Archive for September, 2010

Set Your Hook

Gang Hooks to Catch Trout

Every so often I run across a trout fishing idea and think “WHY have I NEVER heard of that?! That sounds like a fantastic idea!” This is one of those ideas.

Fishing Worm

Before I discovered a worm threader, I hadn’t been a big fan of using night crawlers as trout bait. No, it has nothing to do with being squeamish (I’m not) or the fact that you get dirt under your fingernails trying to get the worms out of the container. It was that I never seemed to catch anything with a worm; it’s a waste of bait as the worm gets soggy or eaten (with no fish on the hook), and left over night crawlers aren’t even great for my garden.

A gang hook set up is a one-up on a worm threader. The worm is presented in a more “natural” fashion and you get the advantage of two hooks instead of one.

I haven’t tried this set up yet (it’s still too hot for good trout fishing around here!) so, I want somebody to go out and test this one for me and then let me know.

What are gang hooks?

Gang hooks are a series of two or more single hooks tied in a straight line on a piece of monofilament leader.

What are the advantages to using a gang hook?

  • The worm will be stretched along the line, in a more natural position than wadded up in a “worm ball” around a single or treble hook.
  • You’ve got two hooks instead of one.
  • You can use smaller hooks which will better fit in a smaller fish’s mouth.
Worm Ball

A worm ball -- Gross!

How do I create a gang hook?

Using a snell knot tie a single, size 10 hook to a leader, leaving at least a 12″ tag end. Tie a second hook about 2- to 3-inches below the first (depending on the length of your worm) and clip the tag end.

If you want to, you can add the hooks to the leader directly below each other (with no space in between) to create a longer line of gang hooks. If your worm isn’t long enough to finish out the line of gang hooks, make a small ball of Powerbait to cover any remaining hooks.

Attach your gang hook to a swivel (I like two slip weights above the swivel) and you’re good to go. You can use this set up with or without weights and also with a bobber.

Gang hooks are best used in shallow areas with debris, including fallen trees and water plants. Gang hooks are less likely to catch or snag on the debris, due to its unique hook presentation.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Have you ever fished a worm on a gang hook? How did it go?
  • What is your favorite worm presentation?

Pitch Your Tent: Trip Planning

Camping Trip Planning From The Ground Up

I’ve published several articles about checking your gear after you get home from a camping trip. But ESP Boss & I have a trip planned for October 16-17 that made me realize there’s a whole OTHER dimension to planning a trip:


For our trip, ESP Boss & I will be kayaking the Colorado River from Hoover Dam to Willow beach. Now, that can be done as a day trip, but we’ll be doing it as an overnighter. Packing for an overnight kayaking trip is a lot like packing for a backpacking trip. Since I’ve never been backpacking (it’s on my list of things to do!) I’m pretty much a newbie to it all.

Hoover Dam

We'll be going south of the river towards Willow Beach.

I figure I’ve been camping all my life but I’ve never backpacked or done an overnight kayaking trip. This means that YOU get a really interesting experience where I can write some articles from the window of a beginner:


Here is what I’ve learned so far: (and I think most of this will apply to all beginners going on a first camping trip)

Do Research About Where To Go.

ESP Boss knew that we could kayak the Colorado River but he did some serious research about which stretches of the river are the best. We were looking for something really specific: steady current, not too rapid, not too much boat traffic but not too remote either. Turns out, the section that we’ll be doing is motor-prohibited on Sundays and Mondays. Perfect for our trip!

In case you didn’t realize it, my website has GREAT information about public camping areas. It covers all the western states and is free.

Find Out If You Need Any Special Permits or Permissions.

There are actually a lot of areas across the USA that require a special access permit. Often times if you’re going to a Wilderness area you’ll need to get a permit to be there. When the “Royal” Family attended a big geocaching event/campout last March there was a special permit we needed to get.

The Outdoor Princess & ESP Boss at Blue Ridge Reservoir

We'll need a special permit to kayak the river.

Most of the time, special permits aren’t expensive or hard to get. But what IS expensive is getting fined for NOT having a permit. Call the governing body of where you’re planning on going and ask if am access or use permit is required. I recommend CALLING as opposed to looking on line since sometimes the permit requirements aren’t clearly published.

Decide If You Need Special Gear.

If you’re camping in a campground, chances are good that you can make your gear list as easy as falling off a log. Place to stay? Check! Way to cook? Check! Sleeping bag? Check! Food? Check!

