THE GREAT OUTDOORS

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Oh! To be able to decorate a cake like Zoe at  Whipped Bakeshop! Have a sweet weekend!

In case you missed yesterday’s post “How To Hand Wash A Wool Sweater” click here. (I don’t think subscription notices went out – at least I didn’t get mine!)

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Take a guess at what this vintage camping themed flannel print was used for. The inside of a sleeping bag? Pajamas? The lining of a rugged vintage inspired tweed jacket?  You probably wouldn’t suspect that it is a 1980-something Ralph Lauren skirt that I found in the bottom of my fabric drawer. Perhaps I’ll wear it for fun this Thanksgiving  (with long sweater and a cinched leather belt at the waist and tall boots) and then repurpose it into balsam pillows. Anyone have any clever ideas for how to reuse the fabric?

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I bet that the baker who made these delightful camping themed cookies knows her way around a Coleman stove and a nesting pot set. She can probably start a fire by rubbing two sticks together and then belt out a rousing version of “The Logger Lover” while toasting marshmallows over it. Eat your heart out Martha!

camp cookies

Via: Mexican Fireworks

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I have no idea where this delightful and irresistible treehouse might be. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live high in the forest canopy with a bird’s eye view of the world?

Have a wonderful weekend!

treehouse

via: Fab.com

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Summer’s winding down and the nights are cooler – perfect camping weather! I sure would love to pitch my tent in this spot. It goes without saying that I’d be stoked to drive the bug there too! Enjoy your weekend.

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Via: Cool Is A Color

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The neon-ific colors of these packs are NOT Arc’Teryx standard issue! (Nor anyone else’s I can assure you, as I spent a couple of days this month cruising around the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market looking at gear.) Perhaps rolls of left-over fabric and webbing were stitched together to make these celebratory versions of the Ciezio 18 summit pack for the 35th anniversary of the Japanese retailer Beams? The Japanese are known for their uninhibited love of crazy hued apparel and gear. I feel a twinge of sadness that I’m not able to buy one of these packs in the States. It would show up so nicely on snow. What do you think – is it time for a neon comeback??

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Via: Adventure Journal

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Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA’s (Work Progress Administration) Federal Arts Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public’s imagination for education, theatre, health, safety and travel. Many of the Posters were for our National Parks. The artists and actual dates of production are unknown. The original posters, distributed to local Chambers of Commerce, were produced for internal marketing only and not for sale.

I love the WPA style and vibrant colors used in the posters. What better time of year to highlight National Parks, than summer? So here are a few posters that inspired me to create color palettes. To learn more about the posters or buy them, click here.

Mt McKinley

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General Grant

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Hawaii

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Crater Lake

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Saguaro


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JoshuaTree2010 copy

Sleeping Under The Stars

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I was saddened to learn of the passing of Adirondack legend and staunch environmentalist Anne LaBastille on July 1st at the age of 75.

I was introduced to LaBastille through her 1976 autobiographical book, Woodswoman. In it she relates her experiences of building her own cabin at the northeast end of Twitchell Lake, near Big Moose Lake in New York’s Adirondack mountains. She chronicles the trials and tribulations of living self sufficiently – and alone – in a remote place with honesty, as her chosen lifestyle was often physically and emotionally difficult. On leaving her marriage and building her cabin, she writes that she came to the Adirondacks to “sit in my cabin as in a cocoon, sheltered by the swaying spruces from the outside world.”

Her writing sparked my imagination and fueled my belief that anything is possible, and that women doing “men’s work” does not mean they’ve lost their femininity. Her stories inspire independence in the outdoors as well as in all aspects of life. Because of her courage I realized I did not have much to fear in the woods if I was sensible and prepared and consequently have spent plenty of time confidently tramping around solo in the Adirondack mountains. Living alone in a cabin without running water or electricity has been a decades-long dream for me – perhaps hatched when I first read Woodswoman.

