Rev. Chuck

UC Hiking Club Gourmet Trips

The First, "The Last", and Beyond

The first UC (Berkeley) Hiking Club Gourmet Trip took place at a campground in Wawona, southern Yosemite NP, late in the fall of 1979. Masterminded by Mike Scherer, and attended by about a half-dozen or so others, the main thing that I remember about this trip was a semi-successful effort at Baked Alaska.

Mike's second try at the concept, The Second Annual UCHC Gourmet Trip, occurred on November 1-2, 1980. This was a more rousing success, with 13 diners (Mike, Bob B., Bob A., Mark, Frank, Jeff, Geoff, Jennifer, Jean-Marc, Mary, Leda, Nick, and Sheila), and a very fine meal in a formal setting, at a rather compact campground in Marin's Samuel P. Taylor Park.

Leda and Val, in front of the Christmas-decorated "Zippy tent", on The Last True Gourmet Trip

Saturday's evening meal was distinguished by very fine foods and wines. Hors d'oeuvres included a selection of cheeses, sliced vegetables, and caviar, followed by main courses of cornish game hen, and turkey roasted to perfection in a dutch oven. Some recipes fell short, most notably the punch ("Something you might wash horses with", noted Nick), and also (according to the original trip report author) Mike's souffle and Jean-Marc's mousse.

Overall though, the meal was superb, and a great time was enjoyed by all ("This is fun, I know, from experience", a memorable toast by Bob B.) After dinner, we staggered to an amphitheater, where Frank somehow was able to get all the necessary elements together for a slide show, titled "Sky Over Granite", I seem to recall.

An epic moment of solitude for Bob

There was no "Third Annual"; the next Gourmet Trip was more than two years later. My concept for the 1982 event was to have a first rate, maximum fun Gourmet Trip, that also included backpacking. I felt that with an easy hike to a mild coastal destination, we could bring in plenty of outrageously good food and beverages, while also enjoying the freedom of a backcountry location. I named it The Last True Gourmet Trip, wanting it to be a culmination of past efforts, but largely because the name sounded good.

On this trip, there would be excellent food and wine, all in generous quantities (though, in the planning stages, we de-emphasized the kind of high-art cookery that had met mixed success in some previous Gourmet Trip recipe attempts). Above all, we were aiming for an atmosphere of outrageous fun, sustained not just for an evening, but continuously over a span of several days.

Chuck saves David

The Last True Gourmet Trip took place at Point Reyes' Wildcat Beach, on December 9 through 12, 1982 (a few of us stayed an additional day, taking advantage of the ample leftovers). Weather was unseasonably warm and calm, fortunately. In attendance were Bob, Steve G., Steve H., Chuck, Val, Leda, Scott, Non, David, Adeel, Daniel, Mary, Norman, and Rich. The menu was extensive:

Non skis Wildcat

The Last and The True: Steve G., Leda, David, Mary, Val, Daniel, Scott, Adeel, Non, Chuck, Steve H. (standing L to R); Norman and Bob (seated)

After that? In September 1983, we devolved somewhat with another car-camping event (The Consummate Gourmet Trip), this time to a group of campsites in Yosemite Valley. Part of the idea was to enjoy fine food and watch some great football while enjoying blender drinks in a beautiful location, but we were also aiming to parody the human condition of Yosemite Valley on Labor Day weekend.

The following year, Chuck and Heather organized The Penultimate True Gourmet Trip, a backpacking event to Pt. Reyes' Glen Camp.

Ironically, The Last True Gourmet Trip was the first of its kind for the club, and would become the prototype for many future UC Hiking Club Gourmet Trips, a tradition that continues to this day (UCHC is now known as CHAOS, the Cal Hiking And Outdoors Society; the name was changed in the early 1990s).

Bob Akka


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CHAOS (Cal Hiking and Outdoors Society)