But for this trip, we needed some gear for above and beyond: a water filtration system.

The need for specialized gear can be really daunting for a lot of beginners. But don’t let anything get in the way of having a great outdoor adventure! I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about this topic in this post; it needs more than a paragraph or two. Just keep it in mind and then check back next week for my thoughts on it.

Create A Budget.

Yes, camping can be a “cheap” vacation. But sometimes I think that’s only in comparison to, say, a week at Disneyland! You’ll need to have a budget for gear, fees, gas, and food. Once you know where you’re going and if you need a permit or gear, then a budget will help you decide if you can actually take THIS trip or if you need to re-think your plans.

Trust me, it’s better to think about the money-side of adventures before you’re committed to a trip that gets more expensive by the minute.

Buy The Gear. Test It Out.

You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, right? Or a pair of shoes without trying them on and walking around the store either. So why people go straight from the store to the campsite is beyond me!

Before you head to the woods (or in this case, the river) test out the stove. Make sure all the parts work and you know how to use it. Open the sleeping bag and lay it out. Does the zipper work? Are all the seams intact?


For the geocaching event in March, we broke a cardinal rule! We didn't set the tent up until we got to camp. We were really lucky and all the tent pieces were in the box!

And the big one: Set up the tent! Partly so you know how to do it, but also because if you’re missing a part, if the tent wall is torn, or if a pole is broken, etc, you can fix it BEFORE you head out.

I wish I had a picture, but last week, I set up our backpacking tent INSIDE the house! It was crammed into the spare room at my folk’s and looked completely ridiculous. But, I figured out how everything went together AND I made sure that it all worked. ESP Boss will be testing our new backpacking stove this weekend.

Make Some Lists.

Anybody who regularly reads my articles knows I’m really big on checklists. Just because you might not have a ready-to-print checklist doesn’t mean you can’t make lists of your own!

Good list topics are:

  • Food
  • General “big” gear (stove, tent, sleeping bags)
  • Specific “little” gear (camera, GPS, flashlight)
  • Clothing (be specific!)
  • Medicines/Toiletries
  • Maps and manuals

When I’m making lists, I start with generalities to brainstorm what I’m thinking of (like the list above) and then I make a specific list for each topic. Trust me, after one packing list that said “Toiletries” and then a trip where I didn’t bring my allergy medicine, toothbrush, or bug spray I go ahead and get specific!

Readers Weigh In:

  • If you were giving advice to a person who was planning their very first camping trip, what would you tell them?
  • What pre-planning steps do YOU do?
  • What are your must-do steps to get ready for a camping trip?

Find Your Geocache

In a couple of weeks, ESP Boss & I will be taking an overnight kayaking trip on the Colorado River. We’ll start at Hoover Dam and head down to Willow Beach.

Like any business trip, we’ve got out fair share of agenda items. One of which was to hide a geocache along the way.

But then I got to thinking:

Isn’t that section of the River in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area?

A quick glance at Google Maps and yep, the whole route is inside a National Recreation Area. (The green area on the map!)

That means that I won’t be able to place my geocache on the trip after all because geocaching is not allowed with in ANY area governed by the National Park Service (NPS).

Unfortunately, that’s kind of a blanket statement that isn’t exactly accurate. So I’m here to clear up any confusion about if geocaching is or isn’t allowed inside America’s National Parks.

What areas are governed by the National Park Service?

Just because an area doesn’t say “national park” in the title doesn’t mean that it might not be managed by NPS.

Wupatki National Monument Sign

Yep, the national monument is run by NPS too!

  • National Battlefields
  • National Cemeteries
  • National Heritage Areas
  • National Heritage Corridors
  • National Historic Sites
  • National Historic Trails
  • National Historic Trails
  • National Lakeshore
  • National Memorial
  • National Monuments
  • National Parks
  • National Parkway
  • National Preserves
  • National Recreation Areas
  • National Recreation Trails
  • National Rivers
  • National Scenic Trails
  • National Seashore

Can you see why just saying “No geocaching in National Parks” doesn’t really begin to cover it?

Why doesn’t the NPS allow geocaching?

Though rugged, unspoiled natural areas may seem to be desirable spots for geocaching, cachers can cause unintentional damage to the areas. Cachers can inadvertently develop social trails when they leave established trails to look for a cache. This can result in serious impacts on a park’s natural, historical, and cultural resources.

Because federal National Park regulations prohibit abandonment of property, disturbance or damage of natural features, and, in some areas, off-trail hiking, that means that most units of National Parks can’t allow geocaching.

