Table of Contents to give you an idea of what you'll find.

Table of Contents


Things I Learned Trailside—7

Appetizers and Beverages --11
--includes dissertation on Trail Mixes

--hot and cold food for your most important meal

Soups and Main Dishes--30

Meat, Cheese, and Proteins--42


--life’s joy

Dehydrating Foods--68

Everything Except--80
--spices, make a cozy, food list for bear canister

The Backpackers Trail Kitchen--89

Special Tricks for the Ultralighter--98
--making miles and alternative gear

The Raisin File--115


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Trail Kitchen

Gallon Ziploc, quart Ziploc, sand which, then the smaller resealable bags all make packaging food easy. Keeps garbage to a minimum. I hate it when people throw their garbage in a fire ring, thinking it will burn. Just makes a mess. Pack it in, pack it out. But, keep things easy by repackaging into Ziploc bags first.

Plastic Bags are esential to any backpacker's trail kitchen. I like spices, too, so I carry some in a tiny plastic bag.

This basic cook set weighs just 8.5 ounces.

This ultralight cook set I used on the Appalachian Trail. It only weighs 3.5 ounces. 
The soda can stove in the basic set is the one I used with the kit. I placed a new one in this photo to facilitate the shoot.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Journey Available at Kindle Store

Amazon has provided the way for authors to upload and sell their books in a digital format.
They can be bought and read within a few minutes of purchase. If you don't have a Kindle reading device, there's a free download for PCs. That's what I did. Right now I have five books in my Kindle library.
I love the fact that you can own a ton of books without needing a large home book shelf. Also, they won't get damaged or lost and are less expensive.

Kindle Store at Amazon

I have put my first book into e-format, and you can buy it now. The beauty of this is there are no shipping fees, no waiting for the post office, or limitations because of which country you live in.

Here’s the link to
My Journey To Freedom and Ultralight Backpacking in the Kindle Store.

You can read a description of my book at and check out reader's Reviews
This book was printed in paperback by Fire Creek Pass Publications. It is the exact same book now being offered at Kindle.

Right now I'm working on my second book. I'll make it available as an e-book via Kindle.
It is a compilation of trail stories, trail recipes, and all things culinary for the ultralight backpacker. I plan to have it ready in July. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brand Names Worth It?

I know for my thrifty, frugal nature. I like to make my own gear, modify and use thrift store finds. I especially love to find Brand Names, though, and am seeing the value of owning them. If you can spare the change, get brand names. Some of my favorites, shown below, are
Vasque Trail Shoes, Merrell hiking boots, Nike Air trail shoes, Patagonia gloves.

I'll admit, none of the above products were bought at full price. They seem to be lasting forever, which makes me think in the long run, well worth it.

Is it just about "image" or does this brand name stuff really wear better? I'm liking the fit and feel too.


I've had the pleasure of testing this Brooks Range Cirro Jacket. I drove over 6,500 miles, worked and played in the Grand Tetons, and used this jacket nearly nonstop.
It still looks wonderful. Once the zipper got caught on the ultralight fabric, and I used chap stick to lubricate it. Then, ever so gently, I slid it back in place.

Its funny, but people also seem to respect the Name. You can wear it with pride knowing you have great gear.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Make My Day-A Favorite Tarp Set Up

I'll admit it. I love compliments. I expect everyone does. This comment was posted today on my youtube channel:

Thank you ! I Really enjoyed watching your video. You did a great job. In MHO, Best Tarp set up video on the tube.

You can reply to this comment by visiting the comments page.

The tarp is a flat 10 x 12 and can be made or purchased in many places. I also show how to use no see um netting to provide bug protection. Of course, you can secure the netting more than I did in the video. Its an example of modifying on a budget.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Kind of Place

ROOSTER FOUND at Brooks Lane Apartments. whoever can catch can come get. Manager M-T xxx-xxx-4194. Manager did not place ad.

This is a true ad found in my home town's newspaper this week. I read it online.
The phone number has been xxx-ed out to protect the guilty.

Ok, you gotta love a place where a vagrant rooster is offered to the person able to catch it.
Oh, wait a minute. The one offering it is no doubt sick of it chasing people, pecking on legs, crowing at 4 a.m, and pooping on the sidewalk.

Animals are great, but there is a time and place. My kids and I raised a bunch of ducks for school projects and found when ever the ducks got scared, the pooped. This is a huge mess, even if its on the grass because people (especially me) love to go barefoot.

Not like you can just scrape up bird stuff with a shovel. Not like you'd want to. A dog is different. They can be taught where the proper place to defecate is.

Birds can't be taught much.
Guess that's where the expression, "bird brain" comes from.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Focaccia Made Easy, Your Way

While I was in the Tetons, I learned how to make focaccia. Its an Italian Herb Bread. Our recipe made a sticky dough, which was then placed in a deep sheet pan where olive oil had been drizzled. Or, maybe I should say, dumped. The mass is allowed to "proof" which means rise in regular home cook lingo.
This bubbly dough is then topped with a garnish like rosemary sprigs, red pepper flakes, or parsley, some kosher salt or sea salt and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes. Easy peasy, as our Zion Chef would say.

