Camping Meal Plan and Bon Echo Provincial Park

picture of Mazinaw Rock in Mazinaw Lake taken while camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park
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picture of our campsite at Bon Echo Provincial Park with two tents and a tarped area for cooking and eating
Our campsite at Bon Echo with two tents and a tarped area for cooking and eating

Camping Meals

Pamela: Hello and good day, eh!  My name is Pamela

Tim: And I’m Tim 

Pamela: And we’re from Super Good Camping.com.  We’re here because we wanted to educate and inspire other families to enjoy camping adventures such as we have with our kids.  Today we wanted to talk a little bit about the actual foods that we cook while we’re camping. So I’ll turn it over to Tim as he’s our chef.

breakfast of blueberry pancakes and hot water boiling for tea or coffee on our Coleman stove
Mmmm, camping breakfast is almost ready!

Tim: Fine, I wanted to talk about a handful of meals. Let’s do breakfast, maybe lunch, and dinner. A basic breakfast could be anything.  We often have fruit salads, they’re quick and easy.  There’s always meat to go along with it, breakfast meat, whether it’s breakfast sausages, bacon, peameal, or what have you.  We’ve done breakfast hams before. Always a fun treat.  Bacon and eggs, obviously pretty straightforward, if you’ve done them at home. But bacon over a fire is pretty amazing.  It’s much yummier, it has that smoky flavor to it.  Spark up the fire, it takes no time, you don’t really need to get it down to coals.  It can be over the fire. As you know, bacon burns.  Eggs in a no-stick pan or you can bring some olive oil or margarine and make it no-stick.  And hashbrowns. Often the first night we go for something big and red meatish, like steak and do potatoes in the fire itself like a baked potato so often there are leftovers, those fry up nicely with some margarine in a pan in the morning and poof, there you go there’s a nice easy breakfast. And then you have children that can wash dishes after that! (laughing)  For lunch, I often do a lot of prep work ahead of time when we’re at home in the months leading up to when we’re going camping.  I have a tendency to save stock when we cook other things, whether it’s beef stock, chicken stock, or pork stock.  And then once we have a bunch of it saved up, I’ll do a slow cooker soup and just chop up a bunch of veggies, cube up a bunch of chicken.  It’s really nice to sometimes shred up some chicken or you’ve got some turkey leftover from a Christmas meal or a Thanksgiving meal.  You froze that leftover turkey. It turns into a lovely soup at some point.  Refreeze it again afterward and then take that with you. It’s dead-easy.  Put it in a pot, on low, spend 30-40 minutes getting it nice and warm and poof a bowl full of goodness, and the kids are happy and we’re off to the races.  An evening meal, we do eat ridiculously well while we’re camping.  I teased about lobster tails, so fine, we’ll go there.  Let’s say a surf and turf type deal.  So you can do it without a barbeque.  At Ontario Provincial Parks, most of the time, your fire pit also incorporates a grate into it. You can also buy additional grates from second parties to go over the top of all of that business. Or you can throw down some tinfoil.  You can cook steak, chops what-have-you on top of the grate. Into the fire, we often take lobster tails. For the sake of argument, Loblaws will put on a two-pack of 3-4 lb lobster tails for, you know, 8 bucks. They’re tiny, but they’re tasty.  We used to buy them when they were loss leaders, but Loblaws seems to have caught on to the fact that we did that and they don’t offer that anymore. Anyhow, essentially you take the lobster tail, you take a pair of really serious scissors, I actually have some meat scissors as part of a knife kit.  You cut down the upper back of the lobster tail, like through the shell itself, right down to the tail.  Gently hook your thumbs in and try not to break it, you’re just trying to pry open the portion that you’ve cut. Maybe we’ll do a little video at some point and post it. Anyway, you pry it open, the meat inside should come up fairly easily. You lift it up through the gap that you’ve left by prying open the shell. You close the shell back up. You drop the meat on top of that.  You take a butter knife and some margarine and slather it on. Don’t hold back, it’s for the better. And spank some minced garlic onto it, obviously fresh minced is better but out of a jar or whatever is fine.  You take that and wrap it in heavy-duty tin foil. Make sure that it’s sealed up well because the idea is that you’re steaming it inside of there.  You don’t want that steam to escape, then it’s dried out lobster tail.  If you’ve got decent coals by that point.  You start your steak earlier. Let me back up and say start your steak earlier, the tails themselves only take about 10-12 minutes. Steaks take a lot longer because they’re up much higher, or chops.  But when you’re getting close, when you’re halfway through your steak, chuck your lobster tails into the coals themselves. Have good long tongs so that you can flip them halfway through, maybe ten minutes or so.  You can throw in some potatoes, slice them in half, score the interior, again throw some margarine or butter, maybe a little garlic, some of the kids don’t mind chives in there, wrap them in tin foil, and put them in the coals.  It’s an all in one deal when you’re done. 

