I’m very lucky I didn’t die or get severely injured when I went camping by myself. No, it wasn’t as if I was attacked by a bear, or stalked by some crazy psycho looking for a single woman camping alone. I didn’t nearly freeze to death or run out of water. It was nothing that crazy or that out of my control. I simply tried to hike Flatiron by myself without really knowing what I was getting myself into. All I can say is that I am so relieved that I had planned ahead and made some easy camping meals like these delicious No-Cook Chicken Salad Pitas.
Why exactly were you camping alone you might ask… Well, that’s another story all by itself, but the upshot is that over fall break, my hubby wanted to take the kids to Disney. I had to work. My sister loves Disney and also wanted to take her kids that fall break (her husband had to work). Bottom line… my sister and her kids and my hubby and our kids all went to Disney together. And then the weekend came and I was all alone. Bored, and all alone. So I packed up my backpack, made some really easy camping meals, grabbed my tent, and hit the road.
I wasn’t aimlessly wandering (although I’m not opposed to that idea!) I very deliberately chose a campground near the infamous Flatiron trail in AZ. I had done my research. I knew it was difficult (very difficult). But I was prepared. I had my easy camping meals for before and after. I packed a sufficient amount of water and snacks for the crazy trail that lay before me. I awoke early that morning, told the camping neighbors where I was headed, and off I went to tackle the OMG you’ve gotta be kidding me nearly vertical 6 mile round trip thing they call Flatiron!
I consider myself a hiker. Not a crazy-insane-I-can-hike-anything-in-a-couple-hours hiker. But a decent hiker. I knew it would be tough. I wasn’t scared. Until I got lost. I think I suffered from the old “just enough knowledge to get you in trouble” syndrome. I had read enough about Flatiron to know it was a very vertical, very difficult to see, very challenging trail. So when I veered off trail about 2 miles from the top I thought the crazy rough terrain was “normal.” Nope. I was SO off trail. When I finally realized that I hadn’t seen a person (or even a footprint) for about an hour. I knew I was in trouble. I turned around to try to see where I had gone wrong. And I was basically scaling the side of a cliff. A cliff full of cacti and small boulders. I couldn’t get my footing right. I kept slipping. And trust me when I say this… it was a long LONG way down! I leaned back against the cliff and tried to catch my breath. I thought about reaching back into my backpack for a snack, but I knew I’d lose my balance and I’d be a gonner. (It wasn’t lost on me that at the very time I was scared for my life, my hubby, my sister, and all of our kids were probably in a little boat in a fake lazy river singing It’s a Small World, oblivious to my situation. But that’s my fault. Not theirs.)
I was starving. I was scared. I was getting cold. All I wanted was to be down off that crazy monstrosity of a mountain and stuff my face with that chicken salad pita I had so carefully prepared (and guzzle a cold beer)! And then I realized that the only way to get down was to go down. So I leaned back against the cliff, picked a spot not too far in front of me that has some sort of vegetation (usually a cactus) that would stop me, and I’d lean into the slide. I inched my way down – slide by slide, cactus by cactus – trembling legs, bleeding hands, cramping feet, and all.
I made it back to my campsite (barely able to walk), and all I could think about was how thankful I was. Thankful I miraculously made it down alive. Thankful for my wonderful family. Thankful they were having an amazing time at Disney. And ever so thankful that I had taken the time to prepare some easy camping meals, including this chicken salad pita, loaded with tasty chicken, crisp celery, tangy dried cranberries, and a wee bit of red onion for some kick. (I was also thankful I packed a cooler full of beer!) The chicken salad pita couldn’t be easier:
Easy Camping Meals – Chicken Salad Pita
- Empty chicken from foil pouch
- Mix with mustard, mayo, celery, dried cranberries, and red onion
- Stuff Pita halves with chicken salad mix. (Add lettuce if desired)
- Easy Peasy!
When you go camping, you really don’t need to make it as hard as I did. I highly recommend you make some easy camping meals, pick a beautiful spot, and relax! (If you’re looking for more easy camping meals, check out my no-mess scrambled eggs or my sloppy joes!)