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Suzi’s Blog

The U.S. National Forest Campgrounds Guide website,, is a wealth of information about developed campgrounds in all 176 national forests and grasslands across the country. It is basically an encyclopedia, straight forward and impersonal. Suzi’s Blog adds a little personal touch to the website with postings about our experiences, adventures, and discoveries along with other postings related to camping, national forests and grasslands, and family fund.

I am Suzi Dow and I hope you will find something interesting, something helpful, something informative, but mostly something that will help you get out and discover our national forests and grasslands.

Hickory – Special tree – Special nut

A great thing about our work is meeting so many great people and being exposed to their special interests.  Years ago we met a man who enjoyed wood-carving.  A favorite medium for him was the nuts of hickory trees.  Through him we have learned more about hickory trees. Did you know hickory trees once grow   Read More >>

Bug or Leaf?

Mother Nature is amazing at many levels.  One thing I always find fascinating is the way creatures adapt and camouflage to their environment.  Here is one example I saw on a vault wall near a shrub with a very similar leaf.

Last day on Pacific Coast

Last morning on Pacific Coast broke cool and cloudy.  Dixie never got to go for a dip. Twenty-miles up the road, almost to Astoria, OR, clear and sunny.  Beautiful!

Getting to Sleep when Camping

I haven’t found any studies to prove it but I am a mom and have noticed a few things like camping, hiking, swimming, and all those out-of-doors activities helps everyone sleep better; a tummy full of good campfire prepared food helps everyone sleep better; and fresh, and breathing fresh air breathed during camping helps everyone   Read More >>

Samoa Cookhouse – Eat like a Lumberjack

The Samoa Cookhouse, at 908 Vance Avenue, Samoa (CA), is the last surviving cookhouse in the West. It continues to serve well-cooked “all-you-can-eat” food in the family or, as they called it “lumber camp,” style. Check the little museum and dining room walls for culinary items from the past and historical mementos from the area’s   Read More >>

Yukon Gold Rush Requirements

Next time you wonder at the pile of stuff you take on a camping trip think about all the Yukon Gold Stampeders (back in 1898) had to take. The Canadian government issued an order that every stampeder must bring enough food and gear for one year. Here is a list of what was suggested: FOOD   Read More >>

Did you know about HP (Horsepower) loss?

Our “around-town” car is a little Ford Fiesta.  Fred loves it but often complains about the lack of “zip” when going up a steep stretch of highway.  It’s about a 1100 foot climb from the start (at approximately 5000-ft) of our climb to the top of Mule Pass, around 6,100 ft.  I just learned there   Read More >>

Las Vegas to Big Pine, CA – a long drive

Look at a US map and you’ll not – getting from Las Vegas, NV to Big Pine, CA is a long drive.  About 160 miles across Nevada desert and maybe 90 miles up and over two mountain ranges, each with 7,000-plus mountain passes!  That’s 250 miles with less than a dozen gas stations and even   Read More >>

Camper’s Fruit Crisp for dessert

Somehow, after a day of hiking, swimming, and doing assorted camping related activities, we need dessert to finish off our dinner.  This Camper’s Crisp is perfect end.  At home we might add a scoop of ice cream but out in a national forest, a big soup spoon is all we need. Camper’s Fruit Crisp Melt   Read More >>

Fly Fishing Festival in Ennis, MT

On Labor Day weekend each year, Ennis, MT, located on the banks of the Madison River, holds its annual Fly Fishing Festival. Lots of fly-fishing related stuff, such as equipment, demonstrations, along with lectures and art, as well as music and good food (the smoked trout pizza was amazing!). The Madison River, flows between the   Read More >>

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Fred and Suzi Dow