In our post-9/11 world, the fear of terrorists and “mystery” objects is high. By prohibiting caches, it cuts down on the potential for bomb scares.

But I did a Google search and a whole bunch of National Parks say they offer geocaching. What does THAT mean?

When the NPS says that they don’t permit geocaching on National Park Land, what they really mean is that they don’t allow TRADITIONAL caches in the parks. That means NO cache with a container, including nanos and micros.

When you see that NPS offers “geocaching” it isn’t really a traditional type of caching. Most parks have Virtual caches or EarthCaches. Sometimes, the park itself even sets it up!

But the confusion sets in when cachers don’t realize that NPS isn’t really using our terminology correctly. When I did the search, I saw headlines like:

‘Petrified Forest National Park – Geocaching’

Yeah, they mean EarthCaching or Virtual Caching. These are both a type of geocache, but unless you have some familiarity with exactly what those terms mean, then I can understand the confusion.

If you’re just getting started in geocaching then you hear ‘geocaching’ and assume ammo cans and film canisters. I know I did!

*** UPDATE 9/30/10 ***

Oh, and I forgot to mention: Virtual geocaches are a grandfathered type of cache. You can still place them, but they’re not available on Virtual caches are now considered a waymark.

How would they know if I placed a traditional cache anyway?

Come on, now! YOU would know you were placing a cache where you shouldn’t. Be responsible! is a whole game built on the honor system. However, there are those critics of the game out there that claim that geocachers are disrespectful and the game should be shut down. And if the geocaching community is placing caches in National Parks, after we’ve been asked not to, then that lends a lot of credibility to the critics claim.

Do I need to ask for permission before I “place” an EarthCache or Waymark?

Technically, you probably should clear it with the Park’s superintendent before you “place” an EarthCache or Waymark cache. It defeats the purpose of having a container-less cache if seekers would still have to travel off-trail to log the find.

If you were requesting that a waymark cacher send you a photo of a sign or landmark that is accessible (visible) from an established trail or parking area, you’re probably okay. But if it were me, I’d get the okay a head of time anyway. I’m thinking of “placing” a waymark cache while I’m out and you can bet I’ll give Lake Mead National Recreation staffers a heads up first!

Readers Weigh In:

  • If you were going to “place” a waymark or EarthCache inside an area governed by the National Park Service, would you ask for permission first? Why or why not?
  • Do you think we should be allow to place traditional caches in national parks?

Mystery Mondays: Campfire Story

Princess Sasha and the Evil Knight

This story and 29 others will appear in the eGuide “Campfire Stories: From the Chill to the Giggle” coming October 1, 2010. To pre-order your copy at a 30% discount please click here.

Pre-orders are only $3.46. Your eGuide will be delivered to your email inbox on October 15, 2010. At that time, the eGuide will go on sale for $4.95. Order yours today!

Feel free to modify any story to fit your audience. That includes changing out the names of characters for names of people in your audience or changing the place name to be YOUR hometown.

Once, a long, long time ago, there lived an evil knight named Sir Kwingsly. Sir Kwingsly lived in the Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark, Deep, Dark and Dirty Mountains. He had a passion for kidnapping queens and princesses to either make his slaves or to eat. He had his black heart set on marrying Princess Sasha, the most beautiful maiden in all the land. But, Princess Sasha was guarded by a very powerful wizard named Igor.

Never-the-less, Sir Kwingsly managed to capture Princess Sasha. She was out gathering herbs for some magic brew Igor was making, when out of the bushes jumped a troll! (Sir Kwingsly was the king of the trolls, who also live in the Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark, Deep, Dark and Dirty Mountains.) This troll was at least eight feet tall and smelled like last week’s trash! The troll seized Princess Sasha and took her to the mountains.

When the horrible, smelly troll got Princess Sasha to Sir Kwingsly’s lair, Princess Sasha was in tears. She was certain that the evil knight wouldn’t make her his slave. Princess Sasha was certain that Sir Kwingsly was GOING TO EAT HER!!

Little did she know that a worse fate awaited her: marriage to Sir Kwingsly!

Word of kidnappings travel like lightning through the Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark, Deep, Dark and Dirty Mountains since everybody wants to know which beautiful Queen or Princess Sir Kwingsly has captured now.  So when the rumor of Princess Sasha’s kidnapping spread to Igor, Igor was outraged. He sent his fastest messenger to tell Sir Kwingsly to return Princess Sasha or prepare to die.

