We had the luck of being asked to tag-along on a rafting trip over our kids’ fall beak a few weeks ago. We floated a section of the San Juan River and soaked up the very last of summer. We are novice rafters, but were able to offer our services in the food department. Below is our three day meal plan. Save for later to help you dream about next river season.

Lunch Day One – Quesadillas

We didn’t actually end up eating this meal because everyone had snacked so much, but quesadillas are a favorite of ours for camping, backpacking, etc. Cheap, high in fat and protein, generally loved by most people.

Dinner Day One – Frito Taco Salad

The trick to taco salad on the river is cooking the meat at home. I do this for two reasons: less to do at camp and your meat is guaranteed to be fully cooked. No one wants food poisoning on a boat trip. I like to do my own seasoning for the taco meat, but you can absolutely buy a packet if that’s what works for you. After I’ve cooked the meat at home, I freeze it in ziplock bags and it’s ready to be packed into a cooler. At camp, we heat up the meat and serve it with Fritos (they’re a sturdier chip which is helpful on a trip like this) and lettuce. You can top with whatever toppings you like. Our favorites are: salsa, bell pepper slices, avocado/guacamole, crispy jalapenos, crispy onions, cherry tomatoes, and ranch dressing.

Dessert Day One – Cookies

Cookies are an easy dessert when camping since they require absolutely no effort to make once you’re there. On this trip, I brought along browned butter chocolate chip cookies from Bravetart and soft ginger cookies. They were approved by kids and adults alike.

Breakfast Day One – Oatmeal and Hard boiled Eggs

I put together a big oatmeal packet (three times the original recipe) at home and hard boiled a dozen eggs. To help tell the difference between our hard boiled and non-hard boiled eggs, I hard boiled brown ones and brought non-hard boiled white ones. You could also put them in two separate containers or mark the hard boiled eggs with a crayon.

Lunch Day Two – Hummus Buffet

We had hummus and a bunch of things you could dip in it (carrot chips, pita chips, mini bell peppers, mini cucumbers). We also had apples and grapes. This was a kid friendly meal and a great way to get some healthy things into everyone’s bellies.

Dinner Day Two – Chicken Alfredo

The secret to Chicken Alfredo on the river is making the sauce at home (or using store bought sauce) and using canned chicken. I made my own sauce and ladled it into mason jars. At camp all we had to do was boil noodles and then heat up the sauce and canned chicken. We also made garlic bread (store bough in those foil bags) and cooked it on the charcoal we were using for dessert. (Tip: turn often to avoid burning.) We also had salad stuff left over from the day before.

Dessert Day Two: Mississippi Mud Cake

This dutch oven dessert is universally loved. We topped it with canned whipped cream to make it over the top delicious.

Day Three Breakfast – Breakfast Burritos

We used pre-made tortillas and frozen hash browns for these. We scrambled eggs, fried bacon, and topped them with cheese, cholula, and guacamole. (Costco has individual size guacamoles which worked great for the trip.)

Day Three Lunch – Sandwiches

Our final day, we were at the pullout by lunch time. We made the kids sandwiches and set out all the leftover snacks while the adults packed up gear. Sandwich option were PB&Js or cold cuts.

We were told our food services were acceptable and that despite our weak skills as boatsmen/women we would be invited on other trips. Now there’s an endorsement for you.

This was our second time rafting this section of river. It can be tricky to get permits, but if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it as it’s a very special and beautiful place. Fun fact, the portion we floated (Sand Island to Mexican Hat) was reinstated as part of Bears Ears National Monument while we were there.

Written by Audrey

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