Trail Bread by Lindsay Frost

As staffers here at Tuscarora, we get one day off every week, and that provides us with the opportunity to take mini Boundary Waters trips. This past Wednesday was my day off along with 3 other staffers (Justin, Caitlin and Andrew). We were planning on heading out to Long IslandLake after work on Tuesday, but the weather continued to be quite indecisive right up to Tuesday lunch. The four of us were a bit hesitant to head out into uncertain weather—just what we wanted: to come back from our day off sick, tired, cold and wet! However, at about 4:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday our canoes hit the water at the CrossBay landing. We were off.

We enjoyed a nice paddle out to Long Island and were surprised that we were not wet or (very) cold upon our arrival to camp. (Though, I was a bit worried we were not going to find a campsite, as the first few were already occupied.) We set up camp as the sun was preparing to set for the evening, and then started brewing up a nice campfire. A long lasting, hot fire would be essential for the evening because in our packs we had stowed away a special Boundary Waters experiment of sorts.

Before coming up here this summer, my Dad made me a collapsible, lightweight, reflector oven to use on trips. Our experiment for the night was to see if the reflector over actually worked (Dad—I know you’re reading this…I never doubted your design!). Also in our arsenal for the evening was some of Chef Justin’s sourdough artisan bread dough. We were attempting to bake real, FRESH, artisan bread in the Boundary Waters.

Well, the experiment took a good dose of team work and patience as well. We had to collect new fire wood three times over to keep the fire going, and while Justin tended to the bread and Caitlin worked on the firewood, Andrew and I got the rest of dinner going.

I guess I had a few doubts running through my head at this point: either the fire would die out or not be hot enough, or the bread would take an exorbitant amount of time to cook, or it would cook unevenly, or burn, etc.

To my surprise and delight, though, about 45 minutes after we set the oven in front of the fire, we had bread. And this bread was not just any old slice of Wonderbread. This bread had a perfect golden brown hue and the unmistakable crunch of the fresh baked bread (you know, the good stuff). It also had a slightly smoky flavor that went well with the turkey and rice dish we had prepared.

We baked bread. That’s a feat in and of itself, but we baked bread IN THE WOODS!

The four of us lingered around the campfire breaking the warm bread and enjoying the heat of the fire at our toes. We enjoyed our dinner, to say the least, and the trip in its entirety. On our paddle out on Wednesday, we took our time. There was a little river off of Lower George and we went exploring. We sailed underneath downed trees and enjoyed the SUNSHINE. Another pit stop on our return included a climb up some waterfalls on Cross as well as a slide back down the falls. We sang songs from Pocahontas, picked off dozens of little leeches, caught a fish, laughed, smiled and took it all in. Trips like this one remind me of how fortunate I am to “work” here in the summer. This place is our home in the summertime, and I’m glad we decided to take our little trip this week—it’s one I won’t soon forget.

Did I mention that we made bread?

1 Response

  1. Lucy says:

    Lindsay-I have been enjoying the blogs as I look at the site everyday, it’s been great to read about Tuscarora and everyone’s adventures. It helps me picture the area and your experiences. Keep it up!
    Lucy Hyde (Staffer Mike’s Mom)