When the messenger delivered Igor’s missive, Sir Kwingsly roared in a rage of fury. The Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark, Deep, Dark and Dirty Mountains shook with his yells.

While the messenger was traveling to Sir Kwingsly’s cave in the Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark, Deep, Dark and Dirty Mountains, Igor was assembling his army. Hard on the heels of the messenger, Igor’s army marched toward the Mountains.

When Sir Kwingsly saw the army approaching, he called to his dragon Spike and told him to destroy the advancing army.

Igor didn’t even realize that Spike the Dragon was circling around to attack the army until the bravest knight in Igor’s company, Sir Wimpsly, charged the dragon. His lance was pointed at the dragon’s foul heart. The lance hit its mark… bold and true. And the dragon Spike was dead.

The army began cheering. But even as they celebrated Sir Wimpsly’s victory over Spike the Dragon, an army of trolls came thundering down the mountain. The battle for Princess Sasha was on!

Both sides lost blood, but Igor was using his wizardly powers to restore his wounded so they could continue fighting. Troll met knight in an epic struggle. But without their greatest weapon, Spike the Dragon, the trolls quickly lost heart.

Suddenly, a white flag was raised! The trolls surrendered.

Princess Sasha rode down the mountain on a lovely white charger to meet her benefactor, Igor. Princess Sasha and Igor returned quietly to their home in the woods, never to hear from Sir Kwingsly or his nasty trolls again.

Moral of the story:

  • Don’t gather herbs without a companion.
  • Only live where there are no mountains.
  • Princesses rule and trolls drool.

Fun Food Fridays: Pumpkin Bars

I know that not everybody gets to go on outdoor adventures and take their oven along. I guess it’s just those few that take RVs with ovens. But, this recipe, given to me by a long-time friend and newsletter reader, Kathy Levey, is just fantastic. It’s especially wonderful since fall is officially here and pumpkins are one of the best fall-fruits!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each of baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. each of salt, cloves (Kathy decreases the salt to just a pinch)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (1 15oz. can)
  • 1/2 cup each chopped nuts and raisins, if you want, or chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.  Grease 15x10x1 jelly roll pan.

Combine all ingredients (except nuts, raisins, chocolate chips) in a large bowl.  Beat at low speed until moistened.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips, if using.  Pour into greased pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost.


  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients in small bowl and beat until smooth. Makes 48 bars.

Set Your Hook

Contain Your Anchor

Before I started fishing from the kayak (very fun!) if I wanted to go fishing, it was always in my family’s 12 foot fold-a-boat. I LOVE fishing from a boat because you can get to fishing holes that you just can’t reach casting from shore. Plus, you can troll, cast away from the boat or bottom fish, and it’s less buggy ON the water than near it.

But, one of my pet peeves about fishing from the boat was that my gear always got wet, even though the boat doesn’t leak! You know how it is: you reach for a sweatshirt and it’s wet. Or you put the ice chest on your lap to get a snack and the bottom was soaking — and now your pants are too!

And don’t even get me started on what happens when my the-fish-aren’t-biting book gets wet!

Finally ESP Boss realized that when we would bring up the anchor, the anchor rope was creating pooled water on the floor of the boat. Not to mention the addition of lake scum and mud that was getting caked on the boat floor.

Then, ESP Boss had a great idea: buy a bucket (with a handle) just big enough to hold the anchor and the anchor rope. We use mushroom shaped anchors that are covered in a vinyl coating.

When you bring up the anchor, put all the rope and the anchor into the bucket. Viola! No more water in the bottom of the boat! Plus, should the need ever arise; there’s a bucket on board for bailing out the boat.

Here’s a second anchor tip:

Tie a quick link to the end of the anchor rope. Then you can attach the whole rope to the boat. Trust me, if at all possible (or practical) you want to attach your gear to the boat!

A quick link attached to the anchor rope.

Quick links aren’t always the easiest thing to use, so you could also try a swivel eye snap hook or a trigger snap hook. Both are easy to attach to your anchor rope in a way that the rope won’t come off your hardware. For that reason, I don’t really recommend a carabiner; it’s too easy for the rope to come off the carabiner. If the rope isn’t attached to the hardware and the boat, then it defeats the purpose!

Fastener options, depending on what you like!

Shopping Links:

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are your anchor tips?
  • Have you ever lost an anchor (or other piece of gear) off the boat? What did you do?

