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Camping season is nearly upon us and we are eager to spend days and nights outside with family and friends in the wilderness that surrounds Prince George. Below are five camping tips that we encourage all travellers to keep in mind. Read to the end to learn about three of our favourite campfire foods!
1. Plan ahead: We strongly recommend making campsite reservations whenever you'll be arriving at a new campground on a weekend. Most locals take advantage of the weekend and set up camp Friday afternoon and come home Sunday afternoon. If you're travelling during the weekend, call ahead or visit Discover Camping to make reservations at Provincial Parks. If you can't make reservations, try to arrive at your campground of choice in the early afternoon on a weekend to better your chances of getting a spot.
2. Check DriveBC.ca: DriveBC.ca is a website maintained by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Their interactive web map will tell you about accidents, road closures, road conditions (especially important for winter travel) and construction. Even if delays are unavoidable, it's best to be aware of them.
3. Prepare for weather: Summer days in the Prince George area average around 22°C (72°F), but evening and morning can be quite cool. Pack an extra sweatshirt or jacket for those early morning walks or evenings around the campfire.
4. Set up camp: Set up your camp with your tent/trailer a safe distance away from where your fire will be. BC Parks recommends a minimum of 15 feet (4.5m) between the fire and any tent walls, hanging branches or surrounding bush. If you are tenting, make sure you store any food or fragrant items (toothpaste, deodorant, etc) in your vehicle, a bear cache, or bear hang.
5. Pack delicious food: For a leisurely camping trip, meals around the campfire can be the highlight of the day. We have three things we love cooking over the fire: bacon, bannock, and tinfoil dinner. Gather your friends or family around the campfire in the morning, and cook bacon in a cast iron pan. As it finishes, drain excess grease, put it on a plate, and pass it around the fire. It may take a while, but it is an incredible way to wake up and spend the morning outside.
Bannock is a basic dough that can be baked, fried, or roasted over the fire. We prefer our recipe to include flour, baking powder, milk and vegetable oil. Bannock can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated until you need it. To cook, wrap it around a thick stick and roast over the fire, hot dog-style. You’ll know it’s done when the outside is golden brown and you can easily pull it off the stick. We recommend slathering the inside with butter and cinnamon sugar, jam, or hotdog fixings (with a cooked hotdog put inside). If you don’t feel like making bannock from scratch, you can buy pre-made biscuit or bread dough.
Tinfoil dinner is the casserole of campfire cooking. Each person takes diced potatoes, ground beef, frozen or raw vegetables, seasonings and type of sauce or liquid (ketchup, worcestershire sauce, or beef broth) and mixes it all together into a sheet of tinfoil. Carefully fold the tinfoil into a roll and add a second layer of tinfoil to prevent burning. We recommend putting in more liquid then you think you need so that your food steams and doesn’t burn. Put the tinfoil packages near the coals of the fire to let it cook. After 10 minutes or so, carefully flip your package over using sticks or long tongs (be careful not to puncture the tinfoil), and let it cook for another 10ish minutes.
If you have any other questions about camping in northern British Columbia, feel free to contact the Prince George Visitor Centre (250-562-3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Or visit the BC Parks website to learn more about all of BC's provincial parks: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/.
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