Sunday, April 10, 2016

Travel America and Celebrate National Park Week

Celebrate America's Natural Treasures during National Park Week

April 16-24th 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of our country's National Park Service! This means FREE entry and waived admission fees for the week for anyone wishing to visit our natural treasures. I have stayed at many of the east coast's national parks, namely: The Florida Everglades, The Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina & Tennessee and Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

Air boat we took to tour the Florida Everglades Nat'l Park

I can remember traveling the Tamiami Trail exploring the Florida Everglades National Park which is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Traveling by air boat, we could see all kinds of local animals including huge alligator nests and tropical birds.   Having camped overnight at many of these national parks, I can say they are a quiet and lovely place to stop. So beautiful. Here's the chance to get reacquainted with our national parks which offer incredible variety in protected flora and fauna.

This Rogue Crafted Pale Ale & Pendleton Heirloom Blanket both celebrate Oregon's Crater Lake Nat'l Park.
Crater Lake National Park - Southern Oregon
Rogue Pendleton Ale is a golden red, pale ale brewed with hops and malts grown on Rogue Farms in Oregon. The tie in with Pendleton Woolen Mills' National Parks Collection is that the beer is also brewed to celebrate and honor Oregon's iconic and stunning Crater Lake National Park, (est. 1902). 
Crater Lake is the fifth oldest national park in the US and the only one in the state of Oregon. The lake itself has no streams or rivers feeding it. It falls due to evaporation or subsurface seepage and is filled by precipitation from snow and rain alone. Most of the park's landscape has been shaped by prehistoric volcanic activity. Over time lava and pyroclastic flows created Mt. Mazama's distinctive overlapping cones until it reached about 11,000 ft in height.  

Hillman Peak, Crater Lake National Park. PHOTO: Courtesy National Park System

This beer will debut in time for National Park Week starting April 16th. Get more information at

Pendleton Woolen Mills makes beautiful commemorative park blankets and throws as they have done through six generations of family ownership since 1863. Woven here in the USA, Pendleton is a lifestyle brand recognized as a symbol of American heritage and pride. See their entire collection at

Crater Lake National Park Throw by Pendleton Woolen Mills

I collect pieces of Americana and also have a Hudson's Bay 3.5 Point Wool Blanket. The Pendleton woven wool blankets are quite similar and were also in heavy demand for trade between settlers, mountain men and Native American tribes.  This Hudson's Bay blanket was introduced in 1780 to compete with similar blankets being offered by Montreal's private based traders. Either way, these beautifully woven wool blankets are perfect for a night of fireside star gazing at our national parks.

My Hudson's Bay 3.5 Point Woven Wool Blanket

Hats Off - Jennah Natural Straw by Pistil Designs, Hood River Oregon
Another Oregon based collection joining the centennial celebration is the very pack-able light weight Jennah Natural Paper Straw Hat. Has a comfortable inner headband, crocheted design and decorative leather, beaded strap at the crown. Easy traveling & wearing with enough brim to keep the sun off your face. Did someone say "Coachella"?  Visit for more selections. 

Jennah Paper Straw Hat by Pistil Designs, Hood River Oregon

Outdoor Grilling Ideas
If you are staying overnight, one of the most fun things to do is to use the park's grill and firewood. We would purchase a bundle plus fire starter to toast marshmallows at night. You can also try some local Native American cuisine on the grill such as natural, wild buffalo. 

Grass fed Buffalo from Wild Idea
Grass Fed Buffalo is leaner than domestic beef and loaded with protein, CLA's and omega 3 fatty acids. Free range buffalo is raised without any antibiotics or hormones. Add some of your Rogue Pale Ale to the grilling and you've got something extra delicious! You can have these natural, grass fed meats delivered to your door from or visit

A little beer adds a lot of flavor to the grill.

Slow Cooked Buffalo Chili Recipe

2 tbs shortening
1/2 cup chopped onions
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb Ground Buffalo
1 lb dry Pinto Beans
1 tbsp Dave's Homemade Muy Bueno Latin Seasoning
1/2 tsp Cumin 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 can tomato paste

Combine all ingredients except the ground buffalo & shortening into a slow cooker and add water. After pinto beans are soft, saute ground buffalo in a pan with the 2 tbs oil. Buffalo meat is VERY low in fat so there is no need to drain the pan. Add meat to slow cooker and continue cooking for 1 hour for flavors to blend. Serve with hot cornbread.

More Than Just S'MORES - Endangered Species Chocolate
We can also celebrate the fact that our National Park Service helps protect and preserve our native wildlife for future generations to enjoy. In keeping with this spirit, Endangered Species Chocolate donates 10% of its net profits towards the protection of at risk animals here in the US and around the world. These are fair trade, gourmet chocolates worth celebrating! Varieties include hazelnut toffee, salted caramel and mint dark chocolate as well as milk chocolate bites. Find out more online at

Owl, Wolf and Eagle Endangered Species Chocolates donate 10% towards protecting at risk wildlife.

Pack it Cool
If you need to keep a few essentials cold, (like hot dogs or burgers for grilling) or pack a lunch for the day, you might want to try a PackIt Freeze + Go tote bag. Throw the whole bag in the freezer the night before. In the morning, pack your foods or lunch for the day. Keeps everything nice and chilly for hours without the need of freeze pack or leaky ice.  See this PackIt and larger styles to carry more food HERE.

Take a (Comfortable) Seat
Instead of the usual individual camp chairs, try bringing along this Kelty Low Love Seat for your national park adventure. This one has cup holders and a bottle opener on each arm. Add a few camp pillows and you'll feel right at home in front of the fire. Order the Kelty Low Love Chair online at Amazon.

Kelty's Folding Low Love Seat

Keep Bugs Away - Thermacell Backyard Lexington Torch
Biting insects are often a problem both at home and when camping. Rather than slathering yourself with questionable DEET based products, you may want to bring along a Backyard Lexington Torch. Batteries come included so it not only helps repel pesky mosquitoes but gives you a little light as well. See the many styles including the Patio Model at

NEW Neosporin + Pain - Itch - Scar First Aid Ointment is perfect to pack in your travel - medical kit. This multi-action ointment offers 24 hr protection while helping to minimize the appearance of scars. Find it in your local pharmacy this spring or visit online at

ThermaCell Backyard Torch - Mosquito Repellent 

NEW Neosporin + PAIN - ITCH - SCAR First Aid Ointment

So here is your chance to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors and all our national parks have to offer. What happens when you visit 59 national parks in 52 weeks? Find out by taking National Geographic's "Road Trip". Need a listing of all the national parks and their locations to visit during National Park Week? Click HERE. See you out there!

Wool Blanket and craft beer c/o Pendleton Woolen Mills and Rogue Ale respectively.

1 comment:

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