13 March 2008

Prep #10 -- How do you Eat & What?

Q& A

I forget that I been thinking about the PCT for a while plus I have the experience of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Thus, I forget others don't understand some of the details of day to day life on the trail. And to alleviate this asymmetry of information, I'm going to go over the concept of eating along the PCT experience.

Scenario: Hiking 20+ miles a day six days a week. Burning approx 4000+ cal a day. How do I get the fuel to keep going? One way to think of thru hike's logistics and efforts is that the 2650 miles will be broken up into a series of 3, 6 or upto10 day back to back to back to back to back ..... sections. At each of this new sections, I will either go into a town to buy food (hitch in and hitch out in one day) or possible take a break in town (more on this later down).

A typical menu might looks a follows (especially first 400 + miles of desert hiking)

  • 5 am pre breakfast snack -- Protein Bar (I like Cliff bars - Peanut butter crunch)
  • Sunrise breakfast --- Oatmeal or Bob's Red Mill 10 -grain cereal plus honey, raisins and maybe Olive Oil (a.k.a magic)
  • Morning Snack 1- 3 -- eat protein bar or snickers bar each hour until lunch.
  • Lunch and Shade (?) Break -- p.b.&j tortillas with raisins and honey. cheese and whole wheat crackers. Nuts / Legumes. Plus, a mix drink of electrolyte replacement or protein powder
  • Break ends 3/4 ish
  • Dinner -- hopefully near a water source. Cook up dinner of some Lipton Side / Tuna Packet / Instant Potato / Or Lentils and Curry concoction with Garlic (whatever I was able to find at the last trail town really). --- ADD OLIVE OIL
  • Keep Hiking until dusk
  • Pre camp set up & Bed time (8 /9 pm) - Amino Vital - replacement energy mix drink.
Olive Oil (magic) is the best attempt to keep calorie intake up on trail. Olive Oil is 100 cal for 1 fl. oz and weighs less than 1.0 oz. Great bang for your buck and pack weight

I might be able to pack a few fruit / vegetables from town for day 1/ 2 which will give me essential nutrients better than my pill pile of multivitamins, glucosamine chondrotin, Vit -e and others.

Another option, (which I'm still weighing the financial and logical cost of ) is to buy the best Bar (IMHO) on the Market -- REBAR the "original" taste fantastic and as 6 servings of Fruit and/or veggies.

New day, repeat.

Then in town gorge on vegetables and carbs trying to make up for the calorie deficit created while hiking.

Also while in town, I might spend a night in a bed (gasp!) and do laundry, make some phone calls and the likes, resting body and mind. Surprisingly long distance hiking is quite tiring. No, really exercising all day, day in and day out takes it toll. Then mix in the whole bag of emotions which are extra sensitive when the body is depleted and tired and then a nice 'sabbath' is well worth the $ of town (i.e. town is wallet sink hole). So maybe taking a few day off wouldn't do me much harm, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, but fiscally?!?!. I like the following reference point that in a typical 5 month period there are approx. 42 weekend days. I guess it will be okay to take a break. However, I most likely won't take that much time off.

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