Expanded Functionality of this Blog

Several Changes have taken place to expand the functionality and your access to the information contained within this blog.

1) A downloadable app for the I Phone & Android so while you are hiking or driving you have the information and images at your fingertips.   Download Here

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2) We have set up a new website FOUR CORNERS EXCURSIONS.COM  or to be exact http://www.fourcornersexcursions.com or those of you viewing this on a smart phone can go with QR readers can scan here:

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As usual you can still follow us on our new Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/HikingTheSouthwest

our sister blog  Hiking The Southwest

and last highlighting the photography and still under development @ Southwest Photography by Bill Kettler

Any further updates will be published as they come along

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How to Make Maple Syrup at Home

Maple

What you need to start

First, you will need to obtain a sap spout from either a local farm supply store, or a sugaring supply company such as Leader Evaporator Company a sap bucket (also available at your farm or sugaring supply store), and some kind of cover to keep the rain and snow out.

Next, select a maple tree that is at least 14 inches in diameter (which would make it at least 40 years old). Drill a hole with a 7/16 drill about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep…at about waist high. Hammer your spout into the tree and either attach a
sap bucket or a plastic bucket. .Put only one tap per tree.

Sugaring season begins around mid-February and goes until March and early April (depending on where in New England you live and how early the spring thaw arrives.)

How do you know when its time to tap? Check the outdoor temperature during the day and at night: If its gets 40 to 50 degrees F during the day and somewhat
below freezing at night, you can bet the sap is flowing.   This combination temperatures during the day and night pushes the sap up from the roots into the trunk and branches, where it freezes, and then the next day as it warms up, it drips out your spout.

How much sap do you need? It takes 40- 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup, so you might expect in 4 to 6 weeks to get 40 quarts of sap from a tree which would make one quart of syrup, this is why it is recommended to take advantage of several trees at once . Sap looks like water and is about 2% natural maple sugar.

Directions for making sap into syrup

Collect the sap from your bucket every day the sap drips (some days may be too cold or too warm and you won’t get much of anything) and try to boil it within 24 hours. Since you are evaporating most of the water, you will be producing lots of steam so back yard boiling works best on a gas grill. As the water is evaporated, the sap gets thicker and starts to look golden brown.

When the boiling is getting near done, and reaches 212 degrees F. the syrup will double in volume so be sure to have a large enough kettle to handle this expansion. When your product is near syrup, it might be best to take it inside and finish cooking it on your stove (be sure to have the exhaust fan going or you may loosen your wall paper with all the steam).

Maple syrup is cooked enough when its 219 degrees F. so a candy thermometer is critical. Overcooking will result in burning of the syrup and the pan. Maple syrup needs to be refrigerated once it’s done, and will keep for a couple years in
a glass jar. After all your hard work, pure maple syrup never tasted better.

Cooking with Cattail

Cattail
Cooking with Cattail Shoots

In early spring, cattails send up small, immature shoots that are rich and succulent and taste a bit like zucchini. These first sprigs of fresh cattail can be put into stir-fries, soups, pasta sauces, or any other recipe that calls for fresh, green vegetables. My favorite preferred use is in Asian-style stir fries. Their taste especially complements the texture and flavor of water chestnuts.

Cooking with Cattail Hearts

When cattail shoots mature in mid spring, the rich “heart” at the base of the leaf-blades becomes full of nutrients. These can be used in the same contexts as cattail shoots, but will lend a slightly stronger flavor and crunchier texture. A cattail heart’s texture is something like a cross between a bamboo shoot and an artichoke heart, and its flavor is like a cross between a rutabaga and a melon rind. They are ideal for pickling and canning.

Cooking with Cattail Heads

One of my all-time favorite foods is what I call “cat on the cob”, a delightful dish that tastes remarkably similar to sweet, white corn. Immature cattail heads that do not yet have a cotton-like texture– best harvested in early summer— are tasty and wonderful additions to any meal. They can be boiled or put into soups and stir-fries, but I prefer to cook them in a buttered skillet over medium heat and serve them in place of corn.


Cooking with Cattail Pollen

When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.

Cooking with Cattail Roots
The cream of the cattail crop is its rhizome, or root, which can be harvested any time between late fall and early spring. Cattails store starches in their roots over winter, similarly to potatoes and carrots, and provide a succulant, fibrous meal base when the root is properly harvested. These rhizomes can be prepared like potatoes or used along with them. Cattail roots make a great addition to mashed potatoes, greens, and root-bakes.
Regardless of the route you choose for cooking cattails, be sure that you have properly identified the plant. While there are few poisonous plants that resemble the cattail at any stage of life, it is still critical that all foragers cook wild plants only if they are certain that it has been accurately identified.
When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.


