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Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

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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We woke to another perfect day, looking back now I see that a 10 day road trip with virtually no rain was indeed a blessing.  Even though we traveled in the desert southwest spring rains can still occur.  We did get a minor touch of rain on the evening of our last night in Colorado.  As we left the Grand Canyon we had just a touch of clouds.  Which is something we were hoping for, at least I was, having some clouds does add to more dramatic Infrared shots.  Today was the first day I dragged out the Sony for some IR shots.

Grand Canyon in Infrared

We started the day with a little hike along the rim trail near the visitor center, it is cool that dogs can join their humans on these trails.  The norm in nearly all National Parks is that no dogs are allowed on any trails.  We got a few pics of the dogs, so they can show their friends how nice their humans were to take them on such a cool trip.

Miss Maybelle at the Grand Canyon

Tori had commented how the background almost looked fake…as if we were doing a photo shoot in some type of studio with the pull down backgrounds.  Eventually we  made our way back toward Desert View and out the way we came in.  Tori got some cool dolly pics with the canyon in the back ground to show off to her doll friends.

We made our way up through Page, and Lake Powell and picked up some more supplies, before heading into Utah.  We broke up the drive  a little by grabbing a couple of Caches outside of Page.  We were 2 for 4, I could have spent some more time looking but I was dressed in jeans and Tori was waiting in the car with the desert heat starting to rise.

The drive into Zion was new undiscovered country for both of us.  We entered Zion from the east entrance and got to see the canyon after driving trough the Carmel Tunnel…hands down the coolest tunnel I have driven trough in some time.  At 1.1 miles it was the longest car tunnel in the US when it opened in 1930.  My first impressions of Zion were that it was a cross between Yosemite and Moab!  Very unique and from now on…its pure Zion.

We made our way to Watchman campground and our three nights worth of reservations.  The loop we camped in was a tent only loop, and no generators were allowed, one bonus we were looking forward to.  However, we had an unfortunate swarm of caterpillars in our camp…it was so bad we ended up moving to the other campground, which turned out to be better for its awesome stars and canyon views.

Our first camp was reserved sight unseen online, South Campground, the other main campground in this part of the park, is first come first served.  With the help of one of the excellent park rangers (Juli Neff ) we were taken care of and our former site was quarantined due to the ‘pillar infestation.  Thanks Juli…you Rock!

Caterpillar Camp

We had dropped the pups off at the doggie dude ranch first thing in the morning so the move to the other site was pretty quick.  We  had a shortened hiking day because of the move, but made up for it by staying an extra day.  One of the joys of first come first serve is nobody has dibs on your spot until you leave…so grabbing an extra day is a piece of cake.

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Tori and I got back from our Spring Road Trip on Tuesday.  We covered just over 2000 miles and got to see some great country.  We arrived home to overcast skies and the forecast for more snow…Snow we thought, how can that be?  …  it’s the middle of May and we just left sunny desert skies in t-shirts and shorts!  Wednesday morning we woke to 10″ or so and I had to reluctantly drag the snow-blower out of storage to tackle the driveway.

Thursday I grabbed this pic on the way to a client near Jamestown….If you did not know any better it could be January or February.  Today we woke to clear blue skies with the hope that our old friend the sun will kick some winter butt….However, clouds moved in by late afternoon and we had some more snow…which has just now turned to rain.

Life at 8500 feet in the Rockies---May 13 2010

I had hoped to post many blog entries on the trip via some hot Wi-Fi spots, but we preferred to be in the wilderness.  We did gab a quick bite for breakfast and checked brief email In Springdale outside of Zion about midway through our trip, but that was it.  As I can squeeze in the entries now I’ll recap the highlights of our trip over the next few days /weeks.

The Two new National parks for me were Zion and Bryce Canyon…eye candy for any Photographer.  Tori can claim those plus the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley,  Capital Reef NP, Escalante – Grand-Staircase NM, and Goblin Valley SP…back in CO we also hit Rifle Falls SP which was new to both of us as well.

Stay tuned for the adventures.

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