A Salad of Maine Shrimp, Jasmine Rice, Fresh Corn, Sweet Peppers and Black Beans
Mini Mocha Whoopie Pies
Cold Water and Chilled Wine
The Hike: Black Mountain
With the scenery we have from our trails in Maine, it is a shame to celebrate breathtaking views while eating smooshed peanut butter sandwiches and slim jims that are slugged down with a sports drink colored to a hue that would make an Amazon tree frog jealous. Fill your daypack with fare worthy of the vista across Frenchman’s Bay provided from the top of Black Mountain! In the “Foodie on Foot” series I’ll post theme based recipes and tips for creating and packing an on the trail lunch or dinner that will bring new meaning to the way you look at a day hike. I will feature the flavors of Maine in each of the recipes, tips on packing for a picnic, and a link to the hiking details outline by Aislinn in her 1-minute hikes.
I have hiked with my kids since they were in their single digits. To get them started, we selected mountains that took some effort to summit but were obtainable; for kids, it’s much better to get to the top of Acadia than halfway up Bigelow. But my most reliable hiking motivator was food. I know that sounds bad but, it worked and hey, it’s more than a reward, it’s a celebration. Getting to the top of a mountain is the perfect reason to go the extra step past packaged granola bars and instead pull out the apple chicken wraps and strawberries dipped in chocolate. All I can say is that it worked. They are now in their twenties and still my little foodies on foot.
My daughter, Georgia, and I planned to hike Black Mountain on Sunday. It is our favorite hike and any excuse to be with her, against the backdrop of this beautiful place, is a time I treasure and celebrate. When you look at my daughter, the phrase ‘outdoor enthusiast’ would not be the first one that comes to mind. Georgia likes to look nice so, on her first night at her summer job as a server at Le Domaine she put on some cute new shoes that, of course, produced some nasty looking blisters the next morning. Hiking is the only time she wears sneakers and even then it causes her fashion angst. But now she had a little toe the size of her big one and a shoe, even a stylish one, was not going on her foot. She glanced over at the pack I just filled with goodies and then out the window to see the sun breaking through the clouds. She slid on her pink flip-flops.
“You can’t hike in those”, I said.
“If I can’t make it we can walk down to the beach and eat there, right?” She responded.
Alas, never too old for the food bribe.
The five major factors I consider when daypack picnicking:
- Flat Rocks
- Distance to and from picnic spot
- Beverage selection
- Energy expenditure in relation to menu planning – loops with a rugged up and a meandering down route are a favorite!
Since I was toting a nice pinot grigio and Georgia was opting for unsafe footwear, we chose a great spot on the way down the mountain that was only about 15 minutes from the small parking area of the Big Chief trail.
Day hike Picnicking Packing Tips!
A Chilled Salad of Maine Shrimp, Jasmine Rice, Fresh Corn, Sweet Peppers and Black Beans
I am a big fan of the plastic containers with the snap lids but, in this case, I get more food for the space by using a zip lock bag. Also the salad is firm and does not require the waterproof seal that snap lid containers provide. The smaller plastic containers with the screw on lids shown above will serve as our dishes.
The Mini Mocha Whoopie Pies fit nicely in the small plastic tub with a little plastic wrap in between the the layers. Pack extra wrap on the top to keep them from moving while hiking. Small treats are great for daypack picnics because they are easy to eat and share.
I like the flat freezer packs, they are colder than ice with no mess. Here, I’ve wrapped it in a plastic bag; behind it is the shrimp salad in the zip lock bag and they are both inside the nested plastic containers that are our dishes. By using the screw top containers as dishes, you can put the lids back on them when finished to keep your pack neat after the picnic.
No need to buy anything special, just borrow your kid’s lunch box! I have a square shaped extra large waist pack with shoulder straps so this shaped lunch cooler fits my pack perfectly but if you have a narrower day pack, try the more envelope style of insulated lunchbox. The cold packs are most effective when placed on top of food so put it directly on the packaged shrimp salad. On top of that, put your mini mocha whoopie pies and a plastic bag with real forks, cloth napkins, a couple pieces of paper towel and an extra plastic bag. I also like to include some anti-bacterial wipes for your hands. I cut up a few carrot and celery sticks to have with the salad and bagged them in a small ziplock.
We are packing a light white wine but, in the summer, I even like to chill a softer red a bit for day hike picnicking. The black neoprene sleeve is optional. I just picked up this flexible “ice” blanket and I love it, but you can also use a traditional wine cooler pack or a couple of the thin, flat ice packs. Lay down at least 5 sheets of newspaper and place the ice pack and the bottle in neoprene on top of it. Roll to secure the ice pack and completely wrap the bottle in the BDN. If you are not using a neoprene sleeve, wrap the chilled bottle in newspaper, lay it on top of more newspaper with an ice pack or two and roll it up again, enclosing the ice packs with the newspaper. If you are traveling a long distance to your hike, keep it with your water in a cooler until you get to the parking lot and then pack your beverages. You could use the box wine and avoid glass but I like how a bottle makes it that much more special, as does my favorite (and well used) acrylic glasses that have hide away and screw in stems.
The bottle, all wrapped up, fits right on top of my pack.
I use a disposable grocery bag for the wine glasses and tie it to the outside of the pack; this will also serve as a little “carry in/carry out” garbage bag. Our water bottles go in the side pockets, wind breakers are attached on the outside of the pack and off we go!
Georgia on Black Mountain!
The Recipes for the Foodie on Foot Mother/Daughter Lunch on Black Mountain: