Adventures

A Tinfoil Thanksgiving: Four of our Favorite Recipes

Near-naked trees and chilling temps can only mean one thing: ‘tis the season to load up on food and shrug off your guilt. The United States has even dedicated a holiday for you to stuff your belly and build up extra “layers” for the winter months. However, Thanksgiving suggests a four-day weekend, which tempts many outdoor adventurists to ditch family dinners and escape into nature. Lucky for you, we’ve found ways to bring Thanksgiving to the wilderness, so you can binge eat and give thanks for this beautiful world while being surrounded by it.

THANKSGIVING HOBO DINNER

10 turkey cutlets

2 cans of gravy

1 bag of frozen green beans and carrots

1 package of cranberries

Pour an inch-layer of gravy on the bottom. Place the turkey cutlet on top. Sprinkle frozen green beans and carrots over the turkey. Top with more gravy and a handful of cranberries. Wrap up and place in the fire. Repeat.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Tip: Don’t use all the gravy in food prep. You’ll want some to pour over after the meal is cooked.

POTATOES AU TINFOIL

1 can of cream of chicken/mushroom soup

2 lbs. of small yellow potatoes

1 onion

1 bag of shredded cheese

Salt and pepper

Spread a layer of soup on the bottom. Cut the potatoes into thin slices and place 3-4 potatoes, worth on top. Slice onion and add. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle a handful of cheese, seal, and place in fire. Repeat.

Cook time: 30 minutes

Tip: Potatoes often take the longest to cook, but the thinner you cut them, the quicker they soften.

Photo by Chris Hammock

Photo by Chris Hammock

MOM’S SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes

1 cup of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of marshmallows

4 sheets of graham crackers

Chocolate bars (optional)

Dice the sweet potatoes and toss onto the tinfoil with cubed butter and brown sugar. Wrap up and place in the fire. After you pull the food out, open and place marshmallows, graham crackers and, if desired, chocolate, onto the steaming potatoes.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Tip: Try to keep the brown sugar toward the center of the potatoes or it will quickly burn.

APPLE PIE-IN-A-HOLE

6 apples

1 cup of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of butter

¾ cup of rolled oats

Cinnamon

Cut the core out of the apple. Dice butter and place a few cubes inside the hole, along with brown sugar, cinnamon, and rolled oats. Wrap in tinfoil and toss in the fire.

Cook time: 15 minutes

Almost all of these recipes received thumbs up and smiles from the Wasatch crew on a staff camping trip. Enjoy!

c.webber@dailyutahchronicle.com

@carolyn_webber

Feature photo by Kiffer Creveling

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How to: Build a Campfire With Purpose

Camping — one of the most fun, and easiest, activities in the great outdoors. While escaping civilization, sitting around the campfire is inevitably how you’ll end the day. What you want from your fire is completely dependent on how you build it. Fires need two key ingredients: oxygen and fuel. When you first construct your campfire, you will need tinder — small twigs, sticks, pine needles, sagebrush, and paper. This will go on the bottom of the fire to initially get the kindling ignited. The next layer of your campfire is kindling, or small branches and twigs as well as parts of a log that you have chopped down with a hatchet. The last layer of a fire is the fuel (or logs) which take the longest to ignite. There are three main types of campfires: tipis, lean-tos, and log-cabins. Each campfire type has its own purpose.

When it is cold out and you need immediate heat, the best fire type is the tipi. The kindling is stuck into the ground and forms a single point in a radial direction resembling a Native American tipi. Inside the tipi is the tinder which you will ignite. The kindling will catch fire after the tinder has ignited and then you add logs to the fire to keep the flames roaring.

When it is windy out, the best design is a lean-to. This differs from a tipi in the sense that a large log is placed upwind to act as a wind break. The kindling is then placed by leaning on the support log and the ground. The tinder is placed inside the wind-protected area. Again, light the tinder and the kindling will ignite shortly. Keep placing fuel on the fire by leaning the logs on the wind break.

When you need to cook dinner at your campsite, go for a log cabin. The log cabin uses a rectangular shape with logs stacked parallel to one another by laying logs across from one another. The final result will be a small log cabin. Inside the log cabin you will construct a small tipi where the tinder will ignite the kindling and then will progress outwards to light the fuel. The log cabin needs to be large enough to support cookware.

k.creveling@dailyutahchronicle.com

Photo by Kiffer Creveling

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Settle in for a Slick Ski Season

Powder is on its way.

