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Saturday, August 24, 2013 – Mountain Biking

This was our second time riding the Crystal Mountain Trail #1163, to the top of the Crystal Mountain ski resort.

The first time we rode there was July 31, 2010.  That was one of those picture-perfect days!  The views of Mt Rainier are not to be missed!

Despite having a summer strung together with days and days of clear skies, the weather on this particular Saturday was not so cooperative.  It was raining when we left the house.  At the trailhead it was dry, but cloudy.  We saw initial glimmers of blue sky as we climbed the forest, but by the time we arrived at the top, the fog was thick!  And, Brrrr!!– it was not warm!  Our fingers got cold on the descent.

We drive here via Enumclaw, WA and Hwy 410 (Chinook Pass Hwy), which follows the White River.  Turn off Hwy 410 at Rd #7190 (Crystal Mountain Blvd) and find the trailhead for Crystal Mountain Trail #1163 adjacent to Sand Flat Horse Camp.  It is located about 2 miles short of the the ski resort itself.

This trip is a relatively short, “out-and-back” ride for us.  We turn around at the top of the Mt Rainier Gondola/Summit House.  Note that Trail #1163 does continue down from that highpoint (6872 ft) to intersect with other trails.

In a nutshell, this trail simply goes up and up and up for about 3000 ft.  Consider this climb “interval training” because you won’t stay in your Zone 2.  The tread is basically smooth, with some sections of jagged rocks (not too many) and some sandy patches.  It’s quite rideable throughout.  The descent is screamin’ fast!

CLIMBING THE FOREST–>  Switchbacks through trees and open slide paths of huckleberry bushes.

Ascending forest - August 24, 2013

Ascending forest – August 24, 2013

Ascending forest - August 24, 2013

Ascending forest – August 24, 2013

Forest - July 31, 2010

Blue skies on July 31, 2010

CLIMBING CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RIDGE–>  At times, the trail hugs a steep sidehill.  It’s not too “airy,” but you do need to focus in couple places.  The trail up the ridge also traverses a wide wildflower meadow.

From the ridge, the BIG view is Mt Rainier.  The White River is quite impressive as well.

Ridge climb - July 31, 2010

Ridge climb – July 31, 2010

Meadow - July 31,2010

Meadow – July 31, 2010

Mt Rainier from Crystal Mountain Ridge - July 31, 2010

Mt Rainier from Crystal Mountain Ridge – July 31, 2010

Eric - July 31, 2010

Eric – July 31, 2010

White River & clouds hiding Mt Rainier - August 24, 2013

White River & clouds hiding Mt Rainier – August 24, 2013

White River & Mt Rainier - July 31, 2010

White River & Mt Rainier – July 31, 2010

Looking east - July 31, 2010

Looking east – July 31, 2010

Elisa - July 31, 2010

Elisa – July 31, 2010

Elisa - July 31, 2010

Elisa – July 31, 2010

ENTERING THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA–>  Singletrack trail is replaced by a rocky road on the final uphill traverse to the top of the Mt Rainier Gondola and Summit House.

Chairlift visible - August 24, 2013

Headed toward the Northway Chairlift – August 24, 2013

Aster & Fireweed - August 24, 2013

Aster & Fireweed – August 24, 2013

Eric wearing his #NSNG technical tee - August 24, 2013

Eric wearing his #NSNG technical tee – August 24, 2013

Looking into the ski area - August 24, 2013

Looking into the ski area – August 24, 2013

Crystal Mountain ski area map - August 24, 2013

Crystal Mountain ski area map – August 24, 2013

THE TOP–> Views of fog!

Mt Rainier Gondola & the top of the Rainier Express chair - August 24, 2013

Mt Rainier Gondola & the top of the Rainier Express chair – August 24, 2013

You can pay $20 to ride the gondola.  It was crowded!

If you don’t want to power yourself to the top, you can pay $20 to ride the gondola.

Here is a link to the Crystal Mountain Summer Map.  Note that this map calls the north section of the Crystal Mountain Trail #1163, “Northway Trail.”

—————————————

TRIP STATS:  (Using the Bike Tracks App for iPhone)

  • Total Distance = 11.6 miles
  • Total Vertical = 5991 ft (climb 3053 ft, descend 2938 ft)
  • Elevation = 6849 ft highest, 3818 ft lowest
  • Time = 3 hrs, 39 min (start 11:10 AM, finish 2:46 PM)

MAPS USED:

FOOD CONSUMED ON TRAIL:

  • Water + 1 SaltStick
  • We didn’t even eat one huckleberry although the bushes were packed!

This is my first “official” vegan product review—->  LILLY’S HUMMUS.

Last week I was contacted by Lilly’s and invited to try a sample pack of hummus.

