Taylor Creek Trail – Kolob Canyon of ZION NP

This excursion is where my mindset about trail running  changed.  How many times had a driven I-15 south and had seen the sign for Kolob Canyon Region of Zion National Park?  I could see the Visitors Center from Interstate 15 and a maroon colored road going up into a hillside scattered with pine trees and desert vegetation hillside and disappearing.  What could be up National Parkish on that drive?  “I’ll stop there ‘one of these days‘,” I said to myself.  ‘One of these days’ is an expression that means ‘Never’ until I decided to stop many years ago. Conditions were not ideal.  The month was March and there were extremely high winds blowing me back to Colorado and I knew I would be getting into a snowstorm up toward.  But, I made two hours in my schedule.  I pulled off at Exit 40 on I-15 south.  The Visitors center is 200 yards from the interstate so there are no excuses.  I headed up the hill and within a mile and half comes a stunning red rock view that cannot be seen from the interstate.  On the left at two miles is a parking lot for Taylor Creek.

Dave’s Energy Balls

Dave’s Energy Balls

Dave’s 20 ingredients (or more!) recipe to follow…

Energy Balls Ingredients list – I try and use everything organic and in bulk. Organic ingredients purchased in bulk are reasonably priced. NOTE #1 – This is kind of a mad scientist’s recipe and ingredients can change in additions or amounts or vary. We all have different food combos we like so do not be afraid. Create your own mix just for the health of it.

Dry ingredients and approximate ratios

– Oatmeal – 1 cup

– Flax seeds – 1/2 cup

– Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup

– Chia seeds – 2 tablespoons

– Toasted soybeans – 1/2 cup

– Sunflower seeds – 1/3 cup

Nuts – I use a roasted nut mix that has the following: A total of a cup (total combined) of these or so. – Almonds

– Brazil nuts

– Cashews

– Walnuts

– Filberts

– Pecans

– Pistachios

All nuts have their own nutritional value of essential amino acids, micronutrients and minerals – Buy extra nuts that you like to put in mix – I add extra brazil nuts, pistachios and almonds for their special health benefits!

COCOA POWDER AKA CHOCOLATE! – I use a 1/2 cup of organic cocoa powder or the mini chocolate chips (which does add sugar which I mostly avoid now) available in bulk at most WHOLE FOODS, NATURAL GROCERS or the health food sections in bigger grocery stores.

“Wet” ingredients for glue

– Crunchy peanut butter – My favorite is Santa Cruz Organic – fabulous (another great snack is eating dates with this peanut butter – yum! – 2/3 cup or so(Available also at Walmart under the Smucker’s brand – same company, same good PB)

– Raw Honey – 1/2 cup plus

– Vanilla – Tablespoon

– Raisins 2/3 cup

– Coconut oil

– Sesame tahini

– I have added dried blueberries, tart cherries, and cranberries –

– If I need a little more oil I usually add sunflower oil that I use for cooking or organic coconut oil is healthy too!!

BEST RESULTS FOR MIXING – I have an old fashioned hand nut grinder to reduce the size of the nuts before I use my blenders. I use a small Cuisinart blender/coffee grinder to grind everything that is not wet. I also use my MAGIC BULLET blender. The oatmeal, flax and chia

are dry and will not ‘butter up’ like the nuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds – MAGIC GRINDING INGREDIENT is using a few of the toasted soybeans as they are very dry and help keep the nuts and seeds grinding. Use small amounts at a time in grinder to avoid having big chunks remain. Put in large mixing bowl and get your hands dirty!! If mix is too dry, add oil or more honey -if mix is too wet, add more oatmeal flour. Mix and mush by hand and make balls like meatballs slightly smaller than golf balls. I place in pie pans, cover, and throw in freezer to get them to set and then store in frig – they can get a little sticky when warm!

They pack a healthy punch, are sweet, tasty and one or two are satisfying because they are rich! These amounts should yield about 24 balls. YUM! Eat well, be weller!

