blue marble adventure
Hiking Red Mountain near Flagstaff, Arizona

Hiking Red Mountain near Flagstaff, Arizona

Red Mountain —

Exposed Interior of a Volcano

hiking red mountain volcano near flagstaff, az

Introduction

Welcome to Flagstaff, the land of towing pines, golden-leafed aspens, and ancient volcanoes.  Today you will have the pleasure of visiting Red Mountain, one fo the most scenic and interesting hikes in the area, and a treasure trove of geology, history, and scenery.  Enjoy, and don’t forget to give Canyons and Chefs a shout on a Google review.

How do I get there?

Getting here is quite simple, scenic, and about a 25-minute drive from downtown Flagstaff.  You will travel through large stands of old-growth ponderosa forest and the towering mountains of the San Francisco Volcanic Field.  These mountains dominate the skyline of Flagstaff, and are well-known as the tallest mountains in Arizona.

After you pass Snowbowl Road and break through the trees, be sure to look out your window to catch a glimpse of Humphrey’s Peak, Arizona’s loftiest peak at 12,635 feet.  Humphrey’s summit is quite inauspicious, as it is just the simple crested hump on the most-northern side of the peak complex.  Continue on your journey.

From downtown, head north to HWY 180 (Fort Valley Rd).  Continue on HWY 180, then turn left at at mile marker 247 and forest road 9023V the signed junction for Red Mountain.  You will can see Red Mountain looming over the landscape from the road.  Take the easy dirt road for about 0.25 mile before parking in the designated lot.  Enjoy!

What should I bring?

For all hikes in Flagstaff, it is wise to be prepared for the weather to change, sometimes very quickly.  Locals say “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes”.  There is often wind, especially in the spring, and rain/snowstorms can occur at any time, sometimes without much warning.  Wear sturdy shoes (no open toes, sandals, or flip-flops), and as always avoid cotton or denim.

For this hike I also strongly advise bringing a camera (phone is fine) and geologist’s hand lens.  You may purchase one here, or they can be found at most jewelry stores (they are also known as jewelers loupes), hardware stores (HomCo in Flagstaff) is great place, or online.

For a full checklist of what to bring on any hike, check out The Goat’s Day Hiking Essentials.

hiking red mountain volcano near flagstaff, az

The History of the Landscape

Red Mountain is what is known as a “cinder cone”, which is essentially a dwarf volcano.  These features, which dot the landscape of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, typically lie along fault lines, or fractures in the crust.  Magma pushes through the crustal weakness creating a bulge in the landscape, and extrudes onto the surface as basaltic lava.  The lava bubbles and flows over the landscape in pulses, building up one pulse after another to form a dome, or  cinder cone.

Beginning about 4 million years ago, widespread volcanic activity started in earnest in this region that is now known as the southern portion of the Colorado Plateau.  The landscape is dotted with thousands of features born from magma, lava, and the ever-churning molten interior of the Earth.  Among these are the aforementioned San Francisco Peaks that graced your window view on the way here, lava tubes and caves, and of course cinder cones.

The Mountains Rise….

The San Francisco Volcanic Field rose as part of the massive tectonic forces that are responsible for the Colorado Plateau and its neighboring geologic province known as the Basin and Range.  The Plateau hosts features such as deep canyons and intricate erosional features, while the Basin and Range is punctuated by isolated mountain ranges spaced by isolated basins.

The large, saucer-shaped uplift that is the Colorado Plateau is a relatively stable tectonic area, while the Basin and Range is the product of extension, or tectonic movement that results in “stretching”.  The Basin and Range is pulling away from the Colorado Plateau like Silly Putty, and that is the action responsible for the San Francisco Volcanic Field.  As the crust stretches, magma from the subsurface is able to penetrate upwards, leaving its signatures behind.

hiking red mountain volcano near flagstaff, az

Volcanoes and Such

The San Francisco Peaks form what once was part of a singular massive volcano standing roughly 16,000 feet tall, the main feature in the area.  The extensional tectonics pulling the Basin and Range resulted in several periods of volcanism of varying intensities at the southern margin of the Plateau, forming the features surrounding you.  On the most intense scales, volcanic activity created the massive mountain that ultimately erupted catastrophically, blowing its top and collapsing in on itself.