PS: If you don’t believe me about attaching your gear to something, then check out my video about Extreme Geocaching. I managed to lose a $40 piece of equipment!

Pitch Your Tent: Tent Lights

Light Up The Night

I’m sure many of you have seen our big white truck on the website. This truck is what we take when we go camping, since it is big enough to pull our trailer.

Actually, ESP Boss got a NEW truck for his 42nd wedding anniversary. It’s an even BIGGER white truck since The Queen Mother got a new trailer about a year ago. The first big white truck (Toyota Tundra) just doesn’t have enough oomph to pull the trailer!

Even though the “Royal” Family goes camping in an RV, I’ve still found a use for magnetic tent lights.

These lights have a powerful magnet in them. The light goes on the inside of the tent and a metal plate goes on the outside of the tent, then the magnet holds the light in place.

But, when you put them in the bed of the truck, under the rail and near the tailgate, they light up the bed of the truck perfectly. This way, when you’re rooting around in the bed of the truck after dark (with or without a camper shell) you can see what you’re doing, and you don’t have to hold a flashlight in your mouth!

The light in the picture is made by Coleman. Here’s a link so you can buy the light. If you bring the metal plate with you when you go tent camping, the light can do double duty in your truck and in the tent as a safelight source.

ESP Boss’ pickup has a sprayed-in bed liner and the magnet has no problem holding the light tight. It never moves no matter if we go on the roughest of roads. However, the lights tend to get fine dirt in them so we always carry extra batteries.

My truck has a plastic bed liner and the magnets aren’t powerful to attach to the truck’s bed THROUGH the liner. But, as you can see from the bottom, you can just put in a couple of short screws to hold the light in place!

Since these lights are battery powered, be sure to check out my article The Power Of Batteries for more helpful camping tips.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What do you use to light up the bed of a pickup?
  • Have you found any must-have camping tools that do great double duty?

Find Your Geocache

Loading Caches Directly Into A GPS

I recently got a great comment from Andy on the article “Using To Find A Spot For A Cache”

I would normally load all the caches in that area to my GPS. When I find a good site I just simply check the GPS for any nearby waypoints in my GPS and it will show up it the new cache is close to an existing one. If this is the case I would try to seek out a new spot using the same method.

But that got me thinking:

How many cachers know how to load caches into their GPS?

I didn’t discover this until MONTHS after I started caching. Loading the coordinates of a cache directly into the GPS solved all the problems of “missing” caches due to a transposed or incorrect number or imputing the parking coordinates by mistake. currently supports Garmin, DeLorme and Magellin GPS units for direct loading.

USB cable for connecting the GPS to the computer.

To start with, you’ll need to find the USB port on the back of your GPS. Then, you’ll need a USB cable that interfaces with that port. It’s very likely that this cable was provided with your GPS.

This is on the back of my GPS, protected by a rubber flap.

My GPS, a Garmin eTrex, takes a USB 2 connection. I don’t even use a special cable, I just use the same cable from my camera card reader!

This is the end that goes into the GPS: a mini USB connection.

You’ll need to plug your GPS into your computer and turn it on. At that point, your computer SHOULD automatically find your GPS through Plug-and-Play software. But if it doesn’t, go to the website of your GPS and you should be able to get instructions.

Here are the steps to load the cache directly into the GPS:

1. Navigate to the cache page. I’m showing my cache ‘No Cows Here’ as an illustration. Then click on the button that says ‘Send to my GPS’

1a. If it’s the first time you’ve done this, you’ll need to load the software that allows to “talk” directly to your GPS.

Follow the instructions to load the software. They will vary depending on the brand of your GPS.

1b. Then, you’ll either need to click on ‘Find Devices’ OR turn on your GPS. In my case, all I needed to do was power up the GPS.

All I needed to do was turn my GPS on and the computer could "Find" the device automatically.

2. Click on the ‘Write’ button.

3. Look for the confirmation screen.

That’s it! Just 3 easy steps and you’ll be able to load the caches to your GPS. I still print the cache sheet, with 5 logs, so I can get the hint and cache size, etc.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have a different way you load the coordinates to your GPS?
  • What are some of the disadvantages to loading coordinates directly into the GPS?
  • Any other tips, hints, or tricks to share with newbies? (Or the technologically challenged!)

Mystery Mondays: Campfire Story

Stone Soup

This story and 29 others will appear in the eGuide “Campfire Stories: From the Chill to the Giggle” coming October 1, 2010. To pre-order your copy at a 30% discount please click here.

