Celestial Navigator – July 2014

There are few things more enjoyable during a night in camp than staring at the night sky.  Now you can be a celestial expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge.  There’s lots going in the July night sky, so grab your telescope and your tent and get out there!

July events:

July 12 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:25 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Full Thunder Moon and the Full Hay Moon.

July 26 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 22:42 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

July 28, 29 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29. This should be a great year for this shower because the thin crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

excerpts from seasky.org

The Dirt Road to Paradise

dirt road UT

Have you ever wandered off the beaten path and driven down a lonely dirt road just to see where it ends?

Taking time to explore is always a top priority on our trips, and it is never time wasted. Sometimes what we find is an explorers pot of gold, and other times it’s a gate with a No Trespassing sign.  But it’s always an adventure.

In 1996, while exploring the backcountry of the Chiricahua Mountains we came across to markers that said simply Unknown Arizona Pioneers.  Later research on this site revealed quite a story about the Apache War legends surrounding these gravesites.

PromPt65-05

On another trip in 2003, we drove the old transcontinental railroad grade, abandoned in the 1940’s, across the western half of northern Utah, only to breakdown on the same spot as the historic 1869 photo of the last eastbound wagon train meeting the first westbound train. We had punctured our tire with a 134 year old rusty railroad spike. Three ghost towns and miles of history later, we came out in the town of Wendover, NV.

water trough

One that sticks in my mind was this old water trough, built of hand-hewn lumber, with the spring still bubbling at the far end. Lots of antelope that day, but the rancher and his cattle had left this lonely place long ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One place that we consider very special is a remote mesa at the end of a rough road in central Arizona.  The density of rock art and petroglyphs on this mesa are quite impressive, and only in recent years have archeologists begun to study this area.  This must be one of the least disturbed ancient-man sites in Arizona, and it was only our curious minds that led us there.  No signs or maps exist for this historic and remote area.

headframe

On a recent trip through Nevada, we drove a dirt road that led through the old Osceola Mining District, where mining headframes seemed to reach for the sky, and the buildings appeared as if the the miners just up and left one day, and never came back.

Each of these adventures, and others too numerous to list here, were all the result of driving down an un-mapped dirt road, just to see where it led and what we might find. Oftentimes the drive was fruitless, but on others we found memories to last a lifetime. And we have camped in some remote and incredible locations.  And there are many more dirt roads yet to follow.

Leaving time for the unexpected is important, and is the part of the journey I often anticipate most. Whether is it fixing a flat tire in the middle of no-where, or finding amazing displays of ancient rock art, the adventure never disappoints.  Take the next dirt road you pass, drive along for awhile and see what’s around the next corner.

Hoping everyone has a great summer of camping adventures!

Happy Trails,

Jeff

Cooky Jason’s Camping Recipe – May 2014

Who doesn’t like kabobs? We’re in full camping swing now and it’s high time we get into some grilling action. And kabobs are just plain fun. The key to making these special is in the marinade. Of course there are countless marinades you can do. You can play mad scientist and come up with all manner of concoctions. The idea here is to have fun with it and experiment.

Major Players

  • Beef cubes – Don’t use stew meat here. London broil is really great, but sometimes I even use New York Strip or rib eye (my personal favorite). Just make sure it’s cut into 1-inch cubes. 4 to 5 per kabob, so you’re looking at about 3lbs to serve 7 to 8 people
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tsp for tossing veggies with
  • 1 Tbsp Salt and 1 Tbsp course ground pepper (white pepper if possible)
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 heaping table spoons of chopped rosemary (Now you’re not using the dried stuff in little plastic jars, are you?)
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, marjoram, cilantro, etc…)
  • 3 to 4 medium-size button mushrooms per kebob
  • 1 large onion, quartered and layers separated into petals
  • Wooden skewers

OK, the fun stuff:

First we’ll start with the marinade. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a medium mixing bole and whisk thoroughly. Add beef cubes to a gallon-size zip-top bag and pour in the marinade. Push out as much of the air as you can and seal the bag. Massage contents gently to make sure every piece is coated. Store in the refrigerator or icebox for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Also, soak the skewers in water at the same time, for a good 3 hours. I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite so I prefer to assemble these at home and transport them in disposable aluminum baking pans covered with foil.

