Our mission is simple: we provide outdoor experiences and educational opportunities that inspire respect for self, others and the land.
Muddy Boots Newsletter
January 2021
Out with the old. In with the new.
Walking stretches time and prolongs life. 
Life is already too short to waste on speed. 
~Edward Abbey

2021 has arrived and adventures are in the planning. Welcome to a new year and challenges and calendared commitments that promise you will have an amazing year!

After what seems like a year off, we are in full swing with Zoom workshops and final preparation details for our first segment hike of the season, the Ouachita National Scenic Trail - Section Hike. The winter season is too short to become complacent. We are so very excited for what adventures are just around the next bend.

Read ahead for our upcoming offerings that you should pen into your calendar. Learn about what makes a good soup and what you should do to stay warm when backpacking on these cold winter nights.

We look forward to sharing our next adventure with you. Until then, take care of yourself, grab a map, make a plan, go outside!

Happy Trails!
Step Outdoors, LLC

Proofreading Credit: Meg W
Upcoming Segment Hike

Ouachita National Scenic Trail - Section Hike

March 1 - 12, 2021

Hike Description: This 102-mile section hike is along a not often heard of, rarely visited jewel of a national scenic trail. This segment is broken up into one week of day hikes and one week of backpacking with a supportive Trip Leader to guide your adventure.

Per Person Cost: $2,230 per person – minimum 2/maximum 6. 

Includes: Every effort has been made to make this an all-inclusive offering. Meals outside of the hike are not included and you are encouraged to visit one of the local eateries. 

  • All in the field meals and snacks.
  • Shared maps and individual bootleg data book.
  • Lodging (double occupancy) provided for the nights of February 28th, March 6th, March 7th and the night of March 12th. 
  • All designated campsite fees.

Registration Closes: February 14th by 6p (EST).
Upcoming Zoom Offerings

Book Discussion
Billionaire Wilderness

Friday, February 5, 2021
7 pm - 8:30 pm
Zoom Call

Author: Justin Farrell

Book Description: This book is a controversial read – the first question you will be asked is if the author/researcher has an agenda.

Probably, you won’t find any surprises within the pages, but no doubt the discussion will be a lively one.

Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West looks at the exclusive world of the ultra-wealthy and shares how today’s richest people are using the natural environment – seemingly, to solve the existential dilemmas they face.

About the Discussion: Grab a glass of wine, or beer, and prepare a small plate of snacks. Format is question and discuss.

RSVP Required: February 3rd by 6p (EST).

A Zoom Workshop
Respect the Potato
Saturday, January 23, 2021
10 am - 11:30 am
Zoom Call

Respect the Potato Workshop Description:  It is okay, you can laugh. A workshop about potatoes – yep.

The premise behind this workshop is that mashed potatoes are often a staple of backpacking food. Easy to make – heat, mix and eat (oftentimes with only bacon or cheese).  We will share with you that there are numerous other options for potatoes in the backcountry. For instance, you can take a baked potato and eat it in the backcountry for dinner. Simple, right? But, have you considered peppermint patties for dessert? How about trying one of our favorites – vegetable koftas.
This workshop is not going to be entirely about backcountry food options. Expect a few quick recipes specific for the backcountry. The rest, meal options you can prep, or make, at home and take with you into the backcountry. 

Cost: $20 per person

RSVP Required: January 21st by 6p (EST).
This Month's Recipe
Making Soup

You have learned by now that we love soup. In the backcountry, it provides all of the nutrients necessary to fill empty bellies, replenish dehydrated bodies and warm cold appendages. Just as important, it ensures the energy necessary to repeat footstep after footstep tomorrow.

I can’t think of a reason that soup can be a wrong choice when backpacking. Thus, we are sharing a universal recipe that you can personalize for the season and is contingent on what you have available in the pantry. It’s an exceptional way to pack your food bag.  

Follow these easy ingredient steps for your next backcountry meal:

Choose Your Ingredients.
  • Choose A Fat. Think butter, lard, olive oil or avocado. 
  • Choose A Base. Bouillon (i.e. chicken, beef, vegetable or tomato) or milk/cream.
  • Choose A Protein. Packaged, dehydrated or fresh or meat (i.e. chicken, tuna, ground beef) or beans (i.e. white, kidney, black, lentil).
  • Choose Veggies. Onion is found in most soups but don’t stop there -- use whatever you have and whatever you like. Don’t forget the benefit of keeping envelopes of dehydrated veggies on hand.
  • Choose A Carbohydrate. Often the girth of a soup (i.e. noodles, rice, cous-cous).
  • Choose Spices. Traditionally salt and pepper but there are more options to choose from. Here are a few popular flavor combinations:
  • Celery seed, marjoram, thyme, parsley, and sage go well with chicken.
  • Marjoram, rosemary and thyme go well with beef.
  • Basil, oregano or fennel can be a nice addition to tomato-based soups.
  • Chilis need chili powder and cumin.
  • Cream soups might benefit from a dash or parsley or thyme.
Backcountry Tip
Winter Camping
Nighttime Processes
Winter camping can be comfortably warm to downright cold. Have strategy for what to do after dinner, after getting warm water for water bottles and putting gear away. These tips can help you stay warm the night through.

  • Get warm before you get into your bag. Do some jumping jacks or arm swings so your heat is built up for when you get in your bag.
  • Get any clothing/gear you will need out of your pack as well as full water bottles and tomorrow's lunch.
  • At the tent door, brush off any snow. Sit down inside the tent entrance and, keeping your boots outside, either have a friend brush them off, or remove them and brush them yourself.
  • Climb into the tent and close the door.
  • Strip off your layers of clothing to what will be appropriate in your sleeping bag. Remember, too much clothing can compress dead air space in the bag and reduce its effectiveness.
  • Remove any wet/damp layers and replace them with dry ones, particularly socks.
  • Pre-warm your bag with your body (get it nice and toasty by doing a big of wiggle dancing).
  • Place damp items in the sleeping bag with you near your trunk to help dry them overnight for wearing tomorrow.
  • Place your boots in your sleeping bag stuff sack (turned inside out) and place the stuff sack between your legs. This will keep them from freezing during the night and the stuff sack keeps your legs from getting wet.
  • Put water bottles (warm bottles are nice) and food with you in the bag.
  • A hat and booties or wool socks are recommended to help keep you warm.
  • Try to sleep with your face out of the bag to reduce moisture build-up inside the bag (which could be catastrophic for a down bag). A scarf on your neck may be better than using the sleeping bag neck draw cord (which makes some people feel a little claustrophobic and creates a difficult night’s sleep).
  • You will probably wake up a number of times during the night which is normal in cold weather. Your body needs to change position to allow for circulation to compressed tissues and to move around a bit so that muscle movement generates more heat. If you are still cold, eat some protein to "stoke up your furnace."
  • With 10 or more hours in the tent, you are likely to need to pee in the middle of the night. Go for it! Otherwise you won't get back to sleep, and your body is wasting energy to keep all that extra fluid warm. You will be surprised how quickly you can get out and back in and your body really won't chill that much.
  • It is useful to have a thermos of hot drink in the tent. 
Step Outdoors, LLC
3152 Gore Rd.
Derby, VT 05829