Rough Trails

Early Tuesday morning we were rolling down the driveway to meet Sarge and Sarah. We were off to one of our favorite summer destinations–Blue Lake–about thirty miles into the back country, up the Boulder as we say. We stopped to retrieve John and Diane and were off. The Boulder valley and Blue Lake has been discovered. Camper and ATV traffic on the weekends is horrific we’ve been told. Makes us sad.

All day long we saw only two other ATV’s–a dirt bike and a quad. The “road” ends at Box Canyon and the trail begins–and the trail seems to be deteriorating, year after year. This trip the trail was the worst we’ve ever seen it. There were spots when I was sure we weren’t going to go any farther (not so sure the Cowboy thought that but he is braver than I).

The lake was beautiful as always, we were the only people there and the mosquitoes tried to steal our lunch as always. I’m sure I added some extra protein to my meal–those nasty buggers were swarming!

Pilot and Index Peaks–all the way over in Yellowstone National Park. When you reach Blue Lake which is located in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, you are only about 10 miles from the Yellowstone National Park border.

We met lots of young people on the trail–hikers from the church camps. It was an incredibly beautiful day with great friends! Back home we were just exhausted–that trail took it out of us this time–does that mean we are getting older??

Here’s the recipe for that to die for ice cream I served the family last weekend–

And here is a dish I prepared today–delicious!!! The is a woman who has lived with her husband all over the world–they travel part time in a motorhome and have recently purchased a new to them home in Indio, CA. She has a fabulous sense of humor and it is a hoot to read her blog. All the comments about the ingredients and cooking instructions are the Goddess’s.

BEEF BARBACOA FOR TACOS  (RV Goddess)The beef is just a bit spicy, so use only one teaspoon of the dried chiles if cooking for non-fire eaters, or bump it up to a full 3 teaspoons if the Devil Hisownself sits at your table. The tacos are traditionally served on warm corn tortillas, but I usually use flour “street taco” tortillas these days – with only diced onion and cilantro. Add a bit of hot sauce or fresh tomato if you choose.

NOTE: I use boneless chuck roast in this recipe, but you could use a small brisket. Choose any marbled piece of beef that can be easily shredded. Enjoy!

One large onion, chopped fine, divided (see below)
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
One jalapeno pepper, seeded (if desired) and minced
2 teaspoons dried Chipotle Chile Flakes (or to taste)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
pinch of cloves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about two limes)
2.5 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1 Bay leaf

warm flour (or corn) tortillas
chopped onion (see above)
fresh cilantro leaves
hot sauce, such as Chulula (optional)

Chop the onion. Reserve about one quarter of the onion to serve with the tacos, and place the remaining 3/4 of the onion in the slow cooker. Add the minced garlic and jalapeno, dried Chipotle flakes, cumin, oregano, cloves, salt and pepper to the onion and garlic mixture to the slow cooker. Pour the fresh lime juice over all and stir well.

Remove any large fatty bits from the beef roast and slice the roast into three or four chunks. Bury the chunks of beef into the spicy onion mixture, turn to coat well with the spice mix, and tuck a bay leaf into the slow cooker. (Do not be alarmed the mixture is so dry – it won’t be in a few hours.) Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

After six-to-eight hours, remove the beef from the slow cooker to a large cutting board, rimmed baking sheet, or plate. Use two forks to shred the beef and keep the shredded meat warm under a sheet of aluminum foil.

Discard any liquid from the slow cooker.

Serve the shredded Barbacoa in warm flour or corn tortillas with chopped onion and cilantro.

This is a great meal. Serve the tacos with chips, guacamole, and a fruit platter. The recipe will make over a dozen tacos.

Today is Judy Bell’s (aka the Blogland Bird Lady)birthday–notification popped up on my Facebook page this morning. Judy died almost two years ago and every time I see a new bird I think of her–she was so good at identifying these critters. These ducks were swimming in the Boulder River–floating along–but I have no idea what kind of ducks??

Today the Cowboy spent the day helping a neighbor repair a 1966ish John Deere tractor–by days end he had it running. I spent the day cooking, making masks and checking on a friend/neighbor who had surgery on Monday.

Life is good.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Sarah likes to take a walk and had walked around the end of the lake out of sight after we finished lunch. She came back very excited–she saw a wolverine!!! Very cool!!

18 thoughts on “Rough Trails

  1. Looks like common merganser, and I am pretty sure I learned that from Judy. Ahh, yes, we all miss her. That ice cream sounds fabulous. Will have to check out the RVlady I guess, looks like fun. Not so much those mosquitoes. I don’t miss living with them as we did at Rocky Point


  2. Enjoyed the photos. Sure miss Judy and Emma. We were blessed to have her take us on a tour of one of “her” refuges. Back when she was volunteering full time with the wildlife services.


    1. Thanks Jerry. I too met Judy–took her to Mexico for dental work she decided not to have. My sister even drove over to Maumelle, AR where Judy was camped to meet her. She was a special lady.


  3. Funny, I had just pulled up the RV Goddess beef recipe before I read your
    post. Planned to fix it since she posted it. Happy to know it was a hit for you.
    Your pictures are stunning!
    Guess Montana will always be yours and the Cowboy’s main home ?


  4. Hard to believe Judy’s been gone for two years. She is still missed terribly in the blogging world. When I see recipes like the taco one, sure makes me wish I could eat beef again. Never in a million years did I think this Montana girl would get gout from beef. But my mouth watered reading the recipe.


  5. ‘Tis a beautiful lake and a very rough road. I went once….glad did it again for me! Those recipes sound yummy!


  6. What a great trip to Blue Lake! It is always interesting to travel trails each year and see how things have changed, sadly, for the worse usually. Glad you made it safely. Beautiful views. Thanks for sharing.


  7. You are surrounded by such beautiful scenery! You’ve reminded me that I was planning to make tacos from the beef chuck roast that’s been hiding in our freezer for the past couple of months. Beef Barbacoa sounds like the perfect thing to do with it!


    1. It was so, so good! I am not a fan of crock pot cooking and my roast even though I cut it into several chunks took 8 hours of cooking on high! I’ve Googled slow cooker versus Instant Pot conversion times and will use my Instant Pot next time. We do live in a beautiful part of the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice clear crisp photos and yes I often think about Judy as well when I see birds I don’t know. Only met her once at the first Bloggerfest on Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite. My Facebook photo is a cropped picture of me standing beside Judy at that Bloggerfest. I could tell she was quite a Gal.


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