Growing up we used to camp a lot. But it was boring for me. I was the youngest by 7 years and most of the time the only kid for miles. We never went somewhere fun to camp, but instead we drove down winding logging roads for hours to special fishing holes so my dad could settle in for the day(s) and catch a boat load of fish. Or rather as much as he was legally allowed to bring home. I still however, loved being in the outdoors, and camping. Good times.
One of my favourite things to eat as a young child while camping, and a meal we had every time we went camping, was this flavourful sausage tin foil dinner. After mom started the fire and then sat by it watching and stirring the coals once in a while, she would bring out these three neatly folded packages and stick them in the coals. They took about an hour and a half to cook, were carefully monitored and turned regularly to prevent burning. The aroma that came from those packets when opened for dinner was outstanding and I’m surprised there wasn’t wildlife wandering through our camp wanting some dinner for themselves.
As I became a teenager we stopped going camping. In my 20’s I started camping again with friends and then eventually my husband and kids. Since kids came along we always seek out family friendly campgrounds where there are tons of things to do. I am grateful my kids love to go camping and explore the great outdoors as much as we do.
Our first camping adventure in Waterton National Park took us to the Waterton Townsite Campground. Both Rob and I prefer a campground that allows some privacy. Located on the South side of town, the Waterton Townsite Campground has no privacy. It’s like a whole bunch of trailers in a mosh pit and a free for all where sometimes the wind can blow your small dog away if you are not careful. They do not allow fire pits, you have to cook your food under the shelter. And they have free roaming mule deer all over the place so if your not careful you can easily step in one of the poop piles. My husband swore one of the deers was stalking him every night he took our dog for a walk before bed.
The pros of camping in the townsite, well firstly there is nothing quite like live wildlife literally right outside your door. This unto itself is an experience. You are right by the lake which offers fun boat tours. You could bring your canoe or kayaks but beware the wicked wind. The family we were camping with did some windsurfing and yes in case you are wondering, the water is cold so wetsuits are a good idea. If you don’t have kids this might be the perfect spot to camp as you are a short walk into the townsite to explore the shops or grab an ice cream. Or even take in some of the night life.
Waterton Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park (a symbol of peace and goodwill between Canada and the USA representing cooperation and stewardship with shared resources), and a Biosphere Reserve (a core protected area which is relatively undisturbed). This is the only park in the World that has all 3 of these designations. YA Canada!
Plan to do some hiking while you are there. We managed to get in a couple short hikes, Red Rock Canyon Loop and Blakiston Falls.
I guess in hindsight, my initial exposure to camping at such a young age, regardless of the surroundings, was what caused me to love it so much today. That and the incredible food my parents used to cook over the fire that even included fresh fish, fresh crab and sometimes fresh clams caught in the formerly named Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii).
The tradition of the Sausage Tin Foil Dinner has continued over the years, with different sausages, meats, ground burger, and vegetable variations. I love it so much I sometimes make it in the oven during the winter.
May Long Weekend is only a couple days away and with that is camping season! I’m already thinking about camping, prepping the trailer, and the delicious outdoor cooking that goes with it.
Try this simple tin foil dinner with your favourite sausage and veggies and watch it become a family favourite!
- 1 package small breakfast sausages (20-24 pkge)
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch coins
- 3 large yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 slices bacon, uncooked
- salt and pepper
- heavy duty tin foil
- cooking spray
- Cut or rip 4 pieces of tin foil about twice as long as the food (approx. 18 inches)
- Bottom layer: Spray foil with cooking spray and in the middle of each sheet place 3 sausages in a row or triangle.
- Sprinkle on some potatoes, carrots and onions. Spread out just a little. Lay one piece of bacon across the veggies.
- Top layer: place 2-3 more sausages on top, evenly distribute the rest of the potatoes, carrots and onions over all four packages. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Start wrapping your packets by bringing the long sides together in the centre, folding down as you go. Make fold tight against the food.
- Tightly roll up the shorter ends until it touches food.
- Double wrap. Wrap the packet in a second piece of tin foil exactly as you did the first one.
- Cook over coals, not direct fire, flipping every 15 minutes or so. Cooking time will vary depending on your heat source. I tend to cook longer and open one pack regularly to check progress.
- When done, pull out a paper plate, remove first layer of foil and toss. Open second layer of foil, peel back, place on paper plate to avoid drips and enjoy.