Feed me on the trail: overnight hike with my family

My family and I hiked overnight to Tilson Lake in Riding Mountain National Park on June 22. We hiked a total of 16 km as part of a 38 km loop. Tilson Lake is on the west side of the park and is rated as difficult. I will most definitely return to this trail and I look forward to hiking the whole loop.

This post is about the food that fueled us on our journey.

Prepping and Planning

A lot of action with the dehydrater! From top down on left: salsa, crackers (made them too thick so they didn’t dehydrate properly. I enjoyed them at work during the week before they spoiled), scrambled eggs, and riced cauliflower.

Dehydrating eggs felt like a food experiment. It was my first time dehydrating them and I was surprised at how easy the process was. They were scrambled in a non-stick pan and dehydrated for about 10 hours. I read that they need to be ground up afterwards otherwise the texture will be chewy like jerky.

Grinding up small batches of scrambled eggs in my Magic Bullet.

Here is all of the food that I packed for two adults and one child:

This turned out to be too much food but at least we were not hungry.

Check out the trail food chat I had with Blue Jay while preparing some of her food for this hike.

We packed yogurt, guacamole, old cheddar cheese strings, and blueberries in a small lunch kit with an ice pack.

Saturday

We started our morning off with a stop at Starbucks before leaving the city. Coffee is always a priority! Blue Jay had yogurt for breakfast and we all munched on blueberries while we drove.

I generally do not eat much in the mornings until around 10 AM. My body is just not ready for food until a few hours after I have woken up. When I solo hike, I break camp after a couple cups of coffee and hike until I feel hungry.

For our first trail break, we were supposed to have cheese and guacamole with Whisps and a pretzel and cracker mix but I forgot the cheese and guacamole in the car.

Chatting about the trail and my cheese strings

For dinner, I had a homemade chicken fiesta dish made with riced cauliflower, salsa, chicken, corn, and taco seasoning. Salsa is a fantastic way to flavour food and add some vegetables to the menu. It rehydrated really nicely. I will definitely dehydrate salsa again to use in a trail meal.

Dinner was very simple and not fussy for Blue Jay. She had rice with chicken, corn, and peas. I forgot to bring soy sauce so it was very bland. She’s the type of kid that puts wasabi on her sushi for a heat rush so I think her meal bored her, flavour wise.

Clean eating takes on an entirely different definition while backpacking. One of my favourite investments to our hiking kit has been a long-handled spork. It allows for sleeves and hands to stay clean while eating out of a bag. If clothes become dirty with food, they are not allowed in the tent and they need to be stored in the bear bag overnight. I have zero-tolerance for wearing food covered clothes while in the tent.

Bear Hug tried Italian Meatballs from Next Mile Meals. Next Mile Meals was created by a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker who eats a Ketogenic (Keto) diet. Keto is a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet. Darcy has lost 90 pounds towards his goal with a low-carb and low-sugar diet. These meals are currently not available for shipping to Canada and we timed a delivery of the meals to a border town in the US while we were cross-border shopping.

Sunday

Like I said above, I generally do not eat breakfast until much later in the mornings. I don’t know why I thought I was going to be hungry for scrambled eggs. My feista breakfast is back in my pantry and ready to be taken on another adventure. I will likely plan to eat it for dinner.

Bear Hug and I both drank a few cups of coffee while Blue Jay had apple sauce for her first breakfast followed by oatmeal with chocolate protein powder, hemp, chia seeds, raisins, and sunflower seeds.

Snack highlights

Top: There is a nice assortment of Epic bars available so you won’t get bored with eating the same one. Beef, bison, lamb, venison, fish, chicken, turkey, bacon, and boar.
Bottom: Freeyumm are allergen-friendly goodies that come in a lot of delicious flavours like raspberry chia, banana maple, ginger, and double chocolate

Bear Hug also brought along four servings of electrolyte powder to keep his electrolytes in check. I am going to make sure I bring some of this powder with me on my next hike, especially with the summer heat gearing up.

Like after all long and challenging hikes, I love to hit up a small mom and pop shop for a burger. We went to Tastee’s Ice Cream and Grill in Brandon. The poutine was good but the burgers were a mass-produced frozen type. We had our heart set on homemade.

Word in the reviews is that the food hasn’t been the same since new ownership. The restaurant was busy with ice cream orders so perhaps ice cream is more their thing than meals. The girl who was working was alone and had to run cash, grill, and ice cream orders. She was clearly overworked but really pleasant and friendly. If I am looking for town food in Brandon again, I would try their ice cream.

Final thoughts

Our hiking time was only about three hours each day. For a three hour hike, I brought along too much food. The weight did not phase me so it’s not an overly big deal. Just something to learn from. Blue Jay ate a package of tuna when we returned to the trail head and Bear Hug and I ate our much anticipated cheese strings and guacamole. The guacamole was a tad sketchy since the ice pack was not really cold anymore. But it was worth it.

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