Some times the best hikes are not the smartest hikes and
sometimes these become the best adventures.
Next Exit Gas Food Laughter is a journey of my adventures
through the trails and streams of Southern california. Some times I trail run,
some times I hike mountains and some times I just relax with a fishing pole in
my hand.
One way or another adventures always seem to happen and they
are quite constantly hilarious.

Friday, July 18, 2014

4.6 and Pasta Salad with Feta, Spinach, Artichokes and Salami

    Earth quakes are just a part of life in Southern California.
    When you are a four month old kitten and you are chilling in the sunshine on a second story porch they are kind of terrifying.
    To be fair I also thought the porch was going to break off the fucking house.
    I have lived in this cabin for eight years or so and I have never been sitting on the porch during an earthquake in all that time.
    Until today.
     It has been a extremely weird few days.
    "'merica! and all that!"
     I mean it is Fourth of July weekend and all but there is just something funky going on with the weather and the earth and my pets.
    Maybe I have just been hanging out with my extremely hippie non GMO friend as of late but it seems shit is going down!
    Yesterday; ridiculous thunder storms, hail and flash floods.
     Last night and this morning my bulimic cats have been puking up a storm, and this morning my cat was puking up blood, causing me to ask
   "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
    as he meowed, scampered and played all night and morning. No joke he kept me up all fucking night, purring and crying, it seemed super weird until 10 A.M. when my entire house started shaking.
    And than exhausted me, started asking myself, did those bulimic cats know something?
    The cats and I were chilling on the porch this morning after I ran an intense four miles (almost 600 feet elevation gain!) when the house started to shake like crazy and being the Californian that I am I knew it was a earth quake, but seriously, being a Californian you always have to wonder, is this it, is this the one?
     And I thought to myself if it was than fuck yeah, yesterday was a good day to go out on top
     But it wasn't, thankfully, my last day here on earth.
     The earth stopped shaking, I conversed with my buddy across the street (hadn't even felt it, less than a minute ago) and life goes on.


   Except for this poor little baby who is still shaking an hour later.

Pasta Salad with Feta, Salami, Spinach and Artichokes

2 cups veggie pasta or whole wheat pasta
2 cups spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup marinated artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup salami, cut into bite size chunks
1/4 cup kalamata olives

Boil the pasta and than let cool.


Dressing

1/2 cup balsamic vinager
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tab catsup
1 tsp garlic salt
1 clove garlic
1 tab fresh parsley 
1 tab fresh tarragon

Put dressing ingredients in a blender and nutri bullet and pulse until smooth







Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Toxic Friendships

      One of the hardest things in life is letting go of a friendship.
      It consumes your thoughts.
     You think of the good times, the hikes through mountain forests and to shear granite peaks and you remember the inside jokes and how you hated him as he pushed you that extra two miles to the summit of the tallest peak in Southern California.
      It brings a sad smile to your face when you think that no one will get your fart jokes any more.


      But your tired of the lies.
      Your the last friend to hold on to a dying friendship.
       Your the last friend who didn't believe the rumors.
      You are the last friend.
      And one day you just have enough and no trail hikes and mountain top adventures and jokes about poo can erase the doubt in your mind that this is not a good person.
      Some friendships are just toxic.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Camping Cook Out Challenge




     You know you are an inventive cook when you can make a gourmet meal out of nothing.
     The boys I'm hiking Mt Whitney with are hours behind me ( I hope!) on the trail still.
     I got back something like three hours before them and that is with taking long and frequent stops ( and taking a nap by Lone Pine Lake for an hour)
     Now I'm back at camp, some what almost clean ( yeah for sponge bathes while camping!) and I'm trying to get dinner and a fire started. 
     Mainly I'm trying to improve the dinner they had planned, which was plain steak, corn and plain baked potatoes.
     Let's start with the potatoes.
     Boys do not realize that you can't just throw a raw potato wrapped in foil on a camp stove and call it done ten minutes later!
     Microwaving a potato takes at least six minutes! And that includes the extra cancer you get from the microwave!
     So I threw the foil wrapped potatoes in the coals of the fire and hopefully I do not burn the shit out of them.
     Than I took a left over onion the boys had, sliced it up and put it in foil with my extra garlic butter. ( instant grilled onions!) On the fireplace grate it went.
     There is a little garlic butter left that I am going to put over the potatoes as well as the cheap    
     Velveeta cheese slices the boys brought for burgers.
     Doesn't this sound better than a plain steak and a plain baked potato?
     The sad thing is, when the boys returned from their ascent of Mt Whitney ( 17 hours of hiking later!) they were super in impressed by the changes I made to the menu.
     I was kind of annoyed as I watched them enjoying their plain steaks ( seriously, no BBQ sauce, not even salt or pepper!) until I remembered, oh yeah, their family is British.
    If there is one thing the Brits love it is plain, plain food.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Who Hikes For Twelve Hours a Day Just For Fun?





