Feast Two: Cast-Iron Resolve

The worst day of the whole trip was Wednesday. Jon and Z headed out, so that Z could work the next day and not be trapped in the rainy mountains. Jon was going to get a new shelter in town, since the one we’d picked up the day before refused to stay upright during the assembly process. And as soon as they left around noon, the sky opened up and proceeded to dump rain for nearly 8hrs. You try occupying a toddler in a tent for that long. I think I napped more than she did that day.

The storm started to break when Jon came back with our new canopy, the rain slowing to a drizzle. We managed to get it raised and get a fire going as the skies eventually cleared. With some basmati rice that I had cooked ahead of time, I added onions, the rest of the meatballs quartered, some roast garlic, butter and seasoning. The camp stove was enough under the canopy, we used that to heat everything while my voracious siblings roasted hot dogs over our fire.  That night, we were cold and damp, but at least we were well fed.  The storm had passed and that was the first night where we had perfectly clear skies.  The stars were the reward for our endurance.

The next morning was bright and clear, if a little cold.  Or a lot cold.  The rugrat, despite being wrapped in winter footy pajamas, three blankets and my thick Carhartt hoodie, woke up at 6am freezing cold and pissed off about it.  Mom helped me get a fire going and coffee started while we discussed breakfast.  We had potatoes left, but not enough eggs to feed one of her children, let alone the three of us.  Fortunately we had bananas that were starting to spot, blackberries and blueberries.  I wasn’t allowed to use the fresh peaches though.  And I’d had the foresight to bring the bag of rice flour with me.  In the dutch oven, I combined rice flour, milk, cinnamon sugar and the last of the scrambled eggs, which were two yolks in six whites, and a packet of my mom’s gluten free apple cinnamon oatmeal.  Once the portions seemed like a thick pancake batter, I added the fruit, covered the whole thing and threw it on the coals.  Rotating the cast-iron a few times to help it cook evenly, the whole thing was ready by the time the family was up.

It was remarkably good, if a little bland.  But it was mostly satisfying for me because I hadn’t even planned to make something like that, it just seemed like it was worth a try.  The next time, I’ll add more cinnamon sugar.  And maybe the bottom won’t be so burnt.  It took quite a bit of water and scraping to get the crust free.

After we all took ‘naps’ in an effort to con the wee beastie into napping early, my brothers and I snuck off on a five-mile hike up to Bierstadt Lake, which was marshy and rather different than the alpine lakes I was used to in the Sierras.  The view was gorgeous, most of the hike was downhill as we opted to take the long way back and we only got the briefest of rain showers for our trouble.  Mom and Jon both got to nap while the kiddo was out cold and we were all tired and ready for our final night.  Dinner was a camping take on a perennial favorite – leftovers.

With diced potatoes, onions and some bacon that had miraculously survived, in addition to some butter and the rest of the bacon fat, we managed to scrounge together a pretty solid meal with the addition of some corn on the cob, roasted in the coals..  And the leftover rice, combined with cinnamon sugar and milk, made for a nice campfire rice pudding.  Oh and s’mores.  Did I mention that pretty much everyone except Freya ate s’mores?  Like every night.  We enjoyed our last evening fire, another night of clear starry skies and I tried to soak in the quiet as much as possible.

The next morning was all cleanup and we were on the road by 11 am.  Freya lamented the breaking down of the camp, she had quite enjoyed her forts.  And she chased chipmunks.  Showers and naps were had, Jon headed back to the airport and I was lucky enough for another two days with Mom and the boys.

In the end, it was a magnificent trip.  The mountain air was refreshing, the sights majestic, the company much appreciated.  And in my whole life, I’ve yet to have a camping trip that didn’t have some bad weather.  We were fortunate that it was just horrible for the one day.  Moreover, the cooking was a success.  It’s hard to do a proper post-mortem review, but there isn’t much I would change.  Except maybe bring a shelter with us. And take more pictures.

Any questions, comments or crazy camping stories of your own?  Let’s hear them below!

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Bierstadt Lake, 9500ft eleveation

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About mthomasmaenpaa

Father, writer, geek, food-lover

Posted on July 25, 2014, in Baking, Breakfast, Camping, Cooking, Equipment, Savory and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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