Honoring The S'More; Everything You Need To Know About The Campfire Treat We Love
 PHOTOGRAPH BY QUENTIN BACON, STOCKFOODCREATIVE, GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPH BY QUENTIN BACON, STOCKFOODCREATIVE, GETTY IMAGES

It seems like National S'Mores Day has crept up on us. While we're not a fan of always celebrating these national-something-days, we'll make an exception for this one. 

S'mores History 101: By the late 1800s, marshmallows changed to more or less how we know them now. The mallow plant extract (which had been used previously) was replaced by the more readily available gelatin, which is what keeps modern marshmallows together. By the 1890s, according to period newspaper reports, marshmallow roasts were the latest in summer fads. “The simplicity of this form of amusement is particularly charming,” reads a description of 1892. It's not until the 1920's however that there is any documented mention of the s'mores. In 1927 a recipe for s'mores (formally designated “some mores”) appeared in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.

So let's dive in. What's a s'more? Basically a cookie sandwich prepared over a campfire. Most people know them in their basic form (sometimes simple is best no?); graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and chocolate. Put them together and there you have it. Personally, we like to change things up. Think bourbon marshmallows, flavored chocolates, adding raspberry jam, peanut or almond butter... we also recommend wrapping your s'more in tinfoil and re-roasting for a particularly decadent dessert. Our secret is to toast your marshmallow, assemble your s'more then wrap the whole thing in tinfoil, place it above the coals - in direct heat but no flame - for about 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and let the foil cool down, then slowly peel it open for chocolatey, gooey goodness. 

In short, the list goes on of how you can creatively manipulate this classic. Nevermind the endless recipe adaptations that can be found online - like these baked S'Mores Chocolate Doughnuts by Blue Bowl Recipes. Need we say more? They're relatively easy to make, and a great way to honor this fireside treat. Find the full recipe here.

 Photo by Stephanie Simmons of Blue Bowl Recipes.  Full recipe here .

Photo by Stephanie Simmons of Blue Bowl Recipes. Full recipe here.

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Why Go Micro; The Tiny House 'Trend' Breakdown
 By Handcrafted Movement

By Handcrafted Movement

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. - Henry David Thoreau

Without diving too deep into the problems of an overly materialistic society where everything has to be bigger to be better, let us just say that everyone has their own reasons for going tiny... ie. Making the decision to downsize living quarters to something averaging just 300 sq ft. So, what are the benefits?

An obvious major factor is the financial aspect. Whether the decision is to purchase in full or mortgage a tiny house (lease to own) the costs are significantly lower than owning or renting any traditional home or apartment. What's more, even though you're paying less it doesn't mean you are downgrading - A tiny house can be built to your needs using highest quality materials. And because you're spending less than on a regular home, you have the option to outfit your home with modern, highly eco-efficient appliances, never mind a design layout that you can customize or create from scratch all together! 

More time outdoors is another major factor for many tiny house dwellers. When days are sunny, sunsets are outside every window and door. With the outdoors being quite literally, right there, you have less excuses to not step outside on to your porch for that morning coffee, or spend more sunsets outside by your fire. Remember, you can chose where you 'park it', chances are you'll choose somewhere pretty damn spectacular. 

 No sacrifice on quality; Luxury interior by Mint Tiny Homes

No sacrifice on quality; Luxury interior by Mint Tiny Homes

 34 foot custom built tiny house by Mint Tiny Homes

34 foot custom built tiny house by Mint Tiny Homes

In case you needed more reasons to be convinced, we've got two more words; Travel and mobility. With having the option to build and have your tiny house permanently on wheels, you can go anywhere an RV can go, not to mention, park it (almost) everywhere an RV can. Each province/state has it's own rules and regulations, so be sure to do your homework - but the options are endless. Have a permanent home you can take with you - from coast to mountains and back again. 

The list could go on, but our last major contributor to the ultimate plus of going tiny is the opportunity to be self-sufficient - to be able to live in the wilderness and have everything you could possibly need. While many people prefer to be "on the grid" many builders offer to outfit your home to be off-grid capable - meaning no connections to city water and power are necessary. Think no bills, propane, solar, wood-burning heat and rain water collection - To us that is the ultimate lifestyle; a bit of isolation, freedom, and solitude.

