|early morning mountain sunshine|
One of the exciting things for me was seeing kinnikinnick flowers. I've seen them before, but this time i really saw them, and we ate them too. There flavor is somewhat like a rose at first, immediately followed by th' characteristic kinnikinnick astringency. We ate loads of them, walked around in them, and lay amongst them enjoying th' carpet they can make of a forest floor.
|carpet of kinnikinnick|
|kinnikinnick and aspen|
It was nice to be on a short outing like this, because we really had leisure time to do nothing. At home there's always stuff to do, on longer survival style trips, you're taking care of your self, this time we just enjoyed having nothing in particular to do. Some of th' promises of food to come that we found included our all time favorite, th' wild strawberry.
|wild strawberry flower.|
Another one of my particular favorites, th' Cow Parsnip. I wrote about this in a previous post, but here's some shots to help identify this really fabulous vegetable, as well as some shots of young Angelica. Due to it's growing environment being similar to that of water hemlock, pay very close attention to detail, and don't overlook one identifying characteristic in your eagerness to find this plant, which is a bad habit i have. Though i've not seen any hemlock this high up, with th' changes going on in our world these days i'd not be too surprised to find anything anywhere.
|cow parsnip, last years umbel|
|cow parsnip young leaves|
|Base of plant.|
But on to th' next plant we found, Angelica Archangelica. Th' mere sight of this plant in all it's flowering glory is enough to arouse feelings of awe. It reaches up to six feet high, with a globe of small yellow flowers, often towering above th' surround vegetation. It only grows near water, so if you're thirsty and you see one of these, you're in luck. It slightly resembles cow parsnip, and they are often companions. It lacks th' hairs of cow parsnip, and does have a bit more purple coloring. It's leaves are saw-toothed, growing from a basal rosette, and sending up a flower stalk it's second year, making it a biennial. It too was an important food for native americans, and is still widely used in Saami regions today. Th' Saami make flutes from it's stems, and use it to flavor reindeer milk. Th' Saami are the indeginous peoples of arctic scandinavia. Th' stems can be eaten like celery, and have a very pleasant, though strong flavor, with just a bit of a numbing sensation left on th' tongue.
Here he is examining a stick. Being in nature is really good for him, he's much calmer and at peace with himself than when he's at home too much. He found a tree stump covered in ants and just sat there watching them crawl around for a long time. It's hard to get him to stay in one spot at home, unless he's watching a show.
We also took some time to shoot arrows straight up into the air. This is really fun, and we actually managed to find all our arrows.
Then we sat around, sang songs, colored on wood with charcoal, cooked over a fire, and washed dishes in th' creek.
Cooking over a campfire is a good skill to have, notice th' burning log under th' saucepan, and there are only coals under th' tea kettle. With correct rock placement, you have many options on how to cook just about anything.
Washing dishes in th' wild is another good skill to have. Here i'm using a running brook with dry and green grass to scour. In the absence of water, i use dirt, rubbed around with moss or grass. Yes, dirt cleans, and well too. Simply clean your dish right after use, and save your precious water for drinking.
|washing a bowl in th' creek|
|wooden bowls and spoons drying|
|Black Locust flowers and lambs quarters.|
|great plains rat snake|
Til next time, happy hunting.