Monday, July 17, 2006

Earning your Steak and Potatos

White Wolf Lodge in Yosemite National Park (unfortunately, mosquitoes made dinner on the porch impossible)

Earlier this month, J and I spent the week of the 4th camping with his folks in Yosemite National Park. This was our second visit, and I can't recommend it enough--as long as you don't stay in the busy Valley--opt for a first-come, first-serve campground on either Tioga Road or at Glacier Point. The spacious but more primitive campgrounds discourage the maddening crowds.

We both come from do-it-yourself hardcore camp cooking families, and take pride in packing and planning fabulous homemade meals for our outdoor vacations. For the bulk of this trip we relied on our farmers' market and Trader Joe's cache--mixing up chili, grilling salmon and savoring "hobo dinners" (hamburger, potatos, squash and onions in a tinfoil packet over the fire). However, for our last adventure, we took a marathon hike of 10 often steep miles to North Dome, a point right next to Half Dome, one of the gems of the park, and ended the day dead tired. Luckily, we had made reservations at the restaurant at White Wolf Lodge, the high sierra camp situated near our campsite off Tioga Road.

view of Half Dome from our hiking destination, North Dome

For back country campers not wanting to lug food and shelter, the high sierra camps are a series of platform tent camps, approx. 10 miles apart that you can hike to in a day and stay the night. White Wolf Lodge has been around for ages, and every night the restaurant serves a prix fix, family style meal, aimed at satiating hungry hikers. For $25 bucks a head, we enjoyed cheddar-beer soup, cesar salad, a baked potato as big as a softball, a juicy, pink steak and homemade blueberry pie with real berries and real crust. Alcohol was extra and worth it--the Yosemite Pale Ale did the local brewers proud. Plus, we sat next to a lovely family with two teenage boys that had stayed awake the previous night watching for bears outside their tent (their mom shared the story as the boys cringed). The simple, hearty dinner tasted all the better for our hard work that day, and there's no better nightcap than a walk back to one's tent under the silent stars.

White Wolf Lodge
off Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park
Reservations (definitely recommended): 1-559-253-5635


Rorie said...

Sounds like heaven.

Jasmine said...

Hi Erin

My line on camping: My idea of roughing it is carrying my own bags to my room.


I love that shot of the mountain...


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Delicious thanks for sharing, I like it very much.