 Tiny house interior built by Alaskan furniture-builder and designer  Ana White

Tiny house interior built by Alaskan furniture-builder and designer Ana White

 36' tiny house with double slide outs by Mint Tiny Homes

36' tiny house with double slide outs by Mint Tiny Homes

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Urban Foraging; Saskatoon Berries
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As we creep into July, Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia) begin to ripen - to the well trained eye that is. The berry, which goes by many names (prairie berry, serviceberry, shadbush, juneberry and, in past centuries, pigeon berry) looks much like a blueberry, although the fruit is more closely related to the apple family. This unique, sweet berry has an unmistakable flavor and can be found growing wild (and in abundance) through many parts of North America. Being less picky about soil conditions than blueberries, the Saskatoon berries can be found from sea level to mountain peaks. Turns out this mean little berry packs a serious nutritional punch - as they appear to be an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper and carotene and several antioxidants. So what's not to love - a refreshing treat to be enjoyed post hike, or lakeside in the woods, never mind making a great wild substitute for any of your favourite blueberry recipes. 

** Please note, do your research before picking/consuming any wild edibles. There are many foraging courses available to your particular location. 

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Trout Lake by Olsun Kundig
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The buildings recall the agricultural forms of the local built environment, but as is our nature in our designs, we sought to take that context and evolve it to a more emphatic modern language. We sought to design something that was exquisitely proportioned in a quiet, agricultural way.” –Tom Kundig 

This stunning property is located on eighteen acres of rural agricultural property in Trout Lake, Washington. The minimalistic yet rustic design style was built with intention to integrate indoor and outdoor living; a sense of being none with the surrounding landscape. The exterior style of house takes after agricultural structures, with elements of minimalism incorporated in its design, form and materials used; most of the house is finished in low-maintenance concrete, plywood and steel.

Photography by Jeremy Bitterman

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A Minimalist Forest House; The Junsei House
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Designed for a couple interested in simplifying their lives and learning to live with less, The Junsei House was created with a holistic approach to designing architecture that is sustainable. The house’s spaces give one a feeling of completeness, eliminating the need for more things. Simple, efficient and quiet in design, the house is a reaction to today’s technology and offers a refuge in an ever changing, chaotic world. Located in an area once rich in fishing and logging and still supported by commuter ferry, the site is lush with trees. Respectful to the existing landscape and touching the ground minimally, the house is appropriate and compliments its surroundings rather than competing with it. Wishing to honor the existing site, all of the trees were left in place and excess excavation was limited to protect tree roots leaving only 18 feet in width and 80 feet in length for the house. Surrounded by trees and water, nature now becomes the house’s art. - From the architects. 

Built by Suyama Peterson Deguci in Seattle, WA. Photography by Charlie Schuck.

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11 Tips To Make Sure Your First Overnight Hike Goes Smoothly

Overnight hiking is one of the best ways to integrate yourself with nature. Not only will you enjoy some of the benefits of hiking, but you’ll also allow yourself to unplug for several hours. When was the last time you thoroughly unplugged from technology for 48 hours?

If you can’t remember, you’re not alone.

 Photo by  Hennygraphy

Photo by Hennygraphy

Hiking tunes you into the most primal parts of your brain. The human body was created to live alongside nature—not in the modern world. You’ll learn how to navigate the forest, cook for yourself and entertain yourself without the use of modern technology. 

Spending time outdoors has plenty of health benefits too. In addition to reducing stress, spending time outdoors can help enhance your mood and help you sleep better. Yet, you’ll need a few pointers if you’re about to embark on your first overnight backpacking trip. One of the most important things to understand about hiking is: planning is everything.

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Tip #1 - Plan Ahead

Planning is one of the best things you can do to ensure success on your hiking trip. The more you prepare for your trip, the more successful your trip will be.

Your first hike should be planned when the weather conditions are expected to be mild (or at least, not so erratic). You don’t want to deal with drastic drops or rises in temperature for your first trip.

Tip #2 - Don’t Pack for a Fortnight Away

It’s important to be prepared, but sometimes less is more when it comes to packing. Don’t pack everything. Many first-time hikers tend to pack all the modern comforts they think they’ll desire over the next day.

Just remember that you’ll need to carry everything that you pack. You’ll want to lay out everything you plan to pack before you place anything in your pack. Take a good look at everything you’ll need to carry. You can go ahead and discard those four extra pairs of socks you just thought you wouldn’t be able to live without.

Tip #3 - Preparing to Dine Al Fresco

It’s important to plan out your meals in advance, so you don’t find yourself burdened with too much (or worse—without enough food) over the course of your trip. Make sure to pack plenty of protein and carbs to keep you satisfied.

Remember that you may have to pack your waste out, so don't bring lots of food in heavy containers such as tins. It's best to prepare meals in advance, and bring them in ziplock bags or buy freeze-dried meals that only require boiling water to cook.