Drain away marinade and discard. Toss mushrooms and onion petals with 2 to 3 tsp olive oil and salt. Use 3 to 4 beef cubes and 3 to 4 mushrooms per kabob, alternating, with onion petals separating the beef and mushrooms. Leave at least an inch of skewer on each end for handling. Cook over medium heat on all 4 sides until browned and slightly crisp. It should be about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle with the fresh-chopped herbs. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Crowd-pleaser? I think so…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Celestial Navigator by PahaQue May 2014

There are few things more enjoyable during a night in camp than staring at the night sky.  Now you can be a celestial expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge.  There’s lots going in this May so grab your telescope and your tent and get out there!imagesnewmoon

  • May 10 – Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.
  • May 10 – Astronomy Day Part 1. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium. 
  • May 14 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 19:16 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.
  • May 24 – Possible Meteor Storm. In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24, the Earth will pass through the debris field left behind by a small comet known as P/209 LINEAR. Astronomers are predicting that this interaction may result in a brief but intense burst of meteor activity that could range from dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour. Nothing is certain, but many mathematical models are predicting that this could be the most intense meteor shower in more than a decade.
  • May 28 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:40 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

PahaQue May Photo Contest 2014

Share your favorite camping photo with your PahaQue tent on our page, and you will be entered to win a brand new PahaQue Single Hammock!  Your choice of color (navy/light blue, or green/khaki).

1.  Enter as many times as you would like.
2.  Entries must be posted to the PahaQue Wilderness Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/PahaQueWilderness
3.  This contest is not administered by Facebook.
4.  Contest ends Friday June 6 at which time we will announce three winners on our Facebook page.
5.  All inquiries should be directed to happytrails@pahaque.com

CELESTIAL NAVIGATOR from PahaQue

CELESTIAL NAVIGATOR from PahaQue

There are few things more enjoyable at night in camp than staring at the fire and the night sky.  Now you can be an astrological expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge.  Here’s what is happening in March:

  • March 1 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 08:00 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • March 16 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 17:08 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This moon has also been known as the Full Crow Moon, the Full Crust Moon, and the Full Sap Moon.
  • March 20 – March Equinox. The March equinox occurs at 16:57 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • March 20 – Occultation of Regulus. An extremely rare event will take place on the morning of Thursday, March 20. An asteroid known as 163 Erigone will pass in front of the bright star Regulus in the constellation of Leo, causing the star to disappear. This event will be visible along a 45-mile-wide path and is predicted to begin at 2:07 a.m. EDT. The asteroid’s shadow will move on a southeast-to-northwest path that will extend from New York City to Oswego in New York State and continue northwest into Ontario, Canada. For those in the center of this path, the star will remain invisible for 12 seconds.
  • March 30 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:45 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
 excerpt from seasky.org

Cooky Jason’s Camping Recipes

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Steak Fries

These are a constant favorite, winter or summer. Indoors or out. They’re perfect for the campsite and simple to make. There are, of course, countless variations. This is how I like to do them. Enjoy!

Major players:

  • 5 t0 6 large russet potatoes
  • 4 good-size rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic/onion powder (I like to use a combination)
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes in half length-wise then cut each half into 3 wedges. You should get 6 wedges per potato. Toss wedges in olive oil until well coated, set aside.

Next, combine flourcorn mealsaltrosemarygarlic/onion powder, and cayenne powder in a large bowl. Add potato wedges and toss until well covered. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. If you are doing these on the grill, leave out the flour and cornmeal. On the grill, these will take about 20 minutes as well, turning 2 or 3 times to make sure each side of each wedge sees it’s fair share of the heat.

