Justin and I spent our Sunday running the high desert of Precott, and although it was cooler than the Phoenix Valley, I was zapped by the sun and in need of all things refreshing post jog. We stopped by Cuppers before heading home to satiate our hunger with quiche and pancakes. If you haven't been there, it's the perfect homely cafe with healthy house made goods. It always seems to quench our hunger perfectly after a couple hours on the trails. If the weather is nice I recommend snagging a seat on the front porch and watching the passersby.
I know it's important to have a well balanced diet with protein and vegetables but I decided to swing to the left on this one and eat exactly what I was craving. Following instincts is a good thing right? When the temperature is just too damn hot to handle outside, the last thing I want is something out of the oven. So we made ourselves a fresh strawberry pie for dinner. The pie resulted in an sugar rush that had us dancing around the apartment for an hour in until our hyperactive high sent us plummeting into bed for the night.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
Adapted from The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook
7.5 Cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 Cups sugar
1/4 Cup agar
1/8 Tsp salt
1 heaping Cup ground graham crackers
8 tablespoons butter, melted
In a saucepan combine the sugar, agar, salt and 1/3 Cup cold water. Which together and then add 3 cups of the strawberries and mash with a potato masher. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for a full minute and then transfer mixture to a large bowl to let cool to room temperature. In the meantime, make the crust by pouring the melted butter of the ground graham crackers. Combine well until evenly moistened and lightly press the dough into a pie mold. Once the strawberry mixture is cooled, add the remaining strawberries and spoon everything into the pie mold. Place in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
We thought July was our last time this summer to savor the pacific northwest and the towering Evergreens that join, but from the unfortunate events with my dad we were graced with another trip back to Seattle.
The weekend was harder than I could have ever anticipated. I was depleted emotionally by the end, but I felt an ounce of closure. Time hasn't been on my side this summer, and each day seems to be harder without my dad. I badly want to call him and talk endlessly about running and the new trails Justin and I have discovered. I want to talk about my race schedule, my workouts, my weekly mileage, and all the little things that no one else understands unless they are an overly obsessive runner like my dad. And I really need him to edit my grad school papers because he always had the patience for my fleeting thoughts. My professors are now at the mercy of my writing, riddled with typos.
I couldn't come back to Washington without going to the mountains. Running and nature, my two sources of healing, were melded together in beautiful form by running a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail with Justin, Trisha, and Uli Steidl. I have been reading about Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese term which literally translates to Forest Bathing, or taking a visit to the forest to improve one's health. Studies have shown that Shinrin-Yoku positively affects the nervous system, particularly by reducing stress hormones. Without the outdoors, I would be at a standstill with grief. Every day spent outside is a step forward in healing the pain of losing my dad.
This was my first time running to Kendall Katwalk, but we chose this route because it is an iconic section of the PCT. It has about 2,500 ft of elevation gain over 13 miles from the pass to the Katwalk, and is very steady in its climb, making for an enjoyable run down the trail. The Katwalk itself is stunning. It looks like the trail was literally blasted out of the side of the mountain with a sharp drop to the side. There is a 360 view of the cascades that is hard to beat on other nearby trails.
Once we reached the parking lot Uli knew of an area off Alpental Road with a flowing creek. Washington is notorious for its Alpine Lakes, which never disappoint. We soaked in the pools until hunger won us over and then we headed back to Seattle.
Arizona has a lot to live up to, but we are finding our place in the desert. Once the temperature reading dips below 100F I can stop constantly dreaming of Washington's cool mountain weather and sky-high pines whose shade I am in dire need of.
It was 117 degrees yesterday. I spent a little over an hour outside running in the morning, sweating out half my body weight and fine-tuning my sports bra tan. The remainder of the day I shivered in a room blasted by AC. I ended up pulling my calf at the end of the day because my legs were so frigid. Thankfully it loosened up when I went to check the mail in the evening. I have a hard time censoring myself when people out of town say "at least it's dry heat!" Someone baked cookies in their car earlier this summer in the valley, so dry heat or not, its a damn oven in Phoenix.
We have been spending every free minute with our friends Erin and Ben, because they have the same weekend spirit as us. We grab our free time by the horns and head for the hills to cooler weather.
The Peavine Trail is flat, but I still find myself adjusting to altitude. The trail is not heavily used for how central and accessible it is, which is perfect for hours of zoning out. The trail is uneventful in the beginning, but within a mile there is a sudden change of environment with water, beautiful rock formations and pines. Prescott is the road less traveled in Arizona, but it is a gem in the high desert, and well worth the short drive out of the valley.
Peavine Trail: Prescott, AZ
Trailhead at Prescott Lakes Pkwy
Distance: 12 miles, round trip
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.