Handy Trail Breakfast

…the lighting is a bit odd today… my hands are not quite that violet ordinarily

Peanut butter filled pretzel bites [140cal. a dozen] and Jack Links new fully-cooked AM Breakfast Sausages [150cal. for three]… nice combo. Tastes a little like crunchy satay. Very good! And just a bag in my pocket.

Finish it off with some Peanut M&Ms and a swig of water… onward into the fog


Cape Cod Rail Trail~ Bike & Hang [and eat! obviously!]

This last weekend, a bunch of my hammock hanging cronies did a second annual bike trip along the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Dennis to Wellfleet, and then onward on surface roads to Provincetown at the far tip of Cape Cod.


Looks like they had some fun, and saw some sites, but the hammocks seem to be sadly missing…





Our friend Eric’s sweet ride and handy little trailer. He’s a professional “bike wrench”… whadya want…?

And here’s Snaggletooth’s YouTube of the adventure. Seems like the food took top priority on this trip… with this crowd that’s a “DUH!”

I can’t go on one of these because of my age… I’d fall off my bike laughing at how absurd I knew I looked in one of those silly helmets, and ain’t NObody, NOhow want’s to see my saggy a$$ in bike shorts or a windshirt. Besides, I’d be ambulanced out after the first 600 yards anyway.



TRAIL BARS~ HuppyBar/ Kate’s Real Food/ GutseyBar

As we were building up for our group hammock hang last month down at the Harold Parker State Forest outside Boston, I approached several trail bar vendors and requested donations for a “trail bar sampling” to be conducted while everyone was hanging around. Lyndsay Hupp from HuppyBar, Elisabeth Hooks from Kate’s Real Food, and Carrie Forbes from Gutsy were all kind enough to send along contributions of all the flavors in their lineups.

Together with what they sent and what I scrounged on my own we had an awesome pile of bars to sample….

I wish I could say that the sampling was an equally awesome success. Unfortunately, it was a total disaster. We had loads of hungry-hungry people, but we had so much other food coming out of the smoker, off the grills and out of the cast iron that no one was interested in a snack.

Who would be when you can stuff yourself on ribs, six kinds of smoked sausages, venison roast, brisket and umpteen types of side salads.

We only got around to trying two or three bars in all. This left me with the daunting task of eating all the rest myself in order to form an opinion. You know how it goes….sometimes you just have to “take one for the team”.


As I explained to each of these three vendors when I solicited their contribution, I have no intention here of doing a “review”, or even a comparison. I simply wanted to get some opinions on what people liked in a trail bar. I am not out to pick a winner. Rather, this is a look at what’s there, what they are, and [as it turned out in this case] mostly what I thought of these individual offerings. I will end up with an overview of all the bars I sampled at some point, but for now I wanted to cover the donated ones.

I stumbled on the HuppyBars and those from Kate’s over on the GarageGrownGear site where they are being sold [in addition to the individual vendors own pages]. I don’t know where I first saw the Gutsey Bars.

All of these selections are intended as energy bars. They don’t pretend to be meal replacements, or protein bars. They just mean to give you that boost of energy along the way, however, they all also do a great job as a dessert or “reward” at the end of the trail.


Huppy Bars

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In the words of her site, “the perfect bar: delicious, nutrient dense, and satisfying to the core.” Lyndsay [Huppy] Hupp started making these bars for her own use as a river guide in the Southwest. When everybody else on the trips started sneaking them out of her pack, she segued into commercial production. Check out her story on her site.

