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Meals with Midgi – Everything Pita Chips & Black Pepper Hummus

SNACKS TO GO TEN MILES

In the past, I have written about my endeavor to embrace the great outdoors with more than an air hug. Now that I’ve been out and about on several trails, I’m getting more comfortable with my surroundings and I’m no longer as worried that I won’t be able to reach my bear spray should the unfortunate circumstance arise that I’m about to become a bear’s dinner. Truthfully, I’m more inclined to wonder where my water bottle is.  Yes, my fear of bears is starting to wan somewhat.  Only somewhat. I am still well aware that I am the encroacher in their world and I treat the situation with all due respect.

What I tend to focus on these days is being hungry. The thing about all this walking and hiking is that it makes one hungry.  I need food. I need the energy, yet I don’t want to carry a four course meal in my awesome hot pink backpack.  I need to keep things light.  I also need to work better at picking the trails.

Last Sunday, my hiking buddy Elizabeth and I headed out on the Windfall Lake Trail.  The guide book stated it was about three miles in, so about six miles total. While this was far more than we’d ever hiked or walked, we were feeling pretty confident we could make it. We were in no rush and took our time.   This particular hike we had planned well and packed a lunch. I even packed a candy bar so we’d have a tasty dessert with our picnic by the lake.

When we arrived to the parking lot, we learned that we had to walk about a half mile to get to the actual trailhead.  A half mile?  No problem. Yes, we two ladies were quite sure we had the stamina to make a six-mile hike.  Wait, now it’s seven miles with the added mile to and from the trail head.  Oh pshaw! What’s one more mile, right? It’s agony, that’s what it is.  But, I’ll get to that.

After about 10 minutes of cheerful walking we made it to the trail head.  It was an overcast day, which worked out to be a good thing because it kept our body temperatures from getting overly hot.  We took the obligatory start-of-the-hike photos and set out.  The beginning of the trail was quite lovely. It was lush and green and everything beautiful about Southeast Alaska.

After an hour or so, we started to get hungry.  Searching hither and yon for a place to sit, we finally found a moss covered tree that had fallen sideways.  Spreading out our space blanket – no one wants a wet, cold bottom whilst in the woods – we enjoyed our sandwiches and contemplated how much further it was to the lake.

A group of strapping young lads came by and answered our inquiry that is was about another hour.  An hour? We can handle that.   We packed up our items and continued on the trail to what we believed would be a magical lake in the beautiful forest.

Another hour or so passed and still no lake. We’re starting to get concerned that we’re never going to reach it.  A group of women passes by.  How long to the lake?  Oh, only another 28 minutes.  Wow, that’s precise.  Ok, 28 minutes.  We can do this.  Elizabeth and I don’t dare look each other in the eye because neither wants to admit this elusive lake is quite further out than we believed.  What we also didn’t want to admit is the further we walked out, the further we’d have to walk back.

The allotted 28 minutes passed. No lake. Is there really a lake? Have we been deceived? Are we on some Hunger Games-like television show and no one told us? I wish I had packed more food. I’m hungry again.

We meet one more group on the trail. This time they said it was about 15 minutes to the lake.  We were told there were some sketchy logs and stairs at the end, but once we made it past those it would all be worth it. Ok. We can do this. We’re so close. No turning back now.  Let’s eat the Almond Joy® for that extra boost of energy.

We hiked and hiked. And then hiked some more. We thought we found the lake but I actually think it was some sort of swamp full of skunk cabbage. We kept going, and finally found the sketchy logs. Yes! We’re almost there! We found the stairs. Hallelujah! We can see paradise.  We get to the top, look down, and spy the cabin. Cabin? We didn’t want the cabin. We were looking for the LAKE.  Windfall LAKE.  Just beyond the cabin was the lake, but neither of us wanted the added challenge of walking down to the cabin and then back up.  Frankly, neither of us felt we could actually make it back up the stairs without crawling on our hands and knees.

We stood there for a couple of minutes to catch our breath, turned and started the long trek back to the trail head. By the time we had trudged to the trail head, we had put in nearly 10 miles. TEN miles! Remember that easy to walk half mile? It’s not so easy when your feet are throbbing and you’re absolutely starving. I now understand where the term hangry originated.

Oh, and whoever is in charge of the signs out there, please put a sign on the other side that points to the actual lake. We would have gone right instead of left and then we wouldn’t have had to scale the sketchy logs and stairs, adding to our suffering.

Our conversations got less and less and by the time we got to the car we were beyond famished. Our backs, feet, and legs were numb with pain.  I texted Elizabeth’s husband that we were headed home and to open up the hot tub.

This hike was more than a trek to us, it was a huge accomplishment. We started out on simple stroll to see a lake, and ended up traversing more trail we ever thought we could manage. I also learned it’s a very hunger inducing activity.  Next time, I’m bringing more snacks. Which leads me to thinking what can one take that’s tasty and not too heavy?

The answer: everything pita chips and black pepper hummus. They have great flavor to keep one perked up on the trail and protein for that added boost of energy.  For this recipe I left out the tahini, primarily because I didn’t have any at home. But, add that in, if you are so inclined. A couple of tablespoons will do. Coming up with easy to pack snacks is a lot of fun and I have enjoyed having something a little more gourmet out in the beautiful Tongass National Forest.

This week I present a quick recipe to keep you moving as you’re out enjoying a beautiful day in Juneau: Everything Pita Chips and Black Pepper Hummus.  It’s also just as tasty at your desk while you’re writing a column or working on a spreadsheet.

I doubt that we will have another 10-mile hike in our near future, but when we go out again, I’ll be prepared with the food. I’m not going to get caught out in bear country without proper sustenance.

Until next time…

Eat and enjoy,

Midgi

 

Black Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained – reserve the liquid

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon course cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup olive oil

Blend the chickpeas until smooth, add garlic, black pepper and salt.  Add olive oil and blend. If still really thick, add a few tablespoons of the chickpea liquid.

 

Everything pita chips

3 slices pita bread

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon coarse cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons Olive oil

 

Mix seasonings together in small bowl.

Separate pita bread into two pieces.  Cut each into wedges, about six or 8 per piece.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning mixture.

Place in even layer on baking sheet and bake on 375o for 5 – 7 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

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