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Family-Friendly Hiking on Mt. Rainier

Plus, a granola recipe for the great outdoors!

April 18, 2016

Mt. Rainier National Park is a grand playground for young and old alike, and surprisingly accessible for a hike with kids or any beginning hiker. The best way to cultivate care for the environment is to spend time in nature, and Rainier has nature that is nothing short of majestic. 

While planning your day at Mt. Rainier, bake a healthy snack that everyone will love, with my Easy Granola recipe, below.

Three short, but spectacular Rainier hikes are the Nisqually Vista Trail (2.2 miles), Alta Vista Trail (1.2 miles), and the Grove of the Patriachs Trail (1.5 miles). These will leave you with time to explore more of the park. A few attractions you can drive right up to are Reflection Lake, the historic Paradise Lodge, and the Jackson Visitor Center. You may run out of time, but never things to do at Mr. Rainier National Park

A more ambitious, but still family-friendly hike is the Skyline Trail, at 5.5 miles round-trip. Its spectacular views look out over the Paradise valley and far into the Cascades, Tatoosh Range to Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood, while enjoying Myrtle Falls and the Nisqually glacier at your feet. 

Easy Granola recipe

 
Making granola at home is easier than you might think, and once you start making it at home, you'll never touch the store-bought stuff again. 

 

Granola is a nutritious snack that is great by itself, and even better with yogurt and fruits or to take anywhere – on a hike, or to school or work. 

Cooking notes: The seeds, nuts, or oats that you use should be raw, i.e. untoasted and unsalted. Make sure any dried fruits (or try chocolate chips!) get added after the baked granola is cooled, so they don't melt or get chewy. 

With this basic vegan recipe, variations work well; you can use whatever dried fruits, nuts, and seeds you and yours enjoy. Here are a few more of my granola variations for inspiration!

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/2 cup whole or roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup whole or roughly chopped cashews
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the fruit.

3. In a small bowl, measure and mix the oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and brown sugar.

4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix, till everything dry is evenly coated with liquid.

5. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet, into a packed and even layer. If it is too spread out and has space in between, then you won't get clusters.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

7. Remove from the oven when the nuts look lightly browned and toasted. The granola may look like one large sticky slab, but it will crisp up as it cools, to later break off easily.

8. Let it cool completely to room temperature, and break off granola clusters as big as you like. Add the dried fruit and mix by hand.

9. Store granola in an air tight container. Homemade granola will stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Images by Mohini Patel Glanz. 

 


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Mohini Patel Glanz

Mohini Patel Glanz is a freelance photographer and creator of MangoPowerGirl.com where she shares stories of food and culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

More stories by Mohini Patel Glanz

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