Tent Life: the joys of island camping

Tent Life: the joys of island camping

Washburns Island in Waquoit Bay (Falmouth, Cape Cod) is one of my favorite secret hangouts. Accessible only by private boat, this island is uninhabited, except for 10 campsites and a park ranger.

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Amenities are few, as are rules. Each site has firepits with a grill top, and 2 solar composting toilets (glorified outhouses).

And the perks are many: empty swaths of sandy beaches, abundant clamming, thick forests with hiking trails that lead to more sandy beaches and steep bluffs punctured by twisted pine roots. All just for you and the 9 other campsites.

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My favorite part of camping is cooking over a campfire! Donald and I made our traditional Washburns Island dinner with simple, campfire-friendly ingredients. This recipe was discovered by accident three years ago, when we camped with my brother, and we each brought seemingly incoherent ingredients. We decided to mix them all up, and the result was a $5  5-star meal for 3.

 

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Washburns Island Polenta

3/4 c course corn meal (Polenta)
3 hot dogs
10 clams
5+ slices habenero cheddar cheese
1 Tbls blackened blend spice
2-3 cups fresh water

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Place the clams and dogs on the grill, as the clams open, shuck them into a cup, away from the heat. Cook the dogs until they are charred and hot in the center – remove and cut into slices 1/4″ thick.

Add the sliced hot dogs, clams, cornmeal, half the water, blackened blend, and cheese to the pot. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed into the cornmeal. Add more water until polenta is soft.  Remove from heat, and enjoy!

For this dish, we used my trusty old “campfire pot” (i.e. old aluminum and teflon kitchen pot that I intended to throw away, but was the right size and weight for camping) to cook this in, but you might opt for something nicer (and safer) like this stainless steel mess kit, or this cast iron pot if you’re not hiking.

 

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What’s your favorite dish to cook over the campfire?

 

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