Friday, June 30, 2006

Edible Plant Buffet includes Cream of Stinging Nettle Soup

All day long RVs arrived – some with reserved places here at Lake Alice Campground, and some above in the primitive sites at Soda Pocket Campground.

I had a great day! When the sun finally peeked over the canyon side, I let Cat out to explore while I did some house cleaning. Then I joined Cat outside in a cool, shady place to read. I’m about halfway through the unauthorized biography of Walmart founder Sam Walton (by Vance H. Trimble).

From time to time I roamed the campground and as always found interesting people to talk with. Cat seemed content to stay nearby, and seemed to be taking one of her naps under my chair, but I think she actually was seeing how close the birds would come to her.

The park’s bird list has 120-plus species on it; some are seasonal. The most prevalent birds that I’ve seen are humming birds (three kinds), grosbeaks, towhees, finches, pine siskins, goldfinches, Stellars’ Jay and Catbird.

On one of my out-and-about wanderings, I was called over to Betty and Gilbert’s RV. They had just sat down to dinner with “tricycle” Bob, and I was invited to join them. One look at the big pot of beef stew and the just-made sopapillas and I didn’t hesitate.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
-- Advice from Eleanor Roosevelt

Can I eat a soup made from a stinging plant?

At 6:30 p.m. I met up with Winnie for a ride to the Soda Pocket Amphitheater for the evening event – an edible plant buffet given by Park Interpretive Ranger Karen Ordemann. She was just setting up her camp stove.

During her presentation she made – and we ate – cream of stinging nettle soup (tasted a bit like a combination of spinach and broccoli), tossed green salad (an assortment of greens (including dandelion, cattail stems, locust tree blossoms); besides oil and vinegar the dressing had minced wild oregano, wild onion and mint. Next she made pancakes using cattail pollen and the “fluff” from the mature cattail top mixed into regular pancake mix. The pancakes were stopped with chokecherry syrup. Desserts were cookies made with rose hips and raisins, and fruit roll-ups made from wild cherries. Everything was surprisingly delicious!

When it comes to traveling by myself, I’ve come to three conclusions:
Traveling without companions leads to rewarding experiences.
Traveling alone lets me make personal connections with a variety of people.
Traveling alone, I inspire curiosity. And get to meet lots of people.