The best trail mix I have ever made!

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This is the best trail mix I have ever made, granted it is also the first trail mix I have made. Do you ever get so tired of buying trail mix and only liking half of what is in it, who doesn’t just want the pretzel and chocolate pieces? That is us, especially finding one that both of us like. I see all these recipes online for trail mix but I decided to wing it as usual. By wing it I mean I went to the local Trader Joe’s and stared at the options for hours that I could mix together. Trader Joe’s is someplace I have been just one other time in my life, which was before my Yosemite trip a couple years ago. From that trip, and of course reading online (where lets face it we could learn to rebuild a car)  I know they have a great selection of “hiking” food. By “hiking food” we are talking dried fruits, and a vast collection of nuts and seeds, in other words good old bird food. Since I pretty much hate traffic and had to travel almost an hour toward Boston this means I stocked up!

I am going to try and come up with a few different trail mixes as well as some tasty camp oatmeal from this haul.  Let’s face it trail mix is not known for being healthy and low calorie but its sooo good. Then again that is not what the goal is when consuming it. The goal for trail mix is to give you that boost of energy without having to stop and eat a full meal. Your body burns a lot of calories and energy while hiking so it needs full more frequently in the form of small snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a meal. Tomorrow we plan on paring this with some fresh fruit for the perfect snack on the go. 

Print Recipe
Coconut Cocoa Trail Mix
A tasty sweet treat for the trail
Course Snack
Cuisine Trail Mix
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Course Snack
Cuisine Trail Mix
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Instructions
  1. Mix it all together and enjoy! This is going to be a spring or fall trail treat so the chocolate do not melt. There is nothing worse than watching your hiking buddies lick chocolate off the inside of a baggie.
Recipe Notes

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Guides

Top things to see In Silver City Idaho

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Silver City, Idaho- It’s worth the dirt road drive!
Just over 70 miles southwest of Boise is an intriguing part of history called Silver City. It named after the rich silver and gold mines that once led prosperity to this now forgotten town. There were over 250 active mines being used during its peak. Back in the day it was the cream of the crop, being the Owyhee county seat, but now it is a former shell of its once booming economy.. There are still 70 buildings, most not restored, dating from the 1860’s to the early 1900’s. This gives you a glimpse of what the architectural plans were for that time period. It was like taking a step back in time as you meander through town.

Arriving in town I parked outside of the hotel which you can still stay in. The Idaho Hotel, mirroring its 1800’s glory, was originally constructed in Ruby City just a mile down the road. But after Silver City was upgraded to the county seat in 1866 the hotel was moved to the current location. Sitting three stories high this once glorious hotel was undergoing some much needed restoration. It gives you a great view into the past and is definitely a must see when you visit. After leaving the hotel I wandered into Pat’s What-Not Shop. The woman inside was both friendly and informative. She told me that the homes are privately owned and during the winter months there are only one or two people at most who live there. They are there to keep an eye on things and greet the adventurous people on snowmobiles.

As I wandered around town there were some cows grazing over near the campgrounds. The cows looked as lackadaisical as a tumbleweed blowing across the roads, both visions fitting for this experience. The campgrounds were a typical fire pit and a plot of land accompanied by a stake in the ground with a lot number on it. There are no frills here but they are free sites so who cares. The water at the Silver City campground is from the Jordan creek and there were several signs that had the warning “High Mercury levels from mining. caution should be exercised”. This is where I got the idea that maybe some supplies were needed for these adventures such as a portable water filter.

I then continued my self guided tour and wandered through the streets, one of which was named “Dead Mans Alley”, trying to imagine what life would have been like back then. I passed many store fronts and even a little park. Passing many houses, including a large house on top of the hill, wondering who had lived there. I passed the old schoolhouse and eventually found my way over to the Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church. This magnificent beauty is situated on a hill towering over the town. I did not bother going up to the church because it was not open. I was told, after I had visited of course, that there is a fisheye lens in the keyhole to the church so if you visit take a peak for me. It appears they still hold church services here once a month in the summer, or if you choose you can have your wedding here. You can check the Silver City website to see when updated church services are.

There is an open house once a year that has ten or more buildings and homes that can be viewed by the public. Planning ahead and car-pooling is recommended since parking is limited and the open house draws more attention.  Sadly I  missed this by one week when I was here. But we may have to plan another trip here in the future just to get a glimpse inside these unique homes. Another thing I missed was the cemetery. It is on the right side if you are coming into town. I was still new to this whole adventure thing and afraid to go in search of it on my own so I didn’t see it until I was leaving. Lesson learned and now I always seek out the stranger things in these small towns.

