Yes, campers, it's that time of year again. Where I...
1. Advance on the Dollar Snatcher and DangerousWay to grab large quantities of hiking food for my resupply boxes;
2. Get irrationally angry that they are out of powdered Gatorade mix;
3. Sort items into ziplock bags;
4. Snack on items instead of putting them into ziplock bags;
5. Feel vaguely ill from snacking on items;
6. Agonize over amount and type of food;
7. Realize I bought way too many snacks, which now have to be dealt with;
8. Weigh resupply and realize I will be carrying 12 lbs of food;
9. Contemplate removing some food;
10. Cram it all in and tape up the box.
I didn't get a picture of the carnage, but it's a sad fact that it is very hard to eat healthily on a long trail with minimal resupply. Oh, probably some people can, the kind who plan ahead and dehydrate a year in advance. Not being one of those, my food tends to weigh heavily in the snack food arena. I have tuna, jerky, peanut butter, hummus and cheese for protein; tortillas, trail mix and fruit and nut bars for carbs and sports beans, sharkies and chocolate covered blueberries for climbing up passes. Dinners are mostly freeze-dried and breakfasts range from Carnation Instant Breakfast to a fruit and protein smoothie made by Pack it Gourmet (yummy and filling). Sadly, 104 miles have to be chocolate free as that resupply box will sit in a hot car for a week. I hope I survive, and apologize in advance for any crankiness that could occur.
It's really hard to know what you will like on a long trail. Things that sound good at home are repulsive after hiking day after day. You can't have repulsive, because you have to eat or you will bonk your way down the trail. Last year I enthusiastically packed Goldfish crackers and protein bars, only to have those make me want to vomit by Day 10. All I could think about was stealing the Freak's yogurt covered pretzels.
Buying resupply snacks is always a furtive process. I slink around DangerousWay with boxes of not-that-great-for-you stuff, wondering if I will run into anyone I know. I shouldn't care, I guess, that they might think that I sit in the darkness consuming a huge bag of mini Snickers. But after years of shopping the perimeter, it's weird to come out with the sheer volume of snacks that I do at resupply time. I see other patrons laden with lettuce and nectarines and I bolt for the cashier with my fig newtons and gatorade mix. I've found that I perform the best with a high carb ratio and some simple sugars. Hiking fourteen miles a day sounds easy in theory, but string three weeks of it together with a backpack, and you might find it not so simple.
Anyway, into the mail these boxes go. Will it be the right stuff? Will it be enough? Too much? Only the trail will tell.