In an obituary this week, long time Adirondack guide and outdoors writer Joe Hackett described LaBastille:

“Following the publication [of Woodswoman], LaBastille became an instant role model for thousands of young women all across the country. Her story offered evidence that a lonely life in the forest can foster great confidence.

”Her story proved to be an inspiration for a generation of female outdoor enthusiasts, and it empowered them to be more independent and self-reliant in their enjoyment of the outdoors. 
”In the process of paddling, hiking and camping throughout the Adirondacks, she became an icon of the mountains she wandered. Undoubtedly she cultivated her image, and it didn’t hurt matters that she had blonde hair, a fit figure, a bright smile and a tangible sense of independence. She exuded an air of confidence, and whether she was walking into a diner or paddling across a pond, her presence turned heads. She recognized it and enjoyed it.”

Although I’ve re-read Woodswoman a number of times – and will again, I’ve never read her other books about life on “Big Bear Lake”. I now feel the urge to visit the library and check out Beyond Black Bear Lake (1987), Woodswoman III (1997) and Woodswoman IIII (2003).

woodswoman

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I save and why. I have drawers full of scrap fabric, boxes of photographs and slides and postcards, jars of buttons and foreign currency, a closet full of vintage sweaters and a big leather suitcase that once was my father’s, full of old tee shirts.

Rifling through my accumulated stuff brings back vivid and pleasurable memories of times that I might otherwise forget. That’s the ticket stub from my first date with my future husband, that’s the pack I used trekking in Nepal, I wore this sweater all through college etc.

I go through periodic binges of weeding out my stuff. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes I get bogged down with memories and can’t get rid of anything. Sometimes I wonder why the heck I even saved the item in the first place. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to lose my stuff to flood or fire. Would it be liberating?

Yesterday I opened that leather suitcase full of tee shirts. “Forgotten” events and places popped out at me. Even though I probably won’t wear any of those tee shirts ever again I can’t imagine turning them into dust rags. They are part of my life’s fabric.

Mountain Transport

For instance, I acquired this tee shirt in the late 80’s from bush pilot Doug Geeting in Talkeetna, Alaska. I hadn’t thought about this trip in years. He flew five of us onto the Ruth Glacier and dropped us off. We spent the next few weeks in perpetual daylight skiing, climbing and parasailing until he swept down and carried us back to civilization. The tee used to be black. I wore it so often, trying to retain the euphoria and essence of my Alaska experience that it faded to grey. How can I ever throw it away?! (Besides, I still really like the graphics.)

Do you save things to remember your past?

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Fall, or “leaf season” as well call it around here, is my favorite time of year to lace up my boots, pack a peanut butter sandwich and gain some elevation.

Once I’m up high, the valleys and mountains roll out before me as if covered by a magic carpet. The splendid foliage is Mother Nature’s last hurrah before shedding her bright silks and settling in for the grey-blue winter.

I often find that fall colors are the most vibrant when the cloud cover is low and it’s misty, like the day these pictures were taken. Walking through the mountain landscape in October is truly like living in a paintbox!

January2010

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January2010

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January2010

These photos were taken on an Adirondack day hike to The Brothers.

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Green, the color of summer in the Adirondack mountains inspired these palettes.

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When hiking in the Adirondacks I always look down to avoid tripping on roots and rocks. I always spot something special like this combination of cool and warm greens

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I adore the lemony greens paired with the blue greens of this balsam’s new summer growth.

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There’s nothing quite like the clarity and color of Adirondack brooks and streams. They’re refreshingly inviting on a hot day too!


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Lily pads tinged with yellow, russet and purples remind me that Autumn is creeping up.

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In some remote parts of the Adirondacks, green hand-routed signs have not yet been replaced by plastic.


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There’s something very special about “going to camp”, getting away from it all and being unplugged for a while. My family recently gathered on a remote Adirondack lake to celebrate a 60th anniversary.

Our time was spent lazily hanging out on the porch reading and rocking in weathered chairs, sharing lively mealtime conversations at the oilcloth covered table, building terrariums and painting watercolors, singing around the evening campfire, playing competitive scrabble by gas lantern, climbing high peaks for views, messing around in boats, and plunging into the lake.

