Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Packing in the Mountains

So I promised to talk a bit about the food we take on the trailrides.  It is nice to look through the summer photos now, as the thermometer drops and the snow piles up.  Well, I'm exaggerating a bit, it's actually been a beautiful winter.  Not too much cold or snow really.  Yet....but calving season is around the corner and you KNOW that is going to be -30.  Bit of a town joke really.  
Anyhow, I've been asked a couple of times about the food we take to the mountains and the organization of it all.  

As I've mentioned in the past, mum really does have the process down to a science.  I'm used to her expertise, but it still impresses me.  A lot of thought (and experience) has gone into knowing what to bring, and the menu depends on the trip.  For example, we have to be very careful about what is served on the trips into the Ilgatchuz Mountains.  Remember, we have only what is packed on the back of the pack horses when we leave the ranch for 11 days.  Weight and bulk is certainly a consideration, but also you have to consider what will 'keep' as hot weather makes keeping fresh food cool very difficult.
In the Itcha Mountains, we often fly supplies in to Itcha Lake on the longer trips.  On the 16 day rides, we have a 'fly in' to the Pan Phillips Fishing Resort during the wonderful 'hot showers and chairs with backs' break before heading back through the next mountain range.    
So here is a few example of the food we take.  (Better than I eat at home most of the time......I'm telling you, this is not a weight loss outfit!)

Breakfast.  Yum.  
Photo Credit to Chris Harris
Breakfasts...... hash browns, eggs, homemade sausage, bacon, pancakes, omelets, blueberry whole wheat pancakes, bannock and the every popular "left overs".  Obviously not all at once.....

Lunches are generally sandwiches, pita or wraps, filled with sandwich meats (turkey, ham, roast, salami, cheese, pickles, home canned meat.....), plus fruit and homemade cookies.

Dinners could be: 
Baked Salmon 
Pork Chops
Lemon Chicken 
Sweet and Sour Meat Balls
Chicken Pilaf
Leg of Lamb
Baked Beans
Beef Roast
Beef Stew
To go with the meat dish is always a pasta, potato or rice, as well as a salad or vegetable.  
Desserts are homemade and delicious (lemon cheesecake bars, rocky road, .  Oh, and the appetizers....there are many but my absolute favorite is the roasted whole cloves of garlic with cream cheese on crackers.  
Oh geez, I'm getting hungry now..... 

And there is no doubt.....good food over a campfire after a day in the saddle, just tastes better.  It really does.  

The one thing I'm sure of is that no one has ever left our ranch complaining about being hungry.  

The menu is planned and food is all organized in the pack boxes as to what will be eaten first, such as fresh vegetables and meats that tend to thaw quicker than others.   For example, a good solid frozen roast will stay cold much longer than salmon...

Utensils and plates in the bag.  You can see the side of the kitchen box...

The kitchen box.  Full of all the bit and pieces you may need, from salt and pepper to band aids.    This unit closes up and slips inside the pack box.  Wonderful invention.  
All of the pots and pans fit inside each other and just perfectly slip in to the boxes.  Mosquito repellent and any other 'non-food' items are kept in a separate box.  Shoeing gear and 'fix it' bits and pieces must be carried.  Dad has also designed an ingenious packboard for the chain saw, which goes on top of a good box horse and is readily accessible for any wind fall.  (You can see it on the top of mum's lead packhorse in the first photo.)  He also designed the grate that you see in the 'breakfast cooking' photo by Chris Harris.  It actually folds up and fits on top of a set of boxes.  The rods all come apart and go on the top of another horse.    
You are getting the idea of why I am so appreciative of mum's expertise when it came to organizing for our hunting camps.  She knows how much butter to pack, how much coffee is drank on average,  just how much syrup you really need....and doesn't forget the toilet paper.  

Another night I'll tell you a bit more about the packing process.  And maybe next year I'll photograph a 'step by step'......

All the best,

Photo Credit to Oliva B.  


Eric Krueger said...

Randy and I LOVED the meals made for us on our Caribou hunt with Eli!

Diana bertram said...

Brings back so many memories...the cooking grate over the Fire, the Orange kitchen box and the silverware apron. ..forgot to mention that there is a art to put the pots together correctly to put into the pack box and oopps don't forget the dish rag....thanks for taking me down memory and and the pounds you back on your body to take home with you....