Pre-orders are only $3.46. Your eGuide will be delivered to your email inbox on October 15, 2010. At that time, the eGuide will go on sale for $4.95. Order yours today!

Feel free to modify any story to fit your audience. That includes changing out the names of characters for names of people in your audience or changing the place name to be YOUR hometown.

Some of the best campfire stories aren’t scary at all. Read on to find out how a clever cook rescued a fair Princess.


  • a smooth fist-sized rock

Once upon a time, there was a smart young cook named Bill. In the country where Bill lived, an ugly, evil Troll had captured the beautiful Princess Laura and was holding her hostage in his cave.

Princess Laura’s father, the King, had sent all of his knights one-by-one to defeat the Troll and rescue Princess Laura. But the Troll bested each knight and made a feast of their bones. Then the King sent each of his wizards, one-by-one to defeat the Troll. But the Troll bested each wizard and made a feast of their bones.

Finally, Bill, the cook asked the King if he could try to defeat the Troll and rescue Princess Laura. The King said, “Bill, if you defeat the Troll and rescue the Princess, you may marry her and have my kingdom when I am gone.”

So Bill packed up his trusty soup pot, got onto his little white mule and rode to the Troll’s cave. At the mouth of the cave, Bill made a small fire. He filled the pot with water, put it over the fire to boil and sat down to wait.

Pretty soon, the Troll came to the mouth of the cave. Before the Troll could grab Bill and make a feast of his bones, Bill stood up and said:

“Oh great Troll! It is known far and wide that you are among cleverest of all Trolls for you have stolen the fair Princess Laura. I have come to make you a soup that will the smartest Troll in the land!”

And since Trolls are very vain about being clever, the evil Troll didn’t grab Bill and make a feast of his bones. Instead, the Troll growled: “And just what is this soup?”

Bill said, “It is Stone Soup! See this stone? It makes the best soup in the world and when you eat it, you will be the smartest Troll. First, I need an onion.”

The Troll was being clever and asked, “Why do I have to give YOU an onion?”

Bill said, “Because if it is MY onion, then the soup would only work for me. Now, I need an onion!” And into the pot went and onion.

“When will it be ready?” demanded the Troll.

“In a little bit,” said Bill. “It just needs some carrots!” And into the pot went some carrots.

“When will it be ready?” demanded the Troll.

“In a little bit,” said Bill. “It just needs some potatoes!” And into the pot went some potatoes.

And a bit of beef.

And a handful of barley.

And a pinch of salt.

Finally, the soup was simmering and the Troll was starting to drool. Bill looked up and him and said, “It’s almost ready! Now, I just need to add the final ingredient: the Stone!” And into the bubbling soup went the stone.

The Troll was getting excited at the idea of eating soup that would make him the cleverest Troll in all the land.

“The soup it almost ready!” said Bill. “I should just taste it to make sure that it’s done.”

But the Troll didn’t want Bill to eat the soup and become clever. So the Troll grabbed the bubbling pot of soup and swallowed it all. The Troll started choking. He had swallowed the stone! In a moment, the Troll was dead.

Bill walked into the cave and rescued Princess Laura. They returned to the King and were married. When the King asked Bill how he had defeated the Troll, Bill just said, “I make a mean pot of Stone Soup!”

Fun Food Fridays: Sombrero Spread

I’m always on the lookout for easy, yummy recipes to share with you. I look for things that are simple to make away from a full kitchen, but not boring or bland. I found this take on a Mexican bean dip and just had to share it with you! It’s described as a dip (so a snack) but feel free to make up extra and serve as a main meal.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup ‘Ketchup With A Kick’
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 8-oz can (1 cup) red kidney beans with liquid
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives (green or black)

Brown the meat and 1/4 cup onion in a skillet. Stir in ‘Ketchup With A Kick’, chili powder, and salt. Mash in beans. Heat through.

Spread on tortilla chips, corn chips or a tortilla. Garnish with the cheese, olives, and 1/4 cup onion. Serve hot.

What is ‘Ketchup With A Kick’? It’s a phrase (and ingredient) that ESP Boss created. Its ketchup mixed with Tabasco sauce. So, take the 1/4 cup ketchup and stir in the Tabasco, to taste.

Not sure how to camp cook with 1 1/2 tsp chili powder? Check out the tip How To Camp Cook With Unusual Ingredients.

This recipe is also available in the eGuide ‘Camp Cooking From the Newsletter’  Get the guide!

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