Forest Fort + American Mules (with Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Along the Truckee River, if you know just the right pyramid-shaped rock to turn left at, ignore the tree branches blocking the lightly-treaded path, and aren’t afraid to walk across two giant logs traversing deep ditches, you will find an epic fort.

And not just any fort. The fort of your childhood dreams. A fort made of gnarly logs with multiple rooms and pieces of wisdom (plus some idiotic statements, of course) scrawled across its walls. Inside there are logs to sit on and little trinkets made from wood and rock and whatever else hanging from the ceiling; right outside the doorway the river runs by.

Sitting inside the fort after a light but sweat-inducing hike, I felt like a kid again. It reminded me of those days when you’d be out playing with your friends in the neighborhood after school until your mom called you in for dinner (in my case, she radioed in over our sweet walkie talkies).

Back in the day I was the president and founding member of my neighborhood’s Pet Lovers Club. We used to ride around like a gang on our bicycles with horns and get paid 50 cents to walk peoples’ dogs. We even had Polaroid photos of the dogs pinned to our clubhouse walls with the owner’s name, address, and phone number written on it, just in case we found a missing dog and needed to locate its owner. I was super cool like that.

Though I may have delved into some serious childhood nostalgia in the fort, I did not forget about the adult goodies I brought along with me: all the fixings for an oh-so-simple Mule. Ginger beer, lime and Tito’s Vodka meld together for a beverage that is all at once refreshing and tangy. Here’s my on-the-go, no fuss recipe:

Tito's American Mule

1.5 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
3 oz Ginger Beer
0.5 oz Lime

In your camp mug or mason jar, pour in a generous slug of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Fill the rest of your cup up with ginger beer, then give it a taste to see how the strength is. Next, squeeze a sliver of lime in and give the cup a swirl to make sure it’s all mixed together. Cheers!

Dogs on the Road Tip #5

Losing your pet in your neighborhood is bad enough, but losing your dog when you’re on the road or out exploring in unfamiliar territory is even worse. It goes without saying that it is imperative for your dog to always have up-to-date tags, but there are other things you can do to ensure your pet is found and safely returned. Above all, never underestimate the power of social media. If you are in an unfamiliar area, post a photo of your dog on Facebook and alert local animal rescue organizations so they can share the photo on their Facebook pages to locals who may be able to find your furry friend. I’ve heard so many cases of complete strangers going out to look for (and ultimately find!) other people’s dogs. It’s heartwarming.

Another piece of advice is to leave an item of your clothing with a bowl of water where you last saw your dog. Your smell will help orient the dog, who is likely to return to that spot. Don’t leave out food as this will only attract wild animals. Keep checking back at this original spot. And don’t give up hope!

This post was in partnership with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Seek + Scout!