At Ski Utah’s kickoff to the ski season yesterday, that was the resounding message. Representatives from ski resorts and Utah’s Office of Tourism gathered with media members to hear Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah, discuss the prospects of the upcoming season.

Many ski resorts, such as Sundance, Cherry Peak, and Powder Mountain, are increasing access with new ski lifts. Snowbird and Brian Head have expanded buildings for ski school and restaurants. But, all the resorts have a resounding theme —

“Snow guns are at the ready,” Rafferty said.

Since last year broke records from the 2007-08 season for number of visitors, Rafferty and others are hopeful that this year the momentum will keep going. Of course, everyone is doing it in different ways.

For resorts like Powder Mountain, they want to keep the number of visitors high, but not so high that they lose their iconic seclusion. They have decided to limit the amount of season pass holders to 1,000 and day passes to 2,000.

“We don’t want to change. We want to keep our little resort feel,” said JP Goulet, marketing manager for Powder Mountain. “We want you to look around and have no one around you.”

Since they are adding two new chair lifts and adding another 600 acres to their resort, that goal is feasible. The lifts are expected to be running by Dec. 15. While Powder Mountain doesn’t have a set opening day (since they don’t make their own snow), Goulet is confident they will be running by the first week of December.

Other resorts are hoping to open starting next week.

Brighton is celebrating its 80th year of operation, Solitude is re-modeling their mountain lodge, and Snowbird is starting a program to support carpooling and public transportation use. While many are worried about the lack of snow, the resorts know sooner or later, it will come.

Rafferty wants everyone to remember, “Utah always delivers when it comes to snow.”

c.webber@dailyutahchronicle.com

@carolyn_webber

Photo by Carolyn Webber

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Hiking the Subway — What You Should Know

We were a motley bunch. Between the five of us we had one broken (and un-casted) wrist, three wetsuit-less fools, and one amateur who had never done so much as a rappel before. I knew the risk was high, and despite my most tremendous efforts, I could not shake the doubt that crept into my dazing mind. A wrong turn, a bad hold, a slipped foot — SCREECH! We stopped. Out the front window I could see the headlights illuminating “Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.” We had arrived; we were at the entrance to the Subway.

Immediately the doubt drained away only to be replenished by a surge of adrenaline and excitement. As we placed our first steps on the trail the freezing morning air bit at our bare legs, but with each step I couldn’t help but think of all the hurried research I had done the night before and the men who has first set foot on this remote route.

Crossing over the slick rock and continuing to descend toward the beginning of the canyon, I did not once think of a lack of wilderness. In fact, had it not been for our guidebook we almost certainly never would have found the canyon at all. Even with the book our directions sounded like something out of “Treasure Island: “continue fifteen feet across the slick rock until you pass over a large, fallen Ponderosa Pine tree.” There was no shortage of “where to now” questions.

Many wrong turns later and we finally were standing at the bottom of the first descent. In front of us was a small trickle of a creek. Little did I know, I would come to fear its icy grasps. Progressing further, we came upon the only possible spot you could really go the wrong way once you enter the canyon. Putting our 90 years of combined knowledge together, we spent a careful fifteen minutes checking directions against compasses and logic. We agreed, the trail had to be left.

An hour later we returned to the junction soaked, freezing, and grumpy. We went the wrong way. If you find yourself at the bottom of the canyon facing your first T-intersection, DO NOT GO left. There is nothing but despair and aggravation hiding around that bend.

On the right track, we began to hit a rhythm. The rappels were handled with ease by all able-bodied participants, and for the hindered, we set up an ATC. The swims, however, were much worse. Without a wetsuit, the water was stingingly cold. Submerging fully meant succumbing to a cold-induced headache comparable only to drinking a liquid nitrogen milkshake.

The day before, picking up our permits at the ranger station, they warned us of this. Our permit was even highlighted and underlined in the section where it details wetsuits as “mandatory but not required.” I thought this confusing, and already surpassing my budget for the trip, opted to not invest the $30 for a rental wetsuit. Standing on the other side of the 15-foot swim, slowly regaining brain function, I very much regretted not spending the $30.

The deeper into the canyon we got, the better I felt. The water had not warmed at all, but the sun was high enough to at least provide the illusion of heat. Incredible features appeared before us.

Photo by Reeves Coursey

Photo by Reeves Coursey

We traversed through slots just narrow enough to brush your shoulders on, rappelled down waterfalls, swam through crystal clear potholes, and even stepped thigh deep into quicksand. It was a true adventure.

As it is, though, all good things come to an end. Taking our classic picture at the actual subway part of the Subway, we said our last goodbyes and started the rather normal, and comparably boring, hike back to the trailhead.

