Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Adventures: Hiking & Learning to Love Hills

After a long and stressful work week, I needed some serious R&R this past weekend. That definitely did happen, but in the context of our crazy need-to-move especially when it's 70 degrees in January lives. With the warmer temps and my first ultra of the year quickly approaching (4 weeks!), I knew it was time for this flatlander to get to know the mountains a little better. But I digress, post-lifting at the gym, my weekend started with a gathering of friends at our place and this delicious breakfast:

Whole Wheat Apple Nut Pancakes

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Here's my (vegan) version of the recipe:

2 med apple (golden delicious), cored + diced (~2 cups)
1 c. whole wheat flour + 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. plain soymilk + 1 tbsp white vinegar
3/4 c. plain soymilk
2 tsp agave nectar

Combine wet & dry ingredients into separate bowls (excluding apples). Mix wet ingredients into the dry just until mixed. Cook on a griddle @ 200-300 F, adding 1 spoonful of apples to each pancake. Enjoy!

After relaxing most of Saturday morning, we packed our overnight trail bags for a quick hiking trip on the Appalachian trail to one of Roanoke's more popular views, McAfee's Knob. Our plan was to go for a quick trail run, then hike to the top of the mountain and enjoy the sunrise the next morning.

Oh hey warm weather! Let's celebrate by getting lost on the trails in the mountains.

On my run, I learned that it's not such a great idea to attempt to run up mountains after killing your legs at the gym. Oh well. It was slow yet so wonderful! Post-run, we refueled, grabbed our gear and hit the trail again, this time in the opposite direction and straight up. It was a brisk trek as we were fighting off the darkness. Our backpacks were heavy (NOT the best at packing light) and well... my glutes certainly got a good workout this past weekend. 

Our dog is awesome and has her own backpack too!
At the top, Jordan set up camp while I used our jet boil to cook dinner. Dinner was a PBJ for him (that's all he wanted), but I brought along some frozen tofu-quinoa stir fry and a packet of miso soup. I ended up combining the two for a hearty, warm and delicious soupy dinner! Afterwards, we almost immediately fell asleep (around 7:30pm... pretty early I know!) It was quite peaceful at the top of the mountain and we ended up sleeping a total of 10-11 hours!

The next morning, we woke around 6:30am and headed to the cliff to watch the sunrise. Jordan took pictures while I attempted to make coffee to enjoy with our energy balls. I decided to make the energy bars I featured in my post about quinoa earlier this week, though I made them vegan by excluding the egg and adding a little extra applesauce. I give this recipe an A++. They were delicious!!

Quinoa "Energy" Bars by The Lean Green Bean
(and not so great instant coffee)
Kenya enjoyed the energy bars too.
The sunrise was incredible! Being there, up on top of the mountain and witnessing such a spectacle of God's beauty, it made me feel so small yet loved too. Adventures like this are a major reason why we decided to move back to the mountains and southwest Virginia, so I'm glad we were able to take advantage of this rare, warm weekend in January!

Foggy sunrise in the clouds
Looking west was all fog, but I figured you'd like to see our faces.
We returned home exhausted but happy. Yet, I still had one thing left to do before wrapping up the weekend: my scheduled long run. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but the very thing I knew I needed to do: run long on tired legs. Lucky for me, I have a husband that runs and can be coaxed into 22 slow miles with his tired wife. [Reality: we made a deal where I would see a movie with him post-run if he joined me]. Compromise suits our marriage well ;-D

Total weekend miles were around 34, with an elevation gain of ~5,000 feet. Yet in two months I'll be running the Terrapin Mountain 50k followed by the Promise Land 50k, both featuring ~7,500 feet of gain within that distance. This weekend was a good start, but I still have a long ways to go before I'm ready to conquer the mountains!

1 comment:

  1. Wow that sunries is breathtaking! Still haven't made it to McAfees Knob, but I heard it is a great hike!

    Loving the sound of those pancakes :)


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