Its a fantastically easy gourmet bread. I've shown my two daughters how to make it. My son in laws love it too. So, with that in mind here's the basic recipe.

2.5 cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Tablespoon regular salt
4 1/4 cup flour

Stir this batter together until well blended. Then add some spices of your choice. We used rosemary, sage, onion salt, garlic salt and thyme. One of my daughters didn't have the rosemary so we used basil. After all, its an Italian bread.

Now, with the batter well mixed, and heavily spiced, dump a generous amount of olive or canola oil in a sheet pan or 9 x 13. There should be enough to actually pool a bit. Make sure the pan is coated. Now, scrape the batter into the pan. Set in a warm place and allow to double in size, at the very least.
You should see yeasty bubbles forming.
Now, sprinkle the kosher salt and garnish on top. Dip your finger tips in oil, make "dimples". Bake in hot oven, see above, until lightly browned.

This bread can be served in so many ways, as a sandwich, side dish with marinara, with grilled steaks and salad for a complete meal, or eaten for breakfast. All have been done this very week.

You can vary the spices, make it plain, or with chili theme. Have fun, its a cheap food and one I'll do on the trail with my baking system.

Happy trails.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Politics of Dorm Living

So my dorm situation proved to be untenable.
After nearly a month of unsatisfactory negotiations with the Housing Manager, and trial and error housing situation, I submitted my resignation and left Jackson Lake Lodge at the Grand Tetons.

This is very unfortunate because I loved my job in the Bake Shop making all sorts of delicious stuff. I love baking bread, working with enthusiastic culinary students, and hiking after work and days off.

Just wasn't meant to be.
In the process, the housing manager dropped an interesting world view in my lap. She said she's a very "black and white person". Things are black or white.

I find this very curious, because the details create the gray areas. Even pregnancy can be gray. An ectopic or tubal pregnancy creates a positive pregnancy test, yet the gestation is unsustainable.

A person "working" on a problem is neither happy or unhappy. This is the gray area of life.
Think about any given situation.
A job, a relationship, a meal. There are always details that make the situation neither black or white. I love my job, but wished it paid more, or had health insurance. Or, I love my relationship, but wished he loved to dance. Or, I love this meal, but wished it weren't so fattening.

Little simple details give us the nuances of life. People who are tuned into details, detail oriented people, are prized for their far sighted problem solving abilities.

Unfortunately, this season is over for my cooking in National Parks. I am visiting family then heading back to Georgia for a summer of trail adventure and panning for gold.
See you on the other side of the country.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Photos

A Float Trip

One of the employee perks at Grand Teton Lodge Company is float trips. I went on one Monday, and had a great time. The guide's name is Mike, and he was so smooth in his commentary, jokes, and presentation I could only marvel that his enthusiasm doesn't wane with so much practice.

There were seven guests, myself, and Mike. He kept the boat totally under control while standing up and giving facts as well.
Monday was a beautiful day for the trip, which took three hours. The next couple days were interspersed with snow and rain. They have tarps and rain gear to protect the clients, bringing everything back to the laundromat to dry it out in that event.

Other perks with this company include horseback riding, bus tour to Yellowstone, and bus Tour of the Grand Tetons.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Camel Back or Water Bottles?

The subject came up at work today: Which is better, carry water bottles or camel back ?

Of course, this is a very subjective decision, but mine is based on years of experience with the free soda bottles.
Each bottle can contain a different beverage, the bottle is easy to fill and nearly indestructible.
Did I mention its free?

I place them in a sling, bungee them to shoulder straps on my pack, or in gear pockets in the pack or jacket.

A camel back comes in a self contained pack, but then where do you put all the odds and ends of gear, like rain jacket, emergency kit, maps, camera, food, etc?
My friend says he brings another pack, or else removes the bladder and slips it into the day pack itself.

You are then limited to one flavor of beverage with all your eggs in one basket. If the thing clogs, breaks, or leaks, that's it. Many camel backs carry two liters of water.

Sometimes you'll want more than that. I carry a 1.5 liter bottle, and supplement with other soda bottles as needed. Always leave home well hydrated, carry plenty depending on temperature, dry climates, body size and duration of hike. Once home, I rehydrate if needed.

Guess I'm a minimalist and have only observed a camel back in use. I do not own one, so that sort of distorts my opinion. They are pricey for what they are, even though drinking from a straw while hiking might feel really cool. Maybe some day I'll try one and limit my beverage choice to plain water.

For those gearing up on a budget, get a day pack with pockets, some empty soda bottles and get out and hike. You can bring as much water as you like along with gear and snacks for little cash outlay.