and Bliss has a section on Food. Consider this an addendum to that.
My friend Wayne
and I love pasta dishes for the dinner. We chop lots of garlic and make
a terrific cheese sauce. The freeze dried pre-prepared dinners are
great too. Soup is a must. Appetizers can be smoked salmon, smoked
sausage, crackers and cheese, smoked oysters. Have a chocolate bar for
dessert. For breakfast we usually have individual packs of oatmeal or
cream of wheat that need only boiling water. Don't forget the brown
sugar and raisins. Lunch is usually on the trail so simple is better.
Crackers, tube of peanut butter, tube of jam, squeeze "phoney" cheese,
power bars, trail mix with dried fruit. The key to eating on a backpack
trip is "lots of small dishes" to keep you busy and keep you eating.
We had met an interesting couple along route and invited them to share
a little of our simple backpacker's dinner. The sauteed garlic cloves
in our smoking, pasta sauce had been delicately blended with peanut
butter, re-constituted milk and a generous portion of crushed chilies.
Survival was undoubtedly foremost in the minds of our guests, but still
they offered several generous compliments. As we cooled our palates
over coffee and chocolate, these delightful folks revealed that they
were professors in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the
University of Alberta. We haven't heard from them since but assume they
are still trying to decipher the ingredients of that memorable sauce.
At Tsusiat we met a group of retirees, about 10 strong, who had dried
and packed all their own gourmet meals. We were very impressed with the
neatly packaged soups and bean dishes. We were 'blown away' when they
explained that many of the ingredients had been harvested from their
Bannock is a pleasant thing to cook on a cool evening when the fire
isn't too busy. Here's a recipe I've found successful. You can also buy
premixed packages. This whole thing is 99% better if you have a tube of
jam to pass around.
Take along premixed in a plastic bag:
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Add at the time of cooking:
1/2 cup of margarine/butter
1/2 cup of water
Mix in the margarine until the mix resembles coarse cornmeal. Gradually
add the water while tossing the mixture with a fork, until mixture
clings together to form a thick dough. Turn dough onto a lightly
floured surface. (inside of a bowl) Knead until very smooth.
Cook flattened in a pan about 10 minutes on each side. OR roll into a
long "snake" and wind around a stick.
The Fastest Hike
takes the prize at 200+ rungs. For many
people the ladders are the greatest challenge.
"What's the fastest
anyone's ever done this trail?" Every year someone asks this question
and we usually recall a Victoria running club that claims to have
scrambled the whole thing in three days. Three days gets us about half
way, but then, we're mere mortals with aching muscles and hot spots on
our feet. Two days? Impossible! Maybe not. This story comes from two
young men who ran it on a weekend in 1998.
should probably plan on more than three days." The park's official was
behind her counter at the trailhead advising the two young men. "Most
people take 5 or 6 days."
feel confident we can do it," Peter said. "We both completed a
triathlon a week ago." "We're in pretty good shape," Paul added.
Neither man let on that they really intended to make the hike in 2
days. They had agreed that 3 days was the minimum they could safely
suggest without raising eyebrows.
just so you know," the official said. "Very few people can finish 75 km
in three days. Make sure you're prepared for at least that long."
spite of having to wait for a 9am crossing of the Gordon, by early
evening, as the sun was disappearing over the trees, they had reached
Monique's place at Carmanah.
fellas stay here tonight!" she said.
we'll go on to Cribs."
can't go on to Cribs tonight, it almost dark. Where'd yuh start today?"
After hearing they had started that morning in Port Renfrew, the amazed
Monique offered no further arguments. Their single night on the trail
was spent at the Cribs.
second day both men endured foot pain. Paul was wearing an old pair of
infantry boots he'd borrowed from his father. Peter had a brand new
pair of Nike trail runners. Ever stumble over a root when one of your
toenails is "hanging by a thread? Paul called it pain "greater than
following day both men were back at work. Paul was using two walking
canes and climbing stairs backwards. Peter's grotesquely swollen feet
were sock less in an old pair of unlaced sneakers.
all things considered, how was the trip?" I asked.
Aged is Best
How old is too old for this hike? You may find you have a few good years left.
word came down the trail, moccasin-telegraph style, that a 77 year old
woman was finishing her last two days on the infamous and challenging,
50 mile long, West Coast Trail of Vancouver Island. We were collapsed
behind a log in the late afternoon sun with our customary aperitif and
smoked salmon appetizer, when the other members of this elderly lady's
group, began to arrive. It was the sixth hiking day for this tour group
and several were limping from blisters or muscle cramps.
"Mrs. Jones is coming with another woman. She's just a few minutes behind." the leader assured us.
I said, "Quite a lady! I can only hope I'll be able to tie my own boots at her age"
Everyone was talking about the "old lady". The sun moved behind the
tall trees flanking Camper Bay, casting dark shadows across the beach.
"They better get here soon. It's gonna be dark pretty quick!" someone said.
"No kidding," I added, "I was exhausted four hours ago."
Finally, the young group leader took off up the ladders. About thirty
minutes passed. The sun was gone and the air had turned chilly. The
forest would be dark and difficult for anyone except the most
All eyes were turned toward the point, watching. Three silhouettes
emerged. One hiker was bent over, obviously tortured by each step. Two
packs were piled high on the shoulders of the tallest, who marched out
"There she is!" I said. "Look at the way she's walking. That poor woman!"
The third person was moving close beside the casualty, helping her. We
all strained to pick out faces in the darkness. The young guide
lumbered past under the packs, looking very fed up. Light from our fire
touched the other two faces. A gentle and aged face greeted us with a
smile. So this was Mrs. Jones! She was supporting the arm of a stooped
and crippled figure about 50 years her junior! Mrs. Jones, it turns out
was a gardener, and she was hiking comfortably in her old and sturdy
gardening boots. She finished the hike in style!