Tag Archives: hiking

Weekend Hiking – Independence Monument and Dominguez Canyon

How did your weekend go? We had beautiful, warm weather. On Saturday, we hiked to Independence Monument. It’s a beautiful trek through the Colorado National Monument and uphill most of the 2.5 miles to the rock. It was about sixty degrees in the morning and overcast most of the way there–the perfect weather for hiking in our high mountain desert.


When we reached the monument, we scrambled up a large, flat boulder and ate lunch. We’ve tried several different lunches that are easy to pack and don’t require refrigeration, and our favorite is whole grain crackers, natural canned chicken, oranges or apples, and sparkling juice for something bubbly.


The walk downhill was much easier, and the views are amazing. I should have taken some pictures, but my phone was in my pack and kind of a pain to take out. The entire hike is five miles, and we were all pretty tired by the time we arrived back at the trailhead. I’m so impressed with how well the kids are hiking this year. We’ve only been out a couple times, and they’re already able to go so much farther.

Because Independence Monument is part of a national monument, you can’t take dogs hiking in the area. Buttercup and Gunther were not happy when we loaded up the packs but left them behind, so after church on Sunday, we decided to take another hike. This time, we drove to Dominguez Canyon. We hiked a little of it last year (you can check out that post here), but we covered a lot more yesterday.



We did almost six miles this time, bringing our weekend total to eleven.  The kids are at such a fun age. I love that we can get out and do so much.

Here’s a picture from our first hike of the season to Mica Mine the weekend before last.  It’s the first time the kids were able to make it all the way to the mine.


That’s all for now. Tomorrow I’ll go back to posting my food journal (I’m not going to keep track on the weekends).

Have a great day!



Camping Recipes – Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Using Real Ingredients

***Update–I’ve changed the recipe. I’ll keep the old one on here underneath my changes.***

Hot chocolate is a fairly simple drink–milk, sugar, cocoa powder, a little salt, and maybe a dash of vanilla. My kiddos drink tons of it during the winter, and I don’t mind mixing it up on the stove for them. However, that’s not so easy to do when you’re camping. I’m not packing a whisk with me, if you know what I mean.

We used to buy instant cocoa and take it with us, and then I looked at the ingredients. What in the world is all that junk in there for? This is what was in our cocoa mix in the cabinet: sugar, whey, corn syrup solids, cocoa (processed with alkali), nonfat milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of: whey protein concentrate, salt, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, emulsifier (mono-and diglycerides), arficial flavor. 

Um, no. Just no.

So here ya go–my recipe. There are others out there with pudding mix and coffee creamer in them, and I’m sure they’re decadent and delicious, but that kind of defeats my purpose at this time, so mine is a little more straight forward. Not that I have a problem with an occasional pudding mix, but we drink hot chocolate often. In fact, we should probably try to cut back. But not today!

Hot Chocolate Mix:

4 cups dry milk

1 cup sugar (we like turbinado)

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp of salt

To Make Mix:

Mix everything together and store it in an airtight container.

For Each Serving:

Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup mix to each mug (more or less depending on the size of the mug)

Stir in hot water.

Optional: Add a splash of half and half to each cup. 

I hope you enjoy it! I’ll be adding more camping recipes soon.

***Old recipe I had posted was 3 cups dry milk, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup cocoa powder***

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

I forgot to participate in last week’s photo challenge, but I’m on it this week! This week’s challenge features objects. Last year we started this hike, but the kids didn’t make it very far (the call of a nearby hot springs pool was too much for them). The trail head starts at Cascade Falls, which is just a few minutes out of Ouray, Colorado. We try to visit Ouray at least once a summer; it’s our family’s favorite little town. If you ever find yourself in Colorado, you must go. If you’re the thrill seeking type, you can take a little day trip over Red Mountain Pass and check out Silverton, too. If you’re scared of heights, you might want to pass on that…


Just for fun, here’s a few more pictures of our trip to Ouray!

Cascade Falls, Ouray Perimeter Trail,  Downtown Ouray, & Box Canyon
Cascade Falls, Ouray Perimeter Trail, Downtown Ouray, & Box Canyon

Click here to see this week’s photo challenge!