Elfin Lakes Trail; PNW Winter Escape
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Nestled 1,600m above Squamish, BC, Elfin Lakes is a mountain escape that equals no other. The mountain cabin holds a capacity of 33 bunks on the upper level, with ample space for cooking and dining on the level below. The 11km trail (one way) is accessible in both summer and winter months, and doesn't doesn't fall short when it comes to panoramic mountain views. 

Incredible images were captured by Hennygraphy

Visit www.hennygraphy.com for the full set.

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Fall Things; Cider Tea

Simple, but good as. The perfect coffee alternative to heat you up on a cold fall day. Heat up one cup of apple cider. Let tea bag steep as desired. Top it off with a bit of whipped cream and drink! Some tea ideas to try with; Vanilla CaramelTazo Chai, and Lemon Ginger.

Photography and inspiration via The Merrythought 

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Campfires and Chasing Auroras

Unplanned adventures always seem to turn out with the best surprises. Our short trek out to Furry Creek a few weeks back only strengthened this rule, as a casual night around the campfire quickly turned into a spectacular showcase of the milky way above and the northern lights dancing behind.  

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Location: Furry Creek, BC

All photography by Ian Tyley. Find his works here. Follow him on Instagram: @iantyleyphoto

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DIY Minimalist Wine Rack

When simplicity is key, less is more. All you'll need for this minimalist wine rack is a wooden board, leather straps, some paint, screws and a leather punch. Choose the size of your wood board based on the size of your kitchen and how many wine bottles you wish to store. A 60cm x 40cm is shown here. First step is to paint the board with a white lacquer. You can of course choose a different colour, or leave the wood board untreated. However note that the white contrast with the dark wine bottles will give your board that distinct Scandinavian feel.  

If you have the tools, cut your own straps of leather. If not, purchase some pre-cut straps of equal width and about 35cm in length. At both ends of each strap punch a hole the exact size of the screws you wish to use. From this point, simply form a loop with your leather strap and decide where you wish to place the positioning for the three bottles. It's advised you lay out all six loops before attaching them to ensure they are of enough distance from one and other as well as from the edges of the board; this way your bottles will appear centred on the mount. Once you're set on position, simply screw the straps in place. 

Tutorial and photography via: ItsPrettyNice

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Know The Wilderness; The Importance of Tracking

Whether you're out for a hunt, hike, simple stroll in the woods or (ideally not) in a survival situation, knowing how to read your surroundings is key. There are many tracking guidelines, books and courses out there which all can assist you in learning the skills necessary to become proficient. There is also a growing popularity in tracking field practice, which puts classroom learning on the back burner and allows you to get out in the wilderness and learn hands-on with an experienced tracker (in our opinion, the best way to learn). However, no matter what method you use, the takeaway remains the same; You'll be surprised at how many things you'll see once you know what to look for.

Animal tracking is not only a useful tool for hunting, an association it is most commonly known for. It is a skill that lures us in and forces us to appreciate the strength of seemingly unnoticeable hints shown to us by the natural world. A knowledge of your surroundings encourages you to open all of your senses to the subtle clues hidden everywhere in the wild, making the supposedly chaotic and unpredictable reappear as orderly and familiar. 

Grizzly bear clawed tree. Shot by B. Atalay

Grizzly bear clawed tree. Shot by B. Atalay

Tracking the rut. Learning to read rubs via OutdoorLife. Shot by Lance Krueger.

Tracking the rut. Learning to read rubs via OutdoorLife. Shot by Lance Krueger.

Tracking animals is broken down into an assorted group of techniques and goals. Depending what you're looking to do you may be; tracking animals (animal track identification), trailing (following animal footprints/signs over long stretches), track aging (discovering how long the tracks have been there), gait interpretation (knowing how animals moved through an area without actually having seen them) or all techniques combined. 

The know-how not only includes a thorough knowledge of tracks, trails and sign, but also draws on the natural history, anatomy, and behavioural characteristics of animals and the environment. There is no doubt a primitive aspect to these skills, drawing on basic perceptions with minimal (if any) interference by technology, offering a welcome break from our ever-growing dependence to the online world. Ultimately, tracking is about the uncontaminated relationship between the tracker and the surrounding wilderness.

Some starting tips to keep in mind:

An understanding of basic ecological concepts is important.

Learn to consciously recognize unfamiliar parts of the landscape; create a habit of seeking out unfamiliar aspects of one’s surroundings, or consciously alter the physical vantage point you observe the landscape from.

Focus on the big picture. One of the most effective ways to recognize patterns and relationships is to sit down and just watch the entire landscape without focusing on any one detail in particular. This allows us to recognize macropatterns which are larger than the detailed sphere of one’s normal awareness.

Give time for processing perceptions and information (minutes to hours to days depending on the scale of your goals). It takes time for the senses to wander and truly learn the landscape.

Have some familiarity with the landscape. Gain experience of the area by means of trial or accompaniment of an elder tracker with a profound knowledge of the area/s.

Though in written form it may sound farfetched, an awareness of one’s instinctual feelings about the landscape and perceptions can help bring attention to things which you may be aware of on a subconscious level.

Understanding in a relational sense involves making connections, rather than just making recognitions. Being able to compare one observation to another or to theoretical knowledge is vital.

 

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Camp Food; Buttered Popcorn Marshmallow S'Mores

Because summer (and fall), still make it officially s’mores season. In this recipe the marshmallows are ever so lightly infused with popcorn flavor. It’s lovely and buttery and you get a hint of something wonderful. If that's not enough, the marshmallows are then topped with crunchy, salty, buttery popcorn, toasted. Best way to finish off summer (or start your fall), ever. 

