Monday, May 2, 2016

Bringing Veggies in the Backcountry

Photo by Shelby Carpenter

It's a sad day when you dig into your food bag and pull out... Mountain House, or, Mountain House? for dinner. Don't get me wrong--I appreciate freeze-dried foods for their lightweight nature and the fact that they are so quick and easy to cook. But since I spend so much of my summer out in the mountains, I can't live on freeze-drieds alone--and you don't have to either.

If you're spending time in cool places on glaciers, it's actually quite easy to bring fruits and vegetables on your trip. You don't want to it be too warm--above 50 or 60 degrees--because then veggies will start to go bad, and if it's too cold (20 degrees or below at night) fresh produce will freeze and then thaw and get all funky. Fortunately, the Cascades is in a sweet spot where for much of the summer you live between those two temperature ranges and can bring fresh produce out into the field with you.

For dinner on the first day of our Alpinism 1 courses, I will typically bring in bagged salad and a little packet of salad dressing. I'll also bring a foil packet of salmon, tuna or chicken to add protein and make it more filling. Later in the trip, I'll cook Annie's Mac and Cheese but add peppers, snap peas, and some kind of protein to it too.

For snacks, I've brought pepper strips, pre-cut and cooked sweet potatoes, apples and oranges. You'll need more calories than what you can get from these for snacks, so I'll do bars too, but it feels good to add some real food into the mix.

As you get ready for your own trips this summer (either personal or guided), consider the food you're planning to bring. If you're someone who is used to eating a lot of fruit and veggies, it's often easy to fit them in on trips if you do a little advance planning. Get out there and enjoy!

--Shelby Carpenter, AAI Instructor and Guide

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