On the less intense spectrum, the volcanism created thousands of smaller features; among them are the cinder cones that surround the massive caldera known as the San Francisco Peaks.  Red Mountain is one of these cinder cones.  Roughly 740,000 years ago, myriad pulses of volcanic activity produced basaltic lava that extruded, or flowed, out onto the surface.

These eruptions included several types of pyroclastic (stuff from volcanoes, simply put) ejecta such as cinders, bombs, and ash in addition to the lava.  Layers hardened, only to be covered by subsequent flows and eruptions.  Over and again, the lavas flowed and hardened, building Red Mountain into the classic cinder dome shape.

hiking red mountain volcano near flagstaff, az

Collapse and Dissection

Through the wonderful forces of erosion, the Red Mountain cinder cone has been excavated and exposed.  Faulting along the same lines that created the cinder cone are also responsible for the collapse of the eastern side.  This collapse allowed for rain, snow, frost, and wind to take a scalpel over the several hundred thousand years after.

The amphitheater that has been created provides an inside-out look at this volcanic structure, giving geologists tremendous insight into their formation processes.  Contained within Red Mountain is a fairyland of spires, hoodoos, and cliffs carved out by the forces of water, wind, and time.

 

Cultural History

Although there is little evidence of prolonged habitation in and around Red Mountain, the greater area was host to generations of Ancestral Puebloan Tribes.  The most prominent tribe in the area are known as the Sinagua People, or “the people without water”.  They are known as such given the dry conditions under which they lived, with few perennial water sources.

These peoples farmed, hunted, and traded in the area beginning around 1500 years ago before moving on around 850 years ago.  The eruption of the Sunset Caldera around 960 years ago is surmised to be the main reason for their disappearance.  The remnants of their once-flourishing society can be observed in Sunset-Wupatki National Monument, where they’ve left large, well-preserved structures on the rolling hillsides, and Walnut Canyon National Monument where structures have been built into the cliffs of the canyon itself.

hiking red mountain volcano near flagstaff, az

Hiking Red Mountain near Flagstaff

The hike here is more of a leisurely, scenic stroll, just one mile to the interior of the amphitheater.  The trail is well-worn and easy to follow.  Begin from the signed trailhead at the edge of the parking lot.

Point of Interest #1

At .75 mile, you will come to a small, dam-looking apparatus.  Stop and look down in the sand.  The unconsolidated material underfoot is known as alluvium, or material deposited by water.  Upon closer inspection, you will see black material that glints in the sun.  Pick it up.  This is the mineral known as hornblende, which is a member of the amphibole family.  Hornblende is an associate mineral of basalt, the type of lava that extruded from this cinder cone.  If you have brought a geologic hand lens, inspect the specimen closely.  Take note of its habit (the character of its form), its cleavage (the way the mineral breaks or fractures), and its hardness (how hard it is; the best way to test this is to scratch it on another rock).

You are now being a geologist!  This is how geologists make determinations about what kind of mineral they are observing out in the field.  Mineralogy is an important tool for any geologist, as it allows us to make inferences about the type of rocks that are present, and most importantly, under what type of conditions they formed.  In this case, we know that the mineral horblende forms in the upper mantle under particular sets of pressure and temperature conditions.  This allows us to delve deeply into the history of this magma, and pinpoint exactly where it came from.  Hooray!

From here, take the small ladder or scramble up the right side of the structure.  Watch your footing, loose cinder can act like ball bearings under your feet!

