Tag Archives: camp food

Algonquin 2015 Backcountry Menu

Day 5 – Casey Lake to Rain Lake

Our last day of our canoe trip was less than half a day as we traveled from Casey Lake back to Rain Lake with one 1330m portage.  The weather was windy but the skies were blue and Rain Lake sparkled around us as we paddled down the narrow straight back to our launch point.  5 days ago we started off on this backcountry canoeing adventure and during that time we covered over 40km, 12 lakes, 1 river and 7845m in portages.  I felt such an amazing sense of accomplishment but I was also so grateful to be surround by all this freedom and beauty, and so lucky to be able to do this with an amazing partner.  As we tied up the canoe and packed up our car, I gave thanks to spirits of Algonquin and said goodbye, until next year.

I was really happy with how all my dehydrated food turned out.  I planned some old favourites but also tried some new ideas.  I’ve covered the basics of dehydrating in this post but essentially you can dehydate anything as long as the food can be blended/flattened into thin/small enough pieces and laid out on your dehydrator tray (using syran wrap for liquids).  I did discover however, that rehydrated eggs do not work out.  I tried dehydrating some scrambled eggs and they didn’t rehydrate well at all because egg structure doesn’t retain water well, so when the eggs are rehydrated you end up with a tasteless, watery mess filled with hard yellow pieces.  I brought freeze dried scrambled eggs as well just in case – and honestly it wasn’t much better as it tasted like chalky sponge, so, best to leave those eggs at home!

Here was our menu for our five day adventure:

Day 1:
Lunch – Chicken pad thai (brought the noodles separately)
Dinner: Beef mole chili with instant cornbread

Day 2:
Breakfast: chia seed pancakes w/maple syrup & vega protein shake
Lunch: minestrone soup
Dinner: pulled jerk chicken with wild rice and dumplings

Day 3:
Breakfast: instant oatmeal & vega protein shake
Lunch: quinoa enchilada casserole
Dinner: beef brisket with carrots, mashed sweet potatoes and bannock bread

Day 4:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and ham
Lunch: beef stew
Dinner: pulled BBQ pork and grits

Day 5:
Breakfast: instant oatmeal & vega protein shake
Lunch: instant ramen noodles with beef jerky and seaweed

instant coffee, hot chocolate, vega protein shake packs, Vodka, Kool Aid/Tang, Nestea mini bottles, Gatorade/mini bottles, instant apple cider, apple spiced rum, limonade/margarita mix, whiskey, rum, small shots of Baileys, instant caesar mix

energy goo, Pringles, dried mangos, trail mix, Cliff bars, beef jerky, dried apples, fruit to go, dried chickpeas, dried plantains, hot rods, M&Ms with mixed nuts, marshmellows, rice crackers, dark chocolate almonds

Algonquin Portage: Chia Seed Pancakes


Chia Seed Pancakes - Algonquin

Chia Seed Pancakes – Algonquin

We started off Day 3 with a hearty pancake breakfast. Usually when I portage I have instant oatmeal and a Boost protein shake but I wanted to try something different. The problem was there was no way to transport an egg. My boyfriend actually suggested to use chia seeds – not only are they rich in antioxidants and fiber but when soaked they expand to create a good binding agent. I used my Classic Pancake recipe and replaced the egg with one tablespoon of chia seeds. You can grind up the chia seeds ahead of time with a mortar and pestle but I kind of liked the mild crunchiness of the seeds in the pancakes. I also found a mini bottle of syrup at the Asian grocery store and so there you have it – outback pancakes complete with real maple syrup!

Chia Seed Pancakes - Algonquin

Chia Seed Pancakes – Algonquin

We had another reasonably light day traveling through Wenona and Muslim lake with only 1400m in portages, however one of them was our first long portage of the trip clocking in at 1030m. By this point we had found our rhythm for transporting all our gear. I preferred to carry the canoe and my pack, and my boyfriend carried his pack with the oars, fishing tackle, camera and bail kit. I actually preferred the canoe, I found that once I had my rhythm even though it was hard work, this position was actually much more comfortable than juggling all the other gear.


