Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's All About the Food

It is good to journey towards an end, but in the end it's all about the food.

The original saying is "It is good to journey towards an end, but in the end its all about the journey".

I think the food is more accurate. Hikers get so bored with their food they start doing drastic things.
Some thru hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail told me their last resupply in Stehican, for 89 miles (about 4-5 days) was 50 candy bars and one package of ramen noodles.

I've seen guys ditch the stove and go cold food. This meant hiking out of town with a 3 pound sausage, several pounds of cheese, some bagels, some dried fruit and nuts. Lots of snickers. Very heavy, very bulky.
Then there's the guy that bought 3 cans of chunk pineapple for an evening treat. He didn't care about the weight, it was so worth it.
I've carried out a can of black olives, a birthday treat for my hiking partner. Sodas, a few beers, pressed upon us by trail angels. Then carried the crushed cans to the next town to recycle.
I've cooked my granola, eaten ramen raw like pretzels, added wild onions to the rice. Never get instant rice, or pop tarts without frosting. Just not worth the weight. A trail mix of pretzels, box of raisins and 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips in a gallon zip lock bag wasn't too shabby. When the chocolate chips melted it was more like eating chunks. It worked.

Then there's the hiker-box, trail-mix find. An assortment of unlikely stuff and god knows how many bacteria, it can be eaten while hiking, and has enough distraction for miles of guessing games (was that a dried cranberry??) I've seen gorp bags containing goldfish crackers, captain crunch, dried strawberries, m&ms, dried peas, pretzels, raisins, coconut, Cheerios, jelly beans and even taco chips.
Just throw it all into one bag, it ends up in the same place anyways.

One of my strangest resupplies was the last one the Colorado Trail by Silverton. Assured that the camp store had supplies, we were determined to not go into town, just buy some food and head out.
All they had was snacks.
So, 5 grandma cookies equaled breakfast.
Cashews, candy, chips, jerky, for lunches. A previous hiker had abandoned a drop box, so tortillas and instant black beans from said box were offered by store keeper. That became supper. Memorable.

I've learned the hard way not to have all sweets, or all salty, or all spicy. I make sure to mix it up, especially if its going to be a week before getting to town again for a resupply.

There are hikers who carry a good assortment of spices along. My favorite is cinnamon for oatmeal, garlic for suppers. Salt is not even optional. Unless all your food is already salted, you're going to need and want it. A little salt goes a long ways in making a big difference.

No matter what food you decide to survive on for a week, don't forget the water. All this has to be washed down some way.

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