My friend Steve, who’s been my fiancé’s adventure partner in crime for years, sent me this funny “recipe” taking a cue from our Dirty Gourmet recipes. I’m sure anyone who’s a rock climber, or who’s been in close-call situations while outdoors will relate. Thanks Steve!
Hydration is key when it comes to strenuous outdoor activity, right? You’re working hard, burning calories, dealing with environmental extremes, sweating, etc. Your body and mind need water to function properly. What do you do when you run out of water and you’re, say, on top of a rock face with no source of water, it’s dark, and too dangerous to make it down until daylight? Drinking your own urine is an option, but what if you’re no longer urinating or your urine is a dark yellowish-brown color?
Here’s a simple recipe that can both quench your thirst and keep you occupied while you wait until daylight. Whether by sheer thirst, brilliant inspiration, or delusional thinking brought on by fatigue and dehydration, my friend Nick created this recipe on top of a climb called Space Shot in Zion National Park. It’s one of my favorites.
Prickly Pear Delight
Yield1-2 Cactus Pads/Person
Prep Time10 minutes (up to 3 days with climbing time)
Cook Time0 minutes
Activity GuideRock Climbing, Big Wall Climbing, Canyoneering
- Prickly Pear Cactus Pads
- Pocket Knife
- Flat Rock (Cutting Board)
- Get yourself extremely fatigued, dehydrated, and thirsty. I’ve found that big wall climbing is the ideal activity for creating this condition. Try to create a situation where you can see both a rushing river of cold water and your vehicle, which is full of delicious, cold drinks.
- Make sure that your water bottle and/or CamelBak is completely empty.
- Find a flat place to spend the night, because it’s going to be a long one!
- In your efforts to stay warm, hike around every hour to ward off hypothermia (after spooning with your partner is no longer effective). During your walk, keep an eye out for prickly pear cactus. If you find some, chop off a pad or two. Next, take your time cutting apart the cactus pad, making sure to remove all the needles. You may be thirsty, but remember, you’ve got all night, so take your time!
- Carefully enjoy the moist flesh inside the cactus pad, watching out for needles. It has the taste and texture of bland cucumber, and the moisture, has the amazing quality of relieving your thirst! Only a little bit is needed to get you through the night.