Approaching the car a few hours later I looked around at our group. If we were motley before, we were decrepit now. Full of sand, covered in blisters, soaked to the bone, and smelling absolutely rancid we stood there with the giddiest, most ridiculous smiles on our faces. It took no words to communicate what we all felt. That was gnarly, but we all knew we’d be back to tackle it again as soon as we got the chance.

Follow Our Lead

Trailhead: The trail starts at Wildcat Canyon Trailhead (which appears on Google Maps if typed in) and ends at Left Fork Trailhead (also map-able). If you have two cars it is a good idea to leave one down at Left Fork and shuttle up to Wildcat Canyon. They are on the same road and only about a twenty-minute drive apart.

Trail: The beginning of the trail is very confusing and requires route finding. You can purchase detailed guides in Springdale or Zion itself. It would be impossible to make it into the canyon without one of these. Once in the canyon, there is only one possible place to get lost, otherwise it is a relatively straight shot through. After exiting the canyon, it gets a little more confusing. Follow the river for a good distance until eventually cutting off to the right and scrambling almost straight over the side wall of the canyon.

Permits: Because of its popularity, only a few permits are given out each day for the Subway hike. You can either apply for a regular permit (which must be done three months in advance and costs $5 for the application) or a last minute drawing (which must be applied for a week in advance and is very, very hard to get, also $5). If you’re lucky enough to get a permit, you must go to a ranger station the day before to pick it up and pay the additional fee (anywhere from $15-$25 depending on the size of your group). (https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/subwaypermits.htm)

Additional: If it is not the middle of summer, or if you are prone to getting cold, you need a wetsuit. The hike is far less grueling and more enjoyable with one. Making the naive mistake to tough it out was idiotic and potentially very dangerous. Do not attempt to do this hike later than August without one. In addition, a 60-foot rope is critical. You will not complete the hike without it. If you are nervous about the hand over hand rappelling, then bring a harness and ATC as well. A dry bag to keep a change of clothes in is also advisable.

Photo courtesy of Reeves Coursey

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Bouldering Routes Damaged by Vandalism

Walking into your home to find the door ripped off its hinges, broken glass covering the floor, and some of your valuables missing would be tragic. For climbers, this was the feeling as they walked up to their favorite bouldering routes in Little Cottonwood Canyon last week.

On Oct. 30, Jimmy Keithley, a local climber, and his children walked up to a project they were working on to find holds smashed off of famous bouldering routes like Twisted [V4] and Lance’s Dihedral [V6]. Ten total boulders were damaged, affecting 20 boulder problems up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Julia Geisler, executive director of Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance, said vandalism in climbing areas is a recurring problem, and it is becoming more frequent.

“This is part of a greater problem that is happening in Little Cottonwood. Vandalism in general is really high,” she said. “There’s tons of graffiti, trash, and fire rings that we’re constantly cleaning up.”

While these crimes are common, Geisler said this is the first known act of deliberately tampering with bouldering holds. These rocks were likely damaged by a crow bar or hammer.

Geisler and the SLCA do not know who damaged the climbing holds, but they say this does not reflect the normal behavior of climbers, who tend to care for the places they climb.

While changed forever, these climbs are still doable. Some have found these climbs to be even easier. Other vandalism, such as graffiti, makes damage irreversible because the graffiti ruins the friction needed to grip the rock.

That’s why the alliance rallies over 350 climbers to complete 1,000 hours of volunteer work during their Adopt a Crag events, picking up trash and cleaning graffiti off their rocks.

“This is your land. It’s here for all of us to enjoy,” Geisler said. “Make an effort to come out and clean up.” Geisler also suggests that people report vandalism whenever they see it.

This weekend, Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance will host a graffiti removal project. They will meet at the Little Cottonwood Canyon Park and Ride at 9 a.m. on Saturday. All are welcome to attend.

Bouldering Routes affected:

Standard Overhang (V3), Isabelle’s (V5), Superfly (V8), Barfly (V8), Pro Series (V11), Baldy (V5), Smiley Right (V4), Mr. Smiley (V6), Butt Trumpet (V8), Twisted (V4), Copperhead(V10), Lance’s Dihedral (V6), Hug (V8), All Thumbs (V10), and Cronin’s Slab (V2), among others.

Photo courtesy of Tommy Chandler

c.webber@dailyutahchronicle.com

Corrected from: Geisler and other members of the Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance want everyone to know that this was not a climber who damaged these rocks. They are still not sure who did it, but they assume the crime was committed by an unstable individual.

