Not wanting to waste the short time we had in the Grand Tetons, we had a quick breakfast and left for our first hike. We drove from our Signal Mountain campsite to the Leigh Lake trailhead. There were trees everywhere, and the water was not long in view. The path was a bit narrower than the ones of the Yellowstone hikes that we did. There were fewer people (except for our large group) overall, and that gave it a cozy family adventure-feel. The trees were old and lovely, and those mountains kept peeking out. We were all energized by the freshness around us.
We came to a place in the trail where a bent tree was begging to be climbed. The kids took turns climbing it and pretending it was a horse. If you’re hiking with children, take time for these things. It’s important to let them develop their imaginations.
We hiked on looking around gingerly for evidence of bears, and then we made it to the lake. The picture says it all. Well, except for how freezing the water was. At this point it had been at least two days since we had taken showers, so I knew that no matter how cold that water was, I was going in. The kids ran in and out. The water was crystal clear. The mountains in the background were cradling us with their loveliness. Lunch was unpacked, and we settled in on the beach for a while. There was a place you could walk out on to sit out in the middle of the water.
The little ones mainly played in the sand. The other kids began to make a giant castle complex when our daughters Maile and Lydia and my nephew Luke decided to make a shark. They asked my husband to help and as they worked, Mr. Jiggles was born. It was a grand shark complete with teeth. The girls still talk about him.
Eventually we decided to hike more, and as we went down the path, I heard the people in the front of our group exclaiming about berries. Huckleberries. Juicy, ripe huckleberries. It was evident as I saw kids and adults alike popping those berries in their mouth that we would be picking while we hike. Someone had this great idea (I think it was my brother-in-law Will) to pick enough for a cobbler. They asked me if I could make it up, and I agreed. We stopped eating and began picking with a passion.
After picking and walking, we decided we had plenty o’ berries, and we hiked on towards Trapper Lake. It started raining lightly on us, but we had ponchos! Yeah for being prepared! There were some downed trees and evidence of small fire damage. It was a narrow path and it felt like an enchanted forest. Eventually we came to a clearing that was beautiful.
We went a little further, and the rain started again. Checking our watches, we decided to head back. It was my night to cook, and I was planning to make ground beef soft tacos. Our hike back was just as lovely, and I was proud of the children for their stamina. We couldn’t resist stopping at our beach for a snack, and my little one was asleep so I laid her on a shirt on the ground to give my arms a rest. She looked so peaceful.
Back at camp, the tacos were yummy, and I mixed up the cobbler while people were eating. The kids were cute as they all gathered under one of the tables and pretended to have their own fire. My brother-in-law Will put the cobbler (in the dutch over already) on the coals and put hot coals on the top of the lid. We had to wait for a long time for that cobbler. We had plenty of time around the fire that night. Finally, it was ready. Wow. We enjoyed it. If you’ve never had a huckleberry, you should try one. If you’ve never had a huckleberry cobbler cooked in a dutch oven over a campfire, well, you’re just missing out. You should get out there.
To be continued…
Here’s the cobbler recipe:
1. Mix these ingredients in a medium bowl:
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup Sugar
2. Mix these ingredients in another bowl:
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Flour
dash of salt
4 Cups Fresh Huckleberries (or other fresh fruit)
3. Melt 3/4 Butter in Dutch oven. Pour Flour mixture over it. Do not mix. Gently put fruit mixture on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If you’re camping, put on hot coals top and bottom for about 2 hours (varies depending on how hot your fire is–doesn’t everything?).
4. Enjoy. Close your eyes with every bite. Wonder how you ever lived before this cobbler.