Point of Interest #2

At 1.0 mile, you have reached the main attraction!  You are now in the amphitheater of the Red Mountain Cinder Cone.  Take stock of what you see.  The landscape reveals a fairyland of carefully-sculpted pinnacles, and forms known as hoodoos.  The sunset red-orange is set brilliantly against the deep green of the surrounding ponderosa pines, adding a wonderful contrast of color to the beautiful scenery.  Examine the hoodoos.  You can tell the difference between a hoodoo and a pinnacle by its formation mechanism.  The hoodoos are protected by a caprock, or harder rock on top of softer rock.

The harder rock protects the soft stuff below it from erosion, over time forming the hoodoo.  Though it is more difficult to see without serious inspection, the pinnacles form along joints, or weaknesses in the rock as a whole.  Mapping joints and fractures can be a very complex task!  Take our your hand lens and inspect a caprock that tops a hoodoo.  You will again see the mineral hornblende, but this time you will also be able to observe the mineral feldspar (the little whitish flecks), the mineral pyroxene (more black, tough to distinguish from hornblende), and olivine (green, a common mineral in basalt).

Point of Interest #3

Explore deeper into the walls of the amphitheater.  Look up.  Observe the bedding features present in the walls.  You will notice the horizontal layers, which are bedding planes, and the tilted nature of the overall bedding.  Go up close to the walls and look closely at the bedding planes.  Contained within these structures is massive amounts of information helpful to a geologist.  Notice the thickness of each layer.

This will tell you the volume of the eruptive pulse.  Observe what is contained within the beds, feel with you hands.  You will observe layers of consolidated rock, the basalt, fine layers of what looks like blonde sand )the ash), and small chunks of basalt mixed with ash; evidence of more violent eruptive pulses.  Sweet!

Point of Interest #4

Continue to observe the nature of the bedding.  You will undoubtedly notice a tilting toward you of the bedding planes.  This is what geologists call dip, or bedding attitude.  The degree of bedding is very helpful in understanding formational processes.

In this case, the bedding dipping toward you is a good clue the the actual center, or caldera, of the volcano is not actually in the amphitheater center, but on the other side of the walls.  The radial nature also gives away another important clue; wind presence and direction during periods of eruption.

Low or no wind presence will allow for a symmetrical structure, while sustained or high winds will result in an asymmetrical formation.  You may notice that the bedding planes seem to “lean” to the north, or to the right of where you stand.  This tells you that the wind was a-blowin’, which gives us ideas about the natural environment at this time in geologic history.

The walls also hold other clues to the formation of this feature.  You may observe holes in the upper reaches.  These are dissolution features, oftentimes remnant of hydrothermal activity (hot water moving through the subsurface).  This activity may have played an important part in the tearing and subsequent erosion of this cinder cone.

Most cones are consolidated, and therefore not observable from the inside.  But the collapse of the side of Red Mountain has provided a spectacular look into its anatomy.  It is highly likely that faulting along the Mesa Butte Fault, whose trace is essentially right under your feet, produced superheated water that dissolved the feature from the inside, leading to its collapse.

Point of Interest #5

Take a moment to quiet your body and mind to revel in the silence, sunlight, and beauty.  Oftentimes the high walls and ledges are great nesting grounds for Peregrine Falcons, Red-Tailed Hawks, and even Bald Eagles.  Watch for them swooping in the mid-day or evenings, and listen for their bird-of-prey screeches, much different from the average songbird!

When you are finished enjoying the natural beauty, scenery, solitude, and quiet, turn and follow the path the way you came.

 

What’s for Lunch?