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Island Biking

Have you ever seen that mountain that seems to sit inside the Great Salt Lake? Ever wondered what it is? Antelope Island, a sagebrush and bison-covered chunk of 42 square miles plopped in the middle of Utah’s biggest lake. Conveniently, it’s only two hours north of the U and a great place to explore different terrain on your mountain bike.

Each of the trails have varying levels of difficulty.  Split Rock Loop (five miles) and White Rock Loop (6.4 miles) are both on the western end of the island near the bison corral.  The popular Split Rock Loop descends very quickly towards Split Rock near the west shore. Once there, continue on the trail up the mountain to the historical horse corral. White Rook Loop is a nice warm-up that will get the blood flowing in your legs. You will definitely want to do this ride first on the island. If you continue south on the island, do the Elephant Head Spur or Split Rock Loop. On the east side of the island is the Mountain View Trail — an 11.8 mile one-way trail which goes along the edge of the shore from north to south, all the while featuring a backdrop of the Wasatch Front.

The trail to the highest point on Antelope Island, Frary Peak, does not allow cyclists due to the difficulty of the trail, but you can hike to the top if you desire.  The east side of the island is still in the development process of mountain biking trails.

Because of the excess of insects, pack bug repellent and go in early spring or late fall when the insect level is decreasing.

Once you make your way to the island, bison will welcome you. William Glassman and John Dooly introduced bison to the island in the late 1800s. Today, there are nearly 700 bison that call Antelope Island home. Depending on the time you head out to ride your bike, you’ll come across these muscular, car-sized beasts grazing in the fields.

To get there, head north on I-15 and take the Antelope Island Dr. exit in Syracuse. Before crossing Farmington Bay, stop at the ranger station and pay the $10 entrance fee.  Head west along the Davis County causeway, the only road accessible to the island.

k.creveling@dailyutahchronicle.com

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The Real Reason Locals Don’t Swim in the Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake: the largest lake in the Great Basin, the namesake of Salt Lake City, and the body of water everyone ignores just northwest of town. In the summer, the lake reeks of rotting brine shrimp carcasses. In the winter it just sits there, frigid, while everyone is preoccupied with the more enticing skiing nearby. Sketchy chemical plants and refineries appear to drain into the reservoir. Plus, it’s really salty — five times saltier than the ocean.

Perfect conditions for a swim.

It seems like very few people from Utah have swum in the Salt Lake and/or have no desire to. I embarked on a personal quest for answers as to why this is the case. I approached some friends and asked if they had been in the lake before, receiving looks of confusion in return. Swimming in the lake was heresy to them; the in-staters had never even considered it. When I asked if they wanted to join me in my baptismal dip to find out what we could be missing, I was greeted with a more alarmed reaction of repulsion: “You’re going to swim in the Salt Lake?! That cesspool? Ew!” These responses only ignited my fire to give it a try. After this investigation, the only real option that remained to understand why it seems nobody swims in the Salt Lake was to jump in it myself. The only never-before-swam-in-the-Salt-Lake Utahn willing to come along was Wasatch editor Carolyn Webber. We headed out to Great Salt Lake State Park in the afternoon on a Thursday after class.

Arriving at the beach, we were initially discouraged by the sand reeking of a sulfuric scent and the refinery smokestack towering above acting as a likely suspect. But we pushed on, and the lake itself wasn’t too smelly. The only possible gross deterrents were the expected foam and a few live brine shrimp.

Finally on the shore, it was the moment of truth. We tested the water for temperature (not bad!) and went for it, sprinting in and going all the way under. The first words from Webber were, “Don’t open your eyes! It’s salty!” That about summed up the experience: salty. The novel fact that you can float without any effort because of the salt content held true. The water tasted significantly more salty than the ocean. The salt burned a scrape of mine as the online guides said it would. After getting out and drying off with a towel, a layer of salt remained behind.

However, this saltiness was secondary to the tranquillity of the lake. There were no waves and the flat lake extended for miles. This unique beauty was easier to appreciate while  actually soaking in the water, altogether surprisingly close to an ocean-swimming experience.

So,  swimming in the Salt Lake: pass or fail? We rate it as a pass. Just make sure you bring some lotion.

c.hammock@dailyutahchronicle.com

Photo by Chris Hammock

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Find Adventure at Farmington Bay

Eighteen thousand acres on the Great Salt Lake of underrated, adventure-filled territory — that’s Farmington Bay. Whether you’re bird watching, mountain biking, kayaking, or hiking, this wildlife sanctuary is a must-see. Watch baby ducks take their first flight in September or snowshoe along a frozen trail in February. Although the open water is too salty for fish, it is home to invertebrates such as brine shrimp and brine flies, which serve as a feast for migratory birds in the fall.

