On the Trail: Zero ketchup | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Zero ketchup

At some random moment while pedaling on Kokopelli’s Trail between Rabbit Valley and Westwater one day last week pure terror struck me ” “I have no ketchup for my wieners.”

I hastily had packed my gear for a few days out in the desert between snowstorms. I thought I had everything. Hot dogs were for dinner that night. Not just any hot dogs but Weimer’s Wieners, red hot dogs from a butcher shop in my wife’s home state of Iowa. We load up on those suckers every time we go back.

Our best friends here got a taste of them sometime over the years and now demand some of the booty. They are always glad when we return from Midwest pilgrimages, not because they want to see us but because their dog supply will be replenished.

Anyway, there I was, stuck the desert with wieners but no condiments. Talk about roughing it. I did what any experienced desert rat would do in such a situation ” I drank a few extra beers before cooking.

Usually when I camp, I like to grill every meal, regardless of weather conditions. My friend Gil and I once grilled burgers in a sandstorm northwest of Moab. They were crunchy. It’s also amusing to grill bratwurst and throw any extras in the fire. It’s amazing how long they burn. (Think of what’s happening in your guts.)

Weimer’s Wieners aren’t meant to be grilled. It somehow wipes out their special taste. So I boiled them in a pan of water on my Coleman stove last Thursday. It was a perfect evening. A chilly breeze died at sunset. The atmosphere was aglow in feint orange. The La Sal Mountains loomed to the southwest. The San Rafael Swell was visible to the west, northwest. A jagged profile of rock that I suspect was a sliver of Arches National Park was visible almost due west.

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Once the dogs boiled a good long time, I cut open a fancy bun that held two hot dogs with ease. I took the first taste, and an epiphany struck me ” Weimer’s Wieners are so good they don’t need ketchup. In fact, I realized, putting ketchup on one was as wrong as putting steak sauce on a quality cut, or a private club on Aspen Mountain.

I finally saw the light.