Category Archives: snacks

Snacks: Trail Sprouting

IMG_9698Sprouting is one of the easiest ways to get fresh food on trail without worrying about the water weight and fragility of fruit, or the rapid decay of greens. Harpo & I sprouted all along the AT and have continued the practice on our more recent trip to the Olympics. Trail sprouting is really effective on trips longer than 2 nights – it takes an overnight soak and 2-3 days rinsing twice per day (using about 1/4 cup of treated water) to get the seeds to an edible state – right about the time you’re craving some fresh, non-dehydrated food. We repackage sprouts ordered from Sprout House into 2oz increments, and use a hemp sprouting bag from Outdoor Herbivore on trail.

Sprouts combine well with oats, or can be thrown in with ramen. One of our favorite AT trail recipies was a flour tortilla filled with instant hummus and sprouts

Sprouts after 3 days in the Outdoor Herbivore hemp sprouting bag

Sprouts after 3 days in the Outdoor Herbivore hemp sprouting bag

Snacks: Grouchy Mix

Grouchy Mix

Grouchy Mix

Uncle Bud’s deep fried garlic peanuts
– dehydrated okra & green beans
– raw cashews
– tamari almonds
– roasted & salted soy nuts
– spicy roasted pepitas

The Uncle Bud’s are the winner here… Harpo and I have been buying them down at Uwajimaya for a minute. You can get the rest of the ingredients at any well stocked store with a bulk department. The key is offsetting the expense of the raw cashews with other cheap ingredients like the spicy pepitas, or sesame seeds if you prefer. Basically, Groucy Mix is salty & mouthy, with some crisp moments and a creamy finish. Them little chipmunks, with their bandit mascara, love it… positive reviews all around.

On the first night out a squirrel brought down our bear hang and ate some snacks. On our last night, a chipmunk ran up a bear wire and broke into Harpo's snack bag ... and on returning to the trailhead for resupply, we found out a lil dude had climbed up inside the locked car and busted into Harpo's snacks AGAIN!

On the first night out a squirrel brought down our bear hang and ate some snacks. On our last night, a chipmunk ran up a bear wire and broke into Harpo’s snack bag … and on returning to the trailhead for resupply, we found out a lil dude had climbed up inside the locked car and busted into Harpo’s snacks AGAIN!

5 days, 7 passes and 3 hungry rodents

Home (away from home) Lake

Home (away from home) Lake

Olympic National Park – entering from Marmot Pass – loop around White Mountain

Distance: 65+ miles
Elevation Gain: thousands
Date: August 24 – 28, 2014
Hikers: Groucho & Harpo
Duration: 4-5 days

Harpo Sez:

Day 1 – Sunday

Groucho and I start out on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. It’s only 4.5 miles up to Mystery Camp where we will start our 5-ish-day trek around the SE Olympic National Park. Surprisingly crowded for a non-holiday, non-weekend, we find a spot next to the stream and quickly set up camp in the nippy mountain breeze. Sadly, for the first time ever, our bear hang falls in the middle of the night and later we discover why… A mouse or chipmunk has tampered with my food sack, chewing a hole in the bag, and then through a ziplock in order to eat my fresh peach and all my dried fruit!! Little devil.
Day 2 – Monday 
Marmot Pass

Marmot Pass

We wake early to begin an 18 mile day. Groucho jets up hills like a billy goat (he just finished a 10-day PCT section)… while I struggle, having typed more, and hiked less, as evidenced by my soft urban feet. I put on my good mood and try to keep up. Starting with a nice easy jaunt up Marmot Pass (6,000 feet), dipping down 4ish miles to Home Lake for brunch – an hour of savory oats, blister care, and a frigid lake swim. By noon we’re heading up Constance Pass (5,800 feet),  continue up another mile to 6,500 feet, near the summit of Mount Constance. The views are 360 degrees, the weather clear and gorgeous.
We catch our breath and begin the knee buckling trek down down down down down 6 miles to the Dosewallips riverside trail. Along the way we pass a little pond with hundreds (maybe thousands?!) of tadpoles. Charming, charming little fellows.
Reaching the river we trek another 5 flat miles until my blisters start to burn. Diamond Meadows, a huge camp among the old old cedars next to the Dosewallips river, is empty. We set up camp, Groucho leads hiker yoga, we eat cold hydrated ramen and enjoy a sweet, little fire. A dreamy end to a grueling day.
Day 3 – Tuesday
O'Neil Pass

