NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beyond the Sagebrush

Use your imagination to find shapes in
Valley of Fire State Park

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trekking the Sierras

Last week I was at Meadow Lake, near Truckee, California, for Sierra Trek, one of the largest fundraisers for the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Inc. aka Cal 4-Wheel. This event has various types of runs from the extremely-challenging Fordyce Trail to SUV runs over easier terrain. There are also activities at base camp for all ages including a log sawing contest, a canoe race, and live music. All of this takes place with the gorgeous Sierra Nevadas as a backdrop.

Four-wheeling is the reason I am outdoorsy today. Some may be surprised that I love this recreation activity for a lot of the same reasons folks love to hike or bike – camaraderie, scenery, adrenaline, and fresh air. I wanted to give you a better idea of what four-wheeling is about, because when we tell friends and family that we’re taking the Jeep to go four-wheeling they think dirt roads. Well sure, we drive down dirt roads to get to the big-rocky trails. Since pictures are worth a 1,000 words, I figure I’d save you some reading and put together a photo essay of sorts instead.

Rigs (Jeeps, Broncos, trucks, etc) on the Fordyce Trail

Spotters help guide drivers on
tougher spots along the trail

We pack out trash too -
including banana peels!

Getting some air at the top of Winch Hill 5 -
this is where that adrenaline comes in

Working our muscles during the log sawing contest

The ice cream truck testing its flexibility on the RTI Ramp -
Ramp Travel Index, hosted b the Joaquin Jeepers

How do you trek the Sierras?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buckaroo Dutch Oven Cook-Off

When you’re outdoors an exciting way to cook is with a Dutch Oven. Want to see the process? Join us for Nevada Outdoor School’s 3rd Annual Buckaroo Dutch Oven Cook-Off where experienced and beginner cooks come together to enjoy a day of friendly-competitive cooking. You can taste-test your way to a new dish to try on your next outdoor adventure. Already have some experience in the outdoor kitchen? Heat up your Dutch Oven(s) and show us what you’ve got at the Cook–Off on August 27th. Family, friends, and the local community will all enjoy this relaxing day of fun-filled cooking and tasting. Come and join the friendly competition to find out who has the best cooking techniques in the area.

There will be two categories to register in either Bean Master, cooks a main dish and dessert, or Chuck Wagon, which cooks a main dish. Each category will have separate tasting and a panel of judges to decide the winner. There will also be an overall People’s Choice award that will receive a trophy and be judged by the public. Cash prizes of $200 and $100 for winners!People’s Choice Award – You be the Judge! Taste many different Dutch Oven dishes when participating in the People Choice Award. For a suggested $10 donation, that includes all utensils needed to taste, a drink and five tickets to use for voting this year’s winner. The first 100 participants will receive a commemorative cup.

For inspiration on a dish to cook check out this Fizzy Fruit Cobbler recipe from There are so many yummy recipes to choose from it is hard to pick just one!

Fizzy Fruit Cobbler Dutch Oven Recipe

Ingredients: Apple pie filling, 1 box yellow cake mix, 1/2 can 7-Up, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Directions: Any combination of flavors that sound good to you can be tried. This example is apple, yellow cake, and cinnamon. Another might be cherry filling, chocolate cake, and powdered sugar. Or, blueberry filling, white cake, and grape soda.

Line the dutch oven with aluminum foil to make clean up easier if you aren't adverse to doing that. Pour the fruit filing into the bottom of the D.O. Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the filing - do not stir it. Pour the soda on top of the mix from a low height so it does not splatter all over. With a fork, mix the soda into the cake mix, being careful not to mix it into the filling too much - a little is ok. When the cake mix is stirred, sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cook for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Light your fires!
Bug Dust

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Get to Know an Invasive Species: Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass - as far as the eye can see.

Everyone has run into this pesky invasive species. It sticks to your socks and shoes and even in your dog’s paws. It raids lawns and gardens. This invasive species has taken over numerous beautiful areas in Nevada; including Water Canyon, a local recreation area. The abundance of cheatgrass takes away from the native landscape. Good luck getting rid of this plant now; it will just keep taking over. In Nevada cheatgrass is a huge issue and it is difficult to control.

photo courtesy of Steve Dewey,
Utah State University,

Some ways to indentify cheatgrass:

- Stems are slender and several inches tall
- Leaf sheaths and blades are covered in short, soft hairs
- Leaves can be up to eight inches long
- Root is finely divided into fibrous roots
- Cheatgrass is annual, meaning it completes its lifecycle in one year
- Invades rangelands, prairies, and pastures; widespread in Pershing, Humboldt (lucky us!), Lander, and Eureka counties
- Potential to completely alter the ecosystem it invades by replacing native vegetation and changing fire regimes; burns very fast and hot

Some ways to control this pesky plant is frequent mowing or tillage, fire under controlled conditions (let’s leave that to the land managers though!) You can help stop the spread of this invasive by washing vehicles and ATVs after an outdoor adventure, shaking your tent out, and bathing your pets. If everyone lends a hand this invasive species it can be controlled.

- Nemo