Chef’s Selection of Cheeses

Chef’s Selection of Charcuterie

Fresh-Baked Crusty Bread

House-Smoked Atlantic Salmon – Salmon is from Randal’s Fine Meats

Chef’s Fresh-Squeezed Juice of the Moment

Chef’s Selection of Wine from the Cellar

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring The Wave, or any of our public lands, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guiding outfitter is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Canyons and Chefs provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with professional chefs and expert geologist/guides.  Our meals use fresh ingredients and are inspired by local farms, culture, and cuisine. We utilize a mobile professional kitchen as a backbone for cooking over the fire.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore. In conclusion, you can explore these wild places, but going with an outfitter can create an even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure Chef-Driven Outdoor Experiences, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, Eat Like Kings —

Canyons and Chefs

 

Hiking and Exploring Grand Falls in Flagstaff

Ubiquitous Lava Flows turn to Thundering Cascades

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This past weekend provided The Goat an excellent opportunity to explore one of the hidden gems of the Painted Desert, simply known as Grand Falls.  Tucked into a canyon carved by the Little Colorado River on Navajo Nation, the falls are taller than Niagara Falls, and when flowing at full strength (which they were not upon The Goat’s visit) can exceed more than 2000 cf/s, more than Yosemite and Nevada Falls combined.

The best time to visit this gem is in early March during the spring melt in the White Mountains, after a strong summer monsoon, or anytime the flows exceed 700 cf/s.  When flowing at capacity, it is obvious why the falls have earned their loving moniker “chocolate falls”, as the sediment-laden river takes on the appearance of flowing chocolate milk reminiscent of Mr. Wonka’s factory.

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No permit is necessary to visit, and it is a relatively easy, although somewhat steep hike down from the ridge.  From inside the beast, one can view just how these falls came to be when a lava flow emanating from a nearby cinder cone blocked the river, forcing it to change course and cascade down the Kaibab limestone cliffs.

If you find yourself in our playground on a weekend in the spring, we highly recommend taking a look at something very rare in our state: flowing water!

For trips to Grand Falls and through geologic time come with us

To read more about the geology of this wonderful area among others visit bluemarblegt.blogspot.com

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park can be a nearly overwhelming place.  What do I do?  Where should I go?  Even for seasoned backpackers, the choices can be endless and exhausting.  The Goat has compiled a list especially for you, outlining backpacking trips in Grand Canyon for all skill and experience levels.  Enjoy!

5.  The Hermit Loop

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 18 miles

Difficulty: Undergraduate+ (Check out our difficulty ratings)

The Hermit Loop is a truly classic Grand Canyon backpacking trip that can be easily accomplished over a long weekend.  It is a great hike for those who are looking to take their first backpacking foray into the big ditch, and truly hits all the highlights.  Sweeping vistas, interesting side trips, and excellent canyon history await on a trail forged originally by the “hermit of the Grand Canyon”, Mr. Louis Boucher.  The route was later improved by the Santa Fe Railroad Line in an attempt to bring mining, then tourism, into the area.

4.  Tuckup Canyon via the Stairway to Heaven

Time: 7 days, 6 nights

Distance: 45 miles

Difficulty: PhD+ (check our difficulty ratings)

Get your defibrillator, this one is not for the faint of heart.  Located in one of the most remote parts of Grand Canyon, this long, challenging loop is meant for experienced cannoneers only.  This route takes ambitious hikers down Tuckup Canyon, past Shaman’s Gallery (recognized as one of the most spectacular rock art etchings in the American Southwest), through a traverse along the mighty Colorado River, and then up Stairway Canyon.  Along the way, there are exciting climbing, route-finding, and scrambling challenges, and .  Strap in!

 

3.  Thunder River to Deer Creek

Time: 4 days, 3 nights

Distance: 28 miles

Difficulty: Graduate+ (check our difficulty ratings)

The Thunder River to Deer Creek Loop is perhaps the North Rim’s most fabulous backpacking trip.  Multiple water sources, outstanding scenery, and a truly thunderous river.  Geologically speaking, Thunder River is one of the most unique features in Grand Canyon.  It begins as an underground river (aquifer) up on the Kaibab Plateau.  It flows along various fault lines and crustal weaknesses until it breaks loose at the contact of the permeable Esplanade Group (mostly shales) and the impermeable Redwall Limestone, quite literally thundering onto the rocks below.

