Thanksgiving in the Wilderness

Dave and Amy enjoy Thanksgiving dinner on Knife Lake. They used their canoe as a table!

Dave and Amy enjoy Thanksgiving dinner on Knife Lake. They used their canoe as a table!

The Thanksgiving holiday was last Thursday. Did you celebrate Thanksgiving? Dave and I celebrated the holiday too. Cooking a Thanksgiving feast in the Wilderness took special planning. When we received our resupply about three weeks ago, it contained special food we set aside just for Thanksgiving.

This food was specially prepared to. It was dehydrated. This means that the water was dried out of it. Long before our expedition began, I spent weeks dehydrating vegetables. To dehydrate the vegetables, I washed them, cut them up in thin slices, and spread them out onto special trays. Then I put the trays into our food dehydrator and turned it on. The dehydrator works by blowing warm air over the vegetable. It takes a long time– several days. You can tell that the vegetables are done when they are crispy. They shrink too. A friend of ours has continued to dehydrate food for us. She dehydrated the vegetables we ate for Thanksgiving.

Amy sliced this zucchini and dehydrated it last summer before entering the Boundary Waters.

Amy sliced this zucchini and dehydrated it last summer before entering the Boundary Waters.

Would you like to know what was on our menu? Here it is:

potatoes
butternut squash
wild rice
cranberries
stuffing
cheese
cornbread
smoked salmon
apple cider
rose hip tea

Our plates are small, so we piled them high with food !

Our plates are small, so we piled them high with food !

Our meal was a combination of things that were grown nearby and Thanksgiving favorites. The potatoes and squash came from a friend’s farm. The apples came from another friend’s tree. There are three foods on this list that actually grow right in the Boundary Waters. What do you think those are?

We prepared our meal in our SeekOutside tipi tent and cooked everything with our woodstove.

We prepared our meal in our SeekOutside tipi tent and cooked everything with our woodstove.

If you guessed wild rice, cranberries, and rose hips, you were correct. We didn’t actually gather the wild rice and cranberries though. They were purchased at the grocery store. The wild rice that was purchased came from Minnesota. It was harvested nearby.

Wild rice grows in many lakes in the Boundary Waters. It grows in shallow water, often near shore. Wild rice plants look like tall grasses growing in the water. Wild rice has been and still is a sacred food for the Native Americans of this region– the Anishinaabe.

Cranberries grow in many bogs in the Boundary Waters. The cranberry plants grow close to the ground and have tart little berries growing on them. I hunted for cranberries in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have any luck.

We organized all of the things we would make in the morning before we started cooking.

We organized all of the things we would make in the morning before we started cooking.

I did find some rose hips. Wild roses grow in the Boundary Waters. The flowers are long gone, but the plants are easy to find. They have long woody stems with small thorns. The rose hips look like red berries at the top of the plant. Rose hips are high in vitamin C. I cut up the rose hips and removed their seeds before pouring hot water over them. The tea tasted sweet.

Our Thanksgiving feast was delicious. We don’t have much variety in our diet, so all these different foods were extra special to us. It took us several hours to prepare. We used the wood stove in our tent to boil a lot of water. Most of the foods had to soak in hot water to rehydrate. We baked the cornbread under our stove, while the wild rice simmered in a pot of hot water on top. The meal was worth all the hard work. Dave and I are thankful for this good food, each other, our friends and family, and this wonderful wild place we are traveling in.

Student Response Worksheets
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3 Comments

  1. Marcia Nelson
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy each of your updates and send them on to my homeschooled 6 year old grandson. We were wondering how you keep clean, body, clothes and sleeping bags.?
    Thanks.
    Marcia

    • wildernessdave
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      We have biodegradeable soap and we take sponge baths to stay clean. We also use Sea to Summit Wilderness Wips to stay clean. We have a handy little thing called a scrubba for washing our clothing. It is basically a waterproof bag with hard bumps inside. You put your clothes, a little biodegradeable soap, and a little water into it. THen you close it and scrub the clothes agains the bumps like an old fashion washboard. Our sleeping bags will be washed when we switch seasons. When we pick up out next resupply we will get our winter sleeping bags. Our current sleeping bags will be taken out. They will be washed and stored in Ely until we need them in the spring with it warm up.

  2. Ann Schwaller
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Remember to tell followers that although soap is biodegradable, it still doesn’t belong in the water. Dump waste water back into the woods.

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