Saturday, June 29, 2013

Camping: A Recipe for Success

This weekend I did what once would have been impossible.
Our girl scout trip planned a family campalong.  We walked a good mile uphill from the parking lot, toting our tents, sleeping bags and food gear, set up adjoining campsites and then spent the night in the woods.  Far away from refrigeration, real kitchens, and electricity.
The hike scared me a little.  The food scared me a lot.  You just can't go 24 hours without eating.  And you can't just get by on a few snacks, either.  For a full 24 hours in the woods (especially if it includes a couple miles of hiking) you need real food.
I entered into this trip acknowledging that I would be bringing my own food.  I was greatly relieved to receive the email explaining that trying to organize food for multiple families was too much for the coordinator, and that any adults joining the trip would be expected to provide for their personal families.  Yay!  I wouldn't be the only one.
Next came choosing the meals.  This was harder than one might imagine, since the food needed to both suit my dietary needs and be something my very picky eater would be willing to consume in front of friends.  Some food she ended up having her own personal treats for.  We purchased sushi for the first lunch, for instance.
Here's what we ended up with overall:
Lunch:  I made savory popovers for me.  Dd had prepurchased sushi.
Snacks:  Trailmix.  Dried fruit and chocolate.  Hers included chocolate covered honeycomb and purchased roasted pumpkin seeds.
Dinner: We settled on foil packets of prebaked chicken, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. didn't come out that great and Bumblebee gratefully shared another family's surplus mac and cheese.  But, the sweet potatoes would have been better with salt and cooked longer over the coals.  I was just guessing at times, since everything was precooked.
Dessert: cookies and s'mores.  The s'mores were provided by the coordinator, and I politely declined.
If we go again, I'm bringing apples to roast over the fire.
Breakfast was peanut butter cookies for me and we'd packed gluten free bagels for bumblebee.  She ended up sharing surplus food from other families, again.  That's okay...gluten free food is expensive and Penguin was more than happy that I toted it all back down the hill.

I'd also made chebe bread pull aparts, which I completely forgot to pull out and enjoy until we got home.  They were delicious.  I wish I'd warmed them on the coals and enjoyed them with my meal.  But I was pretty happy to discover them in the bag and have a lunch all ready to go while we were unpacking.
The trip was amazing.  There was a lot of bonding, and while the allergy issue came up it was also easily addressed and accepted then set aside.  Everyone acknowledged that the last place you want to risk a reaction is the middle of the woods, and we moved on.  I felt a little selfish not sharing my cookies.  But since no one else could share their food with me, an there seemed to be plenty to go around, I also felt like it was okay.
I actually enjoyed sleeping on the ground. was really hard and my hips hurt.  But once I figured out that bug spray gives me a headache, and that I was trying to sleep on a slope (and turned my head uphill instead of down) things improved greatly and I enjoyed looking out the tent window at the trees.  And listening to the owls and the rustle of wind in the trees.
Would we do it again?  Absolutely!  Maybe with less uphill walking to get to the campsite, but we'd do it again.