Each year, we try a new hiking trail when we are at Acadia National Park. This year, we needed to adjust our difficulty level a bit to cater to the little guy. We chose Beech Mountain Trail. What a great little hike with BIG reward at the top.
It’s rated moderate, but we didn’t have too much trouble with it. Griff was excited to jump and climb all the rocks, declaring he was going to be “King of the Mountain!”
I took up the end of the hiking pack, being sure to capture the little things the front of the pack pointed out.
Not far into the hike, we hit the first outlook. I couldn’t believe what a beautiful view so early into the hike.
The kids were anxious to get to the top. They had read there was a fire tower up there. SO we didn’t take too long to take in the view, but kept climbing.
The hike itself is about 2.9 miles and has an elevation of 589 feet.
Once we hit the summit, it was breathtaking. Everyone couldn’t help but wonder around and take it all in. The kids raced up the fire tower, but were disappointed to find it only open one level up. It is closed to the public except on special weekends. So they jumped down and explored on the rocks instead.
It was another fantastic hike in Acadia National Park!
Besides Okra Stew, I also took on the challenge to make homemade bread in the dutch oven on the campfire. I have seen some really great looking recipes online like this one from Mother Earth News. I was anxious to try it. We were camping, of course and I realized, while making my no-knead dough, I did not have all the right ingredients. Luckily, the most useful advice I have gotten from Chef Kevin is to just wing it. I had my doubts during the process, but at the end of the day, this hearty dense loaf of wonderfulness was the pleasantly surprising result.
White Whole Wheat Camping Bread
3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
3 packets of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of luke warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. In the morning, combine yeast and salt in the look warm water mix until dissolved.
2. Add flour, this will be a sticky wet dough.
3. Cover and put in your tent to keep safe from natures creatures. Go enjoy your day!
4. Before dinner, oil your dutch oven.
5. Shape dough as much as possible and place in the dutch oven. Let rise another 45 mins. (you can add seeds to the top at this point if you would like, we had pumpkin seeds available) and prepare coals.
6. Once coals are gray, place them in a circle on the ground. Set the dutch oven on top.
7. Cover and load the top with coals.
8. Let cook approx. 30 mins or until it starts to brown.
9. Take out of the dutch oven and let stand for 10 mins. before cutting.
This is the perfect dish to comfort your taste buds after a long day of hiking or biking. You can prepare a packet of spices ahead of time and bring frozen Okra in your cooler.
Adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield, Okra Stew
Before your trip, combine the following ingredients in ziplock or jar:
1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Add to your cooler:
1 package frozen okra
2 cloves garlic
You can pre-cut:
1/2 red bell pepper
1 large onion
28 oz whole canned tomatoes
1 tsp Better than Bullion (Veggie)
Olive oil or butter
If you don’t like okra, you can easily make this dish with zucchini, summer squash or pretty much any veggies. We had fresh okra available to us, but not enough, so I added zucchini to this batch.
1. Prepare coals, once they are grey, set up 15 in a circle. Set dutch oven on the coals. Add two tablespoons of oil and onions. Stir until soft (you can place the cover on at this point, but don’t add coals to the top yet.
2. Add garlic, all veggies, tomatoes, spices, 1 cup of water and better than bullion. Stir well and cover.
3. Add coals to the top.
The more coals you add, the quicker it will cook. If you have more time, use less and let it simmer. Cook until all veggies are soft and enjoy!
This soup is full of fantastic flavors and is a very easy dutch oven recipe. We served it with a dutch oven White Whole Wheat bread. I will be posting that recipe soon too!
As I mentioned in my last post, last year we purchased the Camp Cooking cookbook by The National Museum of Forest Service History. As a side dish to compliment our Campfire Yum-bo, my hubby decided to try the Spoon Bread recipe (on page 27 of Camp Cooking) in our dutch oven.
This was the hubby’s first campfire cooking challenge. He was sure that the coals were all set for cooking.
It starts with bacon (how could it ever be bad?), corn muffin mix, and blue cheese.
This dish smells amazing cooking in the open air.
Once it is no longer soft in the middle, it’s ready to scoop out. This is a melt in your mouth corn bread.
