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The Quesadilla Quest: The Camping Experience That Led Me to the Best Quesadilla

Mid-July, my boyfriend Peter and I decided to take a trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The week consisted of hiking, camping, swimming and overall enjoying the beauty that the U.P. has to offer. We planned this trip after I had weirdly become fascinated with the Porcupine Mountains. Now, you may be wondering what the heck this has to do with quesadillas, but just you wait.


Our first day in the Porkies was cloudy, rainy and cold. We knew this would be the only day of bad weather, so we weren’t too concerned. But, we had a backcountry campsite for the night, meaning we had to hike about two or three miles to get there. We contemplated staying in a yurt to avoid setting up camp in the rain but ultimately decided against it. So when the rain wasn’t too heavy, we grabbed the gear and started down the path. The first 10-15 minutes weren’t too bad, but gradually the rain started coming down harder. Blisters on our feet started to form, and our backpacks got too heavy. 


Multiple times we thought we were definitely past the campsite but didn’t know for sure, so we kept going. The further we went, the crabbier and hungrier we got. Finally, our two tired and hungry brains got the idea to look at a map—crazy concept, right? And we realized we were about a mile past our campsite in the completely wrong area. It was going to get dark within the next hour, so we decided to illegally camp where we were, and I am so glad we did!


Right as we got changed out of our wet clothes and set up camp, the clouds rolled away and we saw a spectacular view of Lake of the Clouds! Though the view was amazing, we were beyond hungry, and we decided on quesadillas and mashed potatoes for dinner. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of when I first took a bite of my quesadilla. I swear my body was immediately rejuvenated and no longer tired from our long walk. Peter and I kept looking at each other and saying how great the quesadillas were—the only thing we could get out of our mouth since we were devouring our meal. There was one point when Peter put mashed potatoes on top of the quesadilla, and I have never tasted anything so exquisite. He said to me, “I’m usually a simple guy, but I’m really feeling this!” It was such a fun and happy time eating in a beautiful place with my favorite person! 


Quesadillas hold a special place in my heart, and each time I eat one I am reminded of this time in the Porkies. On this National Quesadilla Day, I am paying tribute to those special quesadillas!


Julia Anzelc

Winona '22

Hi! My name is Julia and I'm a sophomore majoring in Communication Studies at Winona State University!
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