Huppys come in six flavors. All are indeed nutrient dense, being a various mix of nuts and seeds together with tapioca and spirulina… no soy, dairy, gluten, corn or cane sugar. No preservatives or GMOs. And, per Huppy herself, “Shelf life is 9 months. Best stored in a cool, dark place, but the ingredients are all shelf stable. They do well in the heat (field tested in summertime Grand Canyon many times), the chocolate flavors hold up and do not become gooey (like a snickers, etc). “

The first one of the Huppy Bars, and which we did get to try at the hang, was the Pecan Orange Spice. People were impressed enough to go “Wow!”. The general comment I remember was that it nailed the spice-thing without venturing off into the ubiquitous pumpkin spice trap. When I had first asked Lyndsay for a chance to try out her products, I mentioned that as an old guy my teeth were just not up to the super-crunchy or super-chewy kind of bars I had previously checked out. I like a more cookie kind of consistency. She assured me that she was sure “they will be the perfect median for you on the chewy factor” … they were. Firm and dense, a nice “chew” from all the nuts, etc, not too sweet. I was grabbed by the HuppyBars from that first bite.

After the hang though, I had to take on the other offerings by myself. The Chocolate Java has a fine espresso taste… a bit light on the chocolate flavor, but I think that just helped carry the java tone out longer on your tongue. Same good chewiness from all the seeds and nuts… these are bars to make last, and not just shove down your pie-hole.

The Apple Cinnamon Raisin carried off all three flavors really well, Big plump raisins, good apple flavor, and a firm dose of cinnamon without going to far off to the spice-thing.

Coconut Date Ginger again hit all the described flavors spot on. I like ginger, and in this one it gave a fine dose of snap to the bar. I also am fond of dates and they offered a great, sweet smoothness to the chew.

Chocolate Berry Love did bring home the chocolate that I missed in the Java bar. Blueberries and cranberries together with walnut in the nut/seed mix made this another good one to savor.



Finally… the “odd man out”… the HuppyBar AZT Wild Mesquite ~ The Official Energy Bar of the Arizona Trail [check out the link] This one gets its own photo.

Don’t let the mesquite thing scare you… this doesn’t taste at all like the mesquite BBQ flavor. It is unique, subtle, and really GUD!

I’m not even going to venture any other opinion on this bar, other that to say “You gotta try it !”  Once you do you can easily see why this flavor spends a good bit of time showing, “Sold Out” on the HuppyBar site. So different that it is easily my fav.

The AZT photo is also a good representation of what the Huppys look like overall. All have a coordinated packaging theme with small changes of color on the turquoise background design for each bar. The bars themselves are just a couple of inches square, but they pack a lot of flavor and nourishment into that small package… good things DO come in small packages. Their density also means that they travel well… they aren’t gonna go all crumbly in your pack or pocket.

Huppy Bars sell for around $2.29 each [or $25.99 per dozen~ your choice] on the HuppyBar site.

However, right now, you Moosenut Falls readers can use the code FLASHBOGO to “buy one-get one”… AND until Aug 22rd, the shipping is free!


Gutsey Bars

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Gutsey’s lineup is only three flavors deep right now, all tied to the New England area [the company is based out of Portsmouth, NH], and like so many things in New England that useless “R” has been dropped from the pronunciation… these ah trail bahs, Ayuh.

Off their site, “Our bars contain only good fats and organic ingredients. No GMO’s, no grains, no gluten and no added sugars. The bar recipes are sinfully delicious, nutrient-dense and downright crave-able.” Gutsey Bars advertise as “2 Servings” and offer 200-240 calories per bar. The bars are about twice as large as the Huppys, and much denser [similar to the more widely available “LUNA” bars]. This means that they hold up really well to abuse in pack and pocket, and also don’t go mushy in the heat.

I started my tasting with the New Hampshire bar, Quinoa Cookie w/Chia & Cherry. The name is sadly lacking in the descriptive vein. The “bah” was pretty good, I just didn’t get any of those particular flavors jumping out at me. [I guess I had hoped for a bit of a cherry blast… most other bar offerings miss out on using that delicious flavor, and it seems such an obvious one. Cherries have not only the flavor, but are sticky enough when chunked or ground up to be a good binder.] Anyway, the only profile here was really just “cookie” in a kind of generic way… not a bad way, just a generic one. If I had named it I would have gone with something along the lines of Nut-Butter Cookie Dough… those were more the tastes that came through to me.

