Reading, Chili, Homebrew and Climbing

Rick’s continuing effort to practice climbing skills led us back to Seneca Rocks, WV for a fantastic fall weekend in mid October. This time, we got no rain–just crisp cold mornings and sunny days. We took off after work on Friday, set up camp late and woke up to the most incredible campsite. We got all we could hope for in a weekend break: great views, fall foliage, a bonfire and a great party.

This time we camped at Yokum’s vacationland–a privately owned campground situated in a spectacular riverfront property. While the setups at the site are somewhat spotty (we found we had to check to make sure that the site we camped at had working hookups), the site we ended up camping made up for it in pure postcard perfectness–nothing between us and the view of the cliffs except a river.

Sadly, the woman who runs this campground, Mrs. Yokum, is well into her 90s and has decided to scale back on her operations. The campground is now for sale–and we fear that with facilities needing significant upgrades and maintenance, the property might fall out of use as a campground–which would be a shame. It is a wonderful location which we would miss.

For the weekend, Rick went climbing while I stayed and caught up on my reading. It was great to just have the time to finish books and read as many articles from the New Yorker as I wished to take on. I also cooked–breaking in my new pressure cooker (fantastic) and making some chili for the local annual chili cook off. Actually, entering the cook off was a last minute notion–and while the Kindle app on my ipad gave me lots of recipes, I ended up driving forty five minutes (each way) to the nearest supermarket for some rather generic ingredients. Unfortunately, the small rural market had limited variety of spices and meats–but I figured I could make up for things with extra bacon!

I chopped my peppers and onions, threw in meat, seasoning and beans, browned it, added water and clamped the lid. For a bit over an hour, it pipped off steam and I waited, a little nervous and wondering if it really was cooking long enough. Finally I set off the pressure release valved and checked. To my surprise, the chili did seem to come together pretty well. So, I wrapped the pot in hot towels and headed down to the local climbing shop sponsoring the competition. I found myself in very friendly company (with one of the nicest neighbors winning). As it turned out, my chili was a pretty good dish (though probably with all the bacon, perhaps a bit too smoky), coming in close–which left me very happy, since I was unaccustomed to cooking with a pressure cooker. Moreover, I was just psyched to have lots of eager climbers waiting to try out my dish. Rick joined me and I enjoyed the fireworks and home brew.

And that homebrew…amazing. The brewer was a true master–who knew you could get a college degree in brewing? I just know that the results of his efforts were memorably tasty.

Sunday, I finished up my book, noodled around with an electronics project I had started–then the guys arrived, sorted gear, and Rick showed off the new breast cancer support tee shirt he had earned for participating in the rock climbers’ fundraiser for the cause.

Shortly thereafter, we packed up camp. Upon leaving, we did go to the wrong place searching for the dump station and ended up deciding to clean out our tanks at home instead of continuing our search.

Nevertheless, it was a glorious weekend that left me more determined to try out more cooking in the trailer–and Rick looking forward to more climbing trips with the Toaster.



This entry was posted on Monday, November 5th, 2012 and is filed under News, Travel Journal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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