There are two main loops to hike — a short one and a long one. Both loops offer opportunities to view wildlife at every corner and a rarely seen view of the Wasatch mountain range. The short loop is a little over six miles along a flat dirt road that is closed off to cars. The big loop is about 10 miles through the marshlands of the bay area. Both loops are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily from the beginning of August to the end of February. The short loop is closed from the beginning of March to the end of July to allow for bird nesting. Only certain parts of the bay are open year-round, so it is important to check online to see if any changes have been made. The bay is also open to recreational use such as kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Floating along the Salt Lake, you’ll get views you can’t get anywhere else. Plus, the vast size makes you feel as if you could paddle forever.

If you end up here during the beginning of August and September, bug spray is a must. In the winter, dress warmly because it can get windy.

p.creveling@dailyutahchronicle.com

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Birding on Utah’s Salty Shores

Despite its seemingly dead appearance at first glance, the Great Salt Lake is a fascinating ecosystem rich with life. It happens to be one of the most important bird migration stops in western North America. Thanks to the mostly arid Utah climate, birds congregate around bodies of water, making the vast lake home to millions of shore birds, water birds, songbirds, and birds of prey, such as bald eagles and falcons. Birding enthusiasts and conservationists flock to the lake from all over to experience its diverse and colorful bird life. In late summer, watch in awe as giant flocks of red necked phalaropes create their signature whirlpools in the salty waters, stirring up brine shrimp and other invertebrates to feast on before their long journey to South America. In the winter, spot a majestic barn owl on the hunt catch a rabbit in its powerful talons.

One of the hotspots for bird watchers is Antelope Island. This 28,800 acre state park is open year round and hosts antelope, bison, and bighorn sheep. Don’t let the dropping temperatures fool you, now is prime time to bring your binocs and watch the show. Some birds to look for in the winter months include grebes, tundra swans, horned larks, and chukars.You’ll find tundra swans aren’t hard to miss with their symphony of honks, while horned larks are a bit more subtle with soft calls, sometimes seen singing with their yellow colored faces and white underbellies visible while perched on rocks or signs.

Before you embark on your birding adventure, you’re going to need some essentials.

Binoculars: These will transform tiny flying specks into colorful and detailed patterns and feathers. A pair can range from $30 to upwards of $500. With a bit of research you can find the best pair for your needs.

A field guide: Specifically a field guide with pictures, so you know what you’re looking at. You can get a reputable and relatively low cost guide for under $10 from National Geographic or the National Audubon Society. You can also find guides regional to Utah for under $5 at most bookstores.

A camera: One with a telephoto lens if possible. Short-range portrait lenses don’t capture detail from a distance, much like your naked eye.

If you are interested in going full-on bird-nerd and learning more about the Great Salt Lake and its feathered friends, the Salt Lake Audubon Society is hosting their biennial Friends of The Great Salt Lake Birds n’ Bites: Highlights of the 2016 Great Salt Lake Issues Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7:00 p.m., at the Tracy Aviary Education Building.

You can also check out the Great Salt Lake Audubon official website for a calendar of events, including a number of guided field trips with bird watching experts.

a.winter@dailyutahchronicle.com

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How to: Survive a Winter Adventure

November is here and the cold of winter is right on its heels. For adventurers brave enough to take on the snow and ice, here are some tips to enjoy winter camping.

  1. Before you head on your tip,  tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you’re planning on camping at a primitive site, bring a friend with you. You never know what could happen and getting caught in a winter storm by yourself is not ideal.
  2. If you’re in a national or state park and you’re planning on going on a hike, check in at the visitor’s center and tell a park ranger where you’re going. When you’ve finished your hike, stop back in and let them know that you’re heading back to your campsite. If you end up getting lost or stranded on top of a mountain, keeping people informed of your location makes a big difference.
  3. Layer, layer, layer. Wearing the proper clothes is extremely important when spending time outdoors in the winter. Start out with a lightweight layer of clothes, choosing fabrics that are good at wicking away moisture. Next is insulation. Pile fleece sweaters and down jackets and top with a waterproof shell for both top and bottom.  Make sure you’ve got a second pair of socks to wear that will keep your toes frostbite free.

 

e.aboussou@dailyutahchronicle.com

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