I have to admit, I'm not a trail chocolate eater. But Andrew Skurka convinced me that it's impossible to carry too much chocolate. So we made Snickers bars part of our trail food this last hike through Pinnacles National Monument in 100 degree, dry California heat. I never considered we'd have Snickers soup. Good tho! I carefully opened one end and pushed it all out. Anyone have better eating method?
I'm not a thru hiker yet. I'm learning to get lighter and to hike smarter, but I'm still doing 6-12 mile days with my Boy Scout troop. I completed a 65 mile x 6 day carrying my old 70lb pack. Much too tired at the end of that to continue on. What I can't get my head around is how long trail hikers hit the trail every day....for months. Is anyone out there a thru hiker that had the same concerns prior to your epic hike? Care to share your experience?
I like snickers, they're cheap, and they're good energy. Having said that, I disagree - you can have too much chocolate on the trail because I'm really *not* a chocolate person. In warmer weather I prefer something a little less "soupy". there are tons of options.
clif bars, granola bars, homeade hbc bars, tortillas and peanut butter, or nutella, you name it.
I do take chocolate, but I'm a princess.. it's my 85% cocoa Lindt stuff that I have with my whiskey in the evening
How you get up day after day? (I'm not a thru hiker, but I get out a lot) *enjoy the walk* - not just the destination. How do you do that? well, halve or more that 70 lb pack
I'm normally out for a three dayer around 18-20 total if I'm not being careful. (and taking some creature comforts). If I am careful I'm down in the 12-15 range, the difference being between about 9.5 to 14 pounds base weight.
Now on the flip side, I'll be a bit fair to you, my packweight goes up a bit when I hike with newbs who are my problem. I take extra crap to deal with them. Scouts are the definition of such, but good on you.
Loc: Portland, OR
What I can't get my head around is how long trail hikers hit the trail every day....for months.
I have not thru-hiked, but I explain thru-hiking to other people as walking a marathon. Except you walk it up and down mountainsides carrying a heavy bag on your back, and you walk it every day, and you walk it after sleeping on the ground the night before, and you eat little or no fresh food, and this goes on for five months.
Those who've done it say that the mental part is by far the toughest.
I have thru-hiked the AT twice and several shorter trails as well. Since Snickers bars are one of the major food groups for thru hikers (most calories for the ounce) I have faced the Snicker soup challenge several times. I am not aware of any system that works any better than yours. Most of us use some variation on that. When it starts to get really warm, I do as suggested above; switch to Pay Day, Cliff bars, etc. Incidentally, Cliff bars taste better to me when it's warm.
As for how you do it, the poster above is right. It's more of a mental challenge than a physical one, and it comes down to two things:
First, you really need to be able to get up in the morning and think, "I'd really like to go for a long walk today, and then consider it a blessing that you can do so and have everything you need to do it. Luckily for me, I really like walking in the woods.
The second thing is to be happy starting slow. My first 20 mile day on the first hike didn't come until I was in the Smokies, and then it came effortlessly. Second trip (when I was 70) it didn't come untill Shenandoah.
Snickers: Try Paydays - the only thing you don't get is the chocolate. I pretty much skip the chocolate in Ohio in the summer for the same reason you discovered. However, year-round I do take trail mix with M&Ms in it, and they seem to hold up pretty well. I've never had the outside shell actually melt, though the inside doesn't always taste "solid" when you bite into them.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
While I've always admired thru-hikers, I just don't have that mentality! A 5-6 mile day is plenty enough for me; I like to stroll leisurely down the trail, admiring the views and smelling or photographing the flowers. I like to camp early so I can explore the vicinity, eat dinner leisurely, watch the sunset. To each his own style. Or, Hike Your Own Hike.
I think this style developed during my formative years when I spent summers horsepacking in Wyoming and Colorado with my parents. We rode what were then "banker's hours"--9 to 3, with an hour's break for lunch. Of course with horsepacking, you do spend several hours a day doing chores with the horses! Even so, much of the rest of the day was leisurely--fishing, exploring, just enjoying the view. My mother prepared relatively gourmet meals, which included baking yeast rolls and making either pie or cake for dessert every night. I must not have inherited her genes, because I've never felt like doing that sort of cooking!
As for Snickers bars, they are very close to the top of the list of my most detested items. If it isn't Green and Black's Dark or Maya Gold chocolate, forget it!
For those who use cozies for food rehydration, Sarbar recently gave a good hint on another forum: use your cozy to store your chocolate bars in the daytime!
Edited by OregonMouse (06/22/1202:16 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
While doing a thru hike (not on the AT) one convenience store where I resupplied had DARK chocolate snickers. They were fantastic. Maybe all of you have them in your area normally, but for me they were a treat.
Here's a marvelous set of videos made of an all-day presentation, "Backpacking Lighter to Develop Character and Leadership in Scouting," presented by the Capitol Area Council of Austin, TX in February of this year: "Scouting Lighter"--You Tube
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
being the rather leisurly hiking type, I guarantee you that thru-hiking does NOT preclude time for smelling flowers, taking in the views and picking berries, etc. If it did, walking in the woods simply would no longer interest me.
I do tend to start fairly early, rarely take long lunch breaks (don't do that off trail either), and sometimes wander on fairly late. But water and rest breaks are whenever there is something worthwhile (even if the last one was five minutes ago).
