Truffle Pigs Bistro, Field, British Columbia

Wow! What a gem! If you find yourself traveling along Canadian Highway 1 through Yoho National Park, it would be easy to drive right past Field. But don’t! On a quest for morning coffee, a fortuitous off-the-beaten-path journey produced the Truffle Pigs Bistro. Literally, one of the best menus in the Canadian Rockies, it is a must stop. Watch for the bluejay hybrids.

When you pull off the highway, cross over the railroad tracks and head up into the town. Take a left onto second street and then a right at Kiking Horse Ave. The bistro is at the end of the street with parking right in front. If you have your pups with you, there’s a great park in front of the lodge.

Truffle Pigs Bistro

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Clearwater Falls, North Umpqua

Tucked along the North Umpqua Highway is Clearwater Falls and Campground. An easy hike takes you past the clear water stream up to the falls. This is a great place to stop and cool off. Surrounded by old growth Douglas firs and ferns, the micro-climate keeps it cool even in the heat of the summer. There is a campground just above the parking area with 9 campsites and vault toilet. There isn’t running water or garbage cans, but at $10 a night, it’s a pretty great bargain.

West Beach Resort – Orcas Island

From cabins to glamping, West Beach Resort has it all. Dog friendly cabins are available too. Book early as these cabins fill up. The cabins are rustic, but that’s part of the charm. They are well stocked and impeccably clean. I sound like a commercial, but truly, this place is magical. Watch seals and puffins dive in the surf right in front of you. The store has a great variety including beer on tap. You are only a few minutes from Eastsound, so if they don’t have it, it’s just a short drive to the grocery store. The Cabins have wood stoves and fire rings, so bring wood, or you can purchase some at the store. Your rental comes with a free bundle including a fire starter, matches and kindling.

Logistics – Yes, there is a road running in front of the cabins on the water. This is just a little gravel lane to get to the cabins. There is parking for one car at the cabin. Cabins sit closely together, but this doesn’t take away from their charm and the feel of privacy. Many of the cabins have futons for extra sleeping space. The wifi in my experience has been fantastic. There are no TVs in most of the cabins. RV sites sit higher above the cabin area with very little view of the water. It’s pretty easy to walk to the water and store, so I don’t think it’s much of a problem. The staff is really great and helpful. Kitchens are stocked, a little on the primitive side, but adequate. If you need anything, chances are they have it. If I was traveling with a larger group, I would throw in paper plates and additional silverware. I would definitely bring extra firewood. Yes, you can see Canada from here!

West Beach Resort

Zanfel – the best stuff on earth

http://www.amazon.com/Zanfel-Poison-Sumac-Wash-Tube/dp/B000GCPWUU

I rarely do product reviews, but recently tried something that I believe is noteworthy. I had gotten into quite a bit of poison oak recently and it’s not fun stuff. Someone had give me Zanfel years ago, and I had forgotten it about it until recently. As soon as I got home, I took a shower and was still itching from the poison oak. After scrubbing some of this on and then rinsing it off, no more poison oak, no more itching. I couldn’t believe how well it worked! This will definitely become part of my outdoor arsenal. It’s made as a preventative treatment – to get the urushoil off the skin and relieve initial itching. If you already have an infected area, you could try it, but may need a doctor’s visit for better relief. I find Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment great for those areas.

Gordon Lakes

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Pictures of Southern Utah Along Highway 12 and 95

Devil’s Garden –

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Hogsback –

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Looking from one side of the highway over to the other side.

The 4th picture is along Calf Creek before heading up to Hogsback.

Grosverner’s Arch –

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Grainary in Capitol Reef –

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Near Butler Wash –

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Natural Lava Bridges near Trout Lake, Washington

Natural Bridges is a lava tube that collapsed leaving lava bridges. It’s located off of Forest Service Road 24 east of Trout Lake, Washington. Follow the signs to the location. The roads are pretty rough, so take your time. It’s a sort hike allowing you to loop around numerous lava bridges.

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Directions:

From Trout Lake, WA take Highway 141 for 4 miles past the Mt. Adams Ranger Station to the end of Highway 141. Continue west on Forest Road 24. Turn left on Forest Road 041 and go a half mile. Then turn right into the parking area.

New Dinosaur Park opening near Moab, Utah

http://www.moabgiants.com/

The pre-opening is planned for 1st of September 2015 and GRAND OPENING is scheduled for 1st of MARCH 2016.