Fantastic. This is one on the list for this year as well. I’ve been craving it!
Before going camping, make a meatloaf and freeze it. This will make it last longer and help keep your cooler cool. When you are ready to eat it, simply cut into slices, add some BBQ sauce and put it on over coals to heat up. No worry about if it is safe because it is precooked. Serve on burger buns. A simple and tasty camping dinner.
I read this tip on a camping site and I tell you, it was the best. I emptied a dozen eggs into a mason jar for easy travel. They fit perfect in the cooler without the worry of breaking them. You just pour them out as you need them. It was a great tip so I figured I’d pass it along.
Although our Campfire Cheesecake was AMAZING, I have to admit, this Gumbo dish was my favorite! So get your coals ready, here comes the BEST campfire dinner recipe I have ever had.
By Chef Kevin
1 large onion diced
4 stalks of celery diced
2 green peppers diced
2 links of chorizo sausage cut in half the long way and then sliced (half circles)
1 lb. small peeled and deveined shrimp
1 lb chicken meat diced
1 bag frozen slice okra (about 12 oz)
1 big can diced tomatoes in juice
For seasoning; salt pepper, gumbo file (not easy to find, we substituted cajun seasoning)
Directions: Brown up the veggies in the dutch oven (cover if needed for more heat, stirring often). Then add meats.
Finally add tomatoes, okra, seasoning and simmer with coals on top and bottom for about an hour (or until chicken is cooked), stirring when needed. You can also add rice at this point if you would like.
It may take longer depending on coals and how full you fill the dutch oven. Ours was a bit high, so we omitted rice and ate it more as a stew. We added rice to the left overs the next night and got two meals out of it. Did I mention how amazing this was? What also makes this a great dish is that all the prep can be done before you leave. You can cut everything up, place in ziplocks and put them in the cooler. This will take up less space and makes it easy to just dump the ingredients into the pot.
As if this amazing dish wasn’t enough, we had it with Bacon Gorgonzola Cornbread. Also made in the dutch oven. I’ll be posting that soon too. This can also be done on the stove if you would like to make it in your home dutch oven. Once we get through this heatwave, I think I will be trying it again.
A hike we did on vacation was a great highlight of our trip. This is a mile hike called “The Beehive”.
You can see little dots on the front of the mountain – those are people! We did not take this way up. We did the backside that was still a challenge for Griff, but fun!
Even Mikie had a great time!
From the top, the view of the ocean was amazing.
And “Sandy Beach” below.
It was a very foggy day and I think most of our hike was in the clouds.
It didn’t stop me from capturing a few really cool shots. These iris’ were growing wild in the marsh.
It was a great hike and one I highly recommend (at least the backside of the hike) for all those who visit Bar Harbor.
The Old Carriage Trails in Acadia National Park were owned by the Rockefellers in the 1900′s. Today, they are public biking trails that wind around some of the most beautiful views in Acadia. The trail we took was around Eagle Lake.
The trails are marked with many granite bridges. The stone bridges are just breathtaking. All paths are marked with wooden signs.
The majority of the ride was pretty level. There were a few uphills and some fun downhills.
The lake views were fantastic.
We found the perfect spot to stop off to have some snacks and take up some fishing…
It’s hard to see, but when we got back to the other side of the lake, we did see an eagle flying overhead. Can you see the little black dot in the middle of the screen?
Yep. You heard right, Cheesecake by the campfire! This was a fantastic dessert served in our dutch oven. Although, this recipe came from our extreme camp cooking friends, I did find the recipe here for Dutch Oven Cheesecake. The crust was made by crushing the graham crackers and adding sugar and butter. It is added to the pot and placed on top of the first set of coals.
Then the filling was started. It was all whipped together until fluffy.
Once the crust had baked a bit, the filling was added.
The top of the dutch oven was added with coals on top and cooked for about an hour (or maybe a little more). It was set aside to cool for a bit, then the cherry topping was added.
Really? Look at that!!! Does camping really get better than this?
It was served warm, which I was curious if I would like or not. Oh my gosh…it was FANTASTIC!
Ahhhh, campfire cheesecake, I’m in love!