Our mission is simple: we provide outdoor experiences and educational opportunities that inspire respect for self, others and the land.
Muddy Boots Newsletter
March 2021
How are you supporting your outdoor education?
Every man should be his own naturalist and his own philosopher. ~Stewart L. Udall

Over the years our late winter/early spring journals reveal how students have gathered, initially not knowing one another, and then over the span of a weekend, or week, have formed a special union. There is a process for groups melding - often referred to as Tuckman's stages of group development. One of the greatest joys we garner from working with groups is using the outdoors as a classroom for individual growth. This outdoor education is both personal, through confidence and enthusiasm, and brain-fed, through skill knowledge and recognition.

Without a doubt, the lack of learning as a group in the outdoors has long term, and we would argue, lasting impacts. We would encourage groups and families to think differently, and creatively, about how to fulfill the potential of growth the outside arena provides. Smaller groups, distanced one-on-one, workshops with skill overviews and homework to practice, activities that involve thinking and doing.

One of our endeavors, to support the above thoughts (we researched the stance of our state representative on a variety of issues, did you?) was through the finish winter strong BINGO card. Don't forget, to be entered into the drawing all entries must be submitted by noon on March 20th.

Read ahead for our upcoming offerings you should pen into your calendar, including the first of what we expect will be a three-part introduction to map and compass skills through our Zoom workshops and discussions. We continue to ponder our spring and summer workshop offerings; if you have a request let us know. This month's recipe comes from Fresh Off the Grid and your trail tip is sniffing your gear. Not really, but the sniff test may tell you that putting your tent away damp in the fall was a poor choice.

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 Zoom Offerings

A Zoom Workshop
Maps, Reading the Details
Saturday, March 20, 2021
10:10 am - 11:30 am
Zoom call

Maps, Reading the Details Description:  Map reading is quickly becoming a lost skill – replaced by phone apps which include a dot to follow. For outdoor recreationalists who hike on public lands that are well marked, misplacing self is often not a concern. What about the places that are less visited? Could you refer to your map to place yourself if necessary?

Many hikers never advance beyond watching the heels of the person in front, thereby trusting the leader knows they are going. This workshop is 90 minutes of learning how to read the details on a map. Maps reveal a landscape as seen from directly above. A map divulges natural and artificial features the reader can locate. Topographical maps disclose the ups and downs of the landscape.

Cost: $15 per person

RSVP Required: March 18th by 6p (EST).

Book Discussion
Land: How the Hunger for Ownership ...

Friday, April 9, 2021
7 pm - 9 pm
Zoom call

Author: Simon Winchester

Book Description: We would not typically offer a book that is just hitting the shelves but having listened to commentary on NPR and reading a blurb from both the NY Times and Washington Post, we are intrigued.

This summary is found in Goodreads:
"Land—whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city—is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing—and have done—with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet.

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land—and why does it matter?"

About the Discussion: Grab a drink of choice and prepare a small plate of snacks. Format is question and discuss.

RSVP Required: April 7th 6p (EST).

This Month's Recipe
Pasta Primavera
2 servings

This recipe comes from the website of Fresh Off the Grid and boasts a "burst of vegetables that you’ve been craving after a few days on the trail." We can certainly support that effort. This recipe is adapted from their dehydrated version.

  • 1 c dehydrated vegetables of choice (squash, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes)
  • 1 c pasta shells
  • 2 tbs butter powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese

How to Prepare
  1. At Home - this recipe requires three ziplock bags to be organized at home. One ziplock bag for dehydrated vegetables, one for pasta and one for remaining seasoning ingredients.
  2. At Camp - determine if you want a soup meal or a pasta meal; that will dictate how much water needed for hydrating and boiling the pasta. Hydrate vegetables for at least 20 minutes. Bring to a boil and add pasta cooking to pasta preference. Add seasoning packet and stir well.

Adapted and photo from FreshOffTheGrid.com
Backcountry Tip
The Scent of Gear
Be Ready
Sunrays are peering from beneath cirrus clouds. An almost imperceptible hue of red or yellow is noticed on the tip-most points of the aspen trees. Suddenly there is an urge, a yearning and uncontrollable desire to pull on hiking boots that have been stored for six months and to snuggle in the tent that you called your second home for most of the past summer. And where did you put that cup and spoon – the most minimal of utensils after that chilly October camp?

Though we would like to believe we remember the status of our gear at the close of the past hiking season it is important you take the time now to check your gear – long before loading the car and gawking at the topo map.

The scent of gear. The stored away, tucked away, hidden in a tote with its olfactory sensation of sweat and grit. What happened your last camp of the season? Did you nearly run out of fuel? Did it rain that final morning when you broke camp? Did you lay your sleeping pad on one thorn too many?

And, what is the status of each piece of gear and equipment you normally use? Is the fuel canister still nearly empty? Does your tent need a good cleaning out or reek of stench and mildew? Does that sleeping pad need a new patch?

What about the other pieces of gear? Like GPS units and headlamps needing a fresh set of batteries. Your compass checked for bubbles? How about the band-aids in your first aid kit or the frayed rope on your bear bag?

Spend an evening examining, cleaning and fixing your gear and equipment. Make the time one of reminiscing, of looking back to when (and insert the humor, hilarity or groan to not do that again). This little bit of preparation will only reinforce the desire to hit the nearest trail but with good gear and not a shattered tent pole or worn boot laces.
Step Outdoors, LLC
3152 Gore Rd.
Derby, VT 05829