Monday, September 21, 2009

Sand, Grit, Kayak Camping, and Turkey Bolognese

Whew. What a weekend. We went kayak camping on Masonboro Island Saturday night with Robert (Robertiak) and Melissa. It was fun, but it was also a lot of work, with the packing, paddling, unpacking, repacking, paddling, unpacking, cleaning, and putting away. But when you get this as your "good morning", it's worth it.

There were no amazing culinary adventures over the camping trip. We brought some leftover chicken and tomato stew and heated that over the camp stove for dinner. For breakfast, the most important thing is coffee.

Before caffiene.

After caffiene.

Nature is not kind to my looks.

When we got home, I made a shower my first priority. I'm really not a big fan of sand, and don't like having it stuck all over me. Once I got cleaned up, and we got some lunch, we spent the remainder of the afternoon cleaning up all the camping gear and putting things away. When dinner time rolled around, I was seriously ready for a big glass of wine and something that I could simmer for a while so I could upload pictures (like this one) and relax for a bit.

So turkey bolognese it was. I chopped some carrots and added them to the bolognese to get some more veggies in there. We had that and a salad, and a nice red wine, and debriefed about the trip. We talked some about our camp food experience at dinner. Ziploc bags simply will not keep water out when you're kayaking. So I had packed a lot of our food in clamp-top plastic containers. They were bulky, and of course didn't keep the food from knocking around inside there so that some things were a real mess. Obviously, when you're kayak camping, space is at a premium.

For camping, this is what you have to work with.

You have to get all your gear and food...

...into this. And I'm not talking about the big middle part. That's where I go. We had Ps kayak too, but it's still not a lot of space.

Ice and big coolers are out. We have four soft coolers, and the amount of ice or ice paks you can take with you is pretty limited. So last night we started talking about what our options are. There are the dehydrated backpack meals, but you can probably guess that I'd prefer to cook it myself and eat "real" food. We decided the thing to do would be to get one of those vacuum sealers. Then we can freeze the packets. Little bricks of air-tight (and water-tight) food that will fit in small spaces and we can heat up easily. It's an intriguing idea that I'm looking forward to trying out.

But last night I was too tired for anything except talking about it. My bolognese made me even sleepier, and I was in bed by 9:00. I think I was sound asleep by 9:02. Clean sheets on a Pillow-top Sealy Posturepedic vs. a grit-covered Thermarest. Ahhhhh... no contest.

Nothing like a camping trip to make you appreciate both nature AND the comforts of home.

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