Living in a place with many big mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other means that you are bound to have your share of adventures. Pick your poison, snow or sand, expansive water or towering trees. Many people venture to the mountains in the winter and the ocean in the summer, I however will take either any time of year and if I can get my way, I will take both in one month.
Mount Rainier stands over 14,000 feet tall and has permanent glaciers that give it a salt and pepper top all year long, though there is usually more salt then pepper most of the time. The national park that provides nearly year round access is home to the most epic sledding run ever. Dug out of the snow bank of over 10 feet of snow kiddos of all ages whiz down the hill on inter-tubes. For those looking for a slightly slower way to enjoy the snow, snowshoeing is ideal. We set off under crystal clear skies, the three of us, looking for a trail that was inevitably unmarked. We made our way over the embankment and tumbled down the other side. The mountain summit loomed ahead of us, seemingly close enough to touch.
Trees buried in snow with only the top third poking out. As we trekked along we looked down into a valley that was green with trees and white with a mix of snow and fog. Behind us the ridge we tumbled down cast the only shadow on the sparkling snow. Breathing heavy, we pushed ourselves to reach the top of the next ridge. A ridge that if we were more adventurous would lead us up to Camp Muir, the base came for those climbing to the summit. As we reach the ridge we could look out over the full valley and behind us our enlarged foot prints showed the path from where we had been.
As we looked out over the expanse of untouched mountain wilderness a cloud engulfed us, we could only see each other as we munched on cookies waiting for the cloud to move on so we could begin out trek back down.
If you drive west from our house eventually you will run out of road. Every road will, given enough left turns, dead-end at a beach and not far beyond that the Pacific Ocean dances along the edge. This particular day our road ended in Longbeach. In the summer it is a busy tourist town with kids, go-carts, and kites, but in the winter it is quiet. Almost deserted. The boardwalk follows the sandy dunes and if you are lucky you can hop on a fat-tired beach cruiser bicycle and ride through the dunes as the sun sets over the ocean.
After the sun sets the beach is lined with orbs of light as people dig for clams, it reminds you of the twinkling lights that hang in the backyard over summer parties and late night s’more feasts.
As you fall asleep with the window slightly open even though it is January you can hear the waves crashing on the beach in perfect harmony, as they have for millennia. If you ask me there is no better way to fall asleep than cuddled with your love, listening to waves and just the perfect amount of tipsy.
Cookies fit for an adventure. Oatmeal, whole wheat flour, sunflower seed butter, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips, Adventure Cookies live up to their name.
makes 12 large cookies
1/2 cup butter
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Seed Butter (you can use almond, peanut, cashew, etc if you prefer)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Optional: 1/2 cup dried cranberries or chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 375°
Cream together the butter and sugars, adding the egg and vanilla and mixing thoroughly. Add the flours, baking soda and salt. Mixing well. Stir in the oats until fully incorporated, then add the chocolate chips and optional nuts or cranberries.
Drop tablespoon size mounds of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have 12 large cookies and will probably need to bake in two batches. Bake for 10-12 minutes.