     The only sound I can hear is the cicadas in the trees, the river crashing through a canyon far off and the fish jumping.
     Obviously the fish are jumping because I forgot my back packing fishing pole.
     I'm trying not to be to upset about all the hungry, tasty trout every where, I mean I am relaxing by myself, the only person around for miles next to an exquisite alpine lake.
     Lone Pine Lake is deserted today and that's fine with me. 

     I'm at the tail end of a 18 mile round trip hike with 5,000 feet elevation gain.
    I'm exhausted.
    And truth be told still three miles from camp, a fact that just makes me want to cry. My feet are aching from being inside my hiking boots for almost twelve hours today.
     Seriously, who hikes for twelve hours a day for fun?
     Crazy outdoors people, that's who.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Know How Money Feels




     Years ago my friends and I took their Doberman hiking on a super hot day down a dusty trail.
     Money girl, their dog kept stopping on the trail and whimpering and staring at us with big sad eyes and it took us a few miles to figure out what was wrong.
     Her paws were burning from the hot dusty ground.
     I feel like Money Girl right now.
    The bottoms of my feet are cracked and bleeding; my own fault for hiking 24 miles in two days but you know what, I would not take it back for anything.
Every raging waterfall I hiked past and every beautiful pheasant family I admired made the miles and the 7,000 foot altitude gain worth it.
     I hiked through meadows filled with wild lavender columbine and 
     I pondered if how we caught a pheasant, stuffed some wild sage and wild mushrooms inside it, than made a salad with dandelions and pink thistle we would have a delicious and gourmet meal!
     But instead we just chewed our bacon jerky and Lara Bars and kept walking towards the next waterfall



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One Hell of a Fight





     Finally, Trail Crest, all 13,000 feet of it.

     I may not have made it to the top of the mountain today!
     But I put up one hell of a fight!
     Last year I did this hike in something like 14 hours and I had grand plans to do it a lot faster in 2014 but I lost weeks worth of training sustaining an injury to my left foot weeks before.
     So my training this year?
    Was beyond weak.
    From the minute we started up the Mt Whitney Trail at four a.m. my left foot was hurting.
    I still managed to hike 18 miles; what I would call pretty impressive with a gimpy foot!
    Relaxing overlooking Trail Crest was so worth all the miles and all the pain!

      I still don't know where the two boys are that I was hiking with earlier today.
     The other hikers who summited this afternoon seem to think they will be about four hours behind me!
      I waited for a hour at Lone Pine Lake, soaking my aching feet in the freezing cold waters. That seemed to help a lot.

     In the last two days I have hiked over 24 miles with close to 7,000 feet altitude gain! That's like walking from San Bernardino to Big Bear, practically!
     No wonder my feet are aching so bad!
     I deserve a beer.
     I deserve a super expensive oak aged sour beer from Mammoth Brewery; my favorite elderberry sour.




Monday, July 7, 2014

Mt Whitney; 2014




     I'm resting
     I'm finally resting.
     My day started at four a.m.
     By 4:30 I had three liters of water in my pack and a hiking pole in each hand.
     I was going to summit Mt Whitney.
    Again.
    I was headed up the Whitney Portal Trail with two friends and we had dreams of summiting in five hours.
    That might have been possible once upon a time in my outdoor life but this month of this year I am in horrible shape.
    I had plans to try to make Trail Crest where the John Muir Trail cuts into the Whitney Zone and if I could accomplish that I would be one happy hiker.
     We started out the bottom of the trail, switch back after switch back, we had one head lamp for the three if us so the going was a little tough ( and dark!) but we made it work and the sun was rising at that point anyways.
      The sunrise on a almost empty trail at 10,000 feet is just incredible!


     Especially nine hours later when you are finally resting with your feet in a crystal clear mountain stream!