There are several hiking options available nearby. One of them being Hayden Peak. With an elevation of 8403 feet it will have even the most adventurous soul tested. They are rewarded with some breathtaking views at the top though. Here is a link to other hiking trails nearby that ranging from easy to advanced.

Visiting this piece of history proves yet again that if it is down, or up in this case, a dirt road it is worth the trip. Just know that those last 20 miles up Silver City Road are not for the faint of heart. The ever faithful Google maps will tell you those 20 miles take around 50 minutes, and trust me you will want to take your time for this drive. I was still driving my ford focus rental so 4 wheel drive is not a must, but it is recommended. They say that you can drive an RV up for use in the campground…..I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Now mind you this is a summer or fall destination since the road is closed from November 1st until the Friday before Memorial Day.

Recipes

Greek yogurt Chicken Salad

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I don’t know about everyone else but I like to take something more than beef jerky and cliff bars on a day hike. Don’t get me wrong I always keep those things in my bag for those moments when you get hungry and are lacking energy on the trail.  Worse than that maybe you left your compass or GPS at home so now your day hike is an overnight trip. There is nothing worse than going out unprepared, spending longer than you expected hiking (because somebody takes to many pictures), and in turn hitting a brick wall on your way back, staring at that 15 degree hill, because you are starving.

Now one of us (the sane one) is perfectly content throwing a McDonalds cheeseburger into his bag along with some chips…the other of us not so much. Just because I am in the woods doesn’t mean I can’t have something healthy and tasty at the same time. One of my personal favorites is Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad. Pair it with a wrap or some crackers and it is good to go.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad20170417_174842

 

Ingredients:

3 cups chicken (or turkey), cubed20170417_174109

3 celery stalks, cut into small pieces20170417_174133

¼ cup onion, dice20170417_174119

1 cup of grapes, halved20170417_174126

1 lemon, juiced (or you could be like me and buy this little guy)20170417_174226

1 cup plain Greek yogurt20170417_174200

 

Directions:

Mix everything together and enjoy! This meal makes a great lunch for work as well. You can also cut down the ingredients and just use whatever leftover chicken you have (which is what I did for the demo).

Of course this is not one of those meals you can just throw in your pack and hope it doesn’t get hot by the time you stop for lunch. I found this great freezer lunch bag at target last year and it goes on all my hikes with me. Once it is empty it takes up very little space in my pack but it keeps lunch cold until I am ready. Plus as a bonus it keeps my water bladder cooler as well.

20170417_175542

Trail Guide

Mini Seal town

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Today’s little hike was a short ride to Ellisville Harbor State Park. We had heard from some locals that this is a nice area to spot some seals. With today being finally a warm (70ish) sunny day, we were hoping we would find some of the seals sunbathing on the rocks. It takes about 15 mins to get to the entrance from Plymouth. The entrance is fairly visible and on the left hand side of the road if you are headed south on 3A. The path to the parking area is to the right of the sign. The upper parking area is rather small and even with it being the off season it was full. More parking to be had down near the sign, however it is a decent walk up a hill to get to the main paths.

The trail starts easy enough, made mostly of packed down dirt. The trail branches off in some areas which we are assuming take you to the marshes and other areas of the park. Today we only had time to go on a short trek so of course we chose the trail leading to the beach. There area a few small hills that may make this more of a moderate hike than an easy hike for some. The trail spans approximately 0.8 miles through a wooded area (which would offer shade in the summer) before opening up to a nice view. As you travel down the trail you will be able to see some salt marshes in the distance and red pines decorating the way. There is even an old farmhouse you can see from the trail as you weave your way down the hills to the beach. The beach itself is mostly rock but there is about a 15 ft wide sand trail. We found that it was much easier to walk on the sand than the rocks. It was a clean trail which we hope doesn’t change as the summer visitors start to arrive. We met several trail walkers along the way and most said hi. Being a dog friendly park we crossed paths with many a k-9 and their humans. We did learn a small error on our part (after we got home) that dogs are not permitted on the beach from April 1st until September 15th with the exception of service animals. This was not publicized anywhere on the trail that we saw and others had their dogs along for the ride as well.

When we did transverse the trails and made it to the beach we were rewarded with the view we were hoping to get! There was some seals basking on the warm rocks. It was low tide so we were able to get down on the rocks to watch them sunbathe. We even got to see a few seal pups. Our new companion and old friend enjoyed the walk as well. They were both glad to take a few minutes to rest and watch the seal pups play. Our new golden retriever, his name is Gannicus (yes he is named after the character on Spartacus), couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to play. We didn’t have the tripod with us so we had to use some rocks to get pictures of the seals along the beach.  The wind was still making it difficult to keep the camera steady so I am going to have to research tricks on that.