Pamela: That’s awesome and we’ll work away at trying to compile other meal plans for you and put it all together into ideally a one-week meal plan. You’ll have everything you need for making a delicious gourmet one-week camping meal plan.

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park
Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park

Pamela: And we wanted to talk about our next camping adventure which was to Bon Echo Provincial Park.  One of the interesting things about Bon Echo is the 100-meter high Mazinaw Rock. Which features 260 Indigenous pictographs.  What we did is we actually rented a canoe, I think, we didn’t actually take our canoe with us.  We rented a canoe and we paddled over to Mazinaw Rock. We paddled around and saw some of the pictographs, which were quite fascinating. There’s also a little tribute to Walt Whitman carved into the stone on Mazinaw Rock. And then we hiked up Mazinaw Rock to the top. Which is a fairly ambitious hike. We were a little tired at the end. 

Tim: It wasn’t crazy. I think part of the issue that we ran into was that it was an open metal mesh grate and puppy dog, our beastie, was less than thrilled to be going up.  But yes, it is fairly up over a short period of forward business. 

a picture of Farley our dog at Mazinaw Lake at Bon Echo Provincial Park
Farley the dog enjoying the pet exercise area at Bon Echo Provincial Park

Pamela: And even our youngest remarked over what a beautiful view it was from the top.

Tim: Stellar.

Pamela: Really awesome.  The other thing was that we did not take enough water. We always do take water with us, but we didn’t have enough water that day. Between the dog who was dying of thirst and the 3 of us, we were all dying of thirst by the time we got back down and we were out of water. 

Tim: Yeah, and it’s always a learning curve. People assume, coming from the big city, that there are provisions of water – whether it’s somebody selling water, whether it’s a water fountain, nope, you’re out in nature.  There’s nothing. You can jump off the top of that rock, it’s a lonnnng way down (do NOT do this, it’s a joke).  So yes, we carry lots of water with us. 

Pamela: There’s some awesome birding to do at Bon Echo. This was a site, unfortunately, where we had a lot of bugs.

Tim: My fault! 

Pamela: We were close to a swamp. 

Tim: My fault! 

Pamela (laughing): It was a very buggy site.  Brandon and I, and the dog actually, did not want to come out of the car.  Every time that the car door was open Farley (our dog) would beat it back into his front seat of the car. 

Tim: Yeah, I noticed the kind of boggy thing on the Ontario Parks map, and I thought yeah, that’s not that close. I was sadly mistaken. For me, usually, it’s not a big deal, I don’t get bitten that much. For the redheads, they did.  And then by the time we got to the end of the site’s driveway, holy mackerel, the deer flies and horse flies were just insane.  So it was, go on the road, get bit by big things or stay in our site and get bit by small things. So Pamela bought a Thermacell, you’re supposed to be able to wear it on your hip, put it on the picnic table, whatever. I think we were still learning how to use it that year, it has come in quite handy since. 

Pamela: Brandon and I would sometimes escape to somewhere else. One of the places that we went to that year was Bonnechere caves, which was really fascinating too.  So it’s well worth the drive if you’re staying at Bon Echo to drive over to Bonnechere caves and check out the caves.

Tim: Also, there seems to be a theme of ice cream. I’m actually the guy that is least likely to be interested in ice cream, but it seems to keep popping into my head. Anyhow, there’s a store that’s not too far outside the gates of Bon Echo that is called The Maz. They have phenomenal ice cream. They also have all kinds of play toys, like kayaks, what-have-you. 

picture of the sign for The Maz, an ice cream bar and paddle shop near Bon Echo Provincial Park
The Maz – go here for ice cream when you’re at Bon Echo

Pamela: We picked up a couple of little souvenir things from there too – little maple leafs with hooks on them that we thought we would use for hanging backpacks and then on the back is printed that it’s Made in China.  So it was a little disappointing.

Tim: Yeah, but they look cute. 

Pamela: And that’s it for me, do you have anything else Tim? 

Tim: I wouldn’t mind adding in, just with the thought of food and stuff, we haven’t really spoken about coolers.  I wanted to talk briefly about loading the cooler. Once you’re all gung ho for a whole weeks’ work of camping and having food, you need to load those coolers in reverse order.  You need to cool the coolers overnight the night before and then load them up in reverse order.

Pamela: And anticipate maybe taking some frozen veggies and frozen things with you that will also act to cool down your cooler. 

Tim: Right, so they act as ice packs. Hot dogs and some frozen veggies makes for a quick lunch too. 

Pamela: And that’s it for us for today.  Have a wonderful rest of your day and we’ll be back again next week.  Our email address if you’d like to reach out to us is hi@supergoodcamping.com, that’s “h” “i” at supergoodcamping.com and we hope to hear from you soon. Thanks. Bye!

Tim: Bye!

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