2.  Rim-to-Rim via Phantom Ranch

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 19 miles

Difficulty: Graduate (check our difficulty ratings)

This is the true Grand Canyon classic backpacking trip.  Starting at the North Rim, your descent begins on the North Kaibab Trail as it winds it way down to the Colorado River.  Along the way hikers are treated to unspoiled views, soaring eagles, and a well-developed trail.  Thru-hikers may  camp at Bright Angel Campground, or stay in the lodge at the famed Phantom Ranch.  From here hikers may choose to ascend either the South Kaibab Trail (shorter, steeper) or the Bright Angel Trail (more miles) and stay the second night on the Esplanade.  After cresting on the South Rim, be sure to gaze upon your North Rim starting point.  This is one of the most popular trips in Grand Canyon, so be sure to make your reservations early!

1.  The Escalante Route

Time: 5 days, 4 nights

Distance: 35 miles

Difficulty: PhD (check our difficulty ratings)

Carved by early Puebloan explorers of Grand Canyon, this long traverse of Grand Canyon from the Tanner Trail to Horseshoe Mesa and Grandview is perhaps one of the finest backpacking trips on the planet.  There is a little bit of everything Grand Canyon here, as hikers will encounter outrageous views of the Great Unconformity, sandy beaches, a class 3 scramble over the famous Papago Wall, and a spectacular slot canyon carved from billion-year-old Shinumo Quartzite.  This route confronts with hikers with the unimaginable scale of Grand Canyon, as it will seem as though you are climbing mountains in a canyon.  Grand!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring The Wave, or any of our public lands, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guiding outfitter is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Canyons and Chefs provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with professional chefs and expert geologist/guides.  Our meals use fresh ingredients and are inspired by local farms, culture, and cuisine. We utilize a mobile professional kitchen as a backbone for cooking over the fire.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore. In conclusion, you can these wild places, but going with a guide can create an even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure Chef-Driven Outdoor Experiences, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, Eat Like Kings —

Canyons and Chefs

What are Good Hiking Foods?

Food for the Trail, Food For Life

 

We expend quite a lot of energy out on the trail, and all of those calories need to be either front-loaded or replaced.  How do we do that?  We eat food and drink water.  Here, you will find recipes that link with Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism’s Diet and Fitness regimen for being in great trail-shape.  I have used some box mixes and premade sauces to make you life easier, you have enough to worry about training and eating right!  Bon Apetit!

To see the exercise regimen that goes with this diet visit www.bluemarblegt.com/blog

Week 1:

Day 1:

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

2 fresh bananas

1/4 c. cocoa powder

2 c. plain almond mild, unsweetened

1/2 c. water

1/2 plain nonfat greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place bananas, powder, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined.  Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

 Toasted BLAT with Turkey Bacon on Sourdough Bread

2 slices sourdough bread

6 strips turkey bacon

4 slices Roma tomato

2 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.  Place turkey bacon on roasting pan, and roast in oven for 10 mins, or until bacon is golden brown and crispy.  Slice and pit avocado, cut each half into quarters.  Toast bread to liking.  Spread 1/2 of the avocado onto each slice.  Build sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and remaining avocado.  Serve immediately

Classic Pizza Neopalitana w/ Whole Wheat Crust

1 package whole wheat pizza dough

1 jar high-quality marinara sauce

1 package fresh mozzarella cheese

1 sprig fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  If you have a backing stone, preheat it along with the oven.  On floured surface, shape dough into a circle.  With a rolling pin, roll out evenly, flouring liberally until desired thickness and shape is achieved.  Spread sauce evenly.  Slice mozzarella evenly, add to pizza.  Bake for 14-16 mins, or until dough is crispy and cheese is melted completely.  Pick and tear basil leaves, spread on pizza.  Serve immediately.

