Saturday, July 26, 2014

Superior: Sun, Sweat, Mosquitos, and Smoke

This post is all about our 4 day North Shore camping adventure, (actually 5 days...but we drove home in the morning) as told through our delicious meals, and Ryan's beer.  To prepare for the trip we grilled 2# of chicken thighs, and packed 1.5# of ground beef in 2 separate ziplock bags with their designated seasonings.  We froze these and bacon, and 4 brats overnight and packed them on-top of frozen water bottles in the cooler.  Some of the chicken was made into chicken salad for lunch on our first day.  Everything else (deli meat, cheese, veggies, wraps, and other random condiments) were placed on top of the frozen meats and stayed nice and chilly. To be safe, we bought a block of ice on Wednesday.

Just to let people know, not everything we ate was Paleo or gluten free or NWW "approved".  We were on vacation!  However, if you wanted/needed to maintain a GF/Paleo diet it can certainly be done, even while car camping and traveling.  What I've discovered is that I notice NO difference when I eat gluten, compared to when I don't.  But I know that it's terrible for my gut and binds minerals needed for healthy bones; so I still try to minimize it.  Ultimately, I do feel better when I avoid a bunch of processed foods and excess carbs of any form.  However, when eating off track I do maintain that I eat the best option available:  homemade pie (lard) vs. mass produced store bought pie (margarine).

Day 1: Journeyed from Minneapolis to Split Rock Lighthouse where we explored the lighthouse and ate lunch on the rocks next to Lake Superior.  Strangely enough, it was the hottest day of the year so far and the lake breeze was very refreshing.  But that would change.  I also forgot to put on "sun lotion" as Ryan calls it.  ooops.
Chicken salad on a Rudi's Wrap
Ryan eating fresh veggies
staying hydrated
That night we enjoyed Cajun beef salads, seasoned with the Penzey's Cajun spice mix and topped with store bought guacamole.  I cooked on our Green Pan,  instead of buying a new cast iron for the trip.  I bought it last year at target for $20, and did just fine.  It only needed a little extra cleaning to get the soot off the bottom.
Love Campfire Cooking! 
Day 2: After a night of slightly wet weather (we stayed dry thanks to some good trenching around our tent) but storms farther norther in Boundary Waters caused trees to fall on 3+ campers.  Luckily everyone lived.  In the morning we were in the midst of frying bacon on the MSR stove when it started to rain.  So we finished our coffee in the tent. The Rain didn't last long, and we were off to go hiking at Cascade River State Park.

mmm... True Stone in our french press
Which Way?
Made it to the top!
Deli sandwich/wrap + veggies by the Lake
After walking around Grand Marais and climbing around Artist Point, we were in need of some pie...obviously. Off to the Pie Place!  It was sooooo good.  Although I thought the whipped cream was a little too sweet.  

lake water = 40 degrees
apple al'a mode, strawberry rhubarb + whip
Back at camp, we grilled grass fed beef brats, sauerkraut, and made salads.  And Summit Saga for Ryan, he brought a 6 pack, I enjoyed a few sips.  That night we were very happy to have checked the weather before leaving MPLS.  By bed time it was in the 40s.  Sunday before leaving we hurriedly went to REI and purchased new hiking pants (ours were both 2 sizes too big) and made sure to pack an extra jacket; and mittens for me.
"It's a Summit Summer!"
brat + bread + cheese + kraut + mustard = yummy
brat  +  kraut + mustard - bun = delicious
Day 3: A night of fabulous sleep.  "Why is my face wet?  Oh, that's a lot of drool."  We awoke and scrambled egg whites on the stove, only to be chased into the Fit by the Minnesota state bird.  Instead of packing eggs in the cooler and worrying about crack-age, we brought TJ organic liquid egg whites.  Then it was off to Grand Portage where we wondered around the National Monument, hiked at the state park, drove to Judge C. Magney State Park, at lunch then hiked some more.  We forgot our passports, otherwise we had thought about driving up to Thunder Bay.
breakfast in the Fit
Peace Canada
Working up a hunger for turkey wraps and snap peas 
All that hiking left us tired, and happy to leave the cooking up to the talented folks at The Angry Trout. I'm also neither confirming, nor denying that we also bought 2 slices of pie from the Pie Place and ate them around our camp fire.  
Bent Paddle  Venture Pils
Grilled Lake Superior Herring
Day 4: Another amazing night of sleep.  Seriously, why can't I sleep in till 7 when I'm at home?  While making coffee we were again harassed by mosquitos and chased into our tent where we dined on grilled chicken wraps as fuel for our 3 hour Kayak tour later that morning.  Our Guide was Ken, he was awesome!  He's also a super outdoorsman, hiker, canoe paddler, wilderness EMT, and dog sledder.  He's even written a book 'Sled Dogs to Saint Paul' which I plan to read at some point.  We took his suggestion and ate a late lunch at Sydney's,  But on the way stopped and shared a cinnamon sugar donut.
next time we're pitching the tent closer to the lake
don't tell my boss, but I do love a good donut.
"That's my slice."
Bent Paddle, Black.  It was super good
By the afternoon we were beat.  All that hiking and kayaking and walking around had caught up to us.  After some down time and people watching by the lake, we enjoyed a few drinks at the Gun Flint Tavern (Bent Paddle, IPA). Then it was time for the ultimate final campfire supper, CHILI MAC!  I also beat Ryan at another game of cribbage.  I'd call that a successful evening.
1. brown meat with chili spices and diced tomatoes
2. let Ryan cook macaroni on camp stove
3. Assemble and top with remaining guac from Day 1
Day 5: More great sleep. Wake up, tear down camp while swatting skeeters.  Hit the road after grabbing a cup of coffee from Java Moose.  We enjoyed a late breakfast and time outside of the car at The Duluth Grill.  Now that we are home, it's time to get back on track with better balanced meals and a lot less pie.  


  1. I am off to buy rice Mac and cheese! I am so glad you finally were able to take a real vacation and enjoy it together! Ryan looks great and relaxed! Miss you! love you!

  2. Nice post , i hope everyone will like your post