Misty Lake – Algonquin


Misty Lake – Algonquin

As we entered Misty Lake a light rain started to fall but we were prepared and quickly through a tarp over our packs in the canoe. Our site was just across the lake so we were able to get there before there rain became too heavy. Later that evening the skies cleared and we went for a beautiful canoe ride at dusk and attempted some fishing. As the sun began to set, we spotted a family of loons and quietly canoed up close to them to take some photos. The loons were surprisingly calm and allowed us to paddle right beside them. As they dove away, we would follow, and then to our delight they would pop up right beside us. I actually felt intimidated as I never realized what a large bird the loon was, and with their piercing red eyes, it was no wonder that they felt not fear around us. As we headed back to our site, it was at this moment that I realized my eye felt a little funny. I told my boyfriend and when he looked at my eye it was all swollen and puffy! Turns out a mosquito had bitten my eyelid, and I now looked like Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. My eye was a bit uncomfortable but for the most part I just let my boyfriend make fun of me and I laughed it off – it’s always a new adventure out in the wilderness!


Misty Lake – Algonquin


Algonquin Portage: Dehydrated Pad Thai


I love portaging.  As much as I love the comforts of car camping, I also love the challenge of canoe tripping.  The beauty and peace that surrounds you out on a lake is worth all the hard work. Every time I visit Algonquin I feel so thankful to live in Canada. As much as my heart loves the city, I crave the connection with nature and being out in the wilderness feels like home to me as well.

This was the first time my boyfriend and I were going portaging together.  My ex-boyfriend preferred car camping, so this was also the first time I was embarking on a canoe trip with my better half. Portaging can make or break a relationship – it tests your ability to work as a team, to listen to each other, to be patient, and you have to take care of each other, all while testing your own limitations. But I wasn’t nervous at all, we had traveled and camped together before and I knew we would make a solid team. After two weeks of dehydrating all our meals and buying a brand spanking new two-man tent, we were set to go! I was super excited to leave civilization behind and set out on our adventure.

Day 1 was a light travel day. We set out nice and early from Huntsville, picked up supplies and our permit in Kearney and headed out from Access Point #4 – Rain Lake. The weather was warm and sunny, but pretty windy and as soon as we paddled out of the narrow straight the wind picked up and carried us across the vast, sparkling lake. After about an hour of paddling we arrived at camp – a site hidden away at the edge of the far island.


Dehydrated Pad Thai - Algonquin

Dehydrated Pad Thai – Algonquin

For lunch I experimented with a new dehydrated meal: pad thai. I used a standard pad thai recipe and made everything except for the rice noodles that are compact and light to carry. I replaced the egg and shrimp with chicken and tofu, as egg and shrimp do NOT rehydrate well. I tried re-dehydrating scrambled eggs once and they disintegrated into something inedible while rehydrated shrimp was very rubbery. So instead I slow cooked two chicken breasts and a block of tofu. Make sure you diced the tofu as small as possible and finely shred the slow cooked chicken. The chicken and tofu should be as small and as thin as small as possible so that they will dehydrate evenly. My post on dehydrating has detailed instructions for the rest of the process.

To rehydrate simply fill your ziplock bag with water until the food is covered and soak for 30 minutes. Soak your rice noodles separately and then mix everything together over medium heat. I had a couple of small packs of peanuts from McDonalds that I sprinkled on top – and voila! Outback Pad Thai! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out even though the shrimp was a bit rubbery. The sweet and spicy pad thai flavour really came through and all the carbs and protein were particularly comforting after our busy morning.


Rain Lake – Algonquin



Moccasin Lake to Bandit Lake – Algonquin

The next day we headed north towards Bandit Lake. We had 1835 meters of portages as we headed through Sawyer, Jubilee and Moccasin Lake but the distance was actually quite short and after four hours of travel we arrived at camp. We had another fun island site, and we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming around the island and lounging in our portable hammocks. That evening we sat by the campfire drinking 40 Creek whisky and watching the full moon rise over the calm, dark lake.


Bandit Lake – Algonquin


Bandit Lake – Algonquin