Upon seeing pictures of this post you might think I ran up Mt. Washington in June, but in fact, it was the middle of January and the weather report showed a whopping 70F in North Bend, WA , the closest town to the Mt Washington trail head. When its 70F in Washington you better get your ass out the door and into the mountains cause it won't last for long!
Oh man, it was pure awesome getting into the mountains in January and feeling like my face was acquiring a sunburn. It was also a Monday and I was not scheduled to work along with a couple other co-workers so we did what all co-workers do at a running store on their days off: Go running.
I love being along the I-90 corridor where there are endless peaks with different distances and elevation gain. I have lived in Seattle my whole life and I still get excited looking at a map and deciding which trail I'm going to knock of the list for the season. Mt Washington was the perfect match for the three of us. The trail is just shy of 9 miles with 3200 ft of elevation gain. I knew my climbing legs would be rusty so I didn't want to take something on that was too ambitious and this was a good gateway into spring training for mountain running.
The Mt Washington trail is surprisingly versatile unlike some of the other trails in the Snoqualmie National Forest. There are open areas with ridge vistas and other stretches of well shaded forest. Mt Rainier is only visible once you reach the top which is greatly rewarding. It was quite the treat seeing a stunning mountain peak out of the trees. The top not only had a view of Rainier but was supplemented by two gorgeous mountain lakes far below. We lounged for a bit to eat snacks and catch a January tan.
Mt Washington: Exit 38 from I-90
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 3250 ft
When I come back from a run I crave straight sugar. But I'm a snob and I don't reach for something packaged most of the time. I also want whatever I'm grabbing to taste better than something processed. The problem is, if I don't make something ahead of time I will bolt into the kitchen like a starving cave woman and grab whatever is in front of my face. With that said, I need to plan accordingly.
The winter particularly drives cravings of something warm and spicy. These snacking muffins are perfectly moist from the squash with a little pockets of flavor from the cranberries and winter spices. There is nothing more convenient than making a batch of nutrient-filled muffins to last more than a day for post-run snacks after huffing in frigid air for over an hour. These muffins were beyond easy and don't require a lengthy prep or baking time. I happened to have all the ingredients so I threw together during one of my afternoons off. I recommend doubling the batch if you have a crowd of exercisers in the house like myself. These nuggets vanished quicker than I expected.
Squash Cranberry Muffins with Maple Almond Crumble
Adapted from Faring Well
For the Muffins:
1 cup squash puree (Acorn, Butternut, etc)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup frozen cranberries
For the Crumble:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately (from the muffin column) before combining.
Pour muffin batter into twelve muffin tins. I didn't line my tins, I just oiled them well with coconut oil.
Combine the crumble ingredients in a bowl and then top over batter in tins. It will seem like a lot of crumble, but pile it on! It will eventually sink into the batter.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes and remove from the oven.
Let cool for 5 minutes in the tins before removing.
Keep in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Days like these are my favorite during the winter in Seattle: Ice cold air and a big bright sun. Its pretty incredible when you can see both mountain ranges from the top of Queen Anne hill. Justin and I always seek out a destination run when we see a bluebird day on the weather report, and its always worth it. A good sum of people complain about the rain, but I have never found a reason to kvetch about the weather, especially with days like this in between. After living in the tropics for four years, I found there will NEVER be a downpour in Seattle like ones I have experienced in the Amazon or Philippines during monsoon season.
Discovery Park is a decent sized park in Seattle city proper. The main loop is only 3 miles long, but there are plenty of side trails that lead to the water for additional mileage. I wouldn't recommend going here for a long run, otherwise you might overlap your footsteps more than desired. Discovery Park is the perfect place for a lazy Saturday run to get in fluff mileage and take in the varied landscape.
The best part about city trails is the proximity to post-run necessities: high quality coffee and gourmet food. Discovery Park is also a couple blocks from Seattle's very own trail running shop, 7 Hills Running. Venture into Queen Anne from the trails to Diablo Coffee and Le Reve Bakery for an after workout treat, or go big at Tanglewood Supreme.
3801 Discovery Park Blvd
Seattle, WA 98199
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.