Cooking in the Wilderness

Our Destination is Near

The wind is blowing and the sea state is changing quickly. Looking around me, I notice the group is starting to fatigue and hunger is starting to set in. As one of the sea kayak guides leading this group, I know exactly what will need to happen when we arrive at our destination. I go through the lists in my mind, all the while checking in with the guests to make sure morale is high. I have a smile on my face and a jolly disposition but my mind is on my watch, the weather and the menu.
Those last few minutes with our beach in view, time slows. There is always at least one kayaker in the group that breaks free and power paddles, with blinders on, directly to land. It takes a while for the group to fully arrive, legs and butts are feeling numb, some really have to pee and the topic of conversation turns quickly to food. What are we having for dinner?
Boats safely tied up above high tide, guests setting up there tents and bedding for the night, bathroom location disclosed to all, it is time to set up the kitchen and get started on dinner.

Hunger is the best Spice

Looks like rain, one of us quickly sets up the tarp, while the other searches through kayak hatches to find all the food items and kitchen items we will need to get started. Lucky for us there are some flat boards that have washed up on the beach to create a makeshift table. I always prefer cooking standing up. The Coleman stove, pots and pans, plates and cups are organized for yet another delicious Wilderness meal. You know what they say….”Hunger is the best Spice”.

The meal on the menu for the evening is a coconut curry stir-fry over Jasmine rice. The great thing about packing for a kayaking expedition is the room and the weight is not as much of a concern. It’s amazing what you can fit in an expedition kayak. We organize our fresh vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, celery, bell peppers, onions, garlic and ginger. The smells and sounds of sautéing and spices make their way to the noses of hungry kayakers, before you know it everyone sits together sipping hot tea, discussing the highlights of their day and watching live wilderness cooking channel for entertainment with much anticipation.
Food tastes so much better outside in the fresh sea air after a day of activity.

A Full Belly and a Peaceful Mind

After the meal has been pleasantly consumed, it is time for kitchen clean up. The food needs to be out of reach of wildlife, the dishes have to be cleaned and put away, even food crumbs and compost needs to be considered. The full-bellied paddlers say good night, head lamps on heads literally blinding us guides with appreciation. One by one the tents go dark, conversations quiet and the stars shine brightly in the Northern Sky. The simplicity of life in the outdoors, even for just 5 days, opens the mind to self-sufficient possibilities. I enjoy the feeling of the wind blowing through the trees in the forest the sound of the ocean lapping on the rocks lulls me into sleep. My final thoughts are of breakfast. Coffee, huckleberry pancakes, maple syrup, vanilla yogurt and before you know it morning has come.

Written by: Cristina Fox