time to face the facts...it's fall! er...winter?

my Loving Boyfriend and i recently returned from crater lake, oregon for a weekend of good old-fashioned fun in the outdoors with the dogs. crater lake is gorgeous. it's the deepest lake in the USA. almost 2000 feet deep. a huge volcano erupted and collapsed upon itself, leaving this enormous hole in the ground that has since filled with crystalline clear water that reflects the most amazing shade of blue from the sky...or so the pictures make it look like it does.

but instead of seeing sky-colored water and grand vistas...it SNOWED on us. no kidding. see?

when we go to the national park entrance, they actually asked us if we were sure we wanted to come in.

"you can't see the lake right now, you know, do you really want to pay the $10 to come in?"

"what do you mean, we can't see the lake right now? is it closed?"

"no, it's snowing, and the lake is completely
covered by clouds."

"but we just drove for almost 4 hours to come here and see it."

"well, it will probably be snow covered and gorgeous and clear tomorrow like all of the pretty pictures we put in our brochures - you could
come back then."

"but we're leaving tomorrow."

"hmmm, too bad. that will be $10 to see clouds, then. pay up!"

bummer. we paid the $10 and drove around the lake looking at the fog, imagining what beauty lay beneath it (neither one of us, in three years, has seen the lake). the dogs weren't allowed out of the car, it being a national park where dogs aren't allowed on a
ny of the trails. but, we had a really great time nonetheless, and even lucked out when we came upon one of the viewpoints:

ahhhh....that's nice. it lasted about 20 minutes before the snowing clouds came and covered it up again. but in the meantime, we were able to enjoy a curried chicken apple salad. this recipe hails from backpacker magazine (you could take it with you for the first day on a backpacking trip), and it was pretty tasty, though i list some of the changes i'll make next time below. this would also make a really easy and fast weekday lunch.

Curried Chicken Apple Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice (or 1 boil in a bag rice packet, if your packing)
1 medium apple (the best part - we used a small apple and wished there was more)
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (decreased from 1/2 cup)
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. of cumin
pinch of salt

  1. The day before you go, make the dressing by mixing olive oil, curry powder, garlic powder, salt, and cumin put it in a leak-proof container. We cooked the rice, but you could also cook it on the trail. Cut up the celery and carrot, mix them and put the vegetables and sunflower seeds in separate bags. Cook the chicken, cut it up into small pieces, and freeze it over-night (this keeps it 'fresh' and safe while you're out hiking around without refrigeration). Right before we left I put everything (in their own bags) in a large ziplock bag to keep it together.
  2. On the trail, cut up the apple, then dump the rice, chicken, veggies and sunflower seeds into the large ziplock. Drizzle the dressing over the top, close the bag, and shake it to mix everything up. Viola! Serves 2 if you've been packing, 3 if you're at home.

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