Who would say no to that?  Not me!

In no time flat, a chilled package was waiting at my doorstep.  I was expecting “samples,” but it blew me away to see four 12 oz tubs of hummus and some swag!

Lilly's Swag - IMG_2879

Lilly’s Swag

Before I talk about Lilly’s Hummus, let me tell you about my life experience with hummus.  Don’t worry, it’ll only take a minute!

I did not grow up eating hummus.  My first experience with hummus happened after I met Eric.  His mom made hummus all the time for their family gatherings.  She’d serve the creamy dip with carrot sticks, baguette slices, and Tim’s Cascade Potato Chips.  (I always looked for the most folded up chips in the bag!)  It took me a short while to acquire a taste for hummus, but pretty soon I loved it.

Once I figured out how easy it was to make, I started making my own hummus, using Eric’s mom’s recipe.  Of course, I’m not shy with the raw garlic!  I also prefer a lot of lemon juice in my hummus.

The point is, I really don’t buy pre-made hummus because it’s so darn easy to make at home.  On occasion, I’ve tasted store bought hummus, but they never impressed me.  Some are excessively oily.

Now, back to Lilly’s…

Black Bean Hummus & Roasted Garlic Hummus

Black Bean Hummus & Roasted Garlic Hummus

I’m told that Lilly’s Hummus was a sponsor of the 2013 Vida Vegan Con that I attended in Portland, Oregon.  Unfortunately, I somehow missed them, in the blur of vegan food booths!  (I might have been in a sugar coma from the vegan ice cream.)

Lilly’s Hummus is a Portland, Oregon company.  All of their hummus varieties are 100% vegan, gluten-free, and made with organic garbanzo beans, real olive oil, and locally sourced produce.  Four tahini-free varieties are available for those allergic to sesame seeds.

Smoked Tomato Basil Hummus & Cracked Pepper Hummus

Smoked Tomato Basil Hummus & Cracked Pepper Hummus

Enough talk…LET’S EAT!

Immediately after I photographed my loot (step one for a blogger!), I opened up the Black Bean Hummus and the Cracked Pepper Hummus.  I prepared a raw vegetable plate for dipping…

Veggie plate with Lilly's Black Bean & Cracked Pepper Hummus.

Veggie plate with Lilly’s Black Bean & Cracked Pepper Hummus.

The Black Bean Hummus contains smoked tomatoes, roasted red peppers and roasted jalapeno peppers.  Translation:  Taste explosion!  I love the smokiness.

No, this isn’t your average hummus!

The Cracked Pepper Hummus is perfectly peppery.  Delicious!  The “crack” in the cracked pepper really comes through, too.  It doesn’t taste like “plain” black pepper, if that makes sense.  I’m definitely a fan of black pepper, so I’m pleased to taste it in hummus.

Coincidentally…we had plans to visit Eric’s parents just days after receiving the hummus.  This was a perfect opportunity to share our Lilly’s Hummus with Eric’s mom– the woman who introduced me to hummus more than 20 years ago.

At Ocean Shores, WA, we opened up the Roasted Garlic Hummus and Smoked Tomato and Basil Hummus.

Eric scored the Lilly's Hummus shirt.

Eric scored the Lilly’s Hummus shirt.

The Roasted Garlic Hummus is thick, like the Cracked Pepper Hummus.  (Both contain tahini.)  Since I’m used to having raw garlic in my homemade hummus, it was a yummy change of pace to try hummus with roasted garlic.  I love garlic either way.  I do always say:

You can never have too much garlic!

Smoked Tomato & Basil Hummus with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Smoked Tomato & Basil Hummus with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

The Smoked Tomato & Basil Hummus, like the Black Bean Hummus, is a little bit thinner.  (Those 2 flavors do not contain tahini.)  Yum.  There’s that smokiness again!  How many different ways can I say “highly pleasing to the senses”?

Eric at Ocean Shores, WA - August 17, 2013

Eric at Ocean Shores, WA – August 17, 2013

The verdict:

I’m definitely going to buy more of Lilly’s Hummus.  I noticed that the Sno-Isle Food Co-op in Everett, WA has several flavors.  Convenient for me!

Hummus flavors

Hummus flavors

YOU can check out Lilly’s Hummus by visiting…

Lilly’s Hummus Facebook page–>  facebook.com/lillysnaturalfoods

(“Like” them for chances to win free hummus and swag!)

Lilly’s Hummus on Twitter–>  twitter.com/lillyshummus

Lilly’s Hummus on Pinterest–>  pinterest.com/lillyshummus

Lilly’s Hummus website–>  www.lillyshummus.com

THANK YOU, LILLY’S HUMMUS!

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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