Remove to a large bowl and toss with the butterparsleycumin, and pepper (fresh ground is always preferred) We add the butter, parsley, cumin, and pepper at the end because those particular items don’t stand up well to dry heat, and adding them at the end when the wedges are still steaming releases the wonderful aromatic properties (the essential oils) of the parsley and cumin. Can’t beat ’em…

Questions/comments/requests? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Celestial Navigator November 2013

2013 has been called the Year of the Comet – and November has some great star-gazing events that you wont want to miss!  Starting with a full moon, followed by two meteor showers, and ending with a view of newly discovered Comet ISON as it passes by our Sun. Will Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) be the comet of the century? We’ll find out soon, as estimates have the object visible through binoculars in early November.  So grab your PahaQue Tent and your telescope, and enjoy some great Fall camping and awesome stargazing in November.

  • November 3 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 12:50 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • November 3 – Hybrid Solar Eclipse. A hybrid solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is almost too close to the Earth to completely block the Sun. This type of eclipse will appear as a total eclipse to some parts of the world and will appear annular to others. The eclipse path will begin in the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern coast of the United States and move east across the Atlantic and across central Africa.
  • November 4, 5 – Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains from Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 4. This is an excellent year because there will be no moonlight to spoil the show. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • November 17 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 15:16 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Hunter’s Moon.
  • November 16, 17 – Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is an average shower, producing an average of up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 16th and morning of the 17th. Unfortunately the glare from the full moon will block many of the meteors this year, but if you are patient you should still be able to catch quite a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • November 28 – Comet ISON Closest Approach to the Sun. Newly discovered comet ISON will make its closest approach to the Sun on November 28. If the comet survives its encounter with the Sun, it could be one of the brightest comets in recent memory. Some astronomers estimate that it could even be bright enough to be seen during daylight hours. In August and September, the comet will begin to be visible in the morning sky in dark locations with telescopes. In October it will start to be visible to the naked eye and will continue to get brighter until November 28. If the comet survives, it will be visible in the early morning and early evening sky and could be nearly as bright as the full Moon. Some astronomers are already calling it the comet of the century.

FALL CAMPING – IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

FALL CAMPING

IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

Are you one of those folks that love the idea of camping, but dislike the heat, the buzzing insects, and crowded campgrounds of summer? Waiting until after the crowds have left, and the weather has cooled, offers many advantages for campers seeking solitude and quiet.  We recently asked our customers what are their favorite things about Fall Camping.  Here are the top five responses:

#1  Smaller Crowds – Summertime generally means crowded campgrounds. One customer compared it to a being in a hotel without walls.  Not so in the fall, when you may find yourself the lone camper in a campground that was filled to capacity two months ago.  That means more peace and quiet, cleaner facilities, and better site selection options.

#2  Cooler Weather – warm days and cool nights make a great combination.  Perfect for hiking or exploring during the day, and the cool nights are great for sleeping, all cuddled up in your sleeping bag, or sitting around a warm fire wrapped in a toasty blanket, sipping hot chocolate.  Which leads us to –

#3  Clear Nights – Fall is perhaps the best time of year for star-gazing.  Crystal clear nights, and the return of the winter constellations make Fall a great time of year to bring along a telescope, or even just a pair of binoculars.  For smart-phone users, apps such as Google Sky or SkySafari add an entirely new dimension to viewing and understanding the heavens.  Campgrounds – generally away from urban areas, are great places to star gaze.

#4  Lower Rates – Many campgrounds offer discounted off-season rates, making an already affordable activity – camping – even more affordable!  Camping is perhaps one of the most economical, and healthy activities available, and even more so during this time of year.

#5  Fall Colors – this is perhaps the highlight of Fall camping.  All other advantages aside, and as if to say thank you for coming to visit, Mother Nature unleashes her annual display of colors that can be as captivating as staring at the camp fire.  So bring your camera!

If Fall has already passed by in your neck of the woods, then I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy at least one Fall camping trip this year.  And if Fall weather is still on the menu where you live, then grab your gear and go!  Soon the leaves will be gone, winter will be upon us and the camp gear will be stowed away, waiting for Spring.

What is your favorite time of year to camp?  Please share your camp stories and photos with us – we would love to hear from you and learn about how and when you like to camp!  We will share your stories and photos on our website and Facebook page.  To contact us, please email your stories, photos and comments to happytrails@pahaque.com

I hope to see you ’round the campfire soon!

Jeff Basford

President