Dandelion fritters

Dandelion
During, spring in Michigan one of my favorite activities was making and eating dandelion flower fritters.
The simple dandelion is one of my favorite herbs.   This plant is tenacious, despite many folk’s best efforts to eradicate them from their lawns this plant has so much to offer.
They are easy to pick and so bright and cheery on a sunny day.  Pick these in the sunshine when they are open, and when you have time to make the fritters right after gathering.
Find a bowl, and mix together one egg and one cup of milk.  Stir in a cup of flour and your fritter batter is ready to go.  (If you like your fritters sweet you can add a little maple syrup or honey.)
Now, prepare a skillet on the stove with gently warmed olive oil – keep it over medium heat.
Take one of the flowers and hold it by the greens at the base of the flower petals. Dip the petals into the batter and twirl until the flower is covered.
Drop it into the skillet, flower side down.  Continue dipping and dropping flowers, checking the first ones every once in a while to see if they are brown.  When they’ve lightly browned, flip them over and brown them on the other side.
When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain the excess oil on paper towel.
For a sweet treat, drizzle them with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar.  For savory fritters try dipping in mustard or adding some savory herbs to the batter.
A second method for fritter making is to pull the dandelion flower petals from the green base and add the petals to the batter.  Then you can cook them up just like pancakes.
Not only are the fritters delicious, the dandelion flowers are good for your heart.  Dandelion flower tea can help relieve pain from headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomachaches and depression.  The rest of the plant (greens and roots) has nourishing, healing properties as well, the younger greens are great boiled and eaten as you would eat boiled spinach. So, once you’ve fallen in love with the flowers, consider seeking out further information.

Save 10% on RedRock Back Country Adventures

Save 10% @ RedRock Backcountry Adventures

Strawberry Point. UT

 

Strawberry Point. UT
Strawberry Point Drive for spectacular views of forested land and red rock formations. Strawberry Point is located just past Duck Creek Village once passing Duck Pond Strawberry Point Drive is 9 miles from the turnoff.
Strawberry Point is a mountain cliff in Iron County in the state of Utah (UT).
Strawberry Point climbs to 8,373 feet (2,552.09 meters) above sea level. Strawberry Point is located at latitude – longitude coordinates (also called lat – long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 37.751088 and W -112.943001.
Anyone attempting to climb Strawberry Point and reach the summit should look for detailed information on the Strawberry Point area in the topographic map (topo map) and the Summit USGS quad.
Strawberry Point. UT
Peak Type: Cliff
Latitude: 37.751088
Longitue: -112.943001
Peak Elevation: 8,373 feet (2,552.09 m)
Nearest City: Summit (3.2 miles away)

Strawberry Point Drive out to the scenic view point of Strawberry Point for spectacular views of forested land and red rock formations. A high clearance vehicle makes this a nicer drive. Duck Pond is 9 miles from the turnoff to Strawberry Point. Strawberry Point is a mountain cliff in Iron County in the state of Utah (UT). Strawberry Point climbs to 8,373 feet (2,552.09 meters) above sea level. Strawberry Point is located at latitude – longitude coordinates (also called lat – long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 37.751088 and W -112.943001.
Anyone attempting to climb Strawberry Point and reach the summit should look for detailed information on the Strawberry Point area in the topographic map (topo map) and the Summit USGS quad. To hike and explore the Utah outdoors near Strawberry Point, check the list of nearby trails.
Read Condition Reports | Add Condition ReportView Locator Map and Local WeatherPeak Type: CliffLatitude: 37.751088Longitue: -112.943001Peak Elevation: 8,373 feet (2,552.09 m)Nearest City: Summit (3.2 miles away)

 

Mammoth Cave, UT

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave

This is a fun adventure off the beaten path. Make sure to take a bright flashlight for each person. There is more than one tunnel in the cave and some people pull themselves through a small opening on their bellies to an opening at the other end.  The cave is about a half-mile long. Caution:  At the end of the cave there is water seepage and it becomes slippery.  Do wear closed toe shoes because the rocks in here are sharp and you are making you way with just a light. It is pitch dark inside.
Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave

For more information call the Cedar City Ranger District at 435-865-3200.
Mammoth Cave Flyer

Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort, UT

 

Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort

Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort

 

 

Merchant Valley:  Approximately 16 miles due east of Beaver. Take Scenic Byway U-153 to the junction of Merchant Creek and Three Creeks to gain access to the area. Elevation: 8,800 ft. Lake fishing is permitted at the Merchant Valley Dam. 
No facilities – camping designated as “dispersed”
(camps, tents, and RVs permitted only in established sites)

 

Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort

Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort

 

 

Elk Meadows Ski and Summer ResortWith its central Utah location, Elk Meadows offers uncrowded slopes and a variety of winter and summer activities not far from the five national parks and monuments. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are within only a couple hours drive of Elk Meadows, which make it a greatdestination during all seasons. Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and tubing are some of the popular winter pastimes. In summer, guests enjoy mountain biking, horseback riding, ATVing, fishing, hang gliding and more. Slope-side lodging and dining as well as rentals are available.

