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Get Out Camping & Hiking

It's time to just get out.

Hiking Wallace Falls

We set out on a road trip after landing in Seattle to drive the Cascade Loop. Our first stop on the first day was Wallace Falls State Park in Snohomish County, Washington near a small town called Gold Bar.

Arriving on a Tuesday morning in mid July before the park officially open, we set out following Wallace Falls Trail. The park was not crowded, of course, as it was only a little after seven in the morning. We were still on east coast time, so it felt like it was getting late in the day to us.

At the parking lot, you’ll find a well-kept restroom, a park map and trash canisters. You will need a Discover Pass to do this trail. These are $10 for a day and available at the entrance to the park or online prior to your visit. We got ours online and therefore could go into the park and start hiking prior to the visitor booth being open.

You start the trail down a long meadow-like opening along power lines. The first sight of the Cascades lets you see some key peaks. It is nice, but the power lines make a good picture impossible. Right after this, you start heading slightly uphill to the start of the trail which brings you through a maze-type gate to keep people from bring vehicles onto it. This is a foot trail only.

Climbing steadily along the Wallace River, the scenery is beautiful with dense forests, rocky banks, and rushing water at every turn. It is divided into three sections—the lower falls, the middle falls and the upper falls. By the time you get to the upper falls, you’ll climb about 1400 feet in elevation over about 4 1/2 miles. It is considered a “moderate” trail.

The lower falls lookout area is quite nice and gives you a great view of all three falls looking up the mountain.

Wallace Falls – Lower

Between the lower falls and the middle falls, you will encounter a section of quite a few switchbacks. But when you get to the middle falls look out area, you’ll be greeted with not only a gushing, powerful waterfall, but also a nice view of the lush green landscape capped by the far away mountains.

Wallace Falls – Middle Falls

The hike between the middle falls and the upper falls is steep, but not very long. The upper falls is just that—the top part of the waterfall. You’ll find some large rocks to take a brief rest before heading back down.

Wallace Falls Trail

Our take: This was a wonderful hike with moments of interest at every step of the trail. From lush ferns and mosses, to large spiders, and slugs and from rocky steps to amazing, gushing waterfalls. We loved every bit of this one. Allow about 4-5 hours total if you slow to take pictures and investigate nature like we do. We also found our new hiking poles very helpful on this one due to its rocky climb.

This trail is not suited for small children or small dogs prone to breathing problems, especially in the summer. It can also be hard on the knees for people who have known issues.

If you are short on time, consider going only as far as the middle falls. You’ll have seen the best parts of the falls, have had a great hike in, and saved yourself an hour or so.

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park

E Ala E
By Pualani Kanahele

(chanted before sunrise)

E ala e
Ka la i kahikina
I ka moana
Ka moana hohonu
Pi’i ka lewa
Ka lewa nu’u
I kahikina 
Aia ka la.
E ala e!

Awaken/Arise
The sun in the east
From the ocean
The ocean deep
Climbing (to) the heaven
The heaven highest
In the east
There is the sun
Awaken!

http://www.ourchants.org/songs/e-ala-e-hawaiian-sunrise-chant

Since it was our first trip to Hawaii and therefore Maui, we had a pretty packed agenda of things we wanted to see and do. One of these was to see the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. On the day we were leaving, we did just that. After all, we could sleep on the planes, as we had a long trek back to Pennsylvania.

We didn’t hike, we drove. The hike is too long to do at that time of the day and weather changes quite a bit on the way up. Driving wasn’t bad though. It is steep, but plenty of switchbacks ease the climb.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Seeing sun, water, clouds and rock from the beautiful summit is breathtaking.

Tips for visiting Haleakalā National Park for Sunrise

  1. Get there early. It gets crowded. They do limit the number of cars and have two lots at the top, but it can be hard to find a great spot to view the sunrise once everyone has arrived. 
  2. Pre-buy your park pass. Reserve your pass via the park website well in advance to ensure you can go on the morning that fits your itinerary.
  3. Wear layers. It gets progressively colder as you go up the mountain and while standing outside, you will want a warmer jacket or sweatshirt. 
  4. Take your time. Everyone books it out of there after the sun has risen. Take advantage of your location by staying a bit longer to take photos and investigate the unique natural habitat. 

Kipa hou mai.

Why is this a road trip? They only way to get up the summit that I know of is by car or hiking. Maui is a right for a rental car as the sites to see are far apart and along windy places of rock and water. While you probably have to take a plane first, once you are there, this is a road trip you’ll want to take.

