The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness- John Muir
Over a hundred years ago my bohemian Great Grandmother was asked whose church she belonged to. Family legend states that she turned to look the person asking and responded, "I go to the church of Mr. Woods and Mr. Beach" then firmly walked away. No matter what religious affiliation you subscribe to, if any, you have to admit that Great Granny was onto something.
Nature can be a religious experience. It can be the source of your inspiration, the sanctuary you use to recoup, or the place you find meaning in a chaotic and confusing world. Here we are on what is the 47th Earth day, but in reality it is just another day we should be honouring and celebrating our beautiful home, the Earth
To celebrate Earth Day, my wonderful blogging buddies and I have decided to share personal stories about nature, especially about our relationship to America's National Parks, all of which are currently threatened with ideas of dismantlement and private sale. Public lands were created as a way to make jobs and preserve the nation's history, whether it be pre or post European contact. National Parks allow everyone, regardless of social standing, a small piece in the vastness of the country. Every citizen has access to a slice of waterfront property, a section of the unbridled prairie, or a corner the sweeping vastness of the desert. They act as the one true equalizer in society, guaranteeing everyone access to the same piece of heaven, offering everyone the same treatment, and in doing so unites them as a community.
I remember the first time I traveled to America. I was twelve and my family was on an 'Americana' tour. We drove from Canada through the Bison strewn fields of Waterton Park (Alberta) into the adjoining Glacier National Park (Montana). We walked through the eerie yet lush prairie where the Battle of the Greasy Grass (The Battle of Little Bighorn) took place just a mere 125 years prior, just four years before my Great Granny was born. We learned about Custar, the Lakota, the Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho. We drove through the Badlands of South Dakota and were the only people at Mount Rushmore to bask in the President's rain-soaked faces. We laughed at the prairie dogs at America's first National Monument, Devils Tower, where my sister got certified as junior ranger (something she still cherishes). We saw the majesty of the Redwood Forest, nature's own wooden cathedral reaching its limbs to the stars. We visited the Old Man in Crater Lake, made boob jokes about The Grand Tetons, and where in awe of the pure magnificence that is Yellowstone.
Years later Adam and I would travel to Hawaii and visit Volcano National Park. I would stand with him on the the land where my (supposed) ancestor, Captain Cook, deceived Adam's Polynesian forefathers 246 year earlier. I would feel the connection to the land and the people and the eons of civilization that existed there before me. Without these parks and monuments my childhood imagination would not have been ignited to learn about Sitting Bull, Lewis and Clark, lava vents, or Native America constellation legends. I would never know what it felt like to see Bison roaming free on the land they inhabited for thousands of years before Europeans drove them to extinction; to touch a tree that was a mere sapling at the time humankind discovered bronze; or to see first hand so many of the endangered species which call national parks their home.
This weekend we plan on heading out of the city to take in some fresh air and scenery. We hope to find some peace and calm and to reconnect with ourselves and our home. Like any good outdoor adventure we'll be sure to bring along plenty of snacks to munch on along the way. These trail bars are the perfect thing to pack. They are loaded with dried fruit and nuts, have plenty of fibre, and are easy to package in reusable containers like these beeswax wraps. While the recipe calls for walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and raisins, any nuts and seed combo would be a perfect match.
Enjoy your weekend, your home, and these posts from my friends
- Tending the Table - Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest
- Adventures in Cooking- Olympic National Park
- The Bojon Gourmet - Hibiscus Berry Smoothie Bowls
- The Year in Food - A Church in the Wild
- The Modern Proper - Trail Mix Pancakes
- Fairing Well - Death valley National Park
- Will Frolic for Food - Glacier National Park
- Kale and Caramel
- Alison Wu - Joshua Tree
- Healthy Nibbles and Bites - Leek & Kohlrabi Fritters + Pinnacles National Park
- Husbands that Cook - Point Mugu State Park
- Brooklyn Supper -Shenandoah National Park
- Vanilla and Bean -Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola + Ebey's Landing National Historical Preserve
- East Your Beets - Cheney State Park
- The Broken Bread - Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
- Fresh Off the Grid - Weekend Escape: Planning an Impromptu Camping Trip
WEEKEND LINKS + LOVES
- Overplayed but always loved, this classic quote from Carl Sagan says it all and always makes me misty eyed.
- I have and will always be a documentary nerd. This Ken Burns documentary on America's National Parks washes me in waves of sadness, nostalgia, hope, and invigoration. Totally worth streaming if you too are a history dork.
- Speaking of documentaries, one of my favourites is Into the Wild which I think deserves a watch every couple of years.
- If you are Canadian, or planning on visiting, all National Parks, Marine Conservation Areas, and Historical Sites are free this year, so check one out!
- After 25 years, the world's longest recreational trail is nearly complete. Who wants to go on a bike ride!!!?
- Simple homemade cleaners, because so many of the products labeled green are in fact pretty terrible for you and the environment.
- Turning a city into a National Park is a fascinating idea.
- A art project that takes a disturbing look into the future of National Parks if Climate Change goes unchecked.
- The US congress has been toying with the idea of selling off up to 640 million acres of national land but through this website you can keep up to date with the latests resistance.
- One of the most important R's, reuse (okay, they're all important)! I love the idea of dyeing old cloths with flowers to make a fresh new piece. You can also do this with your compost (like onion skins and purple cabbage)
- Finally, the People's Climate March is happening this month.Check your city for local details.
HAPPY TRAIL BARS
Makes 8-12 Bars. Print it Here
1 1/2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Toasted Coconut
1/2 Cup Toasted Walnuts, Chopped
1/2 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup Tbsp Hemp Hearts
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Goji Berries
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seeds
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Rice Syrup
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Nut Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Melted Chocolate
Hemp hearts, Cacao Nibs, Bee Pollen, Goji Berries, or Calendula for garnish
- In a large bowl toss together the rice cereal, oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, salt, flax, and cinnamon.
- Next line a 8 inch square pan with parchment and set aside.
- In a pot combine the brown rice syrup (greasing the measuring cup first helps), nut butter, and oil. Heat over low just until it becomes runny (try not to let it boil at all). Take the syrup off the heat and add the vanilla.
- Moving quickly, add the syrup to the dry mix and stir to combine. After its all mixed together, scoop it into the prepared pan and using greased hands press down firmly to make a nice flat surface.
- Set the bars in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to firm up.
- Next, heat the chocolate over a water bath and get any toppings you'd like ready.
- Slice the bars in either 12 smallish bars or 8 mega bars and drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with toppings. Let the chocolate fully set before packing the bars in an airtight container (no need to refrigerate).