Every long trail hike needs good food, right? Right. So I’m going to start this post off with the BEST, easiest homemade granola bar ever!
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 mashed banana
1/4 cup homemade peanut butter (or all natural peanut butter, no sugar, no additives)
Plop those all in a bowl, mash it all together and voila! You have the base to your homemade granola bar. It will actually make two smaller ones. Then, you can add whatever else you want, the one pictured below has some dried cherries, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds. Just roll it and shape it with wax paper and wrap it up in that same paper. We put ours in the fridge overnight and then carried a small cooler bag in Mr. Zucchini Runner’s backpack to keep it solid and not a mess. They were divine on the trail!
Now that food is out of the way, the main point of this post! We got a 6 a.m. start since the high was forecast for 78 degrees. I wanted to walk backwards to see the sun coming up… but that’s not very safe… 😉
A view of the valley from afar… This was the first time I’ve been on National Trail, this far in… which isn’t very far… I’ve just always turned or done loops. There are so many trails at South Mountain Preserve. We were about 2 miles in here. That’s our friend Heather, who invited us on this hike in the first place – thanks for the invite and great idea Heather!! 🙂 Then we got to Hidden Valley, it was fun and felt like we were suddenly transported to a different state… or at the very least Northern AZ! If we would have stayed on National Trail, and not gone down into Hidden Valley we never would have seen all these cool rocks!
Here’s the elevation profile, it was a pretty easy hike. I would say moderate if you are not used to hiking this distance or hiking in general! It took us about 5 hours.
After seeing some beautiful views, and hiking along merrily for a good clip, we were starting to get hungry. 🙂
We made it to about the half way point, before we stopped to eat. Heather’s right hand is where we started, left is where we currently were, and Mr. Zucchini Runner’s hand is where we were going to end.
A view of Ahwatukee…
A geology sample in the rocks along the way…
Thanks to Facebook we found out later that day, this little guy is called a Blister Beetle. Ew.
All done! Heather’s boyfriend picked us up at the end. NOTE: If you ever do this hike, be sure to go when San Juan Road is open to cars, which is currently only the first weekend of every month. Once home, I couldn’t WAIT to shower! Trekking for 6 hours through the dusty desert makes you feel pretty grimy!
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