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[pct-l] Re: Ben Armstrong 2001 SB PCT

In my experience, the problem of food quality and variety that confronts
vegetarian hikers in the PCT town-stop stores is about the same as that
confronting anyone: mediocre quality and limited variety. I won't pretend to
do this subject any justice right now, especially since other listers, whose
posts are in the archives, have done it such great justice. And many hikers,
especially vegetarian, vegan, or raw-foodists, are genuine trail chefs, of
which I'm not nor do I aspire to be. That said, my standards are still
somewhat higher than what is permissible via resupply in trail town markets,
so I've always mailed myself food drops along the PCT.

In general, near-to-trail town resupply possibilities seem to become ever
less bountiful the further north one progresses from southern California,
with a few notable exceptions being Cascade Locks and the towns of Dunsmuir,
Burney (not Burney Falls), South Lake Tahoe, and Lone Pine, if these four
can be considered common, if not terribly near-to-trail resupply points. Nor
at these places will you find supermarkets full of organic produce and
pre-packaged health foods, but at least you can purchase salad ingredients
and maybe find something "whole grain" here and there.

In the long run, I've always found it easier to do the food drop routine,
despite the very heavy inertia that comes along for the ride. Yes, it's a
chore, and it can also be a logistical hassle, but consider the benefits:
you get to purchase your favorite foods at your local market, possibly in
bulk and almost certainly for less than you'd spend for the same number of
calories in a high-priced high-elevation trail town. This largely obviates
the additional cost of parcel shipment. It also entails far less work once
you get going on the hike, and although it's fun to imagine in foresight
some sort of painless "financing" of the food procurement task along the
way, in reality I've found the prospects of doing so to be a real spirit
dampener, and an efficient means of compounding the headache over what
should have been an easy-in easy-out town stopover.

Three foods that the hiker (vegetarian or otherwise) is unlikely to find in
the PCT grocery stores, foods by which I swear: Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta
(elbow variety) (an 80% corn/20% quinoa blend), quinoa itself (an
inexpensive, protein-rich grain-like seed which tastes great with salt and
olive oil), any of the Fantastic Foods just-add-water meals, but especially
the refried beans. Olive oil is a ready source of monounsaturated fat, can
and perhaps should be added to almost any trail entree with the exception of
the breakfast cereal, packs light and goes far. In that regard, fat is very
efficient, but do not underestimate our friend, the humble carbohydrate,
which is more readily converted to energy. Dr. Atkins is not a distance

- blisterfree

"It may be true that my desk here is really 'nothing but' a transient eddy
of electrons in the flux of universal process. Nevertheless, I find that it
continues to support my feet, my revolver, and my cigars all day long. What
happens when my back is turned I don't know. Or much care. That's no concern
of mine."  - Edward Abbey

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Lincicome <michael.lincicome@backpacker.com>
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>; <blisterfree@earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2002 1:10 AM
Subject: Ben Armstrong 2001 SB PCT

> Blisterfree,
> Does anyone know how to contact Ben Armstrong? I am also a vegetarian &
will be thru-hiking the PCT in 2005. I would rather resupply in trail town
stores  than mail food-drops to myself. I was wondering what Ben or other
vegetarian hikers have found available in those same stores. I'm also
courious as to what common ingredients vegetarian hikers throw together for
creative trail cuisine. I am especially courious in high-fat meals aside
from nuts & cheese & unhydrogenated spreads & shortenings.
> singingotter NB->PCT '05
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