Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preparations for the Woods

So this weekend is that time of the year where Ryan attempts to take me up the mountains and deep into the woods to see if I can be eaten by a bear......

I'm partially kidding. But seriously, we are going camping this weekend -- which is one of our most favorite things to do together as a couple!! So many amazing memories have been created on our camping trips. And so many interesting memories as well...(like our experiments with cheap row boats, nearly freezing to death, and meeting some true hill-billy fishermen). Remember those hill-billies, Lora (if you're reading this)?!

This camping trip we strategically planned it 3 miles away from "Oktoberfest" on the top of Mount Lemmon. Beer, German food, and German bands/polka dancing in 70 degree temps? It doesn't get much better than that! Now we don't have to drive the hour home, we will just ride our bikes back to our campsite.

Most people that enjoy camping during their adult life, enjoy it because they did it growing up. However, this was not the case for me. In fact, my first camping expedition occurred about 2 years ago! My "camping" experiences growing up involved a cabin. With Dish Network. And a shower. Etc. But shockingly, my late introduction to this phenomenon turned out great!

So today I'm here to talk about some of the preparation that goes into this trip -- and what makes our trip go well. If anyone out there is a "camper" themself - please feel free to share your tips and tricks with me! As I am kind of a "rookie"....

1) Know the climate. Seriously - this affects comfort (obviously), clothing, and even food storage! We have camped in pretty cool conditions and we have camped in fricking hot conditions. Must keep that beer cold, but don't let it freeze! Oh, and the meat and eggs ect...

2) If you are bringing meat -- when you pack it in the cooler, pack it frozen. That way it will thaw in the cooler so it's fresh/safe to cook! I put frozen chicken breasts and frozen ground beef in the cooler, so that by the time we want to cook it, it's thawed out. (Unless you are going to cook it the 1st night)

3) Prep as much as you can at home. I don't know about you, but I don't like to "work" when I'm camping. You usually don't have a nice countertop and sink to work with, so everything takes "extra energy". I will pre-cut my onions, bell peppers, jalepenos, and even my potatoes -- so when I want to use them, they can easily be thrown on the cast iron (or fire)! Don't want your potatoes to brown? Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on them.

4) Bring a lot of water. Period. Hiking, being outdoors 24/7. Being around a smokey fire. You can never have "too much water".

5) If you don't have one, purchase a hand-hand vacuum. I realize I've been known for being a tad "narotic" about cleaning. But seriously - going in and out of the tent, being around a dirty muddy campsite, and packing up your tent at the end the weekend. Your hand-help vacuum will be your best friend!!

6) Pre-make what you can. In the past I have made Quinoa Salad. Easy side dish! Or great for a lunch. This year I'm going to pre-make a pasta salad. I'm also pre-making Chicken Tortilla Soup. That way, the spices will soak together to equal delicious AND we can just throw it in a big pot to enjoy!

7) Pack tupperware. You may have left overs. Or it's just nice to have a place to put "stuff" that doesn't neccessarily need to be thrown away.

8) And my last tip is more aimed at myself as a reminder. Eating a slice of bacon will not kill you. I absolutely loathe bacon. This is the only time of the year I let my husband eat this shit. Last year, he scrambled eggs, fried up bacon, and make these artery clogging delicious breakfast burritos -- and when I reached for apple, the heartbroken look on his face was not worth it. So this year, I will eat a damn piece of bacon. It won't kill me. I know. But gross. "Mmmmm....Pig trapezius....."