I want to talk about food. Specifically, trail food. More specifically, PCT trail food. What people eat while they’re walking from Mexico to Canada. Thus far into my research, I’ve discovered the majority of thru-hikers eat a whole lot of junk and nonsense, and they’re equal parts proud and disgusted by their chosen hiking diets. Honestly – I don’t fully understand how they do it. How someone can walk all day every day up and down mountains fueled by chips and snickers bars, ramen and dehydrated mashed potatoes. Honestly, what? If I ate that way every day in my normal life at my average activity level – I would feel like absolute shit. Maybe because they walk so much they don’t feel the affects? But can’t they imagine how much more energy they can have, how light they might feel, if they just ate a little smarter? Gave their bodies some shred of proper nutrition and balance? Idk. I’m going to do my best to find out.
I eat primarily plant based. For the past two years, I’ve been 100% plant based, however, I’ll always leave room for growth and change and exploratory science experiments. I follow what feels good for me personally. To each their own – I’m not trying to judge these hikers who eat sugar and carbs and cardboard labeled “food” to keep them going – I just don’t fully understand how they can and not die. While I’m out on trail, I have a feeling my inquiring mind will venture into the depths of these oddly magical eat-anything beings to better understand how they feel about the foods they ingest – and how they feel after they ingest said food.
For me, choosing noms is a highly intuitive process. Listen to your body, what does it want? Give it that. So in the weeks leading up to the start of my thru-hike, I’ve actually put little thought into what food I’ll be eating on trail. I made a couple of lists as things came to me, and have researched different resupply strategies to ensure I’m setting myself up for success (or at least as much success as possible – no one really knows what will work until they’re out there). I’ve made one Costco run and one Amazon order. So far, I feel really good about what I’ve got. I honestly feel like I’ll be eating healthier out on trail, when I have less availability of variety and preparation space, than I do in my current lifestyle.
Right now, I constantly make excuses as to why I can’t prepare food at home (I share a kitchen with a family of 4 + my sister and tend to feel like I’m in the way or taking up too much space [ooo there’s a personal growth opportunity for ya]) so I eat at my work or at my sister’s work, or snack as I go and all in all it’s not all that healthy. Physically or financially. So, whilst I’m trekking along the two foot highways of the high Sierra – I’ll have no choice but to make my own meals every day and remain properly aware of what I’m intaking. No more excuses. Want to ensure proper nutrition and recovery? Eat nothing but fresh veg in town and stock up on the good stuff. So far, this is what I’m taking with me and mailing out ahead to myself:
Breakfast and Lunch and Snacks:
Meusli! My favorite oatmeal alternative…
Chia Seed puddings with any and all of the following
Golden Milk Powder (I’m very excited about this one)
MCT Oil (always)
Yerba Maté for good clean caffeine
Nuts (all of them)
Bars of the Nut & Seed & Fruit variety
Trail Mixes but in moderation because too much will make you crazy and hate them forever…
For Din Din:
Quinoa and Rice
Sacred 7 Mushroom Extract Powder (MUSHROOM POWERRRR!!!)
Lots of Lentils
Fresh Bread when I can find it
Whole Grain or Ground Legume pasta
Beans! of all shapes and sizes
Turmeric Powder (mmm yeah, gimme all them anti-inflammatory properties)
Fresh Sprouts (you can sprout while you walk. I’m intending to give it a go – I’ll let you know if I do!)
String Beans & Peas and any other vegetable that will stay sans refrigeration
and if I’m being honest I’ll probably dabble in the ramen and instant mashed potato realm every once in awhile because sometimes they just sound really delicious…
aaaaand I ordered a CBD tincture, to help with inflammation, nerves, and everything else…
I fully plan to cold soak most of my food between meals to save fuel. At night I’ll cold soak breakfast, between b-fast and lunch I’ll cold soak whatever I plan to eat for lunch, and between lunch and dinner I’ll be cold soaking my din. It’ll save on fuel and if I’m really feeling too tired to start up my little stove, I’ll still have something other than nuts to eat. All of this is pre-hike planning and intending. We’ll see what happens when I’m actually out there. Maybe I’ll end up eating bagels and candy all day and feeling great. Only one way to find out…
Two weeks before the PCT. I start Easter Sunday. Two weeks…
Needless to say, I’m feeling a lot. I’ve been feeling a lot…
A lot of angst. Worry. Fear. Doubt. A lot of doubt. Excitement. Elation. Overwhelming appreciation for myself and all those who have gone before me. Everyone whose told their story, shared their personal journeys, reveled and cried at the moments experienced and memories made. Thank you for being open with those of us who, whether we know you personally or solely through the interwebs, gain so much from your insights and lessons learned. What to do. What not to do. And the ever important, ever present premise of Hike Your Own Hike which underlines every story, every hike. Live your own life. Follow your own unique and beautiful heart. Only you can know what’s best for you, what works for you, what will make you happy. Only you can be your best self.
This is me my becoming mine. Two weeks before I start the trail and I’m ready. I’ve done what I’ve needed to do. Lined everything up. Junked the old car, gave notice to work(x3), confirmed places to stay in San Diego, purchased plane ticket, ordered gear, researched, ordered more gear, researched, hiked for “training”, researched, ordered gear, sold gear, researched and researched some more. I’ve done more research for this hike than I’ve ever done for anything in my life – ever. I’ve never felt so committed to anything else. So eager and willing to learn, to know.
Now that I’m so close, I’m getting waves, sensations, of what it will feel like once I’m out there. Walking in the wild. Free, untethered to anything but my backpack and a map. Water and willpower pushing me forward. Upward. Toward my goal: Growth. Ultimately that’s what this hike is about for me. The good growth that comes from living your own life. Hiking your own hike. Choosing your dreams and pursuing them fully until they’re exhausted and spent and you’re completely satisfied through to your bones.
May I flow with the ease of water
May my will be powerful and resolute
My body sturdy and strong
My senses aware
And may my movement always be from the heart.