 

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 10:56 PM  Comments Off on Merchant Valley & Elk Meadows Ski and Summer Resort, UT  
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Africanized bees or killer bees

 

No Image Available

No Image Available

 

 

As the number of Africanized bee colonies increases in an area, so, too, does the likelihood of human and animal encounters with them. Serious human injury can be avoided if the habits of Africanized bees are learned and precautions taken.
Wear light-colored clothing. Bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, any thing dark in color could draw the animus of AHB.
Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to disturb honey bees. Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfume.
Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it be and keep family and pets away. Find a pest control company or a local beekeeper to solve the problem.
To help prevent honey bees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of refuse, honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground.
When hiking, avoid hiking off trails. Bring some bug spray, bee spray, a GPS, and your cell phone with you just in case.
Be alert for bees acting strangely. If one or two start to bump at you, especially at your head, take notice and possibly vacate the vicinity.
 
How can I escape an attack by Africanized Honey Bees?
Obviously, it is best to avoid contact with Africanized Honey Bees. But if contact becomes unavoidable, it is important to know what to do.
Bees target the head, and nearly all those who suffer serious stinging incidents with Africanized Bees are overcome by stings to the head and face.
The best method of escaping a bee attack is to cover your head and run for shelter.
Any covering for your body, especially for your head and face, will help you escape. A small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket.
If you do not have these, grab a blanket, coat, towel, anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape.
If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.
If one or two bees start agressively bumping you, pay attention.
Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed.
DO NOT JUMP INTO WATER! Bees will wait for you to come up for air. They have been discouraged by water from a spraying hose, however. Spray water from the hose onto yourself and overhead. If you can get into a shower that will help as well.
Once you are away from the bees, evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately. Ice has been said to help with the swelling.
If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.
Remove stingers as soon as possible to lessen the amount of venom entering the body. Scrape stingers off the skin with a blunt instrument or plastic card. Do not remove bee stingers with fingers or tweezers – this only forces toxins into the victim’s body.
As the number of Africanized bee colonies increases in an area, so, too, does the likelihood of human and animal encounters with them. Serious human injury can be avoided if the habits of Africanized bees are learned and precautions taken.
Wear light-colored clothing. Bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, any thing dark in color could draw the animus of Africanized Honey Bees.
Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to disturb honey bees. Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfume.
Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it be and keep family and pets away. Find a pest control company or a local beekeeper to solve the problem.
To help prevent honey bees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of refuse, honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground.
When hiking, avoid hiking off trails. Bring some bug spray, bee spray, a GPS, and your cell phone with you just in case.
Be alert for bees acting strangely. If one or two start to bump at you, especially at your head, take notice and possibly vacate the vicinity.
 
How can I escape an attack by Africanized Honey Bees?
Obviously, it is best to avoid contact with Africanized Honey Bees. But if contact becomes unavoidable, it is important to know what to do.
Bees target the head, and nearly all those who suffer serious stinging incidents with Africanized Bees are overcome by stings to the head and face.
The best method of escaping a bee attack is to cover your head and run for shelter.
Any covering for your body, especially for your head and face, will help you escape. A small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket.
If you do not have these, grab a blanket, coat, towel, anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape.
If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.
If one or two bees start agressively bumping you, pay attention.
Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed.
DO NOT JUMP INTO WATER! Bees will wait for you to come up for air.
They have been discouraged by water from a spraying hose, however. Spray water from the hose onto yourself and overhead. If you can get into a shower that will help as well.
Once you are away from the bees, evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately. Ice has been said to help with the swelling.
If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.
Remove stingers as soon as possible to lessen the amount of venom entering the body. Scrape stingers off the skin with a blunt instrument or plastic card. Do not remove bee stingers with fingers or tweezers – this only forces toxins into the victim’s body.

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground, UT

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground

25 miles southeast of Cedar City on Scenic Byway 148. 30 tenting sites, water, toilets. Elevation is 10,000 feet. Campground adjacent to Cedar Breaks National Monument and 5 miles from Brian Head.
435-586-9541

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground

Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 6:33 PM  Comments Off on Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground, UT  
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