If there was one good thing that ever came out of a smoking addiction, this is it. Back when we were young and invincible, a smoking habit led to the acquisition of the Marlboro Cookbook. This is one of the many gems in that book. And, although the smoking days ended long ago, we’ve been making it as our special “last night at camp” meal for many years. It is awesome.

You don’t need to reserve this for camp, although I’m convinced that the great outdoors enhances its flavor. It can be broiled or grilled at home too.

Continue reading “Pepper Steak on a Fire”

Fall at Seven Points

One of my favorite places to camp is in central Pennsylvania near Raystown Lake. Here’s just a few photos from late September last year. The flora really bursts before it lets winter settle in. These were take behind the visitors center at Seven Points Marina.

Equipment Review: Coleman 30-inch Propane Distribution Tree

91SkmQ+946L._SL1500_It was the year of propane accessories. This one was the Coleman 30-inch Propane Distribution Tree. If only we were in Texas, we would have bought from Hank Hill. But instead, we bought from Pittsburgh’s very own Dick’s Sporting Goods, since they are only up the street.

When we first connected the pole to the propane tank, both my husband and I thought it would be taller. Remember, 30-inches is under 3 feet. With the height of the tank added, most people are still looking a bit down at the lantern on top. However, the Coleman gas lanterns (which we’ve used for many years with the small propane tanks) give off nice light, so we thought it would work fine. Also, on first connection, the gas takes a bit to push out the air in the post. It will sound like it is flowing, but wait for the smell. Turn it off for a few minutes for safety and then light. Don’t risk an explosion if too much gas has built up in the lantern before you smelled it and turned it off.

The post has a distribution system so you can use other propane devices such as the cook stove at the same time. The hose to connect these is not included! You will need to buy that separately.

Thanks to Amazon reviewer Jester64 for recommending that the valves be dried after each use. It makes perfect sense that rust could be a problem, as the condensation can really build up.

You can also find the Coleman 30-Inch Propane Distribution Tree on Amazon. This may be a good item to add to your camping kit if you already have large propane tanks available and need a source of light.

Our take:

Since we bought this in 2016, we have since stopped using it, as the plethora of LED lanterns out now are easier, safer and no longer eat batteries the way old ones did. It just didn’t makes sense to continue to drag this along on our trips. Now we keep our propane attached to CampChef tucked under its cover and don’t need to move it to add the light. We’ll look at a few of our favorite lanterns in an upcoming post.

The Drinking Water Problem

Let me start by saying we don’t use our sink in the A-liner. It is small and since we live in a climate the freezes, we don’t find it worth the extra work it takes to drain in for the off-season. For clean water, we look elsewhere.

In the past, we would stock up on gallon-sized jugs of water from Costco before camping to ensure that we would have clean water for just about everything, from filling the dogs’ water bowls to cleaning dishes. These took up considerable space in the vehicle and also created bulky trash. But you need clean water.

TeraPump_TRPMW100_Battery_Drinking_Water_Pump__Excluding_Glass__-_Portable_Power_Water_Pumps_-_Amazon_com

Continue reading “The Drinking Water Problem”

Campground Review: Twin Knobs

On our way home from Tennessee after watching the eclipse, we headed north into Kentucky and stopped for the night at Twin Knobs Campground. We were sorry we were only there for one night. It was not crowded and the sites were wooded and clean.

Twin Knobs sits amidst the Daniel Boone National Forest, north west of Lexington, Kentucky of KY-801.

Continue reading “Campground Review: Twin Knobs”

Campground Review: Davy Crockett Campground

IMG_7661
Davy Crockett Campground

After a very long drive we arrived at Davy Crockett Campground, our home for then next  couple nights as we visited to take in the eclipse. Located in Crossville, Tennessee, this campground is about halfway between Nashville and Knoxville.

The campground was very crowded that weekend and they had people packed in where they could.

Continue reading “Campground Review: Davy Crockett Campground”

Texas Beef on Texas Toast

So let’s say you aren’t exactly in Texas and you aren’t quite sure what makes toast Texan either. I’m here to tell you now that it doesn’t matter. This medley makes Iceland feel like Texas and will have you thinking everything (including your belly) is getting bigger with every bite.

It may sound odd, but this combination of deli-sliced beef, thick bread, mustard, green peppers and a few seasonings creates quite good eats.

Continue reading “Texas Beef on Texas Toast”

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