Day 2:

Berry Peachy Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen mixed berries

1/4 bag frozen peaches

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Flaxseed Pancakes with Blueberry-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

Organic Flaxseed Pancake Mix

1 c. fresh blueberries

3 c. Maple Syrup

1/2 c. butter

2 oz. honey

Bring butter to room temperature.  Add honey, whisk vigorously until combined and chill.  In small saucepan, heat small amount of butter, add blueberries and small amount of water.  Cook until berries become soft and begin to break down.  Add syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.  Prepare pancakes according to instructions on box and serve with warm syrup and cool butter.

Grilled Eggplant and Couscous salad with Roasted Green Chili Vinaigrette

1 eggplant, sliced, grilled, and diced

1 cup cooked couscous

1 cup roasted green chilies

3 oz. olive oil

1 oz. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine chilies, oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl, whisking to combine.  Combine couscous and eggplant, and dress with vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

Seared Alaskan Salmon w/ Caramelized Vegetable Quinoa and Avocado Butter

6 oz. salmon fillet, de-boned

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 c. cooked quinoa

1 avocado, pitted and smashed

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened


 Add avocado, cilantro, and lime juice to butter and combine thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  In a skillet, heat small amount of olive oil and add onion, pepper, and zucchini, cooking on low heat until vegetables are browned and sweet.  In a different skillet, heat small amount of olive oil to smoke point and add salmon, skin-side down.  Cook until edges begin to brown, and put in oven for 5 mins. or until slightly firm.  Add quinoa to vegetables and heat.  To serve, place quinoa on plate, place salmon on quinoa skin-side up, and put small pad of butter on the salmon.  Serve immediately.

Day 3:

 Pineapple-Mango Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen pineapple

1/4 bag frozen mango

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Veggie-Stuffed Egg Bake with Boursin Cheese

3 eggs

1/2 c. broccoli florets

1/2 c. mushrooms

1/4 c. tomatoes

2 tsp. boursin cheese

1 tsp. cooking oil


Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Saute vegetables in cooking oil using a cast iron skillet.  Whisk eggs until well combined and pour over vegetables.  Add cheese.  Cook in oven until eggs are set.  

Whole Wheat Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 c. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add eggs, butter, sugar, and extract.  Whisk until creamy an combined.  Though a sifter add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk lightly into batter.  Fold in blueberries, and chocolate chips.  Spray a muffin tin with oil.  Using 1 full ice cream scoop, portion batter into tin.  Bake for 15-20 mins., or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry.  This recipe makes roughly 24 muffins, or two full muffin tins.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Crouton

4 onions, sliced

2 tsp. butter

4 oz. brandy or cognac

8 oz. cans beef stock

8 oz. chicken stock

1 tsp. salt

Slices French bread

2 slices gruyere cheese


In a stock pot, melt butter and add onions and brandy.  Cook onions on low heat until onions are very brown and sweet.  Add stock and simmer for 30 mins.  Add salt to taste.


For the Croutons:  Add cheese to bread, bake in oven for 8 mins. or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.  Add to soup.

Caprese Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 ball mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh basil

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 oz. balsamic vinegar


Arrange tomato and cheese slices in an alternating pattern.  Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.  Finish with torn basil and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad with Parmigian Croutons

1 chicken breast,grilled and cubed

1 head romaine lettuce

3 oz. low-fat Caesar dressing

1 bag Caeser croutons


Season and grill chicken until juices run clear.  Chop lettuce, add croutons.  Dress and combine. Add chicken.  Serve immediately.

Day 4:

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen strawberries

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. almond milk

1/4 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Frozen Raspberry “Custard”

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup whole milk


In a bowl, add milk to berries and let sit for 2 mins.  Serve immediately.

The Goat’s Cobb Salad

1/4 small bag shredded lettuce

1/4 small bag shredded purple cabbage

1 hardboiled egg, sliced

1 oz. goat cheese

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. shelled, crushed walnuts

2 strips turkey bacon, crumbled

1 oz. balsamic vinaigrette


Combine lettuce and cabbage.  In parallel lines, garnish salad with remaining ingredients.  Dress with vinaigrette. 

