This is a photo I took of a well-worn benchmark atop a peak in Colorado’s highcountry. Benchmarks are U.S. Geological Survey summit markers and are found on the high-points of many of our mountains. They document the elevation.
I spent yesterday out in the backcountry, energizing my body and reloading my spirit. There’s nothing like a day in the mountains to diffuse everyday stress and shift things back into perspective. Nourishing the soul is just as important as nourishing the body.
Sometimes the higher you go, the better the weather. Yesterday was foggy, rainy and cool. Perfect hiking weather, but the clouds were low and thick, obstructing the view until we were above them. If you look closely at this photo, you can see a range of snow-covered mountains in the distance and a beautiful butterfly in the foreground. I’m thinking this might be a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, but I don’t know. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment.
Now, on to the other good stuff — trail food. How about the best of all worlds? Breathtaking views, butterflies and chocolate truffles? I’m such a girl. Although I’m not exactly Backcountry Barbie, I do have my moments, especially when they involve butterflies, flowers and chocolate.
I make different versions of these little power balls and cart them around with me on day hikes. They’re a touch smaller than a golf ball, freeze well and make for a good power snack. I pack two or three of them, along with the rest of my lunch, in a small tupperware container to keep them from getting squished. Sometimes (especially when space is tight) I pack my food in an empty tea box or something similar. That way the food stays intact, but when lunch is over you can collapse the box and stuff it down into your pack.
Melissa’s power truffles
8 mejool dates
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cocoa powder *
2 small individual packages of stevia *
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Pit and chop dates. Place in small bowl and pour the orange juice over the dates. Do the best you can to cover the dates without adding more juice. Set aside and let soak for 30-60 minutes.
Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground. Add stevia and cocoa powder to dry blend. Pulse and mix well.
Add mejool dates along with the orange juice they have been soaking in, almond butter and peppermint extract and pulse food processor after each addition until mixed well.
Roll into balls and dip in ground coconut flakes. Refrigerate or freeze.
* I like Dagoba organic cocoa powder, but substitute as you choose.
* Stevia blends well in this recipe, but you can substitute another sweetener. I’ve used maple sugar before, not maple syrup. Honey and syrup make them too sticky.
* For a more detailed post I did on backcountry nutrition needs, check here.
Go forth and explore, but eat good food in the process!