I'm up in Jackson Hole, Wy again, this time for the entire month of August (an ideal month to skedaddle from the Las Vegas heat.) Eric and I drove up with the dogs on Saturday, a drive that makes you realize just how big the state of Utah is. On the positive side, I got a whopping 42 out of 50 states crossed off for my license plate game--including Alaska--a personal record.
After a few days of running around town, doing errands and stocking up the fridge, I have finally settled into a routine. Each morning, following my coffee and the Jackson Hole Daily, our local free paper, I head out to conquer The King.
Snow King. I hike up Snow King Mountain. It just sounded so much more impressive to say conquer The King.
I've mentioned before that my daily workout at home takes place on the treadmill, walking at a steep incline. Up in J.H., where there are as many trails as there are moose, it makes no sense to do that sort of workout during the summer (unless it is hailing--even then, I still might hit the trail.) So, my daily workout here is hiking up Snow King.
The base of Snow King is about a 15 minute walk from our house. From a distance perspective, the trail isn't too daunting -- 2-½ miles. Pretty reasonable, yes?
Here's the thing: Those 2-½ miles go directly up.....and up.....and up......the entire way. Switchback after switchback after switchback of rising terrain comes at you relentlessly, with a mere 200 paces of relatively flat land allowing you to catch your breath just before the final hill.
If I didn't love hiking so much I might have a hard time talking myself into facing The King each morning. But I know that once I reach the top, I will be happy that I did. The views of the entire town of Jackson, the Tetons and the Snake River are absolutely spectacular--worth every huff and puff and occasional stumble over loose gravel. Here's just one of the views -- not too shabby, huh?
Plus, it's a killer workout. So far my personal record is 32 minutes, and I'm hoping to break 30 by the end of the summer. Some people even run up the trail. Show offs.
After my morning hike, I get to work on my recipes, writing assignments and blogging. Some of my best recipe ideas are even developed on the trail since I am usually famished by the time I reach the bottom and all I can think about is food. This sandwich cookie is one such recipe.
I was originally going to make this recipe into chocolate mint whoopie pies, filled with generous thick layers of mint buttercream and ganache. I do love a whoopie pie, but I always wish they were a tad bit smaller. Sometimes I just want a "little something" to satisfy my sweet tooth, and if I want more then I can have another little something. So I decided to shrink my idea into bite-sized Chocolate Mint Grasshopper Sandwich Cookies--soft chocolate cookies, mint buttercream and rich bittersweet chocolate ganache.
Because they are small, these cookies would be perfect for a dessert table, served with coffee or as an accompaniment to ice cream. One is also a great reward for a tough morning workout. Just sayin.......