Sea to Summit Blog
Creating Family Through Food
Featured blog post by Ryder England from Foster the Earth
Food is so much more than a means of fuel while out on the trail. Yes – admittedly our food sometimes exists in the form of multi-colored dust, ready to be transformed and re-hydrated into something that resembles soup or pasta. But food in of itself, is powerful. It’s a reason to stop what we’re doing, enjoying nothing but the presence of others in the great outdoors. It’s an opportunity to cultivate camaraderie, strengthen family bonds, to de-stress, wind down, and focus on the present.
Foster the Earth is a nonprofit that provides wilderness immersion therapy through multi-day backpacking trips, with our latest expedition spanning 40 miles over the course of 7 days in the Eastern Sierras, summitting Mt. Whitney along our route. We came here to replenish family values and discover what it’s like to laugh at the silence of starving hikers eating faster than our sporks can shovel.
"For me and others like me who grew up in the Foster Care system, food holds a deeper meaning. I get to spend time with others, something I rarely got to do growing up. I truly believe sharing food means sharing a community. When I am being fed I truly feel that I am being cared for, I get a sense that I am safe and loved. " - Alayna
“It turned out to be a flavorful experience, it’s very comforting when you’re out in the wilderness in the chilly weather, sharing a meal with the fellow leaders and participants; a full belly and satisfied hunger helped me keep my head straight” - Gabe
On this trip we usually arrived to camp just before sunset gifting our “kitchens” with quite the ambiance and background. Those moments truly were our most connected whether it was singing Bill Withers or reflecting on the hardships and epiphanies of each days hike. With 8 of us out there we broke into 3 cooking groups. Each provided with a 3.7 L Alpha Pot, 10” Alpha Pan, camp stove, fuel, and a personal cup and spork.
Some were vegan and others gluten free but we all ate together every night. Cooking meals like Southwestern couscous that ended up being a challenge to finish, pan baked biscuits with hearty tomato soup to dip and warm our cores, and savoring our down day with an extra cup of coffee and a morning full of chocolate chip pancakes. We traded cell service for golden sunlit mountain peaks. With stuffed stomachs and weary bodies bedtime was typically right after the meal so you could say we spent our whole evening in those circles. Sharing past stories and future plans, learning skills and tips, and ultimately creating family around food.
“I left to the Sierras having one family; and came back with two families. The biggest thank you to the Foster The Earth team, with hopes of being able to contribute and help the team in the future.” - Gabe
Find out more at FosterTheEarth.Org