Into the Wild
Clean Eating|Summer 2022 / July - September 2022
Cooking along the 500-mile Colorado Trail taught Clean Eating editor Amanda M. Faison how to transform the campfire into a kitchen.
By Sarah Sweeney
Into the Wild

A few summers ago, when my husband, Heath Kirschner, embarked on running the nearly 500-mile Colorado Trail, I saw it as a dual challenge: He and his buddy, Paul Landry, would run the monster distance and I would fuel their monster appetites. Neither challenge would be easy, but that was the appeal.

For this journey-one that topped out at 13,334 feet above sea level, crossed six national forests, six wilderness areas, five river systems and eight mountain ranges I didn't want to rely on the idea that everything tastes better outside. Instead, I wanted to nourish and replenish. I wanted to make real food in the forest and transform the campfire into a kitchen.

Just as Heath and Paul prepped for months prior to setting foot on the Trail, I did too. Amid the stacks of maps and books, the yellow satellite phones, the portable water filter small enough to fit into one of their lightweight packs and too many bags of Skratch Labs hydration mix to count, I had my own piles: cookbooks, printed recipes and camping pantry lists. I took apart and restocked our camping bins stuffed with everything from matches to a French press. I started a Pinterest board to help organize my thoughts. I began looking at food and cooking through a different lens. What could be rejiggered and prepared on the Trail?

As a food journalist and an avid cook, there are few things that make me happier than studying food, cooking it and, of course, eating it. This journey, though, was a unique riddle: Meals needed to be jammed with calories and healthy nutrients and there needed to be a meatless option for Paul, who is a pescatarian. Plus, I wanted the creative challenge of cooking gourmet, you-can't-make-that-in-the-wild dishes.

This story is from the Summer 2022 / July - September 2022 edition of Clean Eating.

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This story is from the Summer 2022 / July - September 2022 edition of Clean Eating.

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