Planning a thru-hike is kinda of like planning a solo wedding. I’ll explain. You mighty say that the number of days is comparable to the number of guests. 150 meals, including happytizers and the entree, plus breakfast and lunch. The bar is almost always dry, unless it’s a short leg and wine is going into the Nalgene. Sleeping arrangements for 150 nights. If one is hiking solo, then there is no chance of having a band. And this means settling on a good DJ, called the iTunes playlist. Even a disco light, which is blue, and can be hung with rope from the top of the tent and swung around.
Most thru hikers take about 6 months to plan a long-distance walk. I didn’t. I wasn’t even sure I was going until I bought my plane tickets on April 10. That gave me about 3 weeks to plan it. Thank the Lord, I’m obsessive enough and compulsive enough to do it right. And I reFUSE to eat ramen every night for dinner. And I don’t do rice. And GORP- Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts- I won’t be eating that. I can proudly say that not a peanut, raisin, nor a Powerbar were bought…………………
I always say that when a surfer sees a movie with some ocean going on in the scene, they ignore the drama and do a surf check. Are the waves ridable? Can you get shacked inside the tube? Is it glassy? Similarly, with all the backapacking I’ve done, can never walk around a supermarket and not look for the next gourmet, lightweight, succulent variations that are going to make the next trip menu. So, I had been scoping out all the nuts, noodles, and nooks and crannies of every supermarket, Dollar store, and Asian market in a 20 mile radius of home. Finding the foods has been a work in progress.
And so, I discovered some great food during my foodie adventures. Here are some of them:
For breakfast: pecan sticky bun granola and chocolate biscotti hazel granola.
For lunch: tuna flavored with hickory and lemon pepper, italian croutons, rosemary triscuits, cooked chestnuts, peanut butter buckets with red raspberry preserves. Spam, too, for a change.
For dinner: thai foods such as red curry noodles, red beans and rice with coconut, BACON, olive oil packets, gnocchi, loaded mashed potatoes, flavored cous-cous, and tortellini. And the old stand-by, Kraft Mac and Cheese Deluxe, with the cheese pouch.
And snacks: marcona rosemary almonds,Cashews, in about 10 flavors, such as ‘dill-pickle,’ macadamias with sea salt, sesame halvah, 50 bags of M&Ms purchased during Easter sale, almond joy pieces, dried cherries, dried mango, buffalo pretzel pieces, combos, and lots of Oreos and Nutter Butters.
Imagine that you had to plan the next 5 months in one. What you were going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And what you would snack on 7 times a day. What sneakers you would need, and when, factoring in the expansion of your feet from hiking in really hot temperatures for 20-30 miles per day. New shirts to replace the ones that will smell like Elmer’s Glue within a month. Your chemical water treatment, how often you’d need it. How often you would need new toothpaste. Camera batteries, additional insect repellent, duct tape refills, and even advils. And then invent some random formula to make it easier. For example, I forecasted 12 Advils per day for the number of days it would take to get from one Post Office food cache to the next. I don’t mess with inflammation in the tendons, not after the first PCT hike where both of my Achilles were completely shot. Anyway, that number turned out to be 1,365 Advils.
The planning was intense, and went right down to the wire. Somehow, everything got boxed. The Advils got counted. The jelly beans got weighed (2oz per snack), the batteries got into little ziplocs in packs of 3, alcohol swabs and q-tips got measured out, and the Coppertones got packaged. In the end, 21 resupply boxes going out to Post Offices, resorts, country stores, and hostels that are somewhat close to the route. From the other 20 stops, I won’t be a thru-wallet- no- I’ll buy what I need along the way.
That’s how the planning goes. I’m all spreadsheeted out and ready to walk. Bring it on!