Mountain Mix: First take 4 pinecones and break them up into small pieces. Add in a handful of acorns (chestnuts can be substituted) and mix with 3 hand cups of creek water. Now take a boot full of soft sifted dirt (be sure to remove any earthworms, they will be added in later)..… Errrr…
Week after week, we have taken you along on trips through the woods and mountains on trails and hikes that last for several hours. Long enough that you need to take some sort of snack with you when you hit the trail. Now that winter is here, many of you will want to hike more where the heat is less, and the view are more while the trees are bare. A few of you have messaged us to find out what the best thing is to take along with you on the trails to keep the hunger down and the energy up so we thought this would be a good time to talk about a few of those things.
Before you go hiking, it’s extremely important to “fuel up” your body. Think of it like your car, you’re not going to go get on the interstate and start a cross country drive without fueling up your car, are you? We need to start out the day with some very important foods. Some things we recommend are fruits and veggies. Make sure to have something like whole grains and some quality (we stress quality) protein such as lean meats, eggs, peanut butter or nuts. Stay away, far away from the fast food breakfast and things like doughnuts and muffins before a hike. This isn’t the fuel your body needs to keep you safe and healthy while in the mountains. And drink plenty of water as it is very important to your body when hiking. So many people don’t realize how easy it is to become dehydrated when you go hiking. Stay away from the coffee, soda, orange juice and just fill up on water.
So now that we have our bodies fueled up and ready to go, what about those rest stops we need to take while on the trail? I’m good if I just pack a ham and cheese sandwich at home or stop by subway and get a turkey sub and throw in my bag, right? WRONG! First, if you are going to be hiking long enough to want to eat something of that size, you are probably going to be out too long without refrigeration to keep those meats and condiments safe. Any who wants to carry the extra weight of three or four frozen ice packs around? So, if you are going to be on the trail more than two hours, we recommend taking a snack. A good rule of thumb, is take something for a break every two hours of hiking. We recommend things like dry fruit, fresh nuts, carrots, celery sticks, seeds, raisins, apples, pears, or something like shredded wheat, crackers or granola bars.
Here is a great trail mix that we like to use that is easy to make:
3/4 cup raw pecans (We toast ours in the oven for 10 mins at 350 degrees F)
3/4 cup raw cashews (We toast ours in the oven for 10 mins at 350 degrees F)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened, unsulfured dried fruits
1/2 cup unsweetened, unsulfured raisins
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Store in a Ziploc bag or mason jar.
3. Will keep for up to 1 month.
And please don’t forget the water again. While you are hiking, your body is constantly using water. A hiker can dehydrate twice as fast as someone just casually walking. It is best to drink about half a cup or 125mL every 20 minutes to keep your system hydrated.
So, what now that the hard part is over? I have finished that six-mile hike so now I can reward myself with a nice steak and baked potato or some boneless wings dripping with BBQ sauce right? Wrong again. After hiking, you want to continue to fuel your body with healthy foods it needs to recover and gain strength. Its best to do this within one hour of the hike. If we aren’t going straight home after the hike, we like to take along a cooler or bag in the car and bring things such as more fresh fruit, veggies and nuts, or now you can think about that turkey sandwich (make sure you have plenty of ice or ice packs to keep it cold in the car while hiking). And after your hike, make sure you drink plenty of water again. It is recommended that you consume at least two more cups or 500mL within the first hour after hiking.
We hope you find this week’s article helpful to you while you are out and about in the mountains this winter. Remember that safety while hiking is the most important thing. Good healthy and energetic foods with plenty of water is vital to a successful hike. (disclaimer… please do not try to eat any of the above “Mountain Mix unless you are in the bear, deer or raccoon family!)