Vegetables in the Wilderness

Temple Crag

Last week, Matt and I took off to the Eastern Sierras for a backpacking/rock-climbing adventure at Temple Crag, where we would attempt a 1,500′ climb (~20 pitches) that ended at 13,000 feet. I’ll save you the technical details (unless you really want them!), but the short story is that we backpacked in on Thursday afternoon, left camp at 6am Friday for the climb, successfully made it to the top, and got back to camp ~10pm (thank goodness for headlamps!). Beautiful perfect Sierras weather and views, great rock and climb , and, minus a raging headcold I acquired on the drive up there (oh and some voracious mosquitoes), a fantastic experience!

Looking up the route

I’ve always been a little stymied when it comes to backpacking food, because you want to eat well without adding too much weight to your pack (since you have to carry it, and in the Sierras you usually need a bear canister), you don’t have refrigeration, and being smushed in a pack means your food needs to take a little abuse. There are all kinds of freeze-dried, dehydrated, backpacking-specific options out there, but… we like to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. They do take up more space, but once they’re gone your pack is just that much lighter. We pretty consistently take bananas, oranges/apples – and other great vegetable contenders are cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions, and if you can protect them, avocados or tomatoes.

Camping stove veggies

We of course had vegetables from the garden, so I took a bag of green/purple beans and some zucchini/yellow squash.  After a quick saute over the backpacking stove, I mixed in a can of tuna and one of those Trader Joe’s pre-cooked multigrain pilafs. Not the best combo in the world, but it would have been a lot more boring without the fresh veggies! Pasta, rice or couscous would also work well – I like couscous because it cooks so quickly. Anyone else have suggestions?

Since this isn’t a recipe post, persay, I thought I’d share some photos from the garden. We took out the yellow squash plants this week because they were all covered in powdery mildew (kind of a relief – I was getting tired of yellow squash!). We did a fairly large harvest on Sunday since we’d been gone for a few days on our adventure. We got our first cucumbers, and the green beans have been coming in fast and furious!

Sunday Harvest

The plums are starting to ripen up for eating, and the strawberry plants perked up again with a new crop. The two peaches on our tree were ripe today so I will be enjoying those in the morning!  One of my favorite things to watch is the watermelon plant – in just a week it went from the size of a marble to softball size!

Marble Watermelon

Softball Watermelon

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