Fun, Fine Food at 3,000 Feet

When wandering into the backcountry, luxury is all relative. For some, that could be a fresh pair of merino socks to pull on before crawling into a sleeping bag. For others, luxury is a little more… extravagant. I was staying in a hut 22 kilometres into New Zealand’s Southern Alps when a hiker from the U.K. pulled out a hairdryer! Bless her voluminous locks.

But whatever your level of luxury is, every hiker could agree that flavourful food counts as a worthy indulgence. Like taking off your ski boots after a day of crushing powder, that first spoonful of delicious food in the stove-fed warmth of a backcountry hut is an almost orgasmic experience.

If you’re looking for that level of grandeur in your grub, dehydrated vegetables won’t always make the cut. Giving your tastebuds a royal treatment while being the envy of everyone in the cabin may mean packing a little heavy, or a little bulky, but when fine dining is on the line, you can be excused.

So understanding there are limits to backcountry eating, here is a list of the perfect meals that will turn a backcountry hut into a five-star restaurant!

Photo courtesy Izzy Lynch, who clearly captured a very fun-do time!

Photo courtesy Izzy Lynch, who clearly captured a very fun-do time!

Bannock

Did you forget about this one? A childhood favourite, cooking bannock on a stick over the campfire is nostalgic, simple and so delicious when filled with copious amounts of butter.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter (melted)

Mix everything but the butter before the hike. Melt the butter and mix in. Add a cup of water, then more until the texture is firm. Shave the bark off a dropped tree limb then wrap the dough around the end. Cook over coals until golden brown. Fill with jams, meat, butter, whatever you like! Serves five.

Fondue

More like FUN-do. I’m sorry, I had to. Anyway, cheese fondue is the best way to make friends in a hut, no question.

Make this easy on yourself; grab a french baguette and ready made fondue mix from the grocery store and you’re good to go!

Yukka Flux

My mom, who normally abstains for booze except for a sip of “old-country drink” at Christmas, told me that Yukka Flux was a party starter back in the day. This is a bit different than the classic recipe but works for a hike!

750mL raspberry vodka

750mL Malibu rum

A whole bunch of chopped fruit – pineapple, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

Twenty-four hours before leaving for the hike, pour all the booze into a big bucket and add the fruit. Chill it all in the fridge. Keep it chilled in the car to the trailhead, then strain out and pack the fruit. Wait until you’re safely in the cabin before you start chowing down!

Hobo Stew

Somehow, this one always turns out great!

Get a group of six or so hikers. Everyone brings one stew ingredient and one spice. Assign someone to bring meat. Then take what you have, mix what you want and see what you get!

 

 

John Reid

John Reid

John Reid is a University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology graduate and Precision Nutrition Certified Sports Nutritionist. When he’s not rowing for the Calgary Row Club you’ll find him enjoying every possible second in the mountains hiking, trail running and road cycling.

Outside of sports, John is involved with the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, a local non-profit charitable organization dedicated to fundraising for new and alternative forms of treatment for neurological disorders.