Saturday, August 6, 2011

Backpacking Food Prep

Tomorrow I am leaving for a 9 1/2 day backpacking trip! It is the final component of my summer block classes. I know - graduate school rocks! We're hiking from Cascade Pass into Stehekin and then out the War Creek Trail in the North Cascades National Park. Should be incredible!

 I thought I would share how I plan to feed myself and carry 9+ days worth of food with me.

For breakfasts I packed Nature's Valley Organic Instant Oatmeal and Trader's Joe's cereal bars. Get it - "this strawberry walks into a bar..." - ha ha ha! 

For snacks I packed Luna Bars of many flavors. I figure you usually need about 2 of these a day, perhaps 3 if you have a particularly strenuous day, like a 9.5 mile with 5,000ft of elevation gain (like we will on the 5th day of our trip!!!) 

For snacks fruit is a must. Apples are nice if you're willing to pack out the core (remember - Pack-it-in-Pack-it-out and Leave No Trace! because even though apples are "natural" they are most likely not native to the area in which you are recreating, therefore they will have an impact on wildlife). Dried or dehydrated fruits are great especially on the short term. I usually don't get as many veggies in on the trail, so I make up for it in fruit. 

For lunches I alternate between two things: either bagels or tortillas and a nut butter (like Justin's organic nut butters - they are great for on the trail!) and a combination like featured below: dried meats, cheese and crackers, sometimes with hummus (you can usually find dehydrated hummus in a bulk section - just add water!). 

The easiest dinners are one-pot dinners, or just add boiling water dinners. Then you only have one dish to clean! 

We went to the Co-op bulk section where they had a variety of dehydrated soups and meals. For instance they had pinto bean and cheese burritos, kettle chili, lentils rice and Indian spice, and a sweet corn chowder and black bean soup - all just add boiling water! Plus without the water weight these are super light meals! 

I also packed some garlic naan to go with the soups a couple nights. We're going to try backcountry sushi with instant rice and the fixins - you can always bring in fresh veggies for the first night! So we'll have avocado and smoke salmon sushi. 

Bag it all up and you are good to go!!! The nice thing about backpacking is that when most of your weight comes from food your pack gets significantly lighter as they days wear on. And although it's hard work and can make for long days - I love being out in the Wilderness! (And I love how toned your body gets when you hike for 5-8 hours a day!) 

As part of this trip we had to prepare a natural history presentation about a plant and an animal. While I'm gone I'm going to be sharing a little with you about the plant and animal I chose: purple mountain saxifrage and the pine marten. I am especially excited about the pine marten because I have prepared a collection of Limericks from which to introduce cool facts about this creature. Does anyone listen to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me on NPR?!?!? If so, you now how this goes: I will post the limerick with all but the last word, and you can fill in the word in the comments section if you think you know what it is! 

 I will be back on August 16th with pictures and stories to tell!