Gluten-Free Backpacking

When my son and husband signed up for a Boy Scout backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierras, I was determined to find an equally exciting adventure for my daughter and me. And I did, without much searching. I was surprised to find a week-long gluten-free beginner’s backpacking trip offered by the Sierra Club in the Emigrant Wilderness just north of Yosemite. Since my daughter is gluten free and a beginner backpacker, and it had been over 15 years since I carried a pack, we signed up.

Over the next few months, our leader changed from a woman with celiac disease to a woman who does NOT eat gluten free, and the trip description changed to a beginner’s backpacking trip.”   We were given the option to opt out of the trip but were assured that my daughter and another backpacker would still eat gluten free, and they did.

From burritos to quinoa to pasta with pesto or sundried tomatoes to lentils and rice, we all ate well. We ate granola, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs for breakfast; tuna, peanut butter and jelly, and cheese and crackers for lunch. At breakfast and lunch, while the rest of us ate cereal, crackers, tortillas, and pita bread containing wheat, my daughter ate gluten-free substitutes. Dinners were gluten free for all.

The trip was great, she was never sick, we were introduced to a few new gluten-free products, and the rest of our 11-member group learned a lot about eating gluten free and preventing cross contamination between wheat products and gluten-free ones.