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tracking the winner

Remember that tracking contest I had a couple of weeks ago? The little pine marten tracks on my Mary Jane ski post? Well, Janine’s mystery husband guessed right and won the prize. I thought I better show you what he won, so you’d know I followed through on my offer. Hope this techy base layer is keeping the phantom husband/contest winner warm in the Colorado high country!

The next contest and prize will be gluten-free food related since that’s what this blog is all about (with variations), so stay tuned.

Stay warm and healthy!



gone skiing


place: Taos, New Mexico
date: January 18th – 21st
comments: Yippee!




Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be enjoying mine!

In good health,

on the right track, or gluten-free Betty Crocker meets wilderness woman

Surprise – this post isn’t about food, nutrition, recipes, or gluten-free living. But it is about health and well-being. Skiing, hiking, climbing, and wandering the backcountry are just as nourishing to me as a warm bowl of homemade soup. The solitude, peace, and beauty of the wilderness energizes my spirit and calms my soul. I’m a gemini, so you can look at this blog as dual-natured and a bit contradictory. Gluten-free Betty Crocker meets wilderness woman.

Those of you searching for a nice gluten-free bread recipe might want to skip the rest of this post and go directly to my archives file. Or, sit back and enjoy a little glimpse of winter in Colorado’s high country. To get a perspective on this post, refer to my “high country hello and tracking contest” post from last week.

So, what do you guys think? Here is my original photo again, followed by animal tracking information from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. If you’re wondering how this connects to gluten-free living, none of these animals eat wheat, barley, or rye. Not naturally anyway. I’m referring to a species-spanning version of the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon rule to tie this into gluten-free food. Yeah, I know – it’s a leap.

The question was – What little critter made these tracks? Comment suggestions were snowshoe hare, cotton tail rabbit, or pine marten.



Check out my ski pole grip compared to the tracks. The tracks were small and went from the base of one pine tree to the base of another, which most likely indicates a squirrel, although it could have been a pine marten.

The illustration below shows the tracks left by a snowshoe hare, running through the snow. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, mice, rabbits, hares, and squirrels are hoppers, meaning they over-step their front feet with their back feet (think leapfrog), leaving distinct front and rear foot tracks. The back feet are often much larger than the front feet (see below). Although cottontail rabbits and showshoe hare tracks are quite common in the Colorado mountains in winter, the photo I took was not of rabbit or hare tracks since the foot sizes from front to back were so similar. Hares have much larger back feet (6 inches or more). Mice tracks (also hoppers) are often accompanied by a drag line down the middle, left by the tail.


The tracks shown below are from a pine marten. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but they do look a lot like the photo I took. The thing I question is the distance between the front and back tracks. My photo shows them closer together. Pine martens and short-tailed weasels (also called ermine) are bounders.


My guess is that the little guy (or girl) was a squirrel, possibly an Abert or pine squirrel, but since I’m not absolutely sure, the closest (and maybe correct) answer is pine marten and that would be Janine’s behind-the-scenes husband’s answer (say that fast 3 times).

* Janine, email me at and I’ll send you a prize, small as it may be.

So, the moral to this story is – we can find nourishment in many different ways, so get outside and enjoy the fresh air and vibrancy of nature. Yum!

In good health,

high country hello and tracking contest

Hello from way UP yonder in Colorado.

In my 2008 New Year’s Day post I used the word intentions rather than resolutions and movement rather than exercise. One of my intentions is to be more active, spend more time outside, have more fun. I’ve spent too many hours sitting at my desk the past year and don’t want to repeat that in 2008 – I say as I sit smack-dab in front of my computer. Right now maybe, but Friday I was at Mary Jane Ski Area (Winter Park) having a great time following through on my intention. There’s nothing like blue skies, fresh powder, and a little altitude to elevate your mood, no pun intended.

By the way, Mary Jane Ski Area was named after a real Mary Jane who had a thriving business going during the 1800s. Mary Jane lived in a little town called Arrow, which is now the base of the ski area. She was a lady of the evening and provided “friendship” to the miners, rail yard workers, and loggers during those long, cold, snowy winters the Colorado high country is famous for. She definitely understood the economics of supply and demand.

(All you Jim Bridger’s out there can scroll down for the tracking contest.)


Mary Jane’s Panorama Express lift is the highest 6-person lift in North America (called a six-pack lift). It’s also powered by 100% wind energy credits which is pretty cool.


This is a view of the continental divide from the top of the aptly named Panorama Express, which gives access to over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. Yippee! The peak on the left is James Peak and on the right is Parry Peak. I’ve climbed James many times (even in winter), but not Parry. I’ll put that on my intentions list.


This sign sits at 12,060 feet. Fifty degree or greater pitch? Cliffs, rocks, and hazards? No hot chocolate with marshmallows? I’ll have to think about it.


Whew . . . I mean, oh, darn.


Just in case.


Name these tracks and I’ll send you a lovely door prize. Seriously, I’m not kidding. You might win something good – something that has to do with the great outdoors. Well? Give it a shot.


One more view. Sorry I don’t have a better camera. Or photographic skills for that matter. Hopefully this National Geographic shot will give you enough information to guess which little high country critter left these tracks.


Peace to you in 2008!

montina bread makes for good hiking

Montina is the trade name for a baking flour made from Indian Ricegrass (it’s not related to rice). The flour is milled from the seed of the wild rice grass used by Native Americans hundreds of years ago. It’s naturally gluten-free and is high in protein and fiber. It’s grown in the Northwestern United States and milled and packaged in a gluten-free facility in the small town of Ronan, Montana. Doesn’t that just seem like it would taste good (and it does)! The website has a long list of tasty recipes and links to retailers who sell the flour and baking mixes. It’s a great addition to our growing collection of gluten-free “alternative” flours.

I didn’t make the Montina bread pictured above, Dana at XDC Confections in Denver gets the credit. But I did go on a nice hike in Colorado’s high country today and brought along a sandwich made from the flour and I have to say, although the picture doesn’t do it justice, it tasted absolutely wonderful at 13,000 feet! And because the bread’s a bit hardy (in a good way), it doesn’t totally fall apart when it’s shoved down into a backpack. It travels well, even at high altitudes!

The other snacks featured in the photo are apple slices and almond butter. Yum! Everything tastes good when you’re wandering around in the great outdoors.

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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