earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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Time to settle in for the long haul

Welcome to a NEW YEAR!  There are so many great things to look back on from this past year and so many wonderful things to look forward to in the coming year!

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I’m back in NH and the reality of my next journey is hanging over my head.  With the change of the year I will no longer be able to say “I am going next year,” a simple way of keeping this adventure at arms length.  Don’t get me wrong I am VERY, VERY excited for this journey but I’m also terrified.  I will be walking onto a trail in Georgia with a pack on my back and a dog by my side, with every intention of getting off the trail 2,189 miles later when we reach the summit of Mt. Katadin in Maine.  But as every hiker who has attempted or completed the AT will tell you it is all about “Hike your own hike!”   This journey is yours and your alone.  No one can tell you what to expect from it or what your greatest challenge will be, we are all individuals and the trail will test us as such.

Star met her match during her first hike of the season - took a power nap to make it through

Star met her match during her first hike of the season – took a power nap to make it through

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We each have our own challenges — Hike your own hike and take naps when needed!!!

 

Now for anyone who knows me they will agree that I can be a wee bit difficult with a side of annoyance thrown in.  I like to know what to expect.  When I don’t know, I can be stubborn, cranky and down right miserable to be around.  So how am I going to survive on a trail where I have no control over the weather, my health or the people surrounding me?  I guess I’ll have to adapt, and quickly at that!  Truthfully, there is something about being in nature which removes all the pressure.  There are things I cannot change and therefore there is no reason to allow them to control my reactions – and yes I know this translates into day to day situations as well but somehow society makes it all muddled in my mind.  BUT there are things I can have a sense of control over, maybe more of an influence,  my meals are high up on my list.  I want to eat good food, I don’t mean five star restaurant quality, although that would be nice, I want variation.   When you talk to people who have hiked the AT they list items they’d be happy to never see again: peanut butter, Nutella, oatmeal, tortillas, Ramon, and tuna.  It is hard to find GOOD easy to prepare food, something you can rehydrate in a single pan.  So I am doing the only sensible thing – I’m dehydrating my own meals.

Purple Radishes

Purple Radishes

Dehydrating food is a learning curve, time consuming and when you are finished you have less than what you started with…

I have discovered that if you precook your food the time it takes to rehydrate it is greatly reduced.  For example the black beans I cooked and dehydrated only took 3 minutes in boiling water, with 10 minutes to rest after to rehydrate.  If I can have meals packaged up so all I need to do is put water on to boil, toss a food pack in and be good to go, life would be awesome!!!   I have managed to dehydrate a large number of items, now I need to take them and create a meal or two and try them out.
I have dehydrated:
~ Beans
~ Garlic (made the entire apartment reek)
~ Carrots
~ Kale (powder it for nutritional qualities)
~ Portabella Mushrooms
~ Zucchini
~ Sweet potatoes
~ Tomatoes
~ Cabbage
~ Rice
~ Quinoa (cooked in veggie broth)
~ Beets
~ Radishes
~ Blueberries
~ Banana
~ Apples
~ Honeydew Melon
~ Beef Jerky

a half gallon of garlic being prepared

a half gallon of garlic being prepared

chopped and ready to dry

chopped and ready to dry

Reduced to a Quart of chopped garlic -- the air is so heavy with the garlic it's all I can taste

Reduced to a Quart of chopped garlic — the air is so heavy with the garlic it’s all I can taste

There are some things which are not worth dehydrating yourself. I would never opt to dehydrate blueberries again!!! It is suggested to poke each berry a couple times so the skin will shrink with the rest of the berry and it allows the moisture to escape.  I sat with a toothpick and poked EVERY berry 2-3 times. They came out looking beautiful!!! And I’ll be happy to go buy them at the store all shrunken.  Pineapple and Mango are also worth buying already dried.  The cost of buying them fresh and dehydrating them will most likely be more than what you pay for them already dried.

So here the journey begins, the preparation and hard work before our feet ever hit the trail!!!

feet on the trail

**As I put together recipes I will be sure to post them for any other person who wants to take on the adventure of making their own dehydrated meals.**

 

 

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Holiday cheer!

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San Francisco Airport a week before Christmas! The customer service line stretched over 40 feet!

The mix of chaos, anxiety, and stress fill the air! People rushing from point A to point B with so many thoughts cluttering their mind they cannot take a moment and enjoy what they are doing and why. The holidays have changed. It is no longer a time to sit and enjoy being with family and friends but a crazed shopping event which starts weeks in advance. There are people who face this endeavor as though it were the Triple Crown.
Forgotten is the joy of sitting around a fire, a table or a Christmas tree, with the people you hold dear. The pressure to cook the perfect meal or buy the perfect gift hangs overhead.

