Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe for Hikers

In this video I've tried to follow a recipe for a highly nutritious and calorie rich granola bar to bring on long hikes. My ultimate goal for the hike across the country is to carry the lightest, smallest food load, but consume the highest amount of calories possible from food with a good fat, to carb to protein ratio. This granola bar recipe definitely fits those criteria, and it is delicious!

I've reprinted the recipe below. I found it on a blog called In the chart above you'll see I've calculated (roughly) the calorie values as well as the fat, carb and protein content for each 85g bar (keep in mind that most granola bars sold in stores are about half that weight). With the recipe below, you can make ten 85 gram bars.

As you can see in the chart above, each 85 gram bar is extremely calorie rich, contains plenty of carbs, a healthy amount of fat, and a high protein content to rebuild exhausted muscles. Awesome! And they only cost $1.35 each to make!

Here is the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather your ingredients:
  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • approximately 8 oz. dried fruit
To crush your peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a heavy mallet, measuring cup, or sauce pan.

Then, mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.

Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.
Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, but it looks so pretty!)
By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit. Oh, and turn off your oven, because you’re finished with it now.

Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.

Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.
Then, open the waxed paper …

And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.

Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

A dreamer's world

I'm watching Werner Herzog's documentary Encounters at the End of the World, a film that seeks to uncover the reasons why humans do the things they do, and specifically, why people go to Antarctica, which is where the doc is set. One very intriguing subject of Herzog's is Stefan Pashov who is introduced as a philosopher and a forklift driver. Pashov has some really nice ways of thinking about life, and I'd like to share some of them.

"I think there are a fair amount of people here [in Antarctica] that are full time travelers and part time workers. Those are the professional dreamers! And I think that through them, the cosmic dreams come into fruition. The universe dreams through our dreams. I think there are many different ways of bringing reality forward, and dreaming is definitely one of those ways."

I love hearing others who dream so unabashedly and who embrace that aspect of their lives.

Watch the film, its great!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Igloo building at Trailblazers

James and I had our first experience leading a winter weekend for adults at Trailblazers. We viewed it sort of as a training session for us to prepare for leading expeditions and survival outings for New Yorkers this summer and fall. It was a tremendous learning experience and Tom, Lynn, Chris and Alice were great teachers.

Froya spent the entire weekend off leash with no issues. She loved it, and she even got to try pulling a sled which she seemed to enjoy (the lighter the load the more she smiled!).

Here is a link to one of our participant's websites. Tom is a photographer whose work is truly amazing! Check it out at


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A word about love...

In rereading my last post I realize that I failed to mention one of the major driving forces in realizing this dream: love. The thrill of adventure is only magnified when shared with the person you love, which is why I think this journey is as much about celebrating our love for each other as it is about sharing our wonder for the country's wilderness.


Why hike across America?

When I was a kid growing up in Manhattan, I had this idea that everything outside my city was wild. This one memory has stuck with me since I was four or five- my mom and I were standing on a sunny beach in some exotic place, New Jersey most likely, and I distinctly remember telling her that I wished we lived in America. In my imagination, Manhattan was not part of America because America had beaches and streams and more than one bird species. It had mountains and lakes and pine trees and fresh air. Manhattan, however, had none of those things. We later moved to Norway where most of the country is in fact wild. I'd like to think that my dream of crossing America stems from an early fantasy of a wild America, and a later fascination with the Norwegian wild, one that I was able to explore and nurture.

But why hike? Molly and I get asked this question a lot. "Why not drive?" some people ask. "Why not bike?" Sure, it takes less time to drive or bike across the country, and any form of transportation will beat hiking in energy efficiency. But that's part of the point. I don't want to be efficient. Hiking is a slow process. Getting from A to B is only one of many goals. If I wanted to get from A to B I'd hop on a plane to San Francisco and be there in six hours. Hiking requires a certain amount of concentration, and focus, and in some ways its like meditation. Our hike will be a 365 day, 5,057 mile meditation session through the woods, meadows and mountains of America.

OK, that sounds really tree-hugger-y and romantic and dreamy- I don't hug trees but I'll be the first to admit that I am a dreamer. I dream hard. The truth is that our trail will take us through farm land, across busy highways, past diners and strip malls, and through parts of the country that are completely at odds with my childhood fantasies of a postcard-esque America.

I've been slow to realize that hiking 5,057 miles won't be a piece of cake. I sometimes catch myself thinking about the hike simply as a warmup round for harder, more challenging expeditions in the future- Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, Lapland- the list of dreams goes on. But as Molly has rightfully pointed out, hiking across America is kind of a big deal. Its not as extreme as the tundras above the arctic circle, but its a challenge unlike any I've taken on before.

So, this hike means many things to me, and it means a whole different set of things to Molly. At this point, precisely 366 days before departure, no one reason overshadows the next. Maybe it'll become more clear as time passes.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our puppy Frøya

Frøya became a New Yorker on Monday, February 7th!

Molly and I have been looking for a dog to accompany us on the trail for some time now. Of course, we wanted a dog that would not only make an excellent companion on the trail, but a great friend afterwards and throughout its life. Mainly we'd been looking at breeds that can carry or pull their own food and water over long distances, that are strong and tough enough to walk up to 20 miles in a day, and that will love to love and be loved. 

Initially we thought an alaskan malamute would fit those criteria, but after a lot of research and phone calls to breeders, we decided that it would probably suffer in the summer and fall months under all that thick arctic fur. Another option we considered was a siberian husky, but these too have incredible insulating fur that would only make their lives miserable in hot humid weather.

Finally, we came across a relatively new breed of dog called the Tamaskan. This breed is essentially a mutt, a carefully planned mix of siberian husky, alaskan malamute and german shepherd dog. The latter breed's influence seemed to balance the arctic influence and reduce the coat thickness to a more manageable size. These guys look pretty much like wolves. After talking to several breeders we fell in love with Frøya, a five month old pup who had been returned to her breeder by her previous owner due to sudden unfortunate financial circumstances.

Her first outdoor adventure will be this weekend when James and I lead an outdoor survival course for adults at Trail Blazers. Pics to follow. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Martin and James go ice fishing

My buddy and colleague James and I work at Trail Blazers Camp in New Jersey. Its the second oldest camp in the country and boasts 1000 acres of gorgeous deciduous forest and a sizable lake. We went out there last weekend to get away from the city and to do some ice fishing.

The temps dropped to -12 degrees F (-24 C) one night which made sleep difficult. We spent a good portion of the night outside sawing and chopping wood to get the blood flowing. We were lucky enough to have an almost full moon that night which illuminated the snow covered lake spectacularly. We didn't have too much luck with the fish but the sun was out in the day, the moon was out at night and we came home smelling of smoke and bass guts which is really all I could ask for.