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[pct-l] Trail Food
Marcia and I just returned from Safeway where we were studying the
nutritional information on packaged foods. We are preparing for a thruhike
and are pondering what changes to make in our trail food. Our conclusion was
almost exactly the same as that expressed by Jim Owen.
The only issue is calories vs weight (and secondarily food volume). Right
now Pop Tarts and Snickers are running 1 and 2 on our list. Calories,
Figure out how many calories a day you are burning, then try to pack that
many calories per day. It is easily more than 1 serving per meal of any
packaged food. I even have trouble with the size of those servings when I am
One other comment - The first 2 or 3 weeks of a hike don't really require
the same number of calories. The body seems to be using up its supply of
stored energy during that timeframe. After that timeframe the "Hiker
Appetite" seems to kick in. That is when the high number of calories becomes
essential for a thru-hiker. My experiences with "training hikes" backs that
comment. No matter how much (or little) food we carry on a 1 or 2 week hike,
it is to much. We end up putting extra food back into our food caches.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ginny & Jim Owen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: <Sterling_Barlow@bigfoot.com>; <Montedodge@aol.com>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001 12:52 PM
Subject: [pct-l] Trail Food
> Monte wrote:
> > My point is that Brian's diet was far from ideal by normal standards.
> >As I stated before, no such word as a bad calorie!!!!
> >I would say anyone who ate as Brian did, would fair well. (Unless you are
> I am, Monte - and I've survived 3 thruhikes with about the same diet that
> Brian used. And I'll survive another three - or more.
> >Calories are fuel and the more the better. ( And your body ain't
> >picky!!!!!!!!! Get It???)
> Calories are the name of the game - without them you die - maybe not
> literally, but you won't finish a thruhike. The only requirement of food
> the trail is CALORIES - lots of them. Anything else is icing. There was
> recently a story on another list about a guy who insisted that since the
> Liptons package said "feeds 2" that he only needed half a Liptons each
> night. He didn't finish - and he didn't deserve to finish. Stupidity has
> its own rewards.
> It's not necessary to eat an organically correct, carefully balanced
> or even, as some insist, a "varied" diet - or even one that "tastes good".
> Those are cultural artifacts that are provably wrong - all you have to do
> look at the lifestyle (either before or after the present unpleasantness)
> Afghanistan. People survive there. Thruhikers also survive. As Stewart
> said: "Apparently a healthy human being can manage on a surprising diet."
> He seems to be surprised by that. And frankly (and this is a general
> observation, not just personal to him), that's an indication of the
> ignorance that's rampant in this country. People have survived for
> centuries on diets that some (yeah - even some on this list) would gag at.
> Tough. Keep in mind that if Mssr. Bin Laden gets his way you'll all be
> eating that kind of diet.
> And then "bill blovis" wrote:
> >That's your opinion. But, no offense, you ain't The New England Journal
> >Medicine, and I don't see any clinical trials to back up your claim that
> >"anyone would fair well" with a diet consisting of junk food.
> Sorry, Bill, but the "clinical trials" you're looking for happen every
> - there are a lot of people who spend 3 to 6 months on the Trail every
> They survive - happily and, for the most part, healthily - on the diet
> seem to object to.
> As a sidebar here, that single remark labels you as a "non-thruhiker"
> because it's a level of ignorance that few, if any, real thruhikers retain
> after completing a couple thousand miles - on any trail.
> >Like seemingly every conversation on this list, we're expressing two
> >subjective opinions with little other than personal experience to support
> >them -- your solution works for you; it worked for Brian. Good for you
> Let's see here - Ginny and I have completed a combined 7 thruhikes as well
> as several thousand miles of backpacking on other trails. I'd suspect
> our "personal experience" has some pretty solid validity. In addition,
> nearly all of our friends have completed at least one thruhike (one of
> has completed 12) and their experience pretty much matches ours. Just how
> much "experience" do you think it takes to make it more than just
> >But posting multiple exclamation-pointed notes that pretend to be the
> >word -- but that merely state your opinion about a really complex subject
> >-- is of little help to people who want to derive useful information from
> >this list.
> You're being given the information. Your rejection of that information
> doesn't make it any less valid - it just labels you as someone who just
> wants to argue, not learn, .
> And there's nothing that complex about the subject. If you're gonna
> thruhike, you need CALORIES. Anything else is extraneous - nice, but not
> necessary, the icing on the cake, whatever. Taste? - after the first
> thousand miles, you don't taste what you're eating anyway. Vitamins?
> Minerals, fiber, protein? If you're putting away the CALORIES you need,
> you'll get what you need - and if you don't get it, your body will tell
> about it - and demand that you eat those foods that WILL give it to you.
> Ever wonder why pregnant women (reportedly) crave pickles? Actually, the
> mother of my children DID go through that stage with the first one, but
> with the others.
> Which, finally, brings us to the point of this little exercise - as a
> you don't rate very highly. We had a better one last night on another
> At least he provided us with a laugh. What's your point?
> Walk softly,
> "Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It
> eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the
> business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation." -- Johnny Hart
> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp
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