11 years ago, Alaska Alpine Adventures began exploring the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park. While taking guests into the backcountry was somewhat new to founders Dan Oberlatz and Derek Nelson, eating gourmet cooking was not. Derek had quite the culinary resume under his belt by the time he first served up fresh Pad Thai on the shores of Turquoise Lake in the heart of the park. From there, his passion for delicious wilderness cuisine turned into a full fledged obsession to create a menu complete with filling breakfast burritos, fresh deli sandwiches and dinners typically found in your favorite downtown restaurants. And no dinner was complete without dessert, where Derek rounded off the menu with items such as the Mountain Cookie, named as much for a passion for the mountains as the sheer size of this tasty treat.
After years of wilderness adventures eating a mix of mac and cheese, ramen noodles and peanut butter & jelly, I experienced my first Alaska Alpine Adventures meal in Katmai National Park. Surrounded by the austere landscape of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, the wilderness experience was finally complete: Amazing scenery, great friends and unbelievable cuisine - I've haven't been the same since.