We found some interesting little facts about the beach we were standing on. Native Americans used these shores to catch shellfish and even made some of there gathering tools from the stones on the beach. All in all it was a nice little hike at a state park located in Plymouth, MA. If your in the area and need a break from the beaches in town swamped with people I would set aside a few hours to visit this scenic beach and watch some seals have a good time just off the beach. There are a couple picnic tables along the trail that have a great view for lunch, or pack a blanket and head down the trail to the beach for lunch.

Guides

Hiking season almost upon us

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Preparing for hiking season:

Hiking can mean many different things to people. For some it is only hiking if you go straight up a mountain side, while others think of a walk in the woods as hiking. Personally we go for both forms of “hiking” and everything in between. You see when I first got the hiking bug I wasn’t in shape, and I sure as hell didn’t exercise. I learned early on to make sure I listen to my body, and go at a pace that worked for my level of fitness. I would also recommend hiking with someone in similar shape. Nothing is worse than going hiking with someone you can’t keep up with or someone who is ready to turn back in a mile or so, when you had plans for an all day hike.

Hiking requires cardiovascular health as well as strength. Did you know that your average daypack weighs in at around 15lbs. That is just for a day long hike so if you are going to be doing some multi day trips with a tent, sleeping bag, extra clothes, cooking gear, and food you can see where the pounds can add up. Of course you can shave off some pounds by purchasing ultralight gear but that can increase your overall cost.

What is the best way to prepare for hiking? Well the obvious answer is to get out into the woods and hike. For most people though this just isn’t realistic. So I came up with an alternative that we will use this year to get trail ready. Rebecca usually does 5-6 days of cardio averaging 30-45 minutes a day, while Dennis is more the 3 day a week cardio man. We wanted to add in some strengthening exercises that would benefit our hiking plans for this summer. Going to the gym has never been either of our styles so we do all of our workouts at home. This means hitting the stair climber is not going to happen so we have to go for a more natural route. Three sets of 15 repetitions using each leg as your lead.

Step Ups: Using our front step (or heading to the beach and using the stairs there for a workout with a view) face the stairs and step up with your right foot, then bring your left foot up, take your right foot down, bring your left foot down.

Week 1-body weight only

Week 2– 5lb dumbbells in each hand

Week 3 and up– Wear your backpack and increase the weight up to 40lbs gradually

 

Step Downs: Turning your body away from the steps and step up with the right foot, bring your left foot up, step your right foot down, bring your left foot down to starting position.

Week 1-body weight only

Week 2-5lb dumbbell in each hand

Week 3 and up-wear your backpack and increase the weight up to 40lbs gradually

Walking Lunges: Stand with your feet together. Your first step forward with your right foot bending both legs at a 90 degree angle. Then step backward with your right foot, again bending both legs at a 90 degree angle.

 Week 1-body weight only

Week 2-5lb dumbbell in each hand

Week 3 and up-wear your backpack and increase the weight up to 40lbs gradually

We have also added in 3 sets of 50 calf raises done throughout the day.

 

 

Disclaimer: We are in no way experts on physical fitness. These are exercises we have added into our routine to prepare for hiking season. You should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.

Heavens Gate

My Night In Mcall, No Its Not A Bird

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My second glorious weekend in Idaho was spent in McCall, a resort town on the south shore of Payette Lake. I hope you all remember from my last adventure I am not used to altitude so being situated at just over 5,000 feet for the weekend still threw me. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why walking across the parking lot had me out of breathe, even if it was just a little. I can admit I was not in the best shape of my life, but also not in please Jesus save me walking across a flat surface shape at the time. I booked one night in the Shore Lodge and one night in the local Best Western. The Shore Lodge was beautiful with some added in room comforts such as a Keurig (AKA the don’t talk to me until I push this button machine), a patio overlooking a sparkling lake, and some higher end finishes which added to beauty of my current surroundings. There was a restaurant on sight as well as a spa (which I did not get a chance to take advantage of, that wont happen again). I sat on the deck and enjoyed my meal, which was good but maybe a bit overpriced. That evening the lodge hosted an activity of making s’mores on the beach with other guests.idaho 196 I woke up at the crack of dawn to go down to the lake in the freezing cold (I didn’t have a coat because it was September) with my coffee to catch the sunrise. There is nothing better then watching that warm sun eclipsing over the cool frosted mountain tops. I highly recommend it. In hind sight I am pretty low key and do not need such extravagance with my lodging but I wont lie every once in awhile it is pretty nice to splurge. I now tend to look more for clean, cheap, and if there is a free breakfast included that is even better.

