Weekend with hiking, trail work, and sagebrush dye

This weekend we were off again on another hike.  I love the outdoors and nature but the real reason is that my French (French in a good way) wife Isabelle is making us go again.  So you have some context around this “making us go”,  I need to let you know that she is really cheap…  umm….ya… I mean it in a good way. (hope that keeps me out of trouble when she reads this).   In an earlier post I mentioned that Isabelle bought a “Utah State Parks Annual Pass”.  That pass cost a ‘whopping” $75 dollars and she is going to make sure we get our moneys worth.

Trail cleaning 05

This week we are hiking the Dutch Hollow Trails.    I am very familiar with this area since when I was about 16 years old I had a “winter camp” here.  I hate winter camps more than I currently hate our “Utah State Parks Annual Pass”.  Way back then the goal for the winter camp was to learn “survival”.   With this in mind I was suppose to sleep in a “snow cave” I had built the week before.   Snow caves are suppose to help you survive but mine was more of a homemade deep freezer.  I remember retiring to the cave and noticing that my sleeping bag was frozen to the ground.   Being wise beyond my years, or  maybe just not stupid, I left the cave to place myself in front of a huge fire.   That night instead of sleeping I spent the entire night  feeding that fire wood and alternating my front side and then my backside to the fire’s heat.  I did learn the best way to survive the cold extremes of winter is to stay home.

Trail cleaning 09

As you can see Dutch Hollows is primarily scrub oak and sagebrush.   The trails are awesome for mountain biking and well kind of crappy for hiking.    There is not much shade and well you are continually stepping off the trail to let bikers pass.  Of course all of this didn’t deter Isabelle from pushing us onwards.  (Got to have a positive return on that 75 dollar investment)

Trail cleaning 07

Along the trail we came across a “station”.   This station had pruners and a shovel rake combination thingy… kind of like a huge spork.  The sign read “volunteers make trails better”.   We decided that we would volunteer to do our part.   The sign stated follow the direction of the red arrow and mark off 60 paces.   Isabelle started marking off the distance but I told her that it would be better if Ben did this.   Out loud I said it would be good for his counting.   In my head I knew that his short legs would walk off the smallest distance and to ensure this I whispered to him to take very small steps.

We then started cleaning the trail. (jesh…I thought our 75 dollars paid for this)

Trail cleaning 01

Trail cleaning 08

Trail cleaning 02

Trail cleaning 03

Trail cleaning 04

Doesn’t this newly groomed section of this trail look awesome!

I have complained some about Isabelle and these hiking trips but they make me remember my grandfather.   He was not a church going kind of guy but he used to tell me that being in nature was his church.  He saw the hand of God in everything… and I do as well including in my wonderful family.  I again am proud of the boys and their mother for their hard work and their willingness to make things better for others.

Trail cleaning 06

After all of this work (around 30 minutes) we decided it was time to hike home.   I noticed all of the sage brush and decided I wanted to see how well it dyed wool.   I think sagebrush blue/green is beautiful but I knew that would not be the color I would get.   All of us grabbed large handfuls of the sagebrush and carried it back to the car.   Ben said he loved the way it smelled… (that is before I started to boil it).

I will not go into much details since I followed the same steps as when I dyed with onions (previous post) minus the baking soda.. Readers of the last post ask me about the smell of the onions… let me just say… onions are nothing compared to the eye watering smell of the sage.

Here are pictures that show the steps and outcome… (minus lots of words… and the smell)

Sagebrush Dye 00.jpg

Sagebrush Dye 01

Sagebrush Dye 02

Sagebrush Dye 03

You can see that the sagebrush dyed the wool a nice yellow.  I had expected yellow (googled it) but was worried when I first saw the brownish color of the water and then worried more when I saw the florescent yellow color of the wet wool.  Fortunately the color mellowed as it dried.

Thanks for taking time to read this… Now… get out and go for a hike (I mean that in a good way)

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25 thoughts on “Weekend with hiking, trail work, and sagebrush dye”

  1. Good for Isabelle getting you all out in the fresh air for some exercise:) I’ve never seen volunteer stations in our parks. I suspect people would steal the tools:(
    Your dyeing is so much fun to watch. I never would have guessed yellow looking at the sagebrush. It came out beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have done some natural dyeing but I would never even have thought to try sage brush, because it seems so dry. I always think plants have to have some moisture to be worth trying, but it seems I am going to have to re-think that idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hiking is a great family adventure! Go Isabelle (sorry)…we do the same thing about getting our money’s worth beyond the break even point. When ‘life gives you lemons…’, in this case, ‘when life gives you sagebrush…’ you got to experiement with a new dye. 🙂 Your kids will have many adventures to write about when their teacher asks them to write this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I just love Isabelle. I am a fan of hers! I have to say, I do the same when we buy annual passes. And gosh darn it, if my family won’t go with me, I’ll go alone!

    As a mountain biker, I love the trail volunteer station. It’s super cool! That being said, around here if a volunteer digs up the roots and so on in a trail, the local bikers get really mad. They like the obstacles. So I am surprised to see the note and instructions! The trail you are on looks like you could really get some nice speed going on a bike. (Which can be tough on hikers.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually burst out laughing when I read your rationale for having Ben count paces….and, I, initially, thought it was a bit forward to expect people to clear a section of brush–but then I was moved by the result, and before you even said it, touched by your family’s generosity. I couldn’t be happier to know that you’ve been blessed with such an amazing and loving family…thanks for sharing…oh, and the yellow is lovely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You guys do the coolest stuff. I mean that honestly. Park passes, hiking, trail clean up, dying your own wool. I want to buy a pass to go to a camp hosted by you and your family (minus the snow cave building session).

    Liked by 1 person

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