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Camping Isn't Just Hot Dogs

I never really called myself a "camper" or one who even enjoys camping. In my high school years I would go to festivals and camp for almost a week with my friends while living off hot dogs, burgers, and potato chips. Those days are long behind me and make me sick thinking about them. However, I officially own hiking boots, snowshoes, pudgy pie maker, headlamp, air mattress (currently with a hole in it), and a sleeping bag.


For the Fourth of July weekend, eight of us went to Twin Lakes, Colorado for a getaway. We had to find our own land, dig our own bathroom "holes" and chop our own wood. It was the most hardcore camping I have ever done and it was one of my favorites. The weather was hot and sunny during the day and would horribly drop to 39ºF at night.

HARDCORE BITES: We brought this amazing fire griddle to cook steaks over the campfire. Neil and I precooked sweet potatoes and brought a pound of pre-marinated veggies (see tinfoil in photo). Other people brought chilled pasta salad, iced coffee, and more veggies. We had a delicious spread of food.


For my friend's 30th birthday we rented a campsite at Teal Lake and they brought an RV. There were about 20 people so most of us had to pop up tents. One of the great things about campsites is that they have the option for hookups (water/electric), offer garbage disposal so you can avoid the bears, and typically just a short walk to a bathroom.

CAMPING BITES: We brought gourmet sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, breakfast pudgy pies (read more in Final Bites), steel cut oatmeal, chips and dips, and some people cooked the fish they caught. We also had a box of Palisade Peaches [since they were in season and could be bought under tents on the side of the road].


My friends own 1/3 of the Leadville Backcountry Yurts and invited me to join 11 other people for an unforgettable weekend. Alix and I hiked the 2.5 hour trail while the rest of the glampers took trucks and four-wheelers up. The yurts are equipped with propane stoves, pots, pans, bunk beds, and small woodburning fireplaces to keep warm at night. The other really great thing was the two room Outhouse. I was happy to not have to dig my own hole or stand in line for the bathroom in the campground.

GLAMPING BITES: We had group meals and relied on people to contribute to their assigned meal. Since we rented both yurts we were able to split the cooking between the two "kitchens" to accomodate for the large amount of friends. We had spicy spaghetti with garlic bread, chicken fajitas, campfire cooked queso dip, scrambled eggs and bacon, salads, and quinoa bowls on top of all our snacks.


Camping food doesn't always have to be just junk. I highly recommend pinteresting for camp friendly meals. I was really inspired by other people's pins and knew that anything I could cook on my grill could be brought camping. Great and easy items include: grilled chicken or steak, veggies, skewers/kabobs, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, etc. The list goes on and if it's easier to pre-cook and just heat over the fire then bring it! My favorite camping item is a Pudgy Pie (aka HoBo Pie or Mountain Pie) Maker. I love making s'mores, cinnamon rolls, and pie (see the photo to the left). If you want to make quesadillas, pot pie, breakfast sandwiches, sloppy joes, or grilled cheese then there are plenty of recipes for savory bites on pinterest. Also, you can buy a cast-iron cooker from REI for $16.99 if you want to bring the hit item camping.


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