Showing posts from October, 2012

What to do with Pumpkin Guts: How to Dry Pumpkin Seeds, How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds, & Create a Compost Feast

I have an announcement!!! The leaves are FINALLY turning yellow. Hooray!!!

Fall is my favorite time of year, its just warm enough that I can still get away with wearing flip flops, but just cool enough I can also manage to wear a scarf without getting strange looks. Probably an interesting image created right there, a flip-flop wearing, scarf sporting fashion faux pas. That would most definitely get weird looks. And although I don't wear the aforementioned clothing articles at the same time, you get the picture. My favorite thing about Fall: VARIETY
Yesterday afternoon was not a flip-flop day. It was a rubber boots and raincoats day. Ten miles from our home is Lone Pine Farms, which is in my humble opinion, an autumn paradise. They have hayrides, corn mazes, and of course, PUMPKINS.  My Perfect Pumpkin
Everyone loves to carve pumpkins, and for those with kids, you have someone to gut them. We on the other hand are kid-less. Meaning I got to gut those Orange beauties.  But what is …

Useful Weather Sites

Winter is nearly here and that makes heading out into the wilderness slightly more dangerous than the rest of the year. The key to having a safe and awesome time, is being prepared for what weather you may face. I always like to plan for the worst, which often leads to slightly heavier pack weight. There are a lot of weather related sites around and some of them are better than others. My favorite general weather site is the National Weather Service.

Their site is easy to navigate, one can search by zip code or city. Also there is a map that you can click around on and find the area closest to your destination. One of the best features is that are no ads. So once you figure out that it your destination might have some snow I always check out the National Water and Climate Center's website, known as SNOTEL

The NRCS offers information about how they collect data and what it all means. I normally just click on my state and then the SNOTEL site closest to where my destination wil…

Benson Lake and Hand Lake Loop

We have had a relatively mild October until this last week, with the current forecast for next week calling for snow or rain based on elevation. For some people this would be the end of their 'hiking season'. I believe hiking is a year round activity. There is something so peaceful and beautiful to me about getting out on the trail on a cold and rainy day. Part of this is of course the lack of people on even the most popular of trails. After realizing snow would soon be falling in the High Cascades I started searching for a hike that would soon be under snow. After reading through a few guidebooks I decided to turn to my McKenzie River Ranger District map to find a few trails I could string together into a loop that was between 6-10 miles. Quickly I ran my Scalex Map Wheel over the trail, it came up as about 7 miles. If you're unfamiliar with a Map Wheel definitely check out Scalex's website.
I absolutely love driving on Highway 242, it's great no matter the time …

Willamatte National Forest Classic: French Pete Trail

The forest that surrounds the French Pete drainage is definitely the star of this hike. There are massive Douglas-Firs and Western Red-cedars that line this watershed. Thanks to the hard work of many conservationists this valley was added into the Three Sisters Wilderness in 1978, saving it from being clear-cut. While walking through old-growth native forests like this, it's always difficult for me to imagine that some people can't see the beauty of such places, only the monetary value of it. Those of us who value incredible places must be vigilant, because those who see dollar signs are always at work to undue the work conservationists have done.  Recently French Pete Creek has made it's way back into local news.

In 2003 day-hiker, Daming Xu went missing not long after the search started part of  the guidebook he had was found along the upper portion of French Pete Creek. There was a massive search for him and still nothing was ever found. June of 2012 James Dutton went…

Mount Yoran Via the Divide Lake Trail

There are quite a few routes that one could take to explore the area around Mount Yoran, this trip I decided to take the Divide Lake trail from the Vivian Lake trailhead. This route is awesome because it passes by Notch Lake and gives you incredible views of Diamond Peak.

The trail begins in a fairly open area that is lined with Huckleberries, so if you plan to hike this and want to eat as you go I would come sometime in August or September. Sadly there were very few Huckleberries left. Shortly after you begin your hike you enter the Diamond Peak Wilderness. At a little under a mile you will come to the beautiful Notch Lake. I spotted one awesome campsite fairly close to the trail.

 The area around Notch Lake was still fairly moist considering there hasn't been much, if any rain in the last three months. If you were to come here in spring or fall you would probably be getting your feet wet in this section of trail.

Not long after Notch Lake you begin a climb that brings you on…

Indigo Springs Campground Willamette National Forest

While planning a hike to Mount Yoran via the Divide Lake trail I came across the Indigo Springs Campground on Forest Service map and figured that it would be worth checking out. Going to school five days a week and working one leaves far too little time to get out into the woods, so my friend and I planned to camp at Indigo Springs Campground in order to get an early start hiking the next day.

We arrived well after dark and were hoping the place was empty, but we showed up at there was and one of the four sites occupied. Knowing that it was hunting season and not wanting the other people to think we were going to be hunting in 'their' area I immediately got out and talked with the guys. It turned out to be a father and his two sons, they were all friendly. They told us that the best site for tent camping was the just up from were we had parked. Shortly after getting settled we had a fire going, steaks grilling and beer pouring.

If there isn't a chance of rain and there …