I am not a mountain climber. That’s the main thing I learned on my recent mountain climbing attempt in Arizona. For anyone reading this blog who might be an actual mountain climber, I strongly suggest you stop reading at this point. I was born in Wisconsin and raised in Illinois. I think you can imagine the number of real mountain experiences I have encountered.
1. It turns out that I don’t like heights all that much. It also turns out that I didn’t realize how much I didn’t like heights until I got pretty far up the aforementioned mountain.
2. It turns out that what goes up must come down. The ‘what’ in that sentence is me. Yes, I did essentially crab crawl down a mountain. My triceps still hurt.
3. It turns out that wearing old running shoes with bad traction to climb mountains is poor planning. This one could have been avoided.
4. It turns out that no matter how many kids, runners, elderly folks, and dogs pass you by on the climb, I will still not feel at ease when hiking mountains.
5. It turns out that when I make it to what I think is the top, some old guy will run (and I mean that literally) up next to me and tell me there is just a little bit more ‘scrambling’ to the top. I don’t think I know what ‘scrambling’ really is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not what I was doing. My ‘scrambling’ was an odd and un-athletic combination of surviving, deep breathing, clawing, clamoring, praying, crab crawling, and grabbing onto cacti (or cactus or cactuses according to my research on wikipedia just now — I guess there is no wrong way to pluralize the word ‘cactus’).
6. It turns out that my own fear of running into a deadly snake while hiking melts away when my fear of falling off a mountain takes over. I was so scared I probably would have hugged a snake for comfort. Although, I imagine snake hugs to be far less comforting then human hugs given the lack of arms.
7. It turns out that grabbing onto foliage when climbing mountains is dumb, especially when the foliage is mostly cacti and other prickly plants. O-U-C-H.
8. It turns out that no matter how many reviews one reads on Yelp, I will still be surprised at just how challenging and/or scary hiking the ‘less strenuous’ trail is. Yelp reviewers, what do you mean this is ‘not that hard’ and ‘pretty easy, even for a beginner.’ I beg to differ.
9. It turns out that some risks, scary moments, and hours of feeling like you might fall off a mountain are worth it. Oh. So. Worth. It.
10. It turns out that I am not a mountain climber.
It also turns out that my hair is not mountain-climbing-proof. I have 10 variations of the above photo, each with impressive hairstyling. My mom said it was probably just a hair-raising experience. You decide.
I know. I know. I keep mentioning oatmeal and how doggone delicious and wonderful it is and you are all like ‘Andrea, you serious? Oatmeal?’
And, I’m all like ‘yeah, I’m way serious.’
1C steel cut oats
2tsp instant espresso powder
1T unsweetened cocoa powder
1T agave (or sugar)
extras: chocolate chips, nuts, milk, sliced bananas, etc
Heat water in large pot over high heat. Once boiling, add oats, salt, espresso, and cocoa. Stir and return to boil. Reduce to medium-low.
Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes (or until oats are tender).
Remove from heat. Add agave. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Top with extras just before serving if desired.