It's just a matter of being a glutton for what I love anyway (when I'm out I never really want to go home).
The cooking reminds me of working as a guide's assistant ("packer"-most certainly not assistant guide)in the Quetico-Superior (now Boundary Waters) in the early 1950s. One of our jobs was to pick enough blueberries for cobbler, build a fire and bake it in a reflector oven, all while the guide and the clients were out on the lake fishing for really big muskie. Sometimes the guide would have me cut it and serve it, and I would cage a piece for myself...sure was good.
Other jobs included setting up canvas wall tents and carrying two Duluth packs and a 20-foot Grumman laker on the portage trails.
The only good thing was that the mosquitos were big enough to help us if we'd treat them nicely and donate a pint or two of blood.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Swammie, for your sake and your Scouts' sake, it's time to lighten up--carrying those kind of packs can lead to permanent injury!
Yeah, 70lbs is a lot. I've never got past 45 and that about tore me up.
As for energy boosters, I like honey and ginseng. They're both light, and potent, and good for you. Honey (raw) is especially good for helping to heal sore joints too, and it's better than neosporin for healing infected wounds.
There was an article about ginseng in the NY Times this week that reviewed a study on cancer patients undergoing chemo and ginsengs effects on reliving fatigue. Bottom line, it works, and it works good. I'm kind of surprised more backpackers haven't caught on to that.
First, I DO NOT like candy so no Snickers for me. Even regular trail bars are too sweet for my taste. I prefer a bag of nuts, dried fruit, jerkey and cheese sticks. I take 80% cocoa choclolate and have one square a night! It is really a little taste treat and reward.
I have never thru-hiked. I do long trips where I actually STAY in the mountains for up to 35 days, with one or two packer resupplies. This actually is different than thru-hiking. My long trips are usually 70%+ off trail so going is slow- averaging about 6 miles a day. I am not sure I would like thru-hiking. The stops in civilization would be disorienting and I really do not like being on trails that much. When I am out long, I too, do not want to come back! I have no trouble getting up each day and moving. In fact I do not do "rest days" - they drive me nuts. I would rather take mini-rests at the end of each day instead of one entire rest day. My preference is, like OM, to move early AM until about 2-3 in the afternoon, then explore without that pack on my back! The only time I do not like to hike is in the rain.
My trip this summer is 35-37 days (have yet to decide exact route) and I have figured out and already packed my food (except perishables) and layed out gear. I will be carrying about 11 days food each leg of the trip. My total starting weight is about 38-40 pounds, 5 pounds of clothes/shoes/trekking poles, leaving 33-35 pounds on my back as starting weight. By "base weight" is 19-20 pounds. That includes minimal fly fishing gear. On one section I am using a bear cannister so that adds 1.5 pounds over the Ursack, that I am using on the other two legs. So- I too suggest that your 70 pound pack is WAY TOO HEAVY!!!
Both thru-hiking and the long trip hiking I do is more mental than physical. You really have to LIKE being out there and REALLY NOT miss civilization. I really pay attention to keeping clean - comb hair, brush teeth and take a cold bath every day. I wash clothes too. I could never become a total slob and get dirty and yukky. It is a whole different feeling when you LIVE in the wilderness, not holding your breath waiting to get back to "eat that meal" or "take that shower" or "sleep in that bed".
Loc: Portland, OR
You really have to LIKE being out there and REALLY NOT miss civilization.
Yes! Yes! Yes! You have to enjoy living outdoors. The whole business of going as quick as you can from the wilderness to a place where you can have a beer and a burger has never been my thing. I stay out to the last possible moment and then go straight home, but reluctantly.
I really pay attention to keeping clean
I find this is a key to my staying happy and comfortable as the days and weeks pile up, too.
As for Snickers(tm), they're ok. I've moved away from them toward dark chocolate in small amounts, a couple pieces of hard candy, homemade trail mix, and Clif bars.
I have done this for a few items in my pack I do not see why it would not work for Snickers.
If you can stand to pack a couple extra oz. at the time of need why not just chill your Chocolate ??
Pack along an extra cotton sweat sock and a piece of cord. When you want something cold and it happens to be hot weather just soak the sock in water and put your selected "items" in the sock and then hang your "cooler" where any breeze can reach it or tie it to the outside of your pack. As the water evaporates it will chill whatever you have in the sock. This works great for my "gin n tonic", Beer, Soda etc. I do not see why it would not work for Chocolate. I will say however that I have never checked the "chill factor" with a thermometer, I just know it works for my drinks.
I think I may have left a couple of misunderstandings in my earlier posts. First, my talk of long days and 20 mile days may have suggested all my days are big miles. Not so. My actual average was about 10 miles a day or just a bit more. I did do 26 one day, but that involved a mistake. I like the woods too much to go tearing off through them.
Secondly, yes I do survive very nicely on a pound of food and fuel a day (all I can get down), but I too am very concerned about nutrition. I think you have to be when you're out six months. I tend to add a few things here and there (like olive oil to dinner, and cashews in my oatmeal) to get it up. I try to average about 26 to 28 hundred calories a day, and make sure I get a reasonable amount of protein and other nutrients, including adding protein powder to oatmeal and other dishes.
Also, I try to schedule a resupply stop about every week so I'm not carrying too much food (but like all thru hikers, I will pig out on the salad bar, and have a couple of beers while I'm at it.