Tag Archives: dehydrated food

Algonquin Portage: Dehydrated Beef Brisket

DAY 4: MISTY LAKE TO CASEY LAKE

Misty Lake - Algonquin

Misty Lake – Algonquin

Day 4 was our big, long travel day. We had to basically travel back west, all the distance we had covered in the past three days. We headed back through Little Misty Lake, along the Petawawa River, through Daisy Lake with our final destination being Casey Lake. Not only was it our longest travel day but it was also the most challenging – starting off with a 935m portage and ending with an evil 1235m portage with a few small ones in between totaling 2755m. The day started off windy, but with a clear blue sky.

Petawawa River - Algonquin

Petawawa River – Algonquin

By the time we hit the exit from Misty Lake however, dark clouds loomed in the distance. The rain hit by the time we had reached our first portage, and there was no end to the grey clouds. We put on all our rain gear, tarped our canoe and powered on. The Petawawa river was winding like a labyrinth and we took many wrong turns and had to back track a few times. The highlight being when we had to portage up through a beaver dam! The rain eased up a bit in the afternoon and we relished the break, drying off in the brief rays of sunshine. But when we hit Daisy Lake the rain returned in full force. The wind picked up and blew cold rain in our faces. Daisy Lake seemed to go on forever, and we knew the worst was still to come.

By the last portage my boyfriend and I were soaked to the bone, tired and hungry. We were both delirious by this point, cursing at our packs and laughing in pain. We were supposed to split up the portage, but once I got going, I knew I had to finish it off. Switching over halfway would be more miserable in the rain and the bugs would eat us alive. I yelled all kinds of nonsense to myself to keep me going as I portaged along the hardest trail I had ever done. With the weight of the canoe crushing down on my shoulders, I portaged over roots and fallen trees, uphill through mud and even along a single plank across a stream! “Take that Tough Mudder” I yelled! “Whisky, whisky, whisky!” I chanted. My boyfriend at least found my motivational cursing entertaining. The portage felt like it would never end. When at last I saw the lake, I threw down the canoe and fell into my boyfriend’s arms. He felt so light in comparison! I’ll always remember what he said to me then “you’re my hero” he told me. That portage was one of the hardest things I had ever done, and when we finally reached our campsite, I was exhausted but felt such a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Dehydrated Beef Brisket & Sweet Potatoes - Algonquin

Dehydrated Beef Brisket & Sweet Potatoes – Algonquin

The rain finally ceased just long enough for us to set up camp. We quickly started up a fire, striped off our clothes and went for a swim in the warm lake water. My poor, aching body was finally rewarded. That night for dinner we had beef brisket, sweet potatoes and bannock bread and it tasted glorious. Beef brisket is perfect for dehydrating because it’s nice and fatty, so it rehydrates beautifully. I slow cooked the brisket with some carrots and onions then shredded the meat before dehydrating. I pureed the sweet potatoes so that I could dehydrate them in a nice thin layer. I also brought a bannock mixture along with some little packets of butter. After a long, day portaging in the rain, food had never tasted so good. While I spent most of the afternoon cursing Algonquin, I thanked the Algonquin gods by the end of the evening.  Once again it gave me an amazing adventure, challenged me in new ways, but as always rewarded me with its peace and beauty.

Algonquin Portage: Dehydrated Pad Thai

DAY 1 – RAIN LAKE

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.

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Rain Lake – Algonquin

DAY 2 – RAIN LAKE TO BANDIT LAKE

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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.

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Bandit Lake – Algonquin

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Bandit Lake – Algonquin

 

Ultimate Camp Food at Bottle Lake

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Our first canoe trip of the summer was out to Bottle Lake, a pretty, peaceful lake just north of Peterborough in the Kawartha Highlands.  After a short 300m portage, we set off on this beautiful morning in our very full canoes across the sparkling, calm waters.  We took our time canoeing across the lake taking in the calls of birds and bullfrogs echoing from the shores.  Our site was one of the furthest from the portage launch, nice and private and we spent the afternoon lounging around our very own sandy beach.

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Creek, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Later in the afternoon, we headed out for a magic hour canoe ride down Bottle Creek, snaking our way along the winding waterway, exploring the marshland and searching for frogs.

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

As the sun began to set we headed out to the middle of the lake, relaxed and fished a bit.  While we didn’t catch anything, we snapped some lovely sunset photos.

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

Bottle Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Ontario

While we were hiking around our campsite we found some discarded tiki torches.  My boyfriend came up with the brilliant idea to turn them into campfire roasters by removing the top portion, sharpening the edges and wedging little pieces of wood in between the base sticks to keep them separated.  There you have it folks…s’mores for everyone!

Tiki torch campfire roaster, Bottle Lake

Tiki torch campfire roaster, Bottle Lake

The Ultimate Smore, Bottle Lake

The Ultimate S’more, Bottle Lake

I shall now bestow upon you a new level of s’more making.  My friend brought along those butter biscuits that are covered in chocolate.  Why has no one thought of this before?  No more drunken fumbling in the dark trying to align all your ‘mellow ingredients!  This biscuit – or two if you dare – holds everything together with one quick smush!  We made some Jiffy pop – another must-have campfire snack – so I stuck some kernels into the oozing marshmellow and BOOM!  Sweet, salty, creamy, compact goodness.

Tiki torch campfire roaster, Bottle Lake

Tiki torch campfire roaster, Bottle Lake

For my next trick,  I would like to bring back those canned sausages, you know the ones I’m talking about…those tiny cans of Vienna sausages that sit around gathering dust on your grocery store shelf.  Forget all you’ve been told about the evils of canned food for the sake of backpacking convenience and give these sausages some love – there’s nothing a campfire can’t fix!  Who doesn’t want a roasted hot dog?  And with this handy dandy tiki torch, everyone can enjoy their crispy, salty perfection together.

Dehydrated Swiss Chalet Festive Special, Bottle Lake

Dehydrated Swiss Chalet Festive Special, Bottle Lake

Finally, we ended off our canoe trip with my favourite dehydrated meal: my homemade Swiss Chalet Festive Special.  After marinading and slow cooking a whole chicken in the Swiss Chalet marinade, I dehydrated the chicken, packed up some instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, and brought along some Swiss Chalet sauce and gravy packets.  Ta Da!  Swiss Chalet, wilderness-style – you can’t get any more Canadian than this!

I loved Bottle Lake – it was the perfect quick canoe getaway for the weekend.  Approximately 2.5 hours from Toronto it’s the perfect balance of portaging and car camping, as the short portage allows for some luxuries like a full Coleman stove, chairs, a regular tent and a small cooler.  I think we’ll have to add tiki torches to our camp list from now on as well…

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