Well since Old Man Winter came back with a vengeance last night, I figured I would honor him by posting about one of my favorite winter activities, snowshoeing. I thought this post was going to have to wait until next winter, as we had a definite hearkening of spring this past week. But last night we got hit with the biggest storm of the year by far, with at least 2 feet – and it is still coming down!
Roberto and I discovered snowshoeing last year, and this winter we decided to get our own snowshoes. This morning they came in handy when we had to go out to collect firewood in 4 foot snow drifts, and are very practical when living in a climate such as ours, just to survive and do chores around the house. But they are also a great source of fun for us during the long winter months.
(If this picture looks familiar it is because you have likely seen it before, but usually it is bare feet and there is sand instead of snow!)
Snowshoes and cross-country skiing are pretty big sports in Vermont and much like when I lived in Norway, people make a day of going on an adventure. There is nothing like being out in the woods following deer trails or making your own path through the forest. It is not only great exercise, especially towards the latter part of the season, when even with snowshoes on, you sink to about knee high, but it is also breathtakingly gorgeous. The views are all for you, you feel like you are alone in the world, and it is so quiet you can almost hear the snow fall. My favorite time to be out snowshoeing is in the middle of a storm – when you feel very much like you are walking in one of Mother Nature’s snow globes. I always picture it on one of her shelves with the words “walking in a winter wonderland” on it.
Since snowshoeing does take a lot of energy, we always make sure to bring nourishing snacks with us. We usually find a beautiful spot to stop and have a nice snack. Our staple snack is always homemade trail mix. We usually also have a nice bar of dark, fair trade chocolate and sometimes a Tanka Bar. But the trail mix is a must. It is a nice hearty combination of dried fruits and soaked nuts.
In Norway, when I used to go ut på tur, or out on a walk – which in the winter meant cross-country skiing, we always brought a nice thermos of something hot to enjoy on our break. So I carried the tradition to our snowshoeing tur here in Vermont. Usually I bring raw milk cocoa, and sometimes I bring a lovely thermos of spicy tea. I learned to make raw milk cocoa from some friends in New Hampshire. It is a revelation in its simplicity. I don’t even feel the need to sweeten it because raw milk is already sweeter than pasteurized milk. So this makes it a definite “health drink” as opposed to a splurge. Regardless, the break and the snack help to re-fuel us for the journey back home.
But trail mix really is good for any time of year. It is a well-balanced snack and definitely keeps you going. So even if it is already spring where you are – make up a batch today and enjoy on the go!
1 cup raw soaked and dried organic almonds
1 cup raw soaked and dried organic cashews
½ cup of raw soaked and dried pepitas
½ cup dried (organic, no sugar added, un-sulfured) blueberries
½ cup dried (organic, no sugar added, un-sulfured) cherries
¼ cup dried (organic, no sugar added, un-sulfured) Turkish apricots
*You could also add dark chocolate or carob chips, or other fried fruits as suits your palate
Here is a great link for the whys and hows of soaking and drying nuts. You can also chose not to soak them. Mix all ingredients together.
Raw Milk Cocoa
For each serving:
8 oz raw milk
3 TBS fair trade cocoa powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Maple syrup to sweeten
Heat raw milk in a saucepan for about 3-5 minutes, over medium heat, until hot but not boiling. Stir in cocoa powder and cinnamon. Sweeten with maple.