Thursday, June 30, 2016

How much food do YOU eat in 8 days?

I sit surrounded by Kind bars, peanut butter packets, shelf stable hummus, apple chips, and, because it can't all be healthy, M&Ms. It's that time of year again, when I start out carefully calculating how much food I need for a PCT section hike, lay out each day carefully, and then give up and shove it all in the pack, only to unpack and take things out.

My pack right now with everything (food and water too) weighs about 32 pounds. Which seems like a lot, but then again, when you consider I am hiking 155 miles before a resupply, isn't that much. Is it enough?


Eight days. How much do you eat in eight days? How much would you eat if you were walking all day, every day? I have everything else in my pack figured out. I still haven't gotten the food right. Probably because I don't really eat like a normal person. In a perfect world I would never eat meals. I would just graze, like an elk. This where long distance hiking approaches the perfect situation for me. I keep snacks in my pockets and I eat whenever I feel like it, not when the clock says I should eat. If I am not sharing meals with a buddy, I don't eat real dinners either, not the kind you crouch around a stove stirring, anyway. A lot of people make a big fuss about food in every day life, it seems like. What to make, how to make it, when to have it. I was once on an overseas trip with someone who "needed to have a hot meal" at dinnertime. I was once horribly entangled in a relationship with someone who needed to have the ADA pyramid at each meal and even referred to needing to have a "starch".


But back to food. Hikers get a little wrapped around the axle on this one. Some people meticulously dehydrate their own food prior to the trip. Some people calculate ratio of fat to carbs to weight. Way too much work for me. I pick what sounds good and throw it in the bear bag. This has sometimes worked out great (yay protein shakes) and bad (I never want to see a Builders bar again). To this day I recall the deliciousness of a bag of kettle chips in the Emigrant Wilderness and  the sad disappointment of a freeze dried ice cream sandwich in the Alpine Lakes.



I am going stoveless on this trip, which I have done before, but not for this long. Not having a stove makes life easier, but can make food more complicated to figure out. Some people cold soak their beans all day in an empty plastic peanut butter jar. No, just no. I am hoping the tortillas, tuna, and cheese work out like they did on the last stoveless trip.

In the end, all will be fine. I used to carry a 70 pound pack back in the day, and it didn't slow me down any. If I get too hungry, I can probably yogi* some food. If I have too much food, I can give jellybeans to thru-hikers. If history serves right, though, I have way too much food. No Donner party here.

source
* Yogi=lurk looking hungry/in need of a ride/in need of an essential piece of gear you left behind because it was too heavy



12 comments:

  1. I tried putting crushed potato chips into ziplock bags (sandwich-weight). Crunchy, salty, greasy, lots of calories, and not horribly expensive. Seemed super-duper clever.

    Until I found out during the first lunch stop of a 10-day trip that lightweight polyethylene is to potato-chip oil as an open window is to smoke.

    Freezer-weight bags work a little better if you think that not getting everything in your food bag covered in vegetable oil until the second or third day is an improvement. If you double-bag all the chips.

    So that's why those snack bags have metallic shielding on the inside and can withstand nuclear attempts to open them.

    Yeah, so anyhow.

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  2. Ahhh...good to know. There is nothing like a salty chip on a hot hike. Also, I get chastised every time I tear open a chip bag because it always goes terribly wrong.

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  3. Yeah, I always overdo it on the food too - and I'm only talking dayhikes! But I couldn't imagine planning meals for 8 days...I'd probably be hauling twice the amount of weight as you! Good luck on your next PCT section hike. Can't wait to read all about it.

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    1. I find my appetite doesn't really kick in for a few days but I am always afraid that somehow it will. Someday I will get it right.

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  4. Hahaha...Donner Party. Your many past experiences with too much, not enough and just the right amount and type of food will guide you. When J. gets home, check the box, though!!!

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    1. I hope so, it seems like it is different every time!

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  5. My first backpacking trip was without a stove and almost all I ate were Clif Bars. I still can't eat them some eight years later!

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    1. Haaaaa. That reminds me of the guy we saw a few years ago carrying two bowling ball type bags in his hands along with a backpack. He said the bags were full of Clif bars.

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  6. This trip I tried adding Chia seeds to my cold coffee. WIN! Good calories including protein, lightweight, compact, drinkable. I was in Etna yesterday to visit the brewery. Sadly I learned they are only open a few hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday now. WTH? Seems they moved their operations to Yreka. Bummer, they had the best post backpack trip food.

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    1. I don't drink coffee, but chia seeds are intriguing. I don't plan to stop in Etna unless the opportunity organically arises.

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  7. I just can't imagine carrying a back pack of that weight and hiking the distances you hike. Totally in awe and looking forward to this adventure.

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    1. This is such a light weight compared to what I carried as a wilderness ranger that I feel somewhat ashamed of whining about it.

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