NOTES

1. I buy whole seeds like flax, sesame and chia that I grind before making the balls – keeps the nutrition in them longer. And, if eaten whole, the nutrition in those seeds passes through us without benefit.

2. May seem labor intensive at first but will be well worth the effort!

3. Not a good idea to answer cell phone when making balls – how do you think I know this? Result is a goobery phone.

4. NUTRITION – These are great for breakfast. Often, my morning is two energy balls, a glass of one fresh squeezed orange or homemade smoothie, and/or fruit – banana and a few berries. I find I have no energy lapses and if you get hungry later, have another – they have so much good stuff in them, the EBs take the edge off any hunger and there is no ‘crash’ as with sugar infused candy bars.

Taos Mountain Energy Bars

Fuel is critical to our outdoor endeavors. Funny how there is such a disconnect with humans and what we eat – most people thinking that food is food. But, they do understand the gasoline for their car analogy. Ask them if they would put sugar laced sodas in their gas tank and expect their car to run well – of course they say no. Same applies with humans. My pre run meal is often my own energy balls (18 -20 ingredients), juice of a fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit, a piece of toast with homemade garlic chile olive oil, a banana, several blobs of organic Greek yogurt, a fruit smoothie or a combination. However, I do applaud the efforts of numerous health conscious entrepreneurs who are making their own concoctions to fuel or fun. Of the four Taos Mountain Energy Bars I sampled at the Whole Foods on Carlisle in Albuquerque I found them all to be tasty. I decided to buy the coconut flavor for my run up the La Luz Trail. The bar fueled my aborted attempt at reaching the summit of the Sandia Crest as I became bogged down in deep snow – so, pulled out my bar and took an energy bar and water break. Recommend the bar and the trail!

A Taos Mountain Coconut Energy Bar fueled my 9 mile jaunt and 2900 vertical up into the alpine conditions of the Sandia Crest on the La Luz Trail...
A Taos Mountain Coconut Energy Bar fueled my 9 mile jaunt and 2900 vertical up into the alpine conditions of the Sandia Crest on the La Luz Trail…

 

Transfer Trail – Glenwood Springs CO

Transfer Trail – Glenwood Springs CO

The Transfer Trail is a steep road/trail heading North from Glenwood Springs above the Colorado River valley.  The trail was used by the Ute Indians to move over the White River Plateau between river valleys for hunting, gathering and trading.  It became a freight trail during the mining years.  Wild and scenic and a trail less traveled.  Two days later I was on the White River side where the town of Meeker lies and where the roving bands of Utes would live part of the year.  Up river about two miles is an overlook with a brief history of the clash of western civilization with the Ute Indian culture.  A battle ensued in late September of 1879 because the Utes were being unfairly treated and Nathan Meeker attempted to turn the Utes into farmers with irrigation, stationary homes, and bring  ‘culture’ to them. Making a treaty with the US Government had never worked for any Indian tribe, the Utes were forced onto several different reservations.  We destroyed their culture.  However, the White River Plateau, the Flattops Wilderness Area and the the White River valley are absolutely beautiful and are worth exploring using any form of transportation.  Come have a look see…

Glenwood Canyon Brewing – Located conveniently in the Hotel Denver across from the Amtrak station – a beercation in the Roaring Fork Valley could start and end here.  All of their beers are solid, the atmosphere is cozy, and the food is good.  And you can walk out of the restaurant and up to your room.  Parking is about the only tough part of coming to this brewery. Usually will find something on the nearby blocks.   After my 10.7 mile and 3300 vertical foot elevation adventure, I was looking for a good beer cure.  I ordered the 4 pack sampler of St. James Irish Red, No Name Nut Brown, and the Vapor Cave IPA, and Shoshone Stout.  All of their beers are on the thinner side of mouthfeel for body but does not take away from them being good.  All have clean flavors and finishes.  Well worth a visit, plus downtown Glenwood Springs is right out the door as are the Hot Springs and Vapor caves if you are in to the trifecta – great trail, good beer, and hot springs/vapor cave recovery session.  I am usually a biathlon person… take a warm shower later.  glenwoodcanyonbrewpub.com