Another amazing weekend with my fellow Corn Desert Hikers is in the books. As mentioned last week, we traveled to the Shawnee National Forest and camped at Pounds Hollow Recreational Area. The weather was fantastic, the food amazing and the company, always exceptional!
Thursday, we arrived to Pounds Hollow Recreational Area to set up camp just before dark and started our fire and quickly began cooking dinner and catching up. On Friday more and more members of our group arrived throughout the day and began setting up. A few of us decided to take a short hike to the north around Pounds Lake to check out some of the smaller rock formations and the low lands around the lake.
As the afternoon continued and more of our cohorts arrived we transitioned our gear and prepped for our visit to the Garden of the Gods. We were blessed with amazing weather and a beautiful sunset at GOTG. A spectacular sight and vista as you can see from the pictures below. I am so happy to have finally gotten to see this location and check it off my list.
As is with any Corn Desert adventure, food takes priority and I was happy to share a culinary experience from Hell Hike and Raft with my mates. As mentioned in last weeks post "Mmmmmm Hell Hike and Raft Pork Loin", I prepared and marinated a rather larger pork loin for my friends for this trip using Hotlime and following the same recipe as used during HHAR. The meat marinated for over two full days and was cooked in foil then charred over the open flames. I heated the remaining marinade over the fire and used it as a dipping sauce prior to serving these delicious hunks of meat around the campfire.
Even though the planned hike was short, many packed full packs and then continued on to get some much needed training in for longer upcoming hikes, needless to say the group worked up a large appetite. With the group now at fifteen members we decided that two campfires are better then one. One for cooking and one for warmth. I began cooking brats for all and soon a symphony of mmmm's filled the early evening air as all enjoyed the evenings main course.
Also, while on this trip I took time use and test the following gear:
Resection Athletic Trail Shoes by Rocky®
Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy 800 4 Season Bag
d.light S300 Solar Lantern
Native Hardtop Sunglasses
Please stay tuned to Hiking Forward for upcoming reviews on these products and a giveaway.
The Shawnee National Forest is within a short ride from St. Louis, Memphis, Louisville and Indianapolis and offers a host of short and long trails as well as many fantastic sites to explore. The River to River Trail passes through Garden of the Gods and goes from the Mississippi River in the west to the Ohio River in the east. Two of my good friends and members of the Corn Desert Hikers Tom (Arbor) and Jana (Willow) just completed the hike this summer. They blogged about their R2R adventure and other experiences at www.tauspotting.com. Take a moment and check out their blog, they take great pictures of their adventures and write with a style that makes you feel like you are right there with them.
I hope you had just as much of a fantastic and adventurous weekend as I did. If you didn't, the good news is your only a few days away from creating a epic weekend.
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