Ingredients:

4 cups buttered popcorn

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 packets of gelatin

8 tablespoons of cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for sprinkling

graham crackers

your favourite chocolate

Directions:

Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick spray, then sprinkle some powdered sugar in the pan and shake well, dispersing it all over the pan, covering the entire thing.

In a small saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup cold water and sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly for just 30 seconds until the sugar is starting to dissolve and the mixture is warm. You DON'T want it to get too sticky or cook yet! Turn off the heat. Stir in 2 cups of buttery popcorn and let it infuse for 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure that you stir a few times (it will start to get sticky as it cools) and toss the popcorn. Remove the popcorn with a slotted spoon. I even pushed some through a fine mesh sieve to get as much liquid as I could that was starting to become syrupy.

Place the gelatin in a small bowl and stir in the 8 tablespoons of cold water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Begin to heat the sugar mixture again over medium heat, whisking well.

Stir in the gelatin mixture and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, immediately remove from heat. Add to the bowl of an electric mixer attached with a whisk. Let sit and slightly cool. (I cool for about 10 minutes.) Add in vanilla extract and salt. Beat on medium-high speed for 10-15 minutes, until white and glossy and shiny and thick. Spread in the 8x8 pan and top with the other 2 cups of popcorn (try to remove all the kernels you can), pressing them into the marshmallow. Let sit for about 4 hours, or even overnight.

To make your s'mores, sandwich the toasted marshmallow between grahams with your favourite chocolate. A tip I've been doing is toasting the marshmallows from the BOTTOM because no one wants burnt popcorn. Make sure to make these close to serving time, as popcorn can get soggy.

Photography and recipe from How Sweet Eats

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Concept 17 Wide Body Land Rover Defender by Kahn Design

The Land Rover Defender has rugged good looks, a storied legacy and tons of street credit.  English tuner Kahn Design has turned its attention towards this iconic truck. Starting with the 1983 model, designer Afzal Kahn has gone with a wide-body kit with extended wheel arches and introduced mesh covered side and hood vents along with his prototype wing blades and oval tailgate badges.

The seats are wrapped in black quilted nappa leather while the instrument panel, roof lining and door trims feature alcantara with red and silver contrast stitching. Overall, the Kahn Design Defender Concept 17 Wide Body is a solid offering from a company that has a proven track record of preserving the heritage of the vehicles they modify while making tasteful modifications.

Read more here

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Camp Food; S'Mores Custard Cake

Unarguably, one of everybody's favourite things about camping and summertime treats are s'mores. As if good ol'fashioned graham cracker s'mores or next-level doughnut s'mores (see recipe here) weren't enough, this s'mores custard cake (a s'mores cake!) might just trump them all. Amazing recipe and photography from Hint Of Vanilla

S'mores Custard Cake | Makes three 3-inch cakes

Devils Food Cake

Recipe from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

101 g all-purpose flour

31 g unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder

2.5 g baking soda

0.5 g baking powder

1 g kosher salt

56 g eggs

126 g granulated sugar

2 g vanilla paste

86 g mayonnaise

105 g water, at room temperature

Graham Streusel

Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

50 g almond flour

50 g graham crumbs

50 g light brown sugar

25 g all-purpose flour

1 g vanilla powder

60 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice

Chocolate Crème Brûlée

233 g heavy cream

100 g whole milk

66 g granulated sugar

10 g unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder

1 g salt

66 g egg yolks

125 g dark chocolate, melted

Meringue

50 g egg whites

75 g granulated sugar

1 g vanilla paste


To start, line three 3 inch diameter and 1.75 inch tall ring molds with acetate and place on a silpat lined baking sheet. Set aside.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or spray lightly with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the parchment.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine.

Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute to combine. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then whip on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Add the mayonnaise and whip to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the dry ingredients and water in 2 additions each.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, using an offset spatula, spread it in an even layer, making sure that it reaches into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out sean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Lay a piece of parchment on the back of a sheet pan. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it and invert it onto the parchment. Remove the silpat or parchment from the top of the cake. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Cut out three 3-inch diameter rounds from the cake while it is still frozen and place in the ring molds. Wrap the remainder of the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks (this is extra).

For the streusel, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the almond flour, graham crumbs, sugar, vanilla powder, and flour in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the butter and quickly break it up with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spread the streusel on the baking sheet in an even layer and freeze for 10 minutes. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring the streusel every 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Spoon 40 g of streusel into each ring hold and gently press into the holds  Store the remainder in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

For the custard, combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan set of medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa powder until slightly paler in colour.

When the milk mixture has come to a boil, slowly pour a small amount into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue tempering the yolks with the milk mixture, then transfer all of back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and a thermometer reads 82 C. 

Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set over an ice bath. While the mixture is still warm, add the melted chocolate and emulsify with an immersion blender. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Fill a piping bag with the chocolate custard and pipe into the molds until it reaches the top of the molds. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and freeze for 4 hours, or overnight.

Remove the rings from the cakes, but keep the acetate on. Add a second layer of acetate 0.5 inches higher than the original acetate over top the original acetate. Place the rings back on.

For the meringue, combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 60 C, then transfer to the stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla paste and whip for 1 minute to combine.

Pipe the meringue into the rings until it reaches the top of the second layer of acetate. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and freeze for 30 minutes. 

Place into the fridge 4 hours before serving but remove the rings and both layers of acetate while frozen. When ready to serve, use a handheld torch to toast the meringue while being careful not to scorch the custard.

Recipe and Photography by Hint Of Vanilla

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