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[pct-l] Carrying food, zip-loc's, goo, etc.

Hello Gypsy (and All) -

Gypsy asked:

<< I would eat my 4 packs of instant grits or instant
oatmeal and then would wake Tony up when the water was hot for his 6 packs. >>

>I would love to know how many packets you had to carry if you were eating this

We usually tried to resupply about every week or so.  I would have to dig
our spreadsheets out of storage to give you any better detail.  We made up
three separate spreadsheets showing the resupply timelines for three
different hike-lengths (4, 4 and 1/2, and 5 months...based on Ray's book).
We made a single printout where the three timelines were in separate
columns and we forced the common resupply towns to be printed on the same
row.  We carried this "cheat sheet" (xerox-reduced) to use when we
discussed resupply with my wife during each town stop.  I would call from
each resupply point and would negotiate the next resupply over the phone.
We often didn't decide on either the next resupply location or the amounts
of food needed there until during that phone call.  We were constantly
switching back and forth between the three timelines as trail conditions,
our hiking strength, and the length of the day changed.  To top it off, the
#$%^&* Unibomber caused airmail into CA to close down during our hike...it
sure did make for some interesting phone calls (my wife was mailing
resupply boxes from Alabama <g>).

My son and I enjoyed town way too much for us to be able to go in any too
often!  Less than a week between mail-drops and we probably would not have
been able to finish the hike in one season.  Too much more than a week and
we would have been carrying more weight than we wanted (our food always
came in somewhere between 1 and 2 lbs per person/day).  The most food that
we carried was for the stretch between Tuolumne Meadows (resupply in Lee
Vining) and Mt. Whitney (Lone Star).  This was the finale of our hike (we
did 2 skip/flips...long story <g>) and we were hiking during the last of
October.  We didn't plan to mess around (did NOT relish the idea of getting
trapped in the high passes by snow!), had some hard deadlines (I had a
conference to attend and we had el-cheapo non-refundable plane tickets out
of Reno), we were in as good a hiking shape as we were ever likely to get
into, and the weather was perfect for hard hiking (cold and dry).

We got rid of everything we absolutely didn't need, loaded up with 12 days
worth of food and took off for some full days of hiking.  Had food left
over when we finished...but not a whole bunch <g>.  I am sure that we must
have carried 120 packets of hot cereal to cover that stretch.  The majority
of the packets were oatmeal... instant grits would probably have given us a
bit more energy, but we were eating grits for supper almost every night by
that point and enjoyed having a change for breakfast.

One of the hardest decisions that we made was to NOT carry our coveted
"goo" during this stretch.  We had learned on the AT (from "Noname" - a
Dutch southbounder) how to make a wonderful lunch suppliment.  We adjusted
his recipe to our taste and wound up with: 2/5 chunky peanut butter, 2/5
honey, and 1/5 Parkay liquid margarine.  We grew to crave this mixture more
and more as the hike went on (I would even carry it into town-stop
restaurants to put on our flapjacks <g>).  We rationed ourselves to about
1/2 cup per person/day because of the weight, but could have easily eaten 5
times that amount!  Our favorite lunch was: 1/2 cup goo, 2 flour tortillas,
2 1-oz string cheese packets, and either 1/2 cup GORP (we liked greasy
salted mixed nuts, raisins, and plain m&m's) or 1/2 cup fruit leather.

We sat on the motel bed in Lee Vining and passed the HEAVY bags of goo back
and forth (2 6-cup bags).  It didn't take long to decide to suck it up and
do without that precious stuff.  We made it...but I sure missed my goo!

BTW, thinking about goo made me remember how much I DON'T love zip-loc bags
for food storage during thru-hiking <g>.  We already knew not to pack any
of our dehydrated foodstuffs in zip-locs (veggies went in those plain food
storage bags that you can twist and knot shut, meats went into
vacuum-sealed packets), but we foolishly tried to resupply the goo in
zip-loc's at first.  Mixing the goo from the three separate components in
the average motel room is a mess...it gets all over everything and much is
wasted, so we kept trying to send it pre-mixed from home.  At first we
tried double bagging in zip-locs, but got expertly chewed out by the post
office folks who didn't like the oils that escaped and soaked the resupply
box.  We finally learned how to bag it up (like the veggies) and then to
bag it again in case any of the oils made it thru the inner-bag's knot
(never did).

Using the simple food storage bag to resupply goo had another interesting
benefit as well.  We could carry a 6-cup bag of goo (6 days worth) and use
it three times to refill our 2-cup wide-mouth plastic "working" storage
container.  The first time we would just pinch off a corner of the 6-cup
bag and squeeze out enough goo to refill the container.  When done, it was
easy to squeegee the goo back away from the pinched corner, twist the bag
at that corner, and tie a new knot to keep any more goo from leaking out.
The second refill used the remaining corner, the third refill emptied the
6-cup bag (then we fought over who was going to get to turn it inside-out
and lick it clean <VBG>).

Hmmmm...come to think of it, I haven't had any goo for a month or
two...must be time to mix up another batch!

- Charlie II

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