Elevate Me, Hike 56

August 21, 2011

Sea level.

Too low! Up up up is where I belong. I began among the ocean trees and devilish durians and followed the Cascade Head Nature Conservancy Trail as it steadily rose to a more comfortable altitude.

The indolent hours of vacation had taken their toll. I climbed and climbed, afraid of staying on the ground for too long despite the weary trek. My wings were wilting in the salty air and the buoyant water did little to lift the dead weight of my atrophied limbs. Climb the rocks, climb the dirt, climb the trees. Brittle bones, maintain your structure! There was no time for snapping breaking crunching. The trail needed to be conquered if my strength was to be regained.

Relief! I emerged from the woods.

I met with quiet disdain from the local ladybugs. I was an intrusion. Do not worry, friends; I’ll soon be gone.

The wide meadows opened like a curtain and the waves would have drown me if not for the height. The puzzle-piece shore met the curving wall of water. Teeth and hips, hips and teeth; the world is a body. Higher, higher! Ocean rocks. Higher, higher! Roving river.

The velvet undergrowth cushioned me as it did the growing stalks. I lay down in the grass to rest my head, as the stems reached higher. I slept, they grew. I must have returned home at some point, but I can’t recall.

Vacation at last. I can feel my muscles releasing and turning into soupy red jelly. My heart has all but stopped and my sleep debt is rabidly being repaid. Fill me with fat and sugar! Quickly I’ll grow and consume grow and consume, as vacation becomes but a wrinkle in my tremendous girth.

I woke early Friday morning and began the process. The waves rolled, the cinnamon rolled, and soon my sides will roll.

This recipe, despite its lack of dairy and eggs, met with universal acclaim from my harsh family of omnivorous critics. Tempted as I was to devour the whole tray, I stayed my hand.

Harmony.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup unbleached sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds whisked together with 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), melted
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), softened

Frosting

  • About 3/8 (3 ounces) of a container of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.

  1. Mix yeast, sugar, and heated vegan milk in a large mixing bowl and let stand until foamy. Add egg replacer, melted vegan butter, flour, and salt. Mix well and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be firm and smooth, not sticky.
  2. Set the dough aside in a covered bowl for an hour to an hour and a half until it has roughly doubled in size. After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured work surface, cover, and let rest for 10 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with vegan butter, then sprinkle it evenly with the sugar mixture. Though I left the filling as is, it would be easy to add extra ingredients like raisins or nuts. Roll the dough on the longer side. Cut the rolls so that you have even slices. Cut straight down the middle first, then cut straight down the middle of the two sections, and finally cut down the middle of the four sections. In the end you should have eight evenly sized rolls if you follow this method.
  5. Place rolls in a lightly greased baking pan or two. (A cookie sheet also works fine.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. While rolls are baking, beat together Tofutti, vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.
You can find the original recipe, along with other great vegan concoctions at the link posted below.*

The result of a hungry gull.

I suppose I should balance indulgence with discipline. A hike will shortly follow.

*http://www.noveleats.com/dessert/cinnamon-rolls-and-chocolate-rolls/

The slow and arduous melting of the snow drove me to abandon my hopes of heading for the Cascades, and I instead traveled west to Tillamook Head. I can’t say the decision offered much respite from the elements. The forecast called for rain, but I, against my better judgement, ignored the warning and followed the siren call issuing forth from the ocean. Initially I faced little more than a drizzle. The bees seeking refuge beneath the plants did nothing to quell my enthusiasm and I journeyed forth.

The curling vines gripped and pulled, gripped and pulled, hoping perhaps to prevent me from going any further, but I pressed on, convinced that the weather would hold. Their tendrils wrapped around my ankles but were hardly a match for my determination.

As I continued I felt the clouds thicken and descend. What once covered only the sun began to touch the tips of the trees and climb towards me with ever increasing speed. I walked, I walked, but still it approached. Surrounded by gaping holes caused by nurse logs and fog filling both the forest and my eyes, I felt myself being dragged down to the fearful machines as the whirling and clicking of cogs lowered me deeper deeper into the industrial depths.

Walk on, Friends. You can’t go back now.

I became a tree.

Wet and weary I approached the viewpoint. I stood towering above the sea, feeling as insignificant as a raindrop. How I might fall from the cliff and be absorbed into the eternal ocean, forgetting the self-imposed division that separates me from you! But for now I must remain. Stay as you are, dear Reader.

Tattered prayer flags hung from a tree that overlooked the water. String by string I watched them unravel.

As the day came to a close, the fog won. I stood and watched the last of the trees get devoured by the unstoppable onslaught and huddled in my tent, only hoping to avoid being dissolved. It rained. I slept. It rained. I dreamed. It rained. I woke. I could have stayed in my sleeping bag and withered away, but again I say, walk on. I hiked. I hiked. I hiked. I drove.