We returned recently from a weeklong camping trip to three national parks. The availability of good quality, pre-packaged natural foods certainly makes living in a tent easier. So in the middle of Arches National Park — an 18-mile trip to the gate — we ate Pad Thai noodles and tasty soups from a box. Hot foods were essential since the temps dipped when the sun went down into the 30s and at Grand Canyon, the 20s, the week we were living outside.
|Baja-style tacos at Kip’s Grill|
And on occasion, we ate inside a restaurant like Kip’s Grill in Pagosa Springs. (More below.)
I am not a rookie to camp life. Years ago I camped for months, visiting national and state parks in California and Arizona with my then-companion. We started in San Francisco, where a woman from India taught me how to make chapatis. I accompanied the woman, whose English skills were limited, as she searched for a job around the city. In exchange she showed me how to make chapatis. I kneaded wholewheat dough, rolled balls of it into thin, flat discs before I quickly heated both sides on a skillet. Then, I placed the chapatis on the grate of a lit camp stove (sometimes a fireplace) until they puffed. That became our staple on the road.
I also cooked for our six kids on our summer camping trips but out of necessity — think huge quantities — everything was made from scratch. While I don’t recall the menus, I do the massive preparation and cleanups. There have been several occasions Hank and I have hit the road to tent and hike.
As I mentioned earlier, Hank and I did eat out a few times on our most recent trip. Salads when we could find them. Muffins and coffee if we were driving at breakfast time. Best muffin was at the Pagosa Baking Company in Southern Colorado. Worst was at Starbucks, where the muffins were more like cake.
At Grand Canyon we ate at El Tovar Lodge, one of the former
Harvey House railroad hotels from the early 1900s. Charles Whittlesey was the architect for this Mission-style hotel, which is featured in Hank’s numerous books on the Arts and Crafts movement.
The best meal eaten on the road was in Pagosa Springs, where we ended our trip to warm up in pools ranging from 93 to 109 degrees. We had Baja-style tacos at Kip’s Grill. Kip’s is a small place on the main drag with a cantina-like atmosphere. The clientele that
Saturday night looked like mostly locals and a few people like us who wandered in off the road. We were lucky to get a table right away. I had spicy shrimp. Hank chose fish. For a buck more we got slices of avocado. The tacos were tasty and inexpensive. Plus there were bottles of great homemade hot sauces. Our waitress told us “Do whatever you have to do to get my attention.” Funny thing, we didn’t have to. Here’s a link to their site http://kipsgrill.com/