Stating the obvious but I’ll do it anyway: backcountry travelers enjoy eating. Sometimes in bigger then normal portions after many miles trail breaking in knee deep pow, or when the weather outside won’t cooperate and there isn’t much left to do except for, well, eat.
A few weeks back, Louie and I went to on our first heli supported trip. Destination: Kokanee Glacier Cabin with thirteen wonderful humans. Skiing was the one component of the trip we weren’t worried about — we’ve gone on plenty of ski adventures. With that said, having a heli with a 100 pound weight limit brought a new set of possibilities. One luxury: the opportunity to really go all-out with food and drinks.
The way we organized meals: two people were responsible for cooking breakfast and dinner on a given day. The group provided lunch food and everyone was welcome to bring anything else they’d like. It worked spectacularly well. Each couple picked a day. For us it was Monday — two days after we arrived at the hut.
Our hut trip organizer encouraged us not to hold back. I won’t lie, I was worried. I’ve never fed a group of people that big, that active, and that far away from civilization — with absolutely no ability to “run to the store” for that one forgotten thing. Portion estimation was the most difficult part: finding the perfect balance of not bringing too little or too much.
It is important to accommodate dietary restrictions: in our case we had two individuals with dairy intolerance and three hutsters who did not respond well to spicy food.
For breakfast we landed on French Toast. The day we left to go to Canada, I visited our local bakery in North Bend and purchased four loaves of their heavenly cinnamon apple bread.
Cinnamon Apple French Toast With Berries
4 loaves of bread (15 slices each, estimating about 3 slices per person)
½ liter of whole milk
½ liter of almond milk
1 cup of syrup
1 can of whipped cream
1 large bag of frozen raspberries
1 large bag of frozen blackberries and blueberries
The recipe for success with French Toast is simple: mix egg and milk, fry until greatness. We did two batches, one with whole milk and one with almond milk. In retrospect, we should have brought a bit more milk since we ran out towards the end. We heated the berries in a pot, making a warm compote to use as yummy sauce.
We ended up having leftover berries, which we later used for a berry crumble. Mmm, delicious.
For dinner we knew we had to do a heartier, more nutritious and filling meal. After bouncing a few ideas around, Green Curry Chicken was the winner.
Green Curry Chicken
8 cups of rice (1/2 cup per person, with a bit extra)
8 green peppers
6 zucchinis (very size dependent, these were similar to cucumber size)
6 large avocados (1/4 of avocado per person + a bit extra)
8 pounds of chicken (1/2 pound per person)
4 cans of coconut milk
1 small can of green curry paste
1 bag of fresh spinach
Our meal was the exact right amount for 15 people providing one large portion each and about six more portions for those who wanted seconds. The one thing I wish I would have brought is another can of curry paste. The flavor of our dish was good but having another can would have been a safe bet.
An important consideration is storage. Most of the food we brought didn’t require constant refrigeration, except for the raw chicken. We opted for freezing the chicken at home and then transporting it to Nelson, BC in a cooler with ice. We spent one night in Nelson, where we placed the chicken back into a freezer. During transportation from Nelson to the hut, we packed the chicken with the other cold foods in a cardboard box.
The Kokanee Glacier Cabin has food storage lockers outside. During our trip it was cold enough that they acted as freezers which made for well-preserved chicken, and light pow! That worked well, as the chicken never thawed out until we put it out the day of cooking dinner. If you are visiting Kokanee later in the year when it is warmer outside, freezing possibilities might be limited.
During our week at the hut, we feasted every night, pleasing our hungry tummies with exquisite meals. I really appreciate the effort everyone devoted to preparing an exceptional meal; our crew was fueled, content and ready to break miles of untouched skintrack.
More meal inspirations from our trip: