Camping: Onion Valley >> Charlotte Lake

As promised, a post on my backpacking trip to King’s Canyon. City life can fry your antennas and when that happens, there’s nothing like a nature retreat to reset. No internet, no laundry, nada. You just have to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other and soak in the majestic views. My very brave and adventurous gal pal, Nadine, was hiking the John Muir Trail–250+ miles from Yosemite to Mount Whitney–solo–yes, ALL BY HERSELF + bears and coyotes. Oh, how I admire that tenacity. The mister and I took Nadine’s pilgrimage as a sign to get off the grid ourselves, so we strategically planned a weekend getaway to meet her for a food resupply mission.

Magic hour at Charlotte lake. Hope y'all had a good solstice. ✨

After spending Thursday night in Onion Valley to acclimate to the altitude change, we hiked over Kearsarge Pass to Charlotte Lake, ascending to about 12,000 feet.  The down hill parts really took a toll on my years-of-distance-running, battered knees, but it was all worth it for the views. Seriously, wow! We passed nearly a dozen pristine lakes, cloudless blue skies, and endless snow capped mountains over the stretch of eight miles. I was a “happy camper” and even happier when I took off my 27 pound backpack after finding Nadine at Charlotte Lake. You can get more in-depth details on our hike over here but now on to important food-related business.

And more camp food. Into the bear canister you go.

Since lighter pack = happier camper, I’m trying to get camping food down to a science where we pack in exactly the amount of food we need.  I’m getting close, although we were really craving more savory snacks and maybe an extra bar of dark chocolate.  Besides Clif bars and Shot Blocks, almond butter, instant coffee, dark chocolate bar, crackers, and vacuum sealed bags of tuna, I made/dehydrated the rest of our meals and snacks. For breakfasts, I made a gingerbread granola, sweetened with molasses. I learned a new trick. Smashing an extra ripe banana into granola before baking helped it clump up and added natural sweetness. For snacks, I made rosemary lemon pepper salmon jerky,  togarashi peppered ahi jerky, and trail mix packed with calorie dense nuts and dried fruit. We also brought an apple for each of us. Those are “heavy” but refreshing. For dinners, we had re-dehydrated vegetarian chili and tofu fried rice. By the way, I use the most basic hand-me-down dehydrator from the 1980s for these meals and jerkies, but the lowest temperature in a conventional oven would work as well.

Here’s the salmon that I marinated  in rosemary, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and soy sauce before dehydrating at 120 degrees overnight.


Breakfast: Instant coffee (Starbuck’s Via) + granola and almond butter (just add hot water).


Dinner #1: Rehydrated vegetarian chili.

Dehydrated tofu vegetable fried rice. Eating good in the woods. #campvibes

Dinner #2: dehydrated tofu fried rice packed with kale and red pepper.

Sunsetting on Charlotte Lake, Kings Canyon. (Sorry for all the #latergrams. Finally have reception for the first time in days!)

Happy Friday, everyone!



  • SarahS

    20 Jul 2013 02:07 pm

    This is so interesting. I’m def going to be on the lookout for a dehydrator at estate sales. Love your blog!

  • Susan Gouinlock

    12 Nov 2013 09:11 pm

    Dear Julie,

    I am a novice blogger,, and I will certainly be watching and learning from you and your oh-so wonderful Blog and Website. Truly an inspiration: clean, clear, gorgeous and, I’m sure, delicious! You have a delightful joie de vivre.

    Many thanks. Sus


Leave a Comment

Posting your comment…

* Required fields