South Fork Eagle River Trail

South Fork Eagle River Trailhead

South Fork Eagle River Trailhead

Even though we had a pretty gloomy 4th of July holiday weekend last week, It was still decent enough to venture out into the wilderness for a nice long hike.

The South Fork Trail in Eagle River is a fairly easy, and relatively level, trail that winds through some very beautiful alpine and mountain scenery. Wildflowers were everywhere the eye could see, and the teal color and gently flowing waters of the south fork of Eagle River was so lovely.

There were many other hikers on the trail that day, so I wasn’t really worried about running into a bear – although I did find myself scanning the area frequently, so as not to have any surprise encounters. I did see quite a few moose though, including a mamma moose with a calf. The photo I took of them, seen below, was taken from a long distance away. You’ll find yourself in big trouble if you get between a mamma moose and her calf, so I always treat them with respect and give them a wide berth, when at all possible.

Sorry some of the photos are a little dark, but as I mentioned, it was a pretty gloomy day. As is typical on many of my hikes though, the sun started to emerge just as I was returning to the trailhead. (Note: you can click on any picture to view a larger version)

~Enjoy~
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Back from Vacation

Kidney Lake

Kidney Lake in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

I’m back from vacationing in the very beautiful state of Montana, and I must say that I had a wonderful time hiking, relaxing, and soaking up the sun in “Big Sky Country”.

As soon as I recover from jet lag, I’ll get back to baking and posting recipes again – but in the meantime, I thought I would share a few of my vacation photos with you.

~Enjoy~



Kidney Lake

Kidney Lake

Hiking above Kidney Lake

Hiking above Kidney Lake

The "M" on Mt. Sentinel

Looking up at the “M” on Mt. Sentinel in Missoula, Montana

Hiking to the "M"

Hiking up to the “M” on Mt. Sentinel

Switchbacks

One of the many steep switchbacks leading up to the “M”

Missoula, Montana

Missoula, Montana – as seen from the “M” on Mt. Sentinel

Missoula, Montana

Missoula, Montana – University of Montana in the foreground

Missoula, Montana

Missoula, Montana

Montana sunset

Beautiful Montana sunset

Butterfly

Butterfly

Bear grass

Bear grass

Cool cloud formation

Cool cloud formation

Wolverine Peak Trail Revisited

Wolverine Peak Trail

Wolverine Peak Trail

As some of you may recall, the last time I hiked Wolverine Peak Trail, the hike ended up becoming a Walk in the Clouds. I vowed then that I would return and hike the trail again in hopefully much better weather.

This past Saturday when I awoke, there was brilliant sunshine streaming through my window. I took a peek out the window and discovered that the sky was blue and there were only a few clouds floating above. I could tell that it was going to be an absolutely beautiful day, and I decided that this was the day to revisit Wolverine Peak Trail.

Despite the record snowfall from this past Winter, the trail was surprisingly clear and dry. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see any wildlife along the way that I could snap a picture of, but the scenery was breathtaking and I ended up with a lot of landscape and wildflower photos.

Here are just a few of the many photos that I took during the four hour hike.

~Enjoy~



Bluebells

Bluebells

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium

Sun-kissed Moss

Sun-kissed Moss

Plant trailing along the rocky ground

Plant trailing along the rocky ground

Anchorage

Anchorage

Coastal Trail Hike

Chugach Mountain Range as seen from the Coastal Trail

Chugach Mountain Range as seen from the Coastal Trail

Wow! It has been such a busy week, that I haven’t even had a chance to post photos from the hike we took over the Memorial Day weekend. But I guess, as the saying goes, “better late than never”. 🙂

There’s still quite a bit of snow up in the high country, which is understandable after the record-breaking snowfall we received this past Winter, so we decided to take our first hike of the season along the scenic coastal trail in Anchorage.

It had rained for the first two days of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but Monday morning we woke to brilliant blue skies and bright sun streaming through our windows. It was definitely a great day for a hike.

Below are just a few of the photos that I took during our 5-mile coastal trail hike.

~Enjoy~




Pretty little creek

Pretty little creek

Boat anchored near the port

Boat anchored near the port

Coastal Trail

Coastal Trail

Mount Susitna (a.k.a Sleeping Lady)

Mount Susitna (a.k.a Sleeping Lady)

Downtown Anchorage as seen from the Coastal Trail

Downtown Anchorage as seen from the Coastal Trail

Duck near the mudflats

Duck near the mudflats

Ferns

Ferns

Ferns and water

Ferns and water

Cute little bridge

Cute little bridge

Chocolate Chip Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars

With the daytime temperatures nearing 50 degrees and the snow rapidly melting, I’m starting to get excited for the first day that I head out for my favorite Spring & Summer activity – hiking! We have a lot of beautiful hiking country here, and nothing reduces my stress level more than being out in a remote area, where all you can hear is the wind blowing through the trees and the water flowing in the streams.

To help get me in shape for my first hiking excursion, I decided to make a somewhat healthier treat today – Chocolate Chip Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars. I love this recipe because, not only is it easy to put together and makes a very moist and delicious cookie bar, but you use applesauce in place of butter, and that just sounds healthier to me. 🙂
The apple and chocolate flavors pair very well together, and the oatmeal adds nutritional benefits like fiber and protein.

You can be sure I’ll be packing some of these treats with me when I head out into the back-country on my first hiking trip of the season.

~Enjoy~




Chocolate Chip Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup apples & cinnamon instant oatmeal
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, applesauce, and brown sugar together until well blended. Add egg, milk and vanilla extract; whisk until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold in the oatmeal and chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Makes 16 cookie bars.

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