Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
His daily diet consists of two Balance Bars and a Clif Bar for breakfast; a snack every two hours for the next 12 hours, alternating between Snack A, a Balance Bar and a candy bar, and Snack B, exactly three ounces of Pringles and three ounces of mixed nuts; and a dinner of instant mashed potatoes rolled up in a tortilla followed by three ounces of Hershey's Dark Chocolate. The rationale? It's light and easily packable. To offset the caloric deficit he builds up in the wilds, he gorges on eggs, bacon, cookies, and peanuts whenever he reaches a town, usually every few days.
- Eats energy bars during the day and has one easy-cook meal in the evening, cooked on an alcohol stove.
- The best energy bars are high in calories, favor complex carbohydrates over sugars, contain adequate fat and protein, and are fortified with vitamins and minerals.
- "Breakfast and snack bars [i.e. not energy bars designed for sports performance] can be another healthy staple in a backpacker's diet. I say "can be" because it entirely depends on the bar. Many contain over-processed granola and sugars; and they offer few vitamins/minerals and little fiber. Instead, look for bars with whole grains, nuts and berries, and good sugars (e.g. honey, not corn syrup). Particularly avoid Pop-Tarts and Milk 'N' Cereal bars, which set you up to crash-and-burn."
- Candy bars "are heavy in fat, which helps to mitigate the crash-and-burn effect of their simple sugars; and some contain a fair amount of protein, particularly those that contain peanuts or peanut butter. All candy bars are not well suited to the backcountry: some are thin (and break too easily) or awkwardly sized; others cannot be eaten on-the-go; and some come with cardboard sleeves that create more trash for you to carry. My favorites are Fast Break's, Kit-Kat's (but only the Big Kat bar), Nutrageous,' Baby Ruth's, Pay Day's, and Snickers'. I avoid thin chocolate bars (like Hershey's chocolate, Krackel's and Kat Kit wafers), bars with cardboard sleeves (like Mounds and Take5's), and chocolate candies (M&M's and Whoopers)."
- Hot dinners include: "angel hair pasta, coos-coos, dehydrated and freeze-dried meals, and instant mashed potato burritos. These meals strike a good balance between simplicity and sustenance."
- Eats about every 2-2.5 hours during the day, starting with a breakfast of about 600 calories. Each snack is 300-500 calories.
- Daily caloric intake is roughly 4000 calories a day, which maintains energy, but is not enough to maintain body weight. So he binges in town.
- To maintain vitamin and mineral levels, "make energy bars (almost all of which are fortified) a regular part of your diet; eat dried fruits and legumes if you are willing to accept their inconveniences; and take a multivitamin, which can't hurt, though they might not help much either, as most studies have shown only marginal benefits. In trail towns, stock up on fresh fruit and produce, ideally before you hit up the local burger joint and lose your appetite."
- Says that the cost of "fattening up" before a hike usually outweighs the gains.
- Apparently recommends getting about 35% of one's calories from fat. This is consistent with other sources, which recommend 35-40%.
- Recommends aiming for 125 calories per ounce of food (440 per 100 grams); other, somewhat more "liberal" sources recommend aiming for 100 (350 per 100 grams)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Most of the time on the PCT I'll be hiking in shorts. I have black (unfortunately) polyester running shorts (unfortunately, black) with pockets on the sides. They dry extremely quickly and rarely need more than a few rinses and squeezes to get them "clean."
To hold the netting above my face, I use a thin rope with a line tensioner. The hammock used is the inexpensive Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock. It weighs about 400 grams, including the tree-hugging ropes. Materials for the bug net were ordered from thru-hiker.com.
Monday, March 9, 2009
- refried beans
Sunday, March 8, 2009
"What my hike means to me" is probably something I'll think about nearly every day on the trail and frequently discuss with other thru-hikers. People will compare motivations and personal values and try to clarify their own views of their hike after hearing others'. Inevitably, one will be influenced in subtle ways by other hikers in the community. Some influences will seem positive, some negative. By formulating some of my thoughts beforehand, I'll have something to come back to later on and compare my expectations with the reality of my experience.
I'm 31 and have settled into a certain lifestyle, personal values, and worldview that I'm very comfortable with. My hike is not about "coming of age." It's not an epic journey, a momentous challenge, or a search for self. I'm not at a major crossroads in life, because it's normal for me to pretty much always be at a crossroads.
I don't expect to look back upon my thru-hike as being a singular event in my life, but rather as one adventure of many. I would like to integrate these adventures into my life to the point that the adventure never leaves. I want to always be looking forward to and preparing for something exciting and challenging.
I think a major goal for my hike is to achieve sustainability within the context of a major adventure. In other words, to be able to maintain a certain lifestyle with limited ill effects for an indefinite period of time. That means learning to maintain a healthy body and state of consciousness for a long period of time as I'm doing my hike. I will try to avoid sacrificing well-being for more than very short periods -- for instance, letting hygiene and nutrition slide, overstraining my body, and not getting enough rest. I don't want to view my hike as a one-time adventure where I can put important things temporarily on hold as I sprint to the finish line. I want to finish the hike in good shape and good spirits.
Part of sustainability for me is remaining mentally active and productive. If I don't, I'll crave mental activity that I can only get "in civilization." If I could take along a lightweight, solar-powered laptop, that would be ideal. I can simply practice writing by hand on whatever topics come to my mind, and do some writing or typing in town. I would like to be thinking seriously about some topics during my hike -- topics related to lifestyle, philosophy, and the natural world. I would like to integrate my adventures into my work rather than having them be a break from work.
