I returned safely this morning to the NOLS Rocky Mountain Branch after backpacking for 21 days in the Wind River Mountain Range - a trip identical to Widji's Explorer backpacking trip. I'm now in Lander for 4 days taking a Wilderness First Aid course and preparing for my next 2 sections - Canyoneering in the Dark Canyon section of the Green River Canyon system in Utah, and Rock Climbing in Red Rocks, Colorado. I figure I'll write several posts about the Winds while I'm here..
Food has always been one of the essential parts of my life. When I first went to my summer camp Widjiwagan at the young age of 12, I was rather flabbergasted with the quality of the food we ate in the middle of the woods. NOLS' food has impressed me even more! There are two main differences between Widji and NOLS in terms of cooking.
1. NOLS knows how to bake - meaning REAL brownies instead of Widji's scrambled ones and delicious yeast breads instead of fried flat bread.
2. NOLS understands what "dehydrated" means. See, most camping food is dehydrated. At Widji, I was always taught to pretty much ignore said fact. So many meals were rather crunchy with improperly hydrated foods. My least favorite meal at widji - hash browns - is now my favorite at NOLS. By allowing the hash browns to hydrate for a mere 10 minutes, they become delicious, real food instead of crunchy crud.
Here's another example of the beauty of rehydration....
This past summer at Widji was the first time my trip didn't have fresh onions for the whole time. We ran out before the halfway mark, meaning we then had to deal with dehydrated onions as a substitute. Obviously we didn't bother to hydrate them. And guess what the consequence was?....horrendous gas. I learned on the first day of my NOLS trip during a cooking class that between the the patience of 10 minutes and some warm water, such problems disappear entirely! It's an olfactory pleasing thing to not was horribly stinky tents..