Friday, June 24, 2016

Gin & Tonic Friday

A good start to my birthday weekend...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Frozen-blueberry Muffins – with no purple batter

Adapted from this recipe. I didn't have a lemon, so left the zest out. These are good for a quick sugar fix.

Blueberry Muffins using frozen berries

Mix:
1C whole grain flour
1C white flour
3/4C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Gently rinse 1C frozen berries under warm water in a colander until the water runs clearish (it will not go completely clear). Add to dry mix above. These steps will prevent the batter turning purple.

Mix:
3/4C milk
1/3C canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Add dry to wet. Mix gently until just combined.

400F for 20 minutes

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Big Cedar Trail

Big Cedar Trail, along Mt. Fromme in Lynn Valley, took us 4 hrs 47 minutes including lunch break at the falls (which are stunning). Terrain is not too steep, but a real mix of inclines and descents, tangled roots, mud, running creeks, rocks, decaying skid roads, fallen logs to climb over/under, maintained boardwalks, and some flat spots. Hiking shoes are definitely required. We were able to cross the many rocky creeks without completely soaking our feet, but I would not want to try this after a big rain, or early spring without waterproof hiking boots. Prepare to get a bit dirty. I also took a couple of spills in the second half, once on the slippery rock near the falls, and again on some loose soil/gravel. The trip back was harder than getting there, as resolve, energy, and focus began to dwindle. But at the end, we still felt good and my leg muscles were not destroyed like they were on Sea to Sky. We also used trekking poles, which I think were helpful.

Trail erosion near the falls is severe in one spot. I can't imagine the falls being accessible in the future unless they build up the trail again, or reroute it somehow higher up.

Overall verdict: highly recommended, challenging enough to make it a decent workout, beautiful scenery, get there very early to avoid humans. Concentration and proper footwear a must. There are many opportunities to trip or twist an ankle. We didn't see any bears, but a couple of hikers had bells on. Which reminded me that I had forgot my whistle!

Lynn Valley was a busy logging area a century ago, and evidence of this remains. The Big Cedar is 600+ years old, and the only old growth tree left in the area (I believe due to it being too wide for their saws). Huge stumps marked with springboard notches give an idea of what used to be.

Springboards
The old skid roads are also still there, as well as some completely dilapidated boardwalks. Imagine cutting all those logs, just to lay them down so you can drag more logs over them!

Lynn Valley Lumber Co. hauling logs on a skid road, 1910

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sea to Summit Trail

Three years ago I hiked the Stawamus Chief and vowed never to return. But now Squamish has the Sea to Summit Trail with a gondola that brings you back down. The terrain is easier in that there are some declines and flat areas to break up the climb. You get even higher (918m vs 600m — two Empire State Buildings), it takes way less time (we did it in 2hrs 37 mins), you pass a gorgeous waterfall, and there is a rest area at the top (as opposed to a barren rock face). I'm all for nature, but I also like my creature comforts (there's also a cafĂ© at the bottom). Apparently the food is not great, so consider bringing a sandwich as we did. Shoes take a gentle beating against rocks, roots, dirt and mud, so I'm glad I invested in trail shoes (these are very comfortable and nimble). Terrain consists of wooden steps, jutting rocks, roots and soft soil on steep inclines (the roots are handy/necessary to pull oneself up), some relatively flat areas (roots and soft soil), and a couple of non-threatening bare rock faces with rope lines or chains. Step-ups are not my strong suit, so by the time we neared the top, my legs had passed their limits. But, I'd do it again! Tip: Unless you enjoy crowds and heavy traffic, go early. Very early...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016