I was in the grocery store for a couple hours (seemed like) with a cart load of camping food and my cart disappeared. It was just gone. I found it two isles over being pushed by a very small elderly women with a friend pushing a similar cart. They were shopping together. When I asked her when she was going camping and trying out the smores. her partner being quicker of mind started laughing. The look on my cart abductors face would have gone viral. I told her she could keep the cart if she liked my food choices. Minutes later they were still laughing in the next isle…made my day.
I am an expert in unorganized. (62) trips has as many stories and more suggestions about “next time”. This year will be (12) meals for (6) people in the wilderness by canoe, portaging from lake to lake and catching some (probably a lot of) fish.
A wagon load of groceries finally appeared on our screen porch. Not by accident mind you, but by semi-careful planning. I am not much of a planner or organizer type person. (62) BWCAW trips have taught me to get way outside of my comfort zone on the planning end of life. Now I have a list of how to go about getting the food right.
- Menu. List each meal of food ingredients, what to drink and dessert if any.
- Master ingredient list. a number beside each ingredient for number of meals used.
- Cooking and campsite aids. Salt, pepper, ghost pepper, garlic, T.P., zip lock bags and so on.
- Buy the food
- Repackage the food in waterproof bags by the meal and put in cooking directions (anyone in camp can cook with the menu on hand and directions to each meal)
- Label meals. Put each meal in a grocery bag and label it (ie…#1 lunch), on label state meat added (if frozen stuff in collapsible cooler is an option).
- Shop again for all the stuff you forgot to put on the list and possibly are missing from the little ole lady putting stuff back (I’m missing (4) things…at least).
- Pack all meal packages in food pack before leaving on the trip. Put in vehicle that you are taking (important. really important. triple check and stop at the 1st gas station enroute and check again).
Simple is good. Just follow the steps. Notice the progression…Focus Gary focus. You can do this (I’m already catching trophy walleye from my canoe on a pristine lake 16 portages and a mile of bushwhacking where few humans have ever seen).
As you can see I have a loose structure but it usually works for me. This allows me to announce to the group “we eat to live not live to eat”. I usually hear “speak for yourself” comments when I leave the cold stuff in the freezer (forgotten at home) as we are whittling out our spoons, forks and knives. Ah… bonding times in the camp site!
There are rewards to planning. you get to eat. Everyone can have a part in cooking if there are directions. we cook over open fire grates so learning fire building and heat control is important. A little stove is as well if there is a fire ban. Bringing the fuel for the stove helps.
I make fun of planning but I know it is off the charts important
Every year we talk in depth on our plans for the future, relationship stuff, hopes, dreams and tell stories. We sense the peaceful solitude helps us align life’s priorities. I want to stay madly in love with my wife of 41 years. We have not had a bad year relationally. Rich, poor, sickness and health. We have done all of it. We are growing, learning and facing the future together. It’s serious to say “til death do us part” and some day it will as it has done to parents on both sides. this is serious stuff for this free wheeling non-planner kind of guy. The fish are biting!