I am enamored by the rustic charm of Adirondack camps. Buildings made from wood and stone found nearby and simply furnished. Guide boat and foot transport supplies; each item hauled into camp is carefully considered.

Perhaps this simplicity encourages relaxation. There is no electricity to power noisy gadgets, no powerboats on the lake to disturb the loons, and no cell phone reception or wifi to distract. Without technological clutter, time is made for connecting with people, self and nature. I am sure that this particular camp experience has remained unchanged for a hundred years, and I am hopeful that it will remain so for generations to come.

copyright Poppy Gall 2010

copyright Poppy Gall 2010

copyright Poppy Gall 2010

copyright Poppy Gall 2010

Photos: Poppy Gall & Rebecca Lee

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Vermont’s Long Trail is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer. The 273-mile hiking trail winds along the spine, and over the highest peaks of the Green Mountains between the Massachusetts and Canadian borders. It sparked the idea for the Appalachian Trail, in fact, the trails share one hundred miles in the southern part of the state.

The Green Mountain Club was founded by a group of enthusiastic outdoorsmen with plans to build “a footpath in the wilderness”, but it took three young women to put it firmly in the national limelight. Dubbed “The Three Musketeers” Hilda Kurth, Catherine Robbins, and Kathleen Norris donned high lace-up boots, knickers and bandanas, hoisted 25 pound packs and embarked on their successful end-to-end adventure during the summer of 1927.

Women traveling in the mountains alone, or in groups are common today, but it pushed the boundaries of the social norm of the 1920’s. According to Vermont Public Radio commentator, Tom Slayton, the story was very quickly splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the country. In bold type, The San Francisco Examiner’s headline gasped, “They Carried No Firearms and Had No Male Escort!” Other newspapers were similarly incredulous.

These spunky gals helped pave the way for generations of women to come. I sometimes think of The Three Musketeer’s route finding misadventures and bridgeless stream crossings when I’m hiking on the well blazed and mostly debris-free trail and thank them for their feminist trail blazing.  When the going got rough, Hilda Kurth would pull out her ukulele and belt out a lively song or two, spirits revived, they would continue up the trail.

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For more lively stories about The Three Musketeers click here.

In conjunction with the Long Trail’s 100th birthday celebration, the Green Mountain Club is holding an on-line raffle to send one lucky winner on an all expense paid trip to Nepal. The drawing is August 15th.

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I spent my fifteenth summer backpacking and rafting in the Idaho wilderness with a bunch of kids and a counselor. It didn’t rain much, and dew didn’t fall during the night, so we slept almost every night under a carpet of endless stars.

When I returned home, and to sleeping in my own bed, I felt crowded and claustrophobic. Adhering glow-in-the-dark stars to my ceiling and throwing my windows open wide didn’t help much. Rolling out my sleeping bag and sleeping under the stars is one of my simplest joys, and under my husband’s tutelage I’ve learned many of the night sky’s constellations.

Stunningly graphic “See The Milky Way” posters proclaiming “half the park is after dark” are now on display now in many National Parks. They feel both modern and retro.

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Acadia2010

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Chaco2010

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Grand Canyon

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JoshuaTree2010

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NatBridge2010

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Yellowstone2010

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To see more posters click here. These, and other posters and artwork can be found in Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks by Dr. Tyler Nordgren describing the world of astronomy on view to everyone who travels to the national parks.

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Shortly after the Fiddlehead ferns have unfurled and are no longer suitable for sautéing, and the apple blossoms are blooming, it’s morel hunting season in the woods around our house.

Cooking morels (Morchella) is always a special occasion and we like to make risotto using our freshly picked bounty. Using only the best olive oil and Parmesan cheese enhances the earthy fungal flavor. I find that foraging for your meal increases your appreciation of it!

For more information about morels, click here. If you like this post, you might also like this.

Morel

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