Happy Thursday! This week is flying by! Anyone else notice that? Maybe it’s just me, but I measure my time in school years and it feels like this one is going by so fast. I’m a little bit okay with that since I have some really awesome trips coming up in the next few months. You guys know I just live from vacation to vacation, right?
I think I’ve mentioned our upcoming vacation plans a few times, but I’ll give you a quick overview mainly because I love talking and thinking about traveling! Something I haven’t talked about a lot on the blog, is my love of snow skiing. Believe it or not, it’s actually a passion of mine that is neck in neck with hiking as far as being my favorite thing to do. My family has been going as long as I can remember, and I put on my first pair of skis as soon as I was eligible! I don’t talk about it as much as I would like because, obviously, being stuck in Oklahoma doesn’t provide me with as many opportunities to ski as I would like. We generally try to go once a winter, but we skipped last year in favor of using John’s vacation time in Glacier. Needless to say, I’m more than ready to hit the slopes! John and I are headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado over spring break. I’m going to get my snow fix!
John is turning the big 3-0 in April, and since we almost always celebrate big occassions with travel, I asked him what city he would like to go explore on a mini-vacation for his birthday. He picked Chicago so we’ll be spending some time there over Memorial Day. Neither of us have been so it’ll be fun to discover it together. I also hope to meet a blend in real life on that trip. I’m looking at you, Miss Jorie!
Last but certainly not least, we have an epic (that’s right, I said it!) backpacking trip planned for July. We’re going back to Colorado (Yes! Twice in one year!) to hike part of the Colorado Trail. We have a 150 mike section staked out that will go from Lake City, CO and end up in one of my favorite towns, Durango, CO which is also home to my favorite restaurant ever. You better believe that’s where I’ll be having my post-hike meal!
Speaking of hiking and food, I want to talk to you guys a little bit about eating on the trail today. Are you intrigued by the title of this post? Well, it’s not an exaggeration. Backpacking burns a huge amount of calories. According to one online calculator, carrying a 25lb. pack (my normal load) for 8 hours of hiking, I would burn 4,000 calories. 4,000 calories?! That’s insane.
Many of the hiking books I read about people who do the longer thru-hikes center around food. Mostly, it’s about how they can’t seem to get enough! One of the things that is so special to me about hiking is how the concerns that seem to overwhelm us in everyday life, melt away on the trail and your priorities become very, very basic. Food, water, and setting up shelter are the important things in your world. Making sure you have enough food to sustain you during a trip while not overloading your pack is a huge part of the planning stage.
So what food do we take with us to attempt to satisfy our overwhelming hunger? We have a few staples that have been tried and true. I know you guys will be completely surprised, but I always take oatmeal for us to have for breakfast. No, I haven’t figured out how to have yogurt bowls on the trail! Oatmeal is great trail food. It’s easy to compress in your pack, and it’s filling. Oatmeal itself doesn’t have enough calories to start off the day in the back country so we always add copious amounts of peanut butter. A couple other great options are powdered eggs and powdered milk with granola. John even read an article in Backpacker recently that illustrated how to take fresh eggs on the trail. I’m skeptical of this, but we might try it!
Lunch and snacks are a variety of nuts, seeds, trail mix, raisins, and protein bars. I’m a huge fan of Cliff Bars, and our packs always have quite a few of those. This is my favorite flavor!
We’ve also had great luck with applesauce. I have no idea why, but applesauce tastes so good in the backcountry!
Dinner usually consists of some sort of freeze-dried meal. When I first started backpacking, I thought these were going to be the worst part of the process, but, trust me, they’re really good! There are several great companies to pick from including Packit Gourmet, Mountain House, and Backpacker’s Pantry. They have options that you wouldn’t believe like Beef Stroganoff and Lasagna-two of my personal favorites. We usually pack tea bags or packets of hot cocoa as an after dinner treat.
Any quick Google search will show how creative people haven’t gotten with creating awesome recipes for homemade food in the backcountry. I plan on experimenting a little more with this in the coming months, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!
There are a lot of options to meet your calorie needs in the back country. Luckily, most of them are tasty so you don’t feel to deprived! And the hard work will make that post-hike celebration meal in your favorite restaurant taste better than you can imagine!
What are your go-to foods to refuel? What fun trips do you have planned this year?