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One of the pleasures of Mule Packs is that you can enjoy better food than you would on a backpack. Everyone brings their own breakfasts and lunches and all trips will supply wine for Happy Hours. But dinners will vary according to the leaders' plans. The trip descriptions will specify which type of dinner meals the leaders use. 

Happy Hours are potlucks where participants are asked to bring appetizers, snacks, desserts, or munchies of their choice to share with the group at a few of the happy hours -- there is no planned menu. Many people have found that the happy hours provide sufficient food to provide their dinner. Other participants prefer to prepare a light meal in addition to the Happy Hour food -- they may have this privately or with the group. Some leaders may prepare a pot of soup nightly as a supplement to the happy hour food.

Planned Group Dinners: Most trips will have a salad night as a group meal on the first night. The leaders provide salad greens and dressings and the participants bring some ingredients for the salad bar. Another popular group meal is a quesadilla night when the leaders provide tortillas, cheese, and salsa; participants bring an ingredient that can be added to the quesadillas. On these nights, participants will not need to prepare their own dinners. If a trip description refers to one or two "Group Meals", you can expect to have the salad and/or quesadilla night and the other evenings will be the basic Happy Hour.

When the trip description refers to "Planned potlucks", the leaders assign a different pair of participants to bring a main dish for the nights when quesadilla or salad or "leftover" group meals are not held. Other participants are assigned to bring a certain number of desserts or appetizers. The leftover meal is always the last night. All the group dinners are "communal" with everyone eating together. On many trips, some people enjoy having breakfast together with informal sharing and pots of hot water provided.

Whatever the dinner plans, no one has ever gone hungry on a Mule Pack trip.

Want some ideas? The Mule Pack Cookbook contains several recipes for both main courses and appetizers. If you have other suggestions for meals, send them to Laura Joseph for inclusion in the next issue of the Mule Pack Cookbook.

A few suggestions for contributions to Happy Hours and general food tips are listed in a pdf document (click here).