The Maine themed bah went the same way… the name, Coconut Cookie Dough w/ Cacao Nibs seemed disappointing as a description of the reality. Again nothing really wrong with the bar, just not a great description. What came through was that same nutty-butter flavor and a nice cookie dough/ chocolatey goodness from the cacao nibs, but almost nothing from the coconut.

However, despair not. Gutsey totally redeemed things with the Boston “Wickud Strong Bah”, their Double Chocolate Brownie.

As you may know, I am older than dirt. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s with 5¢ candy bars as the norm… and these were candy bahs 5 inches long, and with f.l.a.v.o.r.! High up on everyone’s favorites list was the Tootsie Roll. And not the MEH!-anemic glue stick they give you these days… the old-timey Tootsie Rolls had bites that lasted through minutes of chew, and actually tasted chocolatey. Gutsey’s Double Chocolate Brownie bar nails this perfectly. All that’s missing is the little lines that were cast into the old Tootsies to show the “bite-size”.

I was blown away. I made that DCB bah last for three days, so that I could go on enjoying it… just a bite here and there. All gone now, but the memory lingers on.

The GUTSEY Bars go for around $3.50 in the stores and $35.99 for the “New Englander Sample Box (4 of each flavor) [SOLD OUT right now]. The other flavors and smaller sample packs are available on their site linked above and HERE


Kate’s Real Food Bars

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Kate’s Real Food Bars

From the Kate’s site: “At Kate’s, we don’t skimp. Our wholesome energy bars are small batch made from organic ingredients.” This means they are all non-GMO, all natural honey, and gluten free [in addition to the organic]. The secret ingredient here seems to be organic brown rice crisps… think healthy Rice Krispies. All these bars have them, and they add an incredible “c.r.u.n.c.h.” to every bite!

The other thing that sets them a dite aside from the others is that they are larger sized, and definitely more cookie-like in texture. These may not stand up as well in your pocket, but they sure can be enjoyed as a dessert treat. Represented as two servings per package, they give you a total calorie count of 240-280. Rich and tasty.

I started sampling with the Mango Coconut. “Great fruitiness” is the first line of my notes. I know the mango carried thru, but I don’t remember if there were other fruit flavors like orange as well. The rest was “great crunch/ good coconut/trace of “spice”… I do know that I liked it right off the bat.

Next was the Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate bar. I later found out that this one is labeled “Staff Pick” on the GarageGrown site, and I can see why. It gives the nearly ubiquitous pairing an upgrade to what you always hope other bars will be. My notes just said, “++++”.

The Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bar was the same… just daaahk. Like the GGG gang, I think I would pick the milk over the dark here.

Peanut Butter Hemp & Flax carried the nut butter thing well, just without the chocolate. A good blend, and again with the great crunch.

I am holding out on the Dark Chocolate Cherry & Almond for this weekend’s trip out onto Flagstaff Lake. The Kate’s bars have delivered so well that I can’t help but feel this one’s worth taking for Saturday night dessert…. needless to say, I am hoping for that “cherry blast”.

Lastly we come to the Lemon Coconut. I like me a slice of Coconut Cake or one of Coconut Custard Pie occasionally, however I seldom use coconut for much in my own cooking and baking. And LEMON? …Ahhh, I’ve just never been a lemon fan. Maybe a little juice squooze out with some butter and pepper on a swordfish steak, but not much use for it otherwise.

So…? What’s that over  there…?  I STILL HAVE A ONE INCH SQUARE OF Kate’s Lemon Coconut that I am treasuring! [although it will get eaten tonight]. This bar is my favorite out of all the Kate’s offerings I sampled. The snappy lemon flavor is that of lemon-rind rather than juice, the coconut is complemented and supported by it, and that crisp rice crunch carries it over the goal-line.

