Kirk is an awesome husband. ♥ He gave me a kid free day out!
And I had homemade ice cream after – recipe is at the end!
On short notice the weather turned sunny for the weekend. My friend Dani was free on Saturday so we decided on going to The Carbon River area of Mt. Rainier National Park (click it to see a earlier trip report from two years ago and this one with Walker from last year.). Two reasons: we both love rain forest hiking and it was National Park freebie week. I haven’t bought my new NP pass for the year yet so I try to not pass up getting in for free 😉
It was my first hike without Alistaire along. It is always an odd feeling to leave your babies behind but I know I needed it. A day of only needing to think about myself was just what I craved. Carbon is one I have done so many times – it is one of my favorite hikes due to the intense green and the quiet. A busy day there is a slow day compared to the trailheads closer to Seattle.
Dani doing a pose:
The dew was burning off quickly:
Me in front of one of the creeks that still run down the old road bed (from the 2006 blowout):
We got out to the old Ipsuit Creek Campground, which is now officially (finally!) a backcountry camp area as of last year. I am one who is happy with the Park Service keeping the old road a trail permanently (and it is bike and jogger stroller friendly). I drove the road many times and walking it is way more enjoyable. Part of the changes is privies that have been added, the old restrooms are gone:
The other big change is the soon-to-be finished guard station/log cabin. There was an old one that barely escaped the floods, the new one will be in the old car parking lot at the start of the junction to The Wonderland Trail. Change is good. It really can be. And yes, that was snow! Only in the exposed areas, everywhere else was melted out.
I know I make a good living developing backcountry recipes. I was feeling lazy and picked up a sammie on the way to the trailhead 😉 It was tasty I might add – artichokes, guacamole, tomatoes and foccacia bread.
After being lazy in the camp (and having lunch at a picnic table) we started the long walk back down the Carbon River. Looking back up the river, Rainier had clouded over as is often normal (although from the angle here she isn’t visible).
It was a perfect hike – sunny, mildly warm. Great views, friendship, chatting and tasty food. Although by the end we clocked in over 11 miles and my post-partum thighs were telling me off. Hah.
My treat that night was homemade vegan-friendly ice cream – made with coconut milk. While it might not be everyone’s idea of perfect ice cream, I was in love with it! You will need an ice cream maker for it. I made Ford go dig for ours and blew off the dust. Now that we have a mini-chest freezer I find the maker’s core freezes better and gives a smoother, creamier ice cream. So if you have both, use the deep freezer! But don’t store the ice cream in it. I did and the ice cream became VERY hard. Lesson learned, store the finished product in the freezer in the kitchen.
Cashew and Pistachio Coconut Ice Cream
- 2¾ cups unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ cup cashew butter
- ¾ cup organic raw agave nectar
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup pistachios, roasted and salted, diced (measure after shelling)
- ½ cup finely shredded sweetened coconut
Freeze the inner chamber of your ice cream maker for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
Add the coconut milk through sea salt to a Vitamix blender or other powerful blender. Start on Variable 1, go up to 10 quickly and then turn to High. Process for a minute. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions, for my Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker:
Add the frozen chamber, insert the paddle and put the lid on. Start the machine and slowly add in the mixture. Let run for about 20 minutes or until soft serve texture. Add in the pistachios and coconut while running, let continue to paddle for 5 minutes more.
Turn off and scoop into airtight containers, freeze until solid (2 to 3 hours). Although as soft serve it is very nice as well.
Makes 1 quart.