Hiking · Trail Cooking

A Recipe and A Tale of Mentorship

Far too many years ago, when I was younger and still scared of the woods, I found solace in a regional hiking column, Hike Of The Week, written by Karen Sykes. Every Thursday I waited for the newspaper to show up at work, and I carefully slipped the outdoors section out of the Seattle P-I, and “forgot” to let customers read it (that is showing how long ago…the paper was still printed). Her column, including a gritty piece on staying safe as a female in the outdoors was a lifeline to me. As the internet came along, I found myself talking to her online on the local hiking forums, and my fangirl side never left. Karen was my Mom’s age, and I found a mentor in her on writing. When I met her in person years later I was still her biggest fangirl. I have no shame in that.

She was one of the very few females in the outdoor industry. She was the only author that was willing to talk shop brutally, with me hearing how screwed over she had been in her career. She was honest, brutal and told it as it was. She taught me a lot on how to self advocate in the publishing industry, and to never rely on others to do what was right (in the industry). Karen was this tiny bundle of energy. When she passed away in 2014 it was a shock to me. I missed being able to pester her and ask questions, and I loved the “sekrit” trails she shared with me. She was an amazing woman, and her works are treasured in my hiking library.

At some point in the mid 2000’s she sent me a favorite recipe of hers, and I wrote it up as an FBC (Freezer Bag Cooking) recipe. It is a simple recipe, easy on the tummy, especially on hot evenings when a heavy meal doesn’t sit well. It’s filling though, peas give a lot of protein. It’s also good without the chicken (use vegetable broth instead). If eating in winter, or cold temperatures, adding in a packet (1 Tablespoon) avocado oil adds in a punch of calories.

And it became a fave of mine – a recipe that is simple is a good addition to have along. Life doesn’t have to be fancy to be satisfying.


At home pack the dry ingredients in a quart freezer or sandwich bag. Mark bag “Add 2¼ cups water”. Pack the chicken can with the bag.

FBC method:

Add the chicken with broth and 2¼ cups near boiling water. Stir well, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes.

Mug method:

Add the chicken with broth and 2¼ cups boiling water to ingredients. Stir well, cover tightly and let sit for 15 minutes.

One Pot Method:

Bring 2¼ cups water and chicken, with any broth, to a boil. Add in dry ingredients, stir well. Turn off stove, put on lid and let sit for 10 minutes. In cool weather, or at altitude, put in a pot cozy.

Serves 2.
*Minute Rice. Instant brown rice can be substituted for some or all, but will need to simmer a bit before turning off the stove. Brown rice works better as a One Pot Method, rather than FBC or Mug Methods.
**The green can (Kraft) or similar.
***Don’t use dehydrated green peas instead of freeze-dried, unless you soak them in warm water for 30 minutes or so first. Dehydrated green peas take a long time to come back.

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