Outdoor Living | The Fall Camping Weekend

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intro

I only went camping three times in my life even though every time I go I absolutely love the experience. You can’t get closer to nature than that.  Every single time, I promise myself : next summer I’ll go every weekend (because when I love something I become quite obsessive).

Every year,  I try to organize it.  I fail.  I see my summer pass in a breeze and never end up going at all… 

This year though, I woke up one morning,  mid October and I was like OK this year we’re going camping. I enthusiastically started contacting my friends one by one but no one really seemed to share my hype.

You have to understand my friends are not exactly the camping type.  We love nature, outdoors, hiking and all of those things, but mostly, we go to cottages and spend the weekend getting tipsy on a boat drinking bourbon lemonades and eating huge pieces of meat that sat all day in one of those giant smokers.

Well this time, I decided we were going camping no matter what and I didn’t give a damn that none of us was equipped for the adventure or that we’d have Jack Frost nipping at our noses.

I booked a camping site by a lake about 3 hours away from Montreal with the only 6 brave friends who accepted to come with me (Jamie, Farah, Guillaume, Sophie, Chloé and Sam).

A few days before our arrival I contacted the reservation lady to ask her if we were all good for the upcoming weekend. 

To my surprise (and disappointment), she told me that it was hunting season and that we wouldn’t be able to go for a hike or walk in the woods or fish on the lake because you know, well, we could GET SHOT. 

I said ok mam, no thank you, I think we’ll pass. 

So at the last minute, I found this Yurt and you know what?  It was the best fucking thing that could of happened to us because we just fell in love with that yurt life. 

The Site

The Yurt was located in the town Rivière Rouge on one of the most enchanting Quebec outdoor sites I’ve been to.  We were surrounded by a magnificent spruce plantation, beautiful pink river sandbanks and the bright fall coloured trees . I kind of wanted to keep this place our little secret paradise but I’ll still share it with you guys.   And by the way, camping in October was great. 

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The yurt

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What’s a yurt? Traditionally, a yurt is a portable, round tent, used as a shelter by nomads in the grasslands of central Asia.

We were very happy to discover our own North American version of the yurt when we arrived to our camping site. We stepped into this candle lit tent that had hand painted tiny furniture, 3 big comfy beds and a fire already burning in the very welcomed wood-stove that would keep us warm and cozy all night. 

To be honest, we actually really sucked at keeping the fire alive and for the whole evening one drunk person after the other walked up to the wood stove feeling all confident they would succeed in reanimating the flame and save us all from freezing to death. One-after-the-other we tried, no one succeeded. 

The next morning, the fire was dead and we were all very hungover.  I took out the leftovers from our cheese and charcuterie platter from the night before and we snacked away until our friend Sam prepared the the best fire pit meal ever : a CHAKCHOUKA. I’m saying it out loud, because for some reason that morning we thought repeating the word over and over was really funny.

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THE CHAKCHOUKA

In a large skillet, soften the onion in the oil. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze with the chicken broth. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

With a ladle, shape four or six wells in the tomato sauce. Break an egg in each well and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover and simmer gently for 5 to 6 minutes or until the egg white is cooked. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with toasted bread.

1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sweet paprika
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup (180 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
1 can 28 oz (796 ml) diced tomatoes
4 to 6 eggs
1/2 cup (125 ml) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped parsley (optional)
4 toasted baguette slices rubbed with garlic
Salt and pepper

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This really changed from my past camping experiences of eating hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thanks Sam. 

photographs

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Magali Rack