From the website:

“About Paleosafari Moab Giants

Moab is located at the southern corner of “Dinosaur Diamond”. The Dinosaur Diamond is an area on the border of Utah and Colorado, where some of the first dinosaurs were discovered during the times of the conquest of the Wild West. It is still the region where the greatest number of dinosaur species have been found.

Our project is to create an outdoor dinosaur tracks museum, where the local discoveries will be easy available to the public. This project is going to protect and exhibit our Jurassic track site, as well as to show the ancient world of Utah dinosaurs according to several other finds from surrounding lands..”

Butler Wash Road and the Moki Dugway in Utah

Here’s an update on Butler Wash Road in Southern Utah. Having driven it in the past month, I have to say it’s in pretty good condition. There was one wash that dipped pretty steeply and was soft sand trying to get back up the other side. This was located on the north end of the road, close to highway 95. The rest of the road was well graded and the washes were at that time dry. I would recommend a high clearance vehicle because of the wash areas.

If you are thinking about taking the Moki Dugway, that too was in good shape. Windy of course, but ample. I wouldn’t recommend a larger over-sized vehicle (in fact I think they are restricted on that road). Drive slowly and take your time! There were a ton of cows on the road north of the dugway, so keep a look out.

From the Bluff, Utah Website:

Moki Dugway (A.K.A. Mokee Dugway) on State Route 261 in San Juan County, Utah.  The highway decends/climbs 1,100 feet in just 3 miles on a dirt road carved out of steep rock cliffs.

Moki Dugway (A.K.A. Mokee Dugway) on State Route 261 in San Juan County, Utah. The highway decends/climbs 1,100 feet in just 3 miles on a dirt road carved out of steep rock cliffs.

Photo by Daniel Schwen

“The Moki Dugway is a staggering, graded dirt switchback road carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa.  It consists of 3 miles of steep, unpaved, but well graded switchbacks (11% grade), which wind 1,200 feet from Cedar Mesa to the valley floor near Valley of the Gods.  This route provides breathtaking views of some of Utah’s most beautiful sites.  Scenic views of Valey of the Gods and distant Monument valley open at every turn of the dugway.

The Moki Dugway was constructed in the 1950’s provide a way to haul ore from the Happy Jack Mine on Cedar Mesa to the mill in Halchita, near Mexican Hat.

The State of Utah recommends that only vehicles less than 28 feet and 10,000 pounds attempt to negotiate the dugway.  The remainder of US-261 is paved.”

Love the Art – Coffee Shop in Beaver, Utah

Love the Art – Coffee Shop in Beaver, Utah

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One of my favorite states to visit is by far Utah! Finding a great coffee shop however can be a little tricky. Driving along Interstate 15, heading towards Red Canyon, I pulled off at the town of Beaver hoping to find something beyond another cup of McDonald’s coffee (yes, it can come down to that). Wow, was I in for one of the best coffee experiences in my life! No Joke!

Love the Art at first glance looks like a gas station that has been re-made into a rock shop. Upon further investigation, I noticed the espresso and smoothie sign. It was almost like a mirage in this vast country of very few artisan coffee shops. It is indeed a rock shop and coffee shop, with some of the most spectacular stone pieces I have ever seen. Visiting with one of the owners, Tina, I learned that her family owned numerous quarries in the area. Her father, a master carver, had pieces on display that were world-class.

The coffee set-up is unlike anything I have experienced. She mentioned that she attended a coffee convention in Portland and had picked out her favorite coffee as well as smoothies (with the help of her sister and father).

They use three different types of brewing methods –

Syphon
Brews coffee using two chambers, where heating and cooling the lower vessel change the vapor pressure of water in the lower, first pushing the water up into the upper vessel, then allowing the water to fall back down into the lower vessel.
Pour Over
A method for brewing Coffee which involves pouring water over roasted, ground coffee beans contained in a filter. Water seeps through the coffee, absorbing its oils and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter.

Cold Brew
Cold brewed coffee naturally seems sweeter due to its lower acidity. Because the coffee beans in cold-press coffee never come into contact with heated water, the process of leaching flavor from the beans produces a different chemical profile than conventional brewing methods.

Sounds pretty straight forward, but check out the equipment!

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If you are driving anywhere near the area, stop on in. You will not be disappointed! Oh, I should mention, I still crave the cup of coffee I got there! First class coffee and art – what more could you ask for?