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[pct-l] Corn Pasta and stuff

Did somebody say corn pasta?

Now I know that I have come full cycle on this list as I remember a long
thread about it when I joined this list last year about this time. Before I
did the PCT I thought that a few of Ray Jardine's ideas were fairly
eccentric so here are some comments after hiking it.

ITINERARIES: These alone are worth the price of the book. They are
amazingly accurate for planning your days between points and therefore
amount of meals. In the end I was only one day off my projected end time
using his book as a basis. I recommend taking more time than you think
necessary to really enjoy this trip.

HOME MADE BACKPACK. Several hikers were fairly miserable with theirs until
they switched. However the lightweight concept IS primary. Buy a medium
sized internal of the lowest possible weight. I carried a  Dana Terraplane
Overkill the whole way at about eight pounds. I could have saved about six
pounds here!

FOOTWARE. Being from the old school I went out and bought some Raichle
Montanas for the trip. At the last minute I thought the better of it and
bought Lowa Tempest lows which are heavy duty sneakers basically.
Eventually I settled into plain old running shoes. I will say that Ray had
it right on this point, running shoes are what will work best if you have
normally strong ankles.

UMBRELLA: Didn't take one, and never felt the need for one either, although
I wished I had taken a wide brimmed hat as the tips of my ears got fairly
sunburned with just a baseball hat.

TARP: I think a tarp is a great idea up until Kennedy Meadows. A tent will
make all the difference with the mosquitos encountered from then on. One
that is mostly netting is ideal.

CORN PASTA: Ray spends a whole chapter or more on the stuff. I didn't send
any to myself, but along the way I actually grew to love the stuff. I could
always pick up as much as I wanted out of any Hiker Box so maybe I'm an
exception. I can guarantee that there are big holes filled with it all
along the trail. I don't think it's really any better than any other kind
of pasta and it is certainly not wonder food.

My other main dinner staples were dried pinto beans, black beans, split
pea, chili, potatoes, and parmesan cheese. (I hated the chili after
awhile.) Basically I would throw in a handful of corn pasta into a quart
pot of water and when it boiled it was done and I added the other
ingredients in various amounts until I had a rib sticking dinner.  You'll
be happier to have more variety than this but do not waste money on
"designer" food. Actually the food planning and preparation is far and away
the most complicated logistical aspect but nothing will seem as important
once you are miles from a "town stop".

Overall I think that Ray's book is a must read for anyone contemplating the
PCT or other long distance hikes for that matter. But remember that
everyone has a different style of hiking. Everything in it isn't going to
work for everybody all the time.


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