Although, don’t forget to have a little fun with your food! Try a new recipe for an old fan favorite like buttered popcorn marshmallow smores.

 Photo by Cam DiCecca

Photo by Cam DiCecca

Tip #4 - Bring a Map (and know how to use it)

Despite how much Google Maps has rocked your world, you’ll need to bring an old-school waterproof map. You’ll also need to know how to use it. Navigation skills are hugely important in the wilderness where cell phone batteries can die, or your GPS doesn't get a signal.

Tip #5 - Test Your Equipment at Home

It’s important to test out all of your equipment at home before your hike. You should break in your hiking boots before hitting the trail, so you don’t destroy your feet.

Sometimes manufacturers forget to include all of the parts in products, and you don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of the woods before realizing that you don’t have the main pole for your tent. Test your equipment in your backyard first.

Tip #6 - Learn to Dress Appropriately

Hikers and backpackers these days swear by the three-layer system that will help keep you comfortable in (most) any weather. This involves a thin base layer, to wick away moisture, a middle insulating layer to keep you warm and then an outer shell layer to protect you from the wind and elements. Simply remove or add layers to suit the climate.

Also, don't forget to bring accessories such as sun hats, sunglasses or cold weather gloves.

Tip #7 - Familiarize Yourself with LNT & Local Regulations

You know the saying, “Take only photos, leave only memories?” Leave No Trace means that you leave nature the same as you found it. This means that everything you "pack in" should be "packed out" again.

Don’t bother the wildlife, pick the flowers or camp on sites that aren’t already established by other campers.

Lastly, you also want to ensure you have the appropriate permits before you step foot on the trail. Don’t assume that you don’t need a permit.

Tip #8 - Check the Weather Before You Go

Leading up to your trip double-check the weather forecast and consider rescheduling your trip if the weather won't be in your favor. If you still plan on heading out, make any final adjustments to your pack based on the likely (and worst case) weather forecast.

Tip #9 - Panic Time, Leave One!

Never hike without telling your friends and family where you’re going. Establish a panic time. This means that you tell your friends and family when you’re leaving, where you’re going, your exact route and when to call the authorities if you haven’t returned.

As soon as you are back in your car (and have cell service), call your designated family members to let them know you’re okay.

Tip #10 - Keep It Simple

On your first trip, just keep it simple. You'll probably be doing a lot of new tasks for the first time such as map navigation, long strenuous hikes and setting up a campsite. Don't further add to the burden by planning to hike 15 miles a day or fit in lots of extra activities.

Tip #11 - Enjoy Yourself

The most important part of your hike is remembering to have plenty of fun. Enjoy yourself! Hopefully, you’re planning this trip because you already have a love of hiking. Don’t forget to have fun and relax!

Article written for UP KNÖRTH by My Open Country. My Open Country is a campaign to try and get more people excited about the outdoors. Improve your wilderness adventures with their in-depth articles on hiking/backpacking skills, inspirational trip guides & awesome gear reviews.
Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/myopencountry/
48 Hours In The Yukon; Photo Journal By Hennygraphy
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Ever wondered what 48 hours in the Yukon look like? Think cold, grey skies, snow-capped mountains, campfire and tea by a wood stove. Some of our product made the journey with Hennygraphy and photographer Jong Sun Park on their 2 day, fully loaded trip of the Yukon. 

All photography credit to Hennygraphy. See more of the journey here.

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 Shop our Up Knorth minimalist   t-shirt here.

Shop our Up Knorth minimalist t-shirt here.

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 Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north.   Shop them here.

Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north. Shop them here.

Looking Ahead To Summer; Everything You Need To Know Before Hiking Berg Lake Trail
 Berg Lake by  Panafoot via Flickr

Berg Lake by Panafoot via Flickr

Arguably one of the most scenic hikes around. The 23km trail takes about 7 hours to complete, and passes vistas most of us can't even imagine to be real. Any photos you've seen of this place are no comparison to the real thing. Along the way you will past through Kinney lake, white horn and the valley of a thousand falls - overall, hoping you catch a clear day, you will see 16 glaciers in the remote backcountry. 

 On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by  Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

Additional info: The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September, with many half day and multi-day hikes starting from the Berg Lake Area. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. There are a few campsites, and very few facilities. This is not a hike for beginner or novice mountaineers. For additional info and reservations and trail maps visit: 

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/berg.html

Stay safe, respect the trails and do your homework before you go. Tag and share your stories at @upknorth and #upknorth.

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