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Archive for June, 2010

Simmer Peaches in Butter

During our stay at Zion we fired up the “dutchy” for some classic cobbler, we use this pot a lot for all kinds of meals, but what we call cowboy cobbler is one of our favorites.  With larger groups we use the coal top 12 qt. 12″, for this batch it was just Tori and I so we used the smaller Lodge chicken cooker / skillet combo, this smaller set is one of our many cast iron pots and about the right size for two peoples travels.  Even at home most meals are cooked in cast iron, from small 4″ singles to 12″ family sized.

For this round of cobbler we started with a bunch of white peaches.  These are a bit firmer than the normal variety that most people see.  We got these fresh in Page on our way up to Zion.  When cooking out of season we often use frozen peaches or berry mixes for this recipe, we even did a tropical version once with some mango.

After slicing and pitting, we softened them up a little with a simmer in some butter, 1 stick worth,  this recipe is not for the dieting types. When we use frozen fruit this simmer step is skipped, and the butter gets added on top of the fruit.  Next we add a box of Jiffy cake mix, here we used yellow, but white works great too.

Add the Cake MIx

The next step is the baking, which is the hardest part. We usually make this dish as a desert after a dinner and often struggle with waning light and full bellies.  This round here at Zion we opted for Breakfast Cobbler, what better way to fuel a days hiking eh? The mornings still had a touch of chill to them so the fire was a welcome addition.  The trick to great campfire cooking is to keep the heat even, the simmer step preheated the pan and a few coals on top and a rotation or two will keep the hot spots away.

Cooking in the fire-ring

One nice thing about the chicken cooker/ skillet combo is that you can check the progress with out any “tools”.  Mitts or heavy gloves are required as the cast iron will be at oven temps so caution is required.  When we use the big “dutchy” I have to lift the lid with a pry bar to check cooking progress, that lift can be a little tricky if your coals are off balance.  This batch came out very nice with touch a crispy on one side.  Cooking time was about 15 minutes…but varies depending on preheat and the quantity of coals used…here practice will help.  Not to worry, some of our first batches were a little on the done side but were still consumed with vigor.

Done to Perfection

Tori likes lots of cake in her cobbler while I prefer a more balanced mix.  For larger batches we sometimes will use two boxes of cake mix, to keep it moist more butter is needed.  This batch had a nice balance of fruit and cake.

Balanced Cake and Fruit

Its not your typical bacon and eggs breakfast, or your healthier granola and yogurt…but it is made with real fruit…and for a big day of hiking the calories will soon be a memory.  The only trouble is deciding who gets the wash the pan.

Cobbler Gone!

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I shot this clip Sunday Night, we had rain and snow mixed earlier in the day, with about 2″ of rain over the weekend.  Today we have perfect blue cloudless skies and the temps are back up where they should be.  I was starting to feel like we would never see the sun again.  I don’t understand how all those folks in the Pacific NW even survive.

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Now that we had relocated to a campsite that was not crawling with caterpillars, we were able to start enjoying the park.  On other trips to great locations I often did not have the time to really explore an area…this trip was to be an exception and an adventure.  Tori had never done any hiking in true slot canyons and Zion would provide her first experience.  Unlike the trips with “the guys” this was to be a casual hike in a slot canyon rather than the more hardcore canyoneering that I have done with the guys.  No 150 foot free rappels into potholes waist deep with freezing water.

We started our Zion hiking with a little jaunt to the canyon overlook just east of the Carmel Tunnel.  The park service did a fine job of adding just a few amenities to make the less experienced hikers feel safe on some of the dicey sections.  The “catwalk”  here was one of them.

The Catwalk on the overlook trail

The view at the end of this trail was awesome.  After this warm  up hike we hit a small slot canyon on the other side of the road, we went in far enough to get a good feel for it….and our feet wet…but not to the extreme. Tori was hooked.

Tori in the slot

The next few days we hiked some of the more common hikes in the park.  Angels Landing was one of my favorites for the great views from the top, we also checked out the emerald pools, which in reality were more like caramel pools.  The spotted vegetation set against the sandstone is a look that will always remind me of this trip.

Falls at lower emerald pools

We had some visits from the wild turkeys that inhabit the park, and I got to do some great time lapse work.  This turkey’s call was a sound that I have not heard in the wild for some time.

local wildlife

This time-lapse shot was about 30 minutes long, I also did many still sets and compiled them into a video.  You can check that out on my You Tube page here

Time-lapse at Zion

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