The Kate’s Real Food Bars are priced at $2.99@ and $34.99 a dozen on their site.


I liked all these trail bars, and it was a fun project to munch my way thru them all. I asked for these samples because I was already fairly certain that these were quality products that I would enjoy, and that Moosenut Falls readers might enjoy hearing about. My thanks to the generous vendors for providing samples for my evaluation, and for the hang crowd to taste test, even it that failed to fulfill expectations.


BOILERPLATE Disclaimer: Any and all posts on Moosenut Falls are my own work. I choose to cover what I wish. My evaluations of various products are not meant as a recommendation, only as my opinions and experiences.

  • I have NO business relationship with any vendors.
  • I am not seeking to monetize Moosenut Falls, even to paying for internet charges, etc. 
  • I do not solicit products often, and when I do it is with the understanding that I do not do negative or comparative “reviews.
  • I will simply choose to pass on posting about an item that I feel is “not up to snuff”. I see no reason to disparage products just because they do not appeal to me personally.
  • Also, I lack the expertise in most things to feel my opinion is worthy of recommending one item over another.
  • When I solicited these products for evaluation on the Moosenut Falls Blog, I made it clear that the posts would be my opinions ONLY… uninfluenced by whether an item was provided, and just as though I had bought it on my own.

A Month’s Worth of Trail Bars

Thanks mainly to the generosity of several vendors, I have assembled a wide variety of meal replacement/ snack bars to try out [until they’re gone].

Leslie Hupp from HuppyBar, Carrie Forbes from Gutsey Bars, and Elizabeth Hooks of Kate’s Real Food were quite kind to take me [and the Moosenut Falls blog] seriously enough to send out selections of each of the flavors in their full line of offerings. All of these are non-GMO, organic and, basically “responsible” eating alternatives to some of the more widely available trail food bars. I will be doing a feature on each of the lines down the road. As well, these ones at least, will be going with me to a large, group hammock hang down outside Boston next weekend… we are going to have a Trail Bar Sampling Buffet! …and that is in addition to the traditionally enormous quantities of other food we will be cooking and consuming. My man Snagglepuss will once again be bringing his full, double-door gas smoker, so the food should be truly outrageous! 

The rest of the stash shown above came from REI’s outdoor goodies rack, and the snack and breakfast bar section down at my big-box grocery. I wanted to sample some of the varieties that I have seen or heard mentioned but haven’t tried out yet, so I actually let some of the moths escape my wallet and spent money. Just for fun I am also tossing in a “HooAh” bar from my MREs and the [similar] Mocha snack bar out of an USDoD First Strike package in to the review process.

The result is that I have enough snacks to nibble one every day for nearly a month. Out of consideration for the donations from the vendors, I will be hitting up [ie: wolfing down!] their offerings ASAP, and then doing the others in a more hit-and-miss style.

Right now my real job is to keep my hands off these until I get to the hang!

[Additionally, through the willingness and generosity of some other outdoors vendors, I will also be able to contribute a “Bug Juice Buffet” to try out insect repellant offerings, and a Food-Coma-Recovery Area of “day hangers” featuring some smaller hammocks than those the majority of us use for our actual sleeping. More to come… if I survive.]

Post-Hang Edit: Unfortunately, but predictably, we ate only a few of the trail bars. There was so much food coming off the grill and out of the smoker that no-one had room to spare. I kept offering and people would look at me with that, “You’ve GOT to be kidding”, look on their faces.  It IS hard to compete with 5lb of venison roast, smoked beef short ribs, sausages and Moinks[don’t ask], cast-iron cooked brisket, and BACON.

Turkey Season

My friend Charlotte, who is a Certified Maine Guide, and spends an enviable amount of time in the woods, grabbed this nice shot with her phone over the weekend.

A fine bunch of “Turkey Tail” fungus [trametes versicolor].

