Camping in Daylight

Monday, August 14, 2017

Winter in Alaska lasts from the end of October till the very end of April. That's seven months. That leaves us only five months for the possibility  of some nice weather. Keeping this in mind I'm sure it's not a surprise to you that whenever the weather is at least a little nice (think low clouds and only a sprinkling of rain), local Juneauites go a little crazy...

We went crazy one weekend not long ago with all the rest of Juneau. It was a miracle indeed, nice weather on a Friday night with equally nice weather expected for the next day as well. How lucky can you get? Quinn and I packed up our backpacks and sleeping bags and headed out to the end of Douglas Island for a camp out.

This would be Greta's first time camping in a tent (as last time we stayed in a cabin), and she was very excited! She pranced along ahead of us on the board walk trail and only looked back when I begged to take her photo...
As you might be able to tell, she wasn't too happy about stopping.

As I said, all of Juneau was outside camping as well and we had a hard time finding a bit of beach to camp on. After hiking farther we found a camp site but someone had trashed it with logs and broken branches. We're not scared of work though, so we set our packs down and started clearing away debris.
It wasn't long before our little spot was looking fine and dandy, the perfect place to call a home-away-from-home!
Greta is jumping up to get a treat, isn't she silly?

Here I am below putting the final touches to our tent, a Swedish dala horse blanket  neatly put on top of our sleeping bags makes everything look nicer. 
Meanwhile, Greta made her own changes to the campsite. Some much needed holes were dug around the campfire (though for what reason we weren't sure).

That's a jingle bell on her collar, we have her wear it when we go on hikes so we always know where she is (and it helps keep away unwanted bears!). 

Quinn carefully unpacked our backpacks and started the fire for the evening meal. On tonight's menu was sausage, potatoes and carrots, and breadsticks baked over the fire. We couldn't wait to smell the food cooking!

The view from our campsite looking out on Admiralty Island.

As I chopped up the vegetables Quinn got a good bed of coals going on the fire so that our dinner, wrapped in foil, would have the perfect place to cook. After we had put everything on the fire we walked down the beach and explored to keep ourselves (and our hungry stomachs) occupied. We found shells and tiny sea creatures and Greta had a fun time splashing in the water ("She's going to sleep in the tent with us, right?" "Yes, of course!" "Well...we may want to dry her off first. I don't want to be smelling like low-tide in the morning!").
Greta watches as Quinn skips rocks across the gentle waves.
Poking little sea anemones. 

Finding tiny treasures. 
 When dinner was finally ready we were overjoyed, for food always tastes better after a long hike and after smelling it cook over a fire. The breadsticks were my favorite part, and were made from a recipe in a book that Abigail gave me for Christmas last year. We have made the recipe several times and the bread always comes out amazingly. I'll have to share it at the end of this post for you, I think you would enjoy it!

Baking the breadsticks over the fire together. 
Golden brown and ready for some butter! Yum!

As the fire died down we sat and listened to the waves rolling in. A ferry from the mine on Admiralty Island had just gone by, delivering miners back home on the dock in Juneau. The waves from the ferry rolled in with white spray, echoing off the rocks and trees were we sat. When the water calmed again a humpback whale passed by, no doubt on his way home as well.
As we got ready for bed, the sky still bright, Quinn put all the food in a backpack and set about climbing a tree to keep it away from bears. We had no intention of meeting a bear in the middle of the night, so up he climbed to find the safest place for tomorrow's breakfast.
Once as a girl my sister and I went camping by ourselves. My mother had my brother Cody come and help us start a fire (much to his joy, I'm sure). He also helped us put our food in a tree so that no bears would come looking for a midnight snack that evening as we slept. 
Well, what a surprise! The next morning we awoke to see that something had gotten into our food, but it wasn't the bear we had feared. A squirrel had gotten into the bag and nibbled on several of our English muffins that we had planned to eat for breakfast. We were in a sorry state when we woke up to no breakfast, but we were relieved that our only intruder had been small!
Thankfully our backpacks are guaranteed squirrel proof (I think), so I wasn't too worried as Quinn climbed back down the tree, our breakfast hidden high above our heads. 

Greta still smelled bit like low tide but we eventually let her in the tent. We slept soundly to the lapping of the waves not far from the tent, the endless Alaskan summer sun still shining beyond the horizon.


The next morning we woke up to a windy sunny day. Quinn (this time looking a little sleepy-eyed) climbed back up the tree and relayed that no squirrels had gotten into the backpack during the night. We toasted bagels over the fire and started packing up camp, sad to leave but looking forward to the next time we would get to camp as well. 
Did I mention Quinn was feeling a bit sleepy? Greta was too, and they made quite the pair.

As we hiked back down the trail, our true home waiting for us, we were filled with thankfullness for the nice weather and the fun a tent and a campfire can bring to an evening. I hope you're able to go camping this summer, dear reader, for there is just nothing like sleeping under the alder trees listening to the waves go back and forth like a lullaby.


Poppyseed Campfire Bread
From the book 'Connect with Nature' by Anna Carlile
450g (3 cups/16oz) Self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
60g (2oz) butter, plus extra to serve
40g (1/4 cup/1 1/2 oz) poppyseeds
125 ml (1/2 cup/4 fl oz) milk
1.) Find sticks at least 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) in width, strong enough to hold dough wrapped around it. Wash and dry sticks thoroughly.
2.) Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter to resemble breadcrumbs, then mix in the poppyseeds. Create a well in the middle and add the milk and 1/2-3/4 cup water. Mix the flour into the liquid and bring the mixture together to form a dough. (I made the dough ahead of time and took it with us camping  to save on space in our packs)
3.) Divide dough into portions and roll into logs no wider than 2 cm (4/5 inch) and wrap around sticks.
4.) Once the fire has burnt to embers, place your campfire bread stick over the embers and cook until it sounds hollow when you tap it, around 10-15  mixtures depending on the heat of the fire and the width of the dough.
5.) You can also bake the campfire bread in an oven at 200C (400F) for 20-30 minutes. 

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