Health Nut Trail Mix

2 parts skin-on almonds

1 part flax seed

2 part shelled sunflower seed

2 parts pepitas

2 parts roasted pumpkin seeds

 2 parts shelled walnuts

2 parts dried cranberries

2 parts dried apricots

1 part roasted oats

Coconut Red Curry Chicken w/ Basmati Rice

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cubed

2 tsp. cooking oil

1/2 c. broccoli, chopped

1/2 c. cauliflower, chopped

1/3 c. carrots, chopped

1/3 c. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can coconut milk

2 tsp. red curry paste


Saute all vegetables with curry paste until translucent.  Add cubed chicken.  Add coconut milk, simmer until thickened.  Serve while hot.

Day 5:

Peach Tahini Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen peaches

2 tsp. tahini paste

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, tahini, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Whole Wheat Waffles w/ Rum-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

For the cakes:

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. milk

2 tbsp. white sugar

1/4 c. melted butter

1/4 tsp. salt


In a large mixing bowl add butter, and sugar, whisking until combined.  Whisk in milk.  Though a sifter add flour and baking powder.  Whisk lightly until combined, let batter sit for 5 mins. In a lightly oiled waffle iron, add batter and cook until done on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Top with syrup and butter.  Serve immediately.


For the Syrup:

2 shots rum

1 c. maple syrup


Heat a small saucepan.  Add rum and cook out alcohol, simmering for at least 5 minutes.  Add syrup, and simmer for additional 5 minutes

For the butter:

2 oz. honey

1/2 unsalted butter, softened

Whisk honey into softened butter and chill.

Fruit n’ Nut Grab Bag

2 parts roasted walnuts

1 part dried apricots

1 part dried cranberries

1 part dried nectarines

1 part dried apple

1 part dried strawberry

2 part pepitas

1 part roasted pistachios

Smoked Salmon and Dill Quesadilla


2 large flour tortillas

1/2 lb. smoked salmon, 

2 c. Gouda cheese, shredded

1 sprig fresh dill, picked

Sour cream for garnish

Heat a griddle to medium heat and oil lightly.  Lay tortillas flat, and spread cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.  Add salmon, cook until salmon is heated, roughly 1 min.  Add dill, close the tortillas, remove from heat. Garnish with small amount of sour cream and serve immediately.

 

The Goat’s Fruit Salad

1 small watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

2 cups strawberries

2 cups grapes

1 sprig fresh mint, chopped

3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt


Remove the rind and cube the melons.  Add remaining fruit, mint, and yogurt.  Fold until all fruit is covered. Will keep for up to five days when chilled and covered.

Fire-Grilled Turkey Burger w/ Sonoran Coleslaw

For the slaw:

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 c. shredded carrot

1/4 c. diced green chilies

1/4 c. thinly-sliced apple

2 tsp. rice vinegar


For the burger:

Whole wheat hamburger buns

1 lb. ground turkey

2 tsp. applesauce

1 tsp.Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 egg 

1 tbsp. cornmeal


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Grill until juices run clear. Top with slaw and serve on buns.

Day 6:

Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Cereal Nut Mix

2 parts Cinnamon Toast Crunch

2 parts Golden Grahams

2 parts Honey Nut Cheerios

1 part Slivered almonds

2 parts Kix

1 parts dried pears

The Goat’s Tuna Salad w/ Rye Toast

2 c. chunk tuna, drained

2 tsp. light mayonnaise

3 stalks celery, diced

1/2 c. chopped green grapes

1/4 c. chopped cranberries

1 tsp. ground caraway seed

Salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined.

