I am an avid hiker. It’s one of my favorite things to do and favorite form of exercise. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country…Seattle, WA. Those of us who live here suffer through 8 months of grey skies and rain and in return we are rewarded with 4 months of perfect hiking weather and gorgeous scenery.
A friend of mine organizes a ”Couch to Peak” hiking series. We are a group of friends who get together for 7 weeks to hike with our dachshunds. We start with a reasonable 2-3 mile hike and end with a hike to a peak. Last year Sienna and I did Mt. Si. Those of you who live in Seattle know that Mt. Si is brutal. Sienna had no problem…. I however, was toast by the end.
I received samples from 3 companies that make products that are appropriate for taking along on hikes so I thought this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give them a try.
I am a HUGE fan of Enjoy Life’s gluten free crunchy cookies so when they sent me a free sample of their “Not Nut” mixes I knew I would not be disappointed.
Enjoy Life has a mission statement……that all of their foods are specially made to be gluten-free and free of the 8 most common allergens. Most trail mixes contain peanuts. I am not a big fan of peanuts because they are a common allergen and contain a natural toxin. It’s hard to find a trail mix that does not contain peanuts . If you or your children have peanut allergies or their school has a “no peanut zone” these would be a good option .
They have 2 different varieties of “Not Nut” mixes.
Mountain Mambo — with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips, and cranberries
Beach Bash — with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pineapple, cranberries, and apricots
Beach Bash contains a yummy medley of sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, dried pineapple, apricots and cranberries. Seeds such as punpkin and sunflower seeds provide good helpings of healthy fats, as well as respectable doses of several important vitamins and minerals. I really liked the small pieces of dried sweet fruit…apples, cranberries and raisins. I am not a fan of tart fruit so I liked the fact that the fruit was sweet. As you can see, except for the addition of chocolate chips in the MM and pineapple and apricots in the BB, there is really not that much difference between the 2 mixes. So it just comes down to your preference. Both were very tasty and filling and easy to just grab a handful on a hike.
“Hail Merry fist soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. Then they dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids. Research suggests that eating about a handful of almonds each day can help lower cholesterol levels. Merry’s Vanilla Maple blend is richly layered with pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla and maple.”
I am also a huge fan of Hail Merry’s melt-in-your-mouth macaroons so when I received a free sample of their almonds and pecans I was anxious to try them.
The Maple Vanilla Almonds had a sweet, crunchy coating on them that is sweet, but not too sweet. Fortunately they come in a small package so you can’t go too “nuts” with them. The vanilla flavor is not as pronounced as the maple flavor. I think almonds and maple flavoring are a great combination and I will definitely buy these to take on hikes as the amount is just perfect after you’ve been hiking for a while and need some energy.
I was not as big a fan of the Chocolate Chimayo Chile Pecans. I could barely taste the chocolate or the chile, it was very mild. I think the reason I was not that found of them is because I am not that fond of pecans. They are usually on the chewy side and a little bitter to me. If you like pecans you will probably like them more than I did. I also wish they were a little spicier.
If you are a fan of more traditional trail mixes you will enjoy Bear Naked’s trail mixes contain the usual mix of nuts and fruits like almonds, walnuts, cranberries and apples but what sets their trail mix apart is the addition of soy flakes, whole grain crisp rice and flaxseeds for added texture and crunch. It makes for a very satisfying snack and is a great topping for yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal.