Confession Time: when I was about to go to Laketrails for my first summer as a camper, my biggest worry was, “What am I going to eat up there??” I thought that I was about to endure 9 days of “camping food”—maybe it would all be dehydrated, or maybe we would only eat Ramen Noodles. The horror! So imagine my surprise when we started meal planning for our canoe trip, and my guides started suggesting meals: Pita Pizzas, Spaghetti and Meat sauce, Mac and Cheese, Breakfast Burritos, Pancakes, Donuts…it seemed too good to be true. Now, having been a camper, camper worker, and guide, I can definitely say that some of the best meals I’ve had have been on Laketrails canoe trips.
Imagine pulling up to a beautiful, rocky campsite at the end of a long day of paddling. Once camp is set up and everything is unloaded, dinner is the first priority. A fire is made and the ingredients are prepped. We try to bring as much fresh food as possible on our trips—apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, eggs, cheese, bagels, summer sausage, and bacon are all staples of a Laketrails canoe trip. Maybe the meal tonight is Chicken Alfredo, or Shepard’s Pie, with brownies for dessert.
As we cook, everyone has a job to do. Everyone can get a turn stirring the pot or frying things on the griddle. When the food is ready, everyone loads up their dish and we eat in a circle, laughing about the day we’ve just had and getting up for seconds and thirds when we’re ready. A great meal caps off a great day, allowing us time to recharge and reconnect with one another. As the night draws to a close, we pack the food away and linger by the fire for a while, sipping cocoa or tea. Tomorrow will be another adventure. Maybe we’ll start with some eggs or some wild blueberry pancakes to fuel up for a long portage, a full day of paddling, or an exploration hike around our campsite. Whatever challenges we face on our trip, we can be sure that each day will bring laughter, friendship, and really great food.
By Rose Gottlieb, former Camper, Camper Worker, and Guide