I also want to get to know the thru-hiking community and make new friends while still "hiking my own hike" -- keeping my own pace and pursuing my own goals. Almost everyone else is going to be stopping in towns and spending money, and I think I can avoid that without feeling bad about it. In fact, being forced to do my own thing will be a positive factor, I'm sure. I feel best when I am close enough to people to form connections, while not being tied up in a group.
I also want to use this opportunity to learn about the nature of the American West -- the ecosystems and landscapes that I pass through. I'll be taking lots of pictures and probably making some videos along the way to share with other people. I'm excited to be surrounded by nature (again), and I want to be learning about it as well as basking in it.
As I hike this long distance, I want to hone my backpacking skills and learn how best to deal with the challenges I encounter. For instance, I'd like to consistently roll out of bed early and quickly and rest more during the heat of the day. I'd like to learn to deal effectively with all the challenges of hiking on the PCT. I'll be thinking about my gear and what best works for which conditions.
Since any random accident or combination of events can put one off the trail, I don't want to be too emotionally attached to the idea of finishing the hike. Only 50% who start actually finish the PCT. A month on the Colorado CDT made me aware of my potential weak spots when hiking for weeks on end: bruised feet and malnutrition. The second I think I can do much better at this time, but I still don't know how to avoid bruised feet except by trying shoes with a bit more cushioning. And I don't know if that will help. On the CDT, the bottoms of my feet began feeling bruised after about 200 miles and fully recovered only after a couple of weeks off the trail.
If I get to the border early and still have plenty of time left, I'm not averse to the idea of turning around and hiking back through Washington, hiking a section of the Northwest Trail, or taking the Amtrak to Glacier National Park and hiking south along the wild and scenic CDT as far as I have time to go. If I could see Olympic National Park, the Montana Rockies, or Yellowstone and the Wind Rivers in the same trip, that would only add to my experience.
Some of these wishes may well turn out to be naive. We'll see how it all pans out in the end!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- no trekking poles
- no-cook food; organic diet
- mails food to himself; eats out in towns
I have found out that hiking someone else’s pace, which is significantly different from my normal pace, actually tires me out more than if I were doing my normal pace. Recently, when Michelle sat out for a few days to rest her feet, I opened up to 40-mile days and was shocked to find myself feeling much better than I did hiking 25 miles in the same 12-14 hour period. This makes me think that the amount of time spent on the feet plays almost as much of a role in fatigue as does the number of miles done.
He ate about 2.5 pounds of food per day and resupplied with caches every 3-4 days on average. During some stretches he carried up to eight days of food and water, and his pack totaled 35-40 pounds. He didn't bring a stove. Dinner consisted of dehydrated refried beans soaked for three hours while hiking along the trail, topped with tortilla chips and olive oil. For breakfast, he had a protein shake. And for lunch, he snacked on dried fruit, nuts and organic raspberry fig bars. After leaving towns, he'd supplement his diet with fresh fruit. "To me, a good diet on the trail is very important. I focus a lot on organic or more natural food. Other people are able to do the PCT on Top Ramen and Snickers bars. I avoid sugar on the trail because sugar highs and crashes affect my hiking rhythms. But in towns I pigged out on junk food and ate whatever I wanted: candy bars, pastries, burgers."
He doesn't pack a stove, but instead eats a mostly organic diet of protein shakes, dried fruits, crackers and refried beans. He augmented his diet by foraging for tidbits like miner's lettuce, wild onions and various berries along the way. His typical dinner was to mix dehydrated refried beans with water in a plastic container and add crumbled organic corn chips and olive oil. He ate two to three pounds of food each day, stopping in towns occasionally to “pig out” on junk food and salad bars.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Good article! It raises once again the tricky topic of food and resupply. Eating junk food may require you to consume more calories, the author thinks. A couple links to more bulk food stores are included.
Proper nutrition is essential. Poor nurtition will make you miserable. It will slow you down, and it will give you irrational, irresistible urges to spend lots of money at restaurants.When I thru-hiked the AT in 2006 I bought food along the way. I ate around 7,000 calories a day, hiked far fewer miles than I did on 5,000 calories a day on the PCT, and had a never-ending appetite 24/7.I'm certainly not qualified to give nutritional advice, but pay attention to what you eat! If you read information from past thru-hikers you can end up with some terrible advice. Thru-hiking on pop tarts, peanut butter, bagels, and mac'n' cheese is very common. Most thru-hikers on such a diet struggle to do short mileages, are constantly hungry, and get worn down and depressed towards the end of their hikes. And they wonder why!I recommend maildrops. That is to say, you will mail yourself packages of food to post offices (care of general delivery) and businesses that are near the trail. They are cheaper, more reliable, quicker, and they provide better nutrition when compared to buy as you go. The best way to mail yourself food is to use priority flat rate boxes. You can usually fit around 4 days of food in one of these, and you can send any reasonable amount of weight to anywhere in the US for $9. The post office will send you the boxes, tape, and labels for free if you are using priority mail. Let's assume that we have 40 total packages, an average of a package for every three days for 120 days. I try to send mail drops every 3-5 days, and the 5 day packages usually take up 2 boxes. So we spend $360 (rounded up to $400) on postage.Here is a sample of my 2007 food. I ate the same thing every day on both my 850 mile AT training hike and my 2,700 mile PCT thru-hike. A typical day for me for the bulk of my PCT hike was 37-42 miles, and I weighed around 170 during that period. I spent around $11/day on food. Plan food according to mileage and your weight. $1000 should be plenty for an AT thru-hike.
- 400 grams dehydrated stuff = 1400 calories + 70 grams olive oil = 600 calories
- 600 grams high-energy snack food = 3000 calories
Monday, March 2, 2009
- olive oil (poured into 16 oz bottles or smaller)
- Nature Valley "Sweet & Salty Nut" bars
- whole grain poptarts
- Nut Goodies
- king-size Snickers