Some coworkers had given me some tips for things to see while I was in the McCall area so off I went. There is a natural hot spring just 30 miles away in the Payette National Forest. Most of your drive will be on paved roads this time, your vehicle will thank you. It has been a few years since I visited but I believe only the last mile or two are a dirt road. While sadly the Burgdorf hot springs have been commercialized the rustic charm of the cabins, that have been renovated, remain simple. For a mere $6 you can take a soak in the tubs which have a rock bottom and are well maintained as well as clean in my opinion. The springs are fed at a rate of water churning 150 gallon/minute of hot water. There are two smaller pools that are 113 degrees while the larger pool is 100-104 degrees which is just about perfect to soothe those hiking muscles.

For me the smaller pools were a little hot, but the big pool was a small slice of heaven on the cool September day. Keep in mind that when you go plan your trip here or anywhere in Idaho you need to pay attention to the season. Winter in Idaho is going to limit what you can see and do. Unless you travel with your snowmobile. Which bring s me to my next point, Burgdorf hot springs are only accessible by snowmobile (which you can rent in the area) during the winter months. The winter months in Idaho differ from other areas of the country though so the road is closed from early November until mid-May. You can also get reservations for camping HERE. The cabins you can rent are pretty rustic and no frills so keep this in mind. From Burgdorf I decided to head a few more miles to Crystal Mountain. The road is rough so I took pity on my poor rental car and walked up the last portion. The summit is just under 7,000 feet and the view was beautiful! The jagged quartz mountain surrounded me and a view of blue sky and trees were endless.idaho 138

Sunday morning before I headed back for the dreaded work week I stopped at a local coffee shop for an amazing drink. The Barista at the FOGLIFTER Café  suggested a black and white mocha and it did not disappoint. I  took some time to explore by the nearby lake before heading to the Ponderosa State Park. I drove around aimlessly for a while before parking and deciding to follow a trail . The chosen trail was named the Lily Marsh trail because I liked the name (what can I say I am a girl). You can check out a list of the trails in the park HERE. Well it said the trail was a mile long and in my naive and rookie trail blazing mind I thought it was a loop trail. The distance wasn’t a problem for me until I was probably a half mile straight into the woods and thinking what crazy things am I going to encounter or going to encounter me? You see sometimes my mind can conjure up the worst that can happen and I set a new time record on getting back out of the woods (this is why it is always nice to have a hiking buddy, just make sure you run faster then them). I found the Lily Pond however and was worth every oxygen deprived step.idaho 219 But what made this trip different was at least this time I was a little more prepared with hiking boots, a daypack, water, food, and a first aid kit. I was starting to notice a trend in Idaho but you will have to check back in my next post to see what I discovered.

Uncategorized

Which New Boots For Hiking??

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So one of our next purchases will be some new camping gear and looking for some advice on what to get. We are needing some decent boots, sleeping blankets, backpacks, and then we will be doing some reviews on them after the purchase and along the road to tell you what we like and what we don’t like so much.

The first purchase will be some nice boots we are looking for something of course lightweight and durable and of course waterproof. We have several trips planned this summer from day hikes to some over nighters as well. Currently I’m sporting some GEN-X from Dunham sports.

These have been decent hiking boots after a year they still have good tread left on them and the leather is holding up well. Along with they still shed water pretty well. Although they seem pretty heavy to me and for the longer trips, we plan this year I’m not sure they will be the best fit for my baby soft feet.

We are looking to stay under the $175ish price point and an over the ankle boot as well, Midweight boots seem to be the best compromise between comfort,weight and durability. One of the boots I’m leaning toward is the

Salomon X Ultra Mid II GTX Hiking Boot

The key concepts of this boot being a midweight boot are the flexibility and the lightweight these are some of the lightest midweight boots available right now they also offer good toe protection as well and have good grip and tread to match.

However there are some downsides to the midweight boots being and the most important is lack of sole protection and they don’t quite offer the over the ankle protection of the full heavyweight boots that are out there as well they also don’t perform as well when wearing a heavy backpack due to the softness of the sole , feeling every rock on your foot does not make for a good hiking experience .

So if anyone has any recommendation please leave them in the comments section, it would be very helpful.