O’Neil Pass

Breaking camp early, we hike further up river to Honeymoon Meadows. Fording a small river, we meet Steve, a 67 year old gentleman who really has his it together. I appreciate his approach – using Honeymoon Meadows as a base camp for a bunch of short hikes over 5 days.  While we’re only carrying 9 lbs base weight, with 1.2 lbs of food per person per day, the 15 lbs total was starting to weigh me down. Starting up to Anderson Pass (4,450 feet), we continue counterclockwise around White Mountain, leap-froging with our new friend a few times.
The fun really begins with a long late morning walk on a high, flat path at 4,500 feet around the south end of the range. In and out of the trees, the views of nearby glaciers, lowland forest, and  river valley are epic. Finding a creek Groucho sets up a glacier-cold foot soak to help with my increasingly painful blisters. After a short break, we continue 7 miles through subalpine meadows dripping with huckleberries – we devour pints, and our hands stained with blueberry bruises. We hear – and then SEE elk – crossing our path, scattering through the woods, hooves pounding headed straight down the steep slopes. At 6:00 p.m. we cross O’Neil Pass (5,000 feet) -the rocky path makes for sore feet, but it’s all downhill for the rest of the day.
Passing Marmot Lake, we share the trail with a doe and two precious fawns. I’m reminded of my mom taking me to Bambi as a little girl. We descend to the Duckabush River and find a place to make camp as the dark settles in – the softest cedar forest beneath us we sleep, minds full of the wonders of the wild.
Day 4 – Wednesday
campsite at Dose Forks
We’ve been anticipating the climb up to Lacrosse Pass (5,566 feet), which one hiker relayed, up or down, was “hell either way.” It’s difficult, but nothing out of the ordinary for the Northwest. Abundant huckleberries, my personal power pellets, appear in blue, blue-black, hot pink, and regal purple. Taking our time we reach the pass at noon, running into our new buddy Steve. We have a fantastic conversation about gear, snacks, photography, mediation, and public service.
We climb down to Honeymoon Lake again, and begin the long trek toward the river. Arriving at Dose Forks we score a secluded site by a rushing, aquamarine Dosewallips river, finishing a 17 mile day with a quiet fire. Somehow, even using a park-provided bear wire, a mouse sneaks in my food sack as I sleep, and I lose the rest of my Grouchy Mix. I am too tired to be hungry, or mad.
Day 5 – Thursday
Constance Pass

Constance Pass

Labor Day looms, and the park grows crowded. We get up early, hoping to knock out the rigorous 6-mile climb to Constance Pass before we fully wake up. Marching straight uphill 4500 feet it is, as they say, challenging.
We continue without much rest until Home Lake, where we take a lovely late lunch. It’s hard to believe we have 10 miles left. Fortunately with the last of our food gone our packs are light both up to Marmot Pass, and down the remaining 5.4 miles to the trailhead, arriving by 6:30 p.m.
We open the trunk and find – to our disbelief – that a mouse (or some dark eyed bandito) has crept in to the closed trunk of my car (?!) and again eaten my resupply of Grouchy Mix!!!!
The trail mouse is my spirit animal for the journey. Fin.

Savory Oat Express

Instant savory oatsOn a recent backpacking trip, Groucho tested out a new savory oat recipe. This one’s stove-less for those times you run out of fuel, or just don’t feel like carrying the extra weight of the stove and fuel on a journey. The coolest trick (ye olde backpacker standby) is to tear the top off the packet and pour your filtered water right into it. The packet is resilient enough to be your temporary bowl.

Mix together:
1 package plain or flax instant oats
1packet miso soup mix (we used savory soup with seaweed)
1/2 cup filtered or purified water

Let sit for a few minutes to hydrate the oats

Top with:
1 spoon nutritional yeast
A hearty sprinkle of Furikake rice seasoning


Quinoa Crispies

Quinoa Crispies

Crispie with packaging (screenprinted at VERA Project low environmental impact water based ink on found parchment paper), with transit pass & button (the buttons were also printed at VERA on Tilda Swinson’s face found in a 2004 W magazine)

Last fall, while enjoying three days of trail angel hospitality in Waynesboro, VA, we received a care package sent by Groucho’s mom. Included within were highly addictive, extremely tasty Quinoa Crispies – a high-class, more-nutritious, hippie relative of classic Rice Crispie treats.  The snacks were so sweet, crunchy and satisfying that Groucho, Andiamo (our super generous host – a 70 year old former PCT thru hiker who invited us to crash at his house) & I ate the entire bag in one day. So when the time came to make power-bar-eske treats for our “Drunken Boot” participants, this was the first thing I thought of.

The foundation of Quinoa Crispies is a quinoa product, commercially made through a puffing process involving some kind of vacuum. These puffy/crunchy delectables have been available in the bulk section of several stores in the Seattle-Area in recent months… however I was sad to learn the day before our event that all of the stores were out. The product has been discontinued.  Okay – improvisation here we come – this was the recipe for my adapted Quinoa Crispies

1 cup brown rice syrup (heated up to almost bubbling)
1 cup almond butter (mixed with the heated brown rice syrup)
5 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup dried berries (I used blueberries, cranberries and sour cherries)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted quinoa (toss in a dry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant and browned)
Dash of salt

Mix all ingredients together and press into greased pan. Leave out or put in fridge. After awhile cut them up.

Quinoa Crispies

Crispies packaged with pins & transit passes, ready for the Drunken Boot

Hot Cold Summer

Hot Cold Life

Quinoa & raw garlic (shaved with the microplane, so nice!) with arugula, avocado, fresh corn, parsley & cherry tomatoes

It’s been a minute since we had a snacks only post – but we’re still eating. The reader might note a theme here – hot cold salads with quinoa. Harpo & I acquired a large amount of quinoa for the Drunken Boot Quinoa Crispies, but ended up only toasting and using part of it. Regardless of the grain – the hot/cold salad is one of my favorite summer snacks. In this iteration it was mainly arugula & quinoa, tho any combination of grain & green works; amaranth & massaged kale, brown rice & spinach (with lemon tahini dressing iz my personal favorite) and always topped with some fresh herb and other seasonal summer veggies for texture and color. Also, avocado A+ both for fat content and because, as vegetarians, really what else is there…

More of our daily meals can be found at No Money Meals.

Hot Cold - again & again

Quinoa with avocado, celery, broccoli sprouts, fresh corn and arugula.

Hot Hot & Cold Cold

Hot Cold with quinoa, avocado, fresh corn, broccoli sprouts and cilantro – dressed with olive oil, nutritional yeast salt & pepper

Hot Cold Salad

Hot Cold salad with quinoa, avocado, fresh corn, broccoli sprouts and cilantro – dressed with olive oil, nutritional yeast salt & pepper