Banana Walnut Bread

3 c. AP flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1.5 c. smashed bananas

1 c. shelled walnuts

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add butter, eggs, sugar, and beat until well combined.  Add bananas, and beat until combined.  Through a sifter, add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low setting until combined dough is formed.  Fold in walnuts.  Bake for 55-60 mins., or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry.

Shrimp Scampi w/ Whole Wheat Pasta

1/2 pckg. whole wheat linguini

1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 c. dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 c. unsalted butter

Cook pasta to al dente and set aside.  Heat small amount of butter and sauce onions and garlic until onions are brown and taste sweet.  Add wine, and reduce by half.  Add lemon juice. Add shrimp and simmer until pink and firm.  Spoon sauce and shrimp over warm pasta and serve immediately.

Day 7:  

Mountain Berry Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen mixed berries

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

May The Goat be always with you

For trips through geologic time visit www.bluemarblegt.com

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Grand Falls: Arizona’s Chocolate Waterfall

Ubiquitous Lava Flows turn to Thundering Cascades

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This past weekend provided The Goat an excellent opportunity to explore one of the hidden gems of the Painted Desert, simply known as Grand Falls.  Tucked into a canyon carved by the Little Colorado River on Navajo Nation, the falls are taller than Niagara Falls, and when flowing at full strength (which they were not upon The Goat’s visit) can exceed more than 2000 cf/s, more than Yosemite and Nevada Falls combined.

The best time to visit this gem is in early March during the spring melt in the White Mountains, after a strong summer monsoon, or anytime the flows exceed 700 cf/s.  When flowing at capacity, it is obvious why the falls have earned their loving moniker “chocolate falls”, as the sediment-laden river takes on the appearance of flowing chocolate milk reminiscent of Mr. Wonka’s factory.

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No permit is necessary to visit, and it is a relatively easy, although somewhat steep hike down from the ridge.  From inside the beast, one can view just how these falls came to be when a lava flow emanating from a nearby cinder cone blocked the river, forcing it to change course and cascade down the Kaibab limestone cliffs.

If you find yourself in our playground on a weekend in the spring, we highly recommend taking a look at something very rare in our state: flowing water!

For trips to Grand Falls and through geologic time come with us

To read more about the geology of this wonderful area among others visit bluemarblegt.blogspot.com

Climb: A Goat’s Poem

Climb: A Goat’s Poem

Inspired by my latest trip up a 12,000ft Mountain

Up with the stars

Illuminate, appreciate, breathe deeply

This is why I climb

Smell of strong coffee wafting

Silent contemplation, sipping cool air and hot liquid

This is why I climb

Trailhead beckons

Time stays timeless, one foot in front of another

This is why I climb

Ascend

White Aspen cut the Black Darkness, standing sentinel

This is why I climb

Dawn breaks

pink, purple, blue streaks painted by the unseen sun as the stars give way

This is why I climb

Air thinning

Mind sharpening, senses dulling, come back

This is why I climb

Purity

Isolation

Calm

This is why I climb

Jagged rocks, dampening socks, ropes through belays

Fear is my companion, Adrenaline is my mistress

This is why I climb

Summit push

False, always another, always over the horizon

PUSH

This is why I climb

Summit

Listen, look, sun above me, clouds below me, a vast canvas stretching

This is why I climb

Descend

Muscles aching, mind longing, heart pounding, feet never stop

This is why I climb

Looking back to see the beast

Something accomplished, to say the least

Every day will now feel sweeter

Every moment will pass completer

Do not relent, Do not give in

Until the mountain calls from within

This is Why I Climb

-G

This poem was  constructed as the crew and a few of our beloved guests climbed Humphrey’s Peak, the high point in the state of Arizona at 12,635ft above sea level.  As a former volcano, it is one of the more strenuous, rewarding climbs one can do in our beautiful state.  We hope you enjoyed The Goat’s original work, and we hope that it inspires you to climb your own mountain!

May The Goat be always with you

For The Goat’s Geologic Musings visit his Personal Blog

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