In Chinese traditional medicine it is referred to as yun zhi, and, predictably, it is reputed to do amazing things! Anti-inflammatory, fights viral infections and diseases, reduces the growth of tumors, [and of course] increases stamina and energy… all unproven unfortunately. Also unfortunately, since it is wickud common in the woods, it is inedible.

[That is unfortunate and unlike the other clustering polyphore, “Hen-of-the-Woods” , which is much harder to find in the wild, but is highly edible and delicious, even though it looks kind of like the dog’s roundtrip lunch….[also found cultivated as Maitaki in Japanese cuisine]

“Gone In 60 Seconds”

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to doing a post on foraging. I regularly go out for fiddleheads in the spring, as well as young poke and watercress. I grew up on Euell  Gibbons classic books  “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” and “Stalking the Wild Scallop”, both of which taught me a lot about the things that you can eat from the wild… and what you can’t.

One of the most popular things to forage for are of course wild mushrooms. The taste of morels and chanterelles puts anything from the grocery store to shame.

Anyway, the other day I looked up my side window and saw a large white ball in the grass alongside my driveway. I don’t live where kids can knock a softball up into my yard. Puzzled, I went out to look. What it turned out to be was a giant puffball mushroom. This is one of the few mushrooms that you can find that falls under the category “hard to mistake”. I grabbed it up, and scurried inside in excitement.



THERE IS RISK THOUGH! [Don’t try this at home, kiddies] Many edible mushrooms can be very, very hard to differentiate from those that are less than edible, and might be fatally poisonous! Don’t eat it unless you are hundred percent sure!

From the net: “Calvatia [species] are fairly easy to identify as long as you know these mushrooms are in a specific class which have no gills inside, they are just fluff all throughout which later turns itself into its own spores, which then are released with the help of an animal, or human who can’t resist smushing or kicking it, and are dispersed by the wind….. Most Calvatia species are edible as long as the inside is pure white; I am not aware of any that aren’t.”

OK. You’ve been warned. Do your own research and assume your own risk.

At this point I will reveal that I DID survive eating the previous slices the other night. This one was indeed a real “puffball”. [Don’t eat it unless you are hundred percent sure!]



It is shown here already cut in half thru the top, but with several of the larger slices already removed [and consumed!] You can see the soft white flesh that resembles marshmallow both in color and feel. Very delicate and slightly spongy… much more delicate than store bought ones.  This is one of the characteristics that make these relatively easy to identify [againDon’t eat it unless you are hundred percent sure!]


For mine I just dredged the slices in a thin flour wash with a little cornmeal added, and pan-fried them for a couple of minutes on each side until they had browned lightly.

Done this way, I find the taste to be that of a fine, delicate mushroom-cheese omelet… just all-in-one. And, Yes… it was “Gone In 60 Seconds”.

If this interests you, get someone knowledgeable to take you out foraging. There are “mycological societies” [mushroom clubs] all over. They are surprisingly easy to find, and the people are happy to share their expertise. Here in southern Maine, we have people who are actually making a living foraging mushrooms, wild herbs, and exotic greens for the up-and-coming, frou-frou, locally-sourced restaurants. And we are just going into prime mushrooming season here from Aug-Oct. BUT…Don’t eat it unless you are hundred percent sure!


What’s A Hang?

A lot of eating, and we sleep in hammocks.

For this one at Harold Parker SP in Mass, we had three stoves, two grills, a gas smoker, ten pounds of mixed sausages, three racks of ribs, short-ribs, pulled pork, steaks, hot dogs and burgers, “cooler” corn, corn chowder, five salads, potato pie [with bacon], bacon apple pie, dutch oven pizzas, dutch oven “dump” cake, 35 year-old aquavit, three dogs, twenty-five people [ranging in age from 20-74]… and a whole buncha fun!

[Oh, yeah… we gave two newcomers the chance to try out nearly every hammock made, together with other gear, so they can make considered choices when they get ready to spend some money]

At the next hang, we eat lobster!

[Both “n00bs” are already planning on being there, too!]