Outdoors recipes might be better reading than eating

  • By Sharon Wootton / Columnist
  • Friday, April 15, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

No matter where you hike or climb or paddle, eating is still one of the essential tasks.

Two new books offer completely different takes on the issue: “Beyond Gorp” ($16, Mountaineers) and “Camp Cooking: 100 Years” ($10, Gibbs Smith).

“Gorp” takes trail cooking an extra step, collecting recipes from outdoors experts and adding a bit of background and some comments from the chefs.

While your mouth may water over most of them, a few give pause, including survival expert Larry Dean Olson’s Mouse Soup. Yes, that would be water, wild vegetables and … a mouse … as in a captured, killed, skinned, gutted, semidried and pulverized rodent.

Not to your taste? Try squirrel and bacon strips.

OK, OK, enough survival food. Moving on to more traditional fare, consider Rainier Spotted Dog (without the dog), Trail-Happy Salad, Lead Bread, Ooey-Gooey Flapjacks and the old standby, Russian tea mix.

“100 Years” also offers recipes, with historical photographs and anecdotes. The book is dedicated to U.S. Forest Service rangers.

Some of the recipes from the National Museum of Forest Service History have been around for the proverbial forever, others are more recent concoctions.

Try the Hobo Dinner, Cowboy Breakfast, Spam Casserole or Depression Bologna Gravy. Or not. After all, what really sets this book apart are the old photographs.

Then get rid of those calories: use the fourth edition of “Bicycling the Pacific Coast” ($17, Mountaineers) or the revised “The Beginning Runner’s Handbook: The Proven 13-Week Walk/Run Program” ($15, Greystone) or “75 Scrambles in Oregon: Best Nontechnical Ascents” ($18, Mountaineers).

If you’d rather fish for some low-calorie food, John Waldman offers a variety of approaches in “100 Weird Ways to Catch Fish” ($20, Stackpole). With that many sensible and wacky ways, it’s a wonder fish have survived.

Herbert Hoover was passionate about fishing. Hal Elliott Wert runs that track throughout “Hoover: The Fishing President” ($30, Stackpole).

Five new climbing books (a sure sign of spring) should satisfy the altitude hunger until the real deal takes over.

Beginners often start their learning curve indoors, where the weather is not a factor, instructors are handy, and safety is nearly assured.

Matt Burbach’s “Gym Climbing: Maximizing Your Indoor Experience” ($20, Mountaineers) adds a layer to the convenience: getting the most out of your workout.

For Burbach, that means paying attention to the details, whether it’s buying the right climbing shoes to dynamically moving from bad holds to good ones.

Professional climbing guide Craig Luebben’s “Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills” ($20, Mountaineers) takes the work outside for beginning and intermediate climbers.

And Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley take intermediate climbers to moderate altitudes with “Alpine Climbing” ($22, Mountaineers). Climbing rock, snow, ice and glaciers is a process that includes a myriad of decisions, and with their advice and good photographs, climbers can learn to make the right decisions.

Just want to go, but not too far? Then take a look at Scott Stephenson’s and Brian Bongiovanni’s “Summit Routes: Washington’s 100 Highest Peaks” ($20, Alpen Books Press).

The authors’ approach has been to put together all the information needed to tackle the easiest route to each peak. Most of the climbs are non-technical.

What’s nice about “Summit” is that they’ve organized the climbs into slams, or groups of climbs that can be done in one trip, using the same trailhead.

And if you’d like to go higher, Mike Gauthier’s second edition of “Mount Rainier: A Climbing Guide” ($19, Mountaineers) should work for you.

If you’re looking for an experienced author, it doesn’t get much better than this: he’s the lead climbing ranger at the park and has hit the peak nearly 200 times.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

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