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This is NOT how I perceive Christmas! This year more so than any in the past was a year not to feel stressed. At a young age my parents changed the idea behind Christmas and created our tradition, it was not about spending. As kids we were limited to $20 per person for gifts. We could spend it however we saw fit, buying many small items, one large, or the most encouraged method, purchase supplies to make something. The holiday became a time to sit and think about the people you loved, an opportunity to share a piece of yourself with others. No crazy running around fighting for parking or wrestling with a nun over the last box of crayons.

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This holiday I spent my days preparing small gifts, tokens of appreciation for those closest to me. I took time, not to shop but to see my nephew for an afternoon – you can’t replace childhood. These are the memories I want: seeing my nephew roll over, snuggling with my pup, Laughing with a woman in line behind me at the store, baking with my mother, telling stories with my grandfather.
I’m blessed to have had all of these this holiday season.

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Final day in CA!

I am not ready to depart this beautiful and rugged land. As the day draws to a close I realize just how much I will miss the people I have met and the beautiful land I’ve been surrounded by.
Thank you CA for the insights and experiences you have allowed me!

I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful picture of the White Mountains (directly below) that I posted, uploaded the wrong image from my phone.  Here’s take two (bottom image)!

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The CA mountains are a little less green, or so the case was when this picture was taken.  After the rains the mountains came to life with bright green grass and moss.
CA mountains

 


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Memories are made to be built upon

For the past month I have buried myself in self reflection.  I start my day with stretching both of my body and of my mind.  I have learned much about myself, things I like, things I would alter through self growth and understanding, I am rediscovering me.
Today started off in a spectacular fashion. I climbed out of my tent to see mountains rising above me, mist lingering on the peaks while the sun made an appearance through the light cloud cover.  I woke feeling refreshed, free of negative energy and the sense of foreboding which had been weighing me down the past couple of days.  The morning was an opportunity to deal with chores and to reconnect with the “outside world.”  Oh the glories of Facebook and email.  I shared my latest photo project and caught up with my puppy sitter and that’s when it happened, the email came through from my mother.  My mother who doesn’t share all the information, only what she deems important at the moment (sorry mom).  The email stated “I’ll pick you up in Dover.  Grampa is in the hospital…” for anyone who knows my family hearing that my grandfather is in the hospital is common news, I’m pretty sure he has frequent flyer miles, it was the rest of the sentence that had me pause “he had a hemorrhagic stroke.”  This was not the way my grandfather rolled, he never went in for anything serious.  Needless to say the information was sparse and being on the other side of the country doesn’t make it easy to drop in and see what’s going on.  Instead I did the rational thing, I cried!  I let the fear and the pain flood my senses and run from my eyes. 
There is something so healing about letting your emotions free. For the moment I was on my own with only myself available to process the situation.  All the time spent looking inward became an asset, I let myself truly feel the emotions coursing through me, I didn’t bury them or look to others to provide the support I thought I needed, there would be time for that later. 
Sitting looking at the expansive wilderness in front of me I had decisions to make.  Do I cut my trip short and fly home? Do I stick out the next couple weeks and hope for good news? There were many checks and balances to do. When the life of someone you love has an unknown destiny, one which has a possible time limit, every choice made will impact your life.  I sat looking out at the mountains and the river.  My mind wandered filled with the memories of all the time spent with my grandfather, hikes to his favorite fishing hole, cribbage games, driving my grandmother and him south for the winter (in a 30′ motor home towing a car), his stories of being a WWII POW, and so much more.  His excitement and support of my upcoming adventure to hike the AT.  I am blessed for any and every moment I have with my grandfather.
With much thought behind my decision and knowing what my grandfather would want for me I have decided to finish my current adventure.  Updates on my grandfather say he’s doing well.  I’m looking forward to giving him a great big hug upon my return to NH.

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The flood

And an adventure it has been.  Days upon days of rain falling to the point that my tent had to be moved for possible record breaking floods. The river rose over ten feet in two days.  The grass patch is where my tent was.

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The before flood river.  See normally there are rocks.


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Passing moments

The world flashed by viewed from the back of a truck, trees, rocks, cows, and mountains. Watching the land roll past I saw new things which should have been laid out ahead of me but were now only passing memories. I could enjoy a life of travel where you look not at where you are going but appreciate where you could have been and know that when the time is right you’ll get there.

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