Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pre-Trail Last Minute Randomness...

Next to waiting for April 5th, this has been the hardest part of preparing for the hike. I have NO IDEA how to plan meals for extended amounts of time months in advance. I have a hard time getting the right stuff at the grocery store on a weekly basis, let alone for 5 day stretches in the High Sierra. 
We've broken up our prep in two parts to experiment with our food choices and packing strategy. You can read about our first attempts at trail prep here.
I am glad we took the time to try out our resupply ideas in advance. As we did our training hikes we learned that vacuum packing does weird things to tortillas, we have candy that is way to different from our normal diet and it is making us feel crappy, and our sweet and savory trail mix tastes like ass; Everything has taken on a weird flavor of Acai berries and vanilla animal crackers and all tastes the same.

So, we went back to the drawing board a bit and tweaked some things around. I plugged our food into My Fitness Pal and saw that we had way to many carbs and not enough protein/fat. We decided to remove some of the candy and insert more beans, PB & J, tuna and chicken into the mix, as well as losing the nasty trail mix. We didn't get all crazy and pack our boxes according to nutrition information, we just used it as a guide for a better direction.

Digging through the boxes everything that was packaged eventually ended up on the bed. As we combed through the vacuum packed kits we noticed the cats had been chewing on the packages over the last few weeks and our sealing was in vain. Next time, I won't vacuum pack anything, it was a waist of time and money. 
We assembled several flat rate boxes and wrote their destination and days of food required on the flap. Nova decided she wanted to be shipped to Kennedy Meadows.

Joey just wants to go where the beef jerky is going.
As we started counting days worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners we were taken aback at how much food it was. I gotta carry all this?! It is not that we packed excessive amounts of food, I think, but that we haven't done trips that required so many days. This realization makes me rethink my backpacks capacity and ability to survive the hike.

We started to run out of things that we thought we had enough of, like breakfasts and snacks, so we headed to the store. While we were there we picked up a few empty buckets to ship in, which we hope will prevent rats from getting to our food like my cats did.
At the Kennedy Meadows box, we decided to try and fill our bear cans with the food we will be carrying. Needless to say, it fit as well as Joey did inside of the cans.

It took us all day to finally get things squared away. I still feel uneasy about my choices but I guess I will leave that for my future self to worry about. We put fuel in three boxes to ship but have now decided dealing with the ORM-D labeling is more hassle than we want to deal with. We will just have to figure it out on the trail. With the fire season being what it is, I imagine canister fuel will be plentiful. All that is left to add now is some prescription pills and we are ready to ship thru South Lake Tahoe. Once we get to Tahoe we will do this again for Oregon and Washington with better understanding of what to expect.

It being our last month before launch, more and more loose ends keep popping up. I had some last minute updates to do with my furry kids, and bought six months worth of litter and food to help out my brother who gets around on a bicycle.

My errands included a vet visit which gave me the opportunity to put a credit card on file in case an emergency arises. I've had Joey since he was a two week old, feral alley cat that I had to bottle feed. He's grown into this big guy and now, at 6 years old, I have finally gotten him microchipped. He is an indoor cat but with me being gone, it makes me feel better to know that if he does get out I'll have a better chance at finding him again. I am going to miss them.

At work, I wrote my last management schedule...and I wasn't on it. That is a good feeling. I am totally over work. I don't even try anymore, wearing the same tattered hoodie and trail runners everyday. I'm already on the trail!

As much as I wanted to bring my trusty GoLite Jam, I have finally conceded that she is not going to make it and will probably break at an inopportune moment on the trail. Josh talked me into getting a ULA Circut and so far, I think it is going to work great, once I get used to a new packing method. I have only ever used my GoLite Jam so I am used to packing one way, which doesn't seem to be working in this pack. I am happy to have such a well reviewed and durable pack with me on the trail, learning curve or not. I feel like a big girl hiker now!

Here is the obligitory 'check out my new backpack' selfie. :-)
I still have a lot to do, getting the apartment ready for Josh to move in his stuff and then there are all the last meals with family etc etc...really I just want to be done with it and GO! 30 days and counting...


  1. Cats chewing on the packages, that's a new one! I'm sure it will all come together. From my section hikes I found what I craved at the end was definitely not what I did at the beginning.

    1. Oh, Mary, My cats are such buttheads sometimes! I figured my tastes would change, I just don't know how. It will be interesting to see how this goes! Thanks for the vote of confidence and the comment. :-)

  2. HAH! Cats are crazy little beasts, mine chews on eggplant..weirdo. Put a pack on Joey and let him go with you, he looks like he could carry his own kibble. :-) Good luck on your journey.

    1. Eggplant?! Ha! I love cats. They are definitely weirdos. I wish Joey could come with, I will miss him! :-)

  3. Having leapfrogged ahead to your trail departure, I can now see the very real doubts in your mind that were indeed warning signs. Theoretically this whole routine should be so normal that it is just like everything you do in normal life.