Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doing the Appalachian Trail: What to eat?

Thanks for coming to my site! 

Before I talk about hiking the Appalachian Trail, let me tell you about my new book!  

Demeter Press has just pubished Not Exactly As Planned: A Memoir of Adoption, Secrets and Abiding Love.  

The book is now available for online order in paperback and e-reader from  Amazon.   

 You'll also find information about the book and book reviews, including: 

"Couldn't put it down."  "It made me cry, laugh, and cry some more"  "It's a book about love, so surprising it was such a page turner."

 I’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail since I first heard about it from friends in college, many moons ago. They spent six months hikinAg the 2,181 miles from Karahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, passing through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina on the way. 

It took Jean and Ric six months to complete the trail. They had to carry everything with them, including camping gear, clothes and food.

Though the paths go mainly through wilderness areas, they pass through some towns along the way. Hikers often send pre-made meal packs ahead to post offices in these towns. Others restock at the local grocery stores. It’s important, they say, to maintain a minimum recommended 2000 calories a day of energy while on the trail. Many people plan for 5000.

Most hikers these days have freeze dried food packets and high density nourishment/energy bars. They generally plan out in advance how to most efficiently take in their calories and vitamins for the six month march.  

To supplement meals, a usual staple is trail mix, or GORP  (good old raisins and peanuts?). Wondering how GORP got its name, I just read that two California companies, Hadley Fruit Orchards and Harmony Foods claim that trail mix was first invented in 1968 by two California surfers who blended peanuts and raisins together for an energy snack.

However, of more interest to me is that trail mix is also mentioned in Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel The Dharma Bums when the two main characters describe their planned meals for a hiking trip.  Good thinking, guys. I bet it was an excellent counterpoint to the drugs and booze.

My friends Jean and Ric most likely carried GORP with them, but I do remember that the two main staples they lived on for the six months, to the horror or fellow hikers and nutritionists, were Wonder Bread and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. They’d compress loaves of bread in their packs because they didn’t take up much room, and figured they’d get their required protein from cheese product in the mac.

Guess it worked. Not many people hike the full Appalachian Trail, and certainly not on Wonder Bread and Kraft dinner.

Well, maybe they really aren't all that impressive. I've one-upped Jean and Ric. I just completed the trail  on one cup of coffee, cream, no sugar.

Update: When I first published this blog, I attached a link to a video that showed someone walking the Trail in one minute, that is, the video was one minute and the "walk" was recorded in super-fast motion, obviously. That's what I meant by  the last paragraph above: "I just completed the trail on one cup of coffee, cream, no sugar." That's the length of time it took me to watch the video. Unfortunately, the link to that video no longer works, and someone out there in internet-land attached a vimeo link to another site instead! While I appreciate the many hits that ensued on this blog. I've just removed the link

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