Backpacking to Bee Branch Canyon

By now I’ve hiked most of the trails of the Sipsey Wilderness. As a kid, my parents took me deep into the heart of the Sipsey to Bee Branch Canyon. I’ve always vowed to go back, but until a few weeks ago I never could quite get there. There has always been some extraordinary reason – The group I was with got lost, we decided it was too far, the trails were confusing, people got tired and set up camp elsewhere.. I could go on forever. But, as it is with most things mysterious in life, I am drawn to learning what at once could make those things clear, less perplexing, and understood. Yet maybe it’s not the complete understanding that reigns supreme, rather engaging more with this mysterious thing. I can say with no hesitation that I still am mystified every time I walk into the woods of the Sipsey; it is like a monstrous natural force that draws us in, tears us down to force ourselves to examine the primal beasts we are, and then regurgitates what is left of us when we drag ourselves out of there, and at the same time endowing us with an earthly wise wisdom you can’t obtain any other way.

So we set off, and this time succeeded, into an unmarked outlaw trail whispered into our ears like fate at the trail head, and finally got to the heart of this majestic forest.

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selfieSipsey Selfie 😛

Foraging and Flower Picking

It’s been excruciatingly hard for me to contain my enthusiasm for Spring (all of the 5 minutes of it we had) while I sit inside an office all day, so when I get home I usually spend a couple hours outside walking around observing, foraging, or picking flowers. I mostly picked the violets so I could extract the colorful dye, but it ended up a flop; I don’t think my flower per water volume was correct. I’m collecting the dandelions and honeysuckles for wine and mead making in the fall. From what I’ve read, using only the petals yields the best results so it’s a time consuming process to collect and prepare them for storage. My goal is around 3 qts of petals by summer’s end (!)

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