backpacker lunch

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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bobby49
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backpacker lunch

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:03 pm

I was headed northbound on the JMT/PCT heading for Glen Pass and Rae Lakes. There was a twenty-something woman headed the same way. Late on the day before, she had gone out over Kearsarge Pass to resupply in Independence. Now she was back on the trail and trying to catch up with her friends who had not gone out to resupply. She was carrying a lightweight pack that appeared to be no heavier than 25 pounds, and that caught my attention if she had just resupplied. We chatted as we headed up the switchbacks toward the pass. It turned out that she was attempting to do the entire PCT, but she told me that she had launched the trip with only two weeks of warning. That also caught my attention. She was carrying no tent. Her friends had tents, and she hoped to catch up with them by Woods Crossing just in the event that it rained. We reached the pass and paused to eat a bite of lunch. She pulled out pita bread and peanut butter and prepared to spread that. Then I noticed that she was closely watching what I was eating, so I commented on a bite of this and that, and I offered her some of my stuff, if she was interested. She said that she was interested, but that she and her friends had a rule that everybody had to carry their own food. I agreed that was a good group rule. She said that she had been on the trail since the Mexican border, and the only lunch food that she could afford to buy was pita bread and peanut butter... so that was all that she ever had for lunch. I was speechless.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'll eat pita bread and peanut butter, but I don't think that I could eat it for every lunch for five months or so. There's got to be a better way. If she had just resupplied, she could have easily gotten a variety of lunch foods.

Do people really go out to hike the entire PCT on a limited diet like that?








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TahoeJeff
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by TahoeJeff » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:01 pm

bobby49 wrote: eat it for every lunch for five months or so
Sounds like being in the county jail...
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markskor
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by markskor » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:04 pm

bobby49 wrote:...the only lunch food that she could afford to buy was pita bread and peanut butter... so that was all that she ever had for lunch.
Do people really go out to hike the entire PCT on a limited diet like that?
Good question - another dubious area when on the PCT.

With the publicity, the recent romanticizing of the PCT, all the major Trail Angel locations ...maps and social media circulated - a vast hiker's underground railroad exists. Now everybody armed with electronics knows where the free food, water, places to shower/ rest up, party places, gear shops, cheap motels, etc are. On the trail, everybody texts, twitters, etc. Want to bet this peanut butter/pita bread hiker who couldn't afford food had/could afford a smart phone?

Today you could start out with a weeks worth of food and less than $400, and hike/(hitch-hike?) from Mount Laguna all the way two months later to Red's Meadow, buying some resupply items but mostly living off hiker boxes and the trail-generosity of others. This is all part of today's PCT trail lore. In the hike's beginning sections, if you (look like you) are hiking, there are lots of "free lunches" available. (Just a note - it's only free if you stay over and do not donate.) Too many users sponge - too many who do not know enough to, (or won't) contribute.

Up in TM, mile 942, we often see the end of the trail for many, including those just having completed a good chunk of the PCT - now done. Maybe it's the easy-out access possibilities (YARTS), or maybe injury, or tired, or whatever, but ~40% of the NOBO hikers coming thru leave the trail in Yosemite. Coincidently, most of the trail aid also drys up past Yosemite too.
Many of these now vagabonds just hang out in the Meadows for a week or so - broke, somehow believing that as before, trail magic will provide for them - gets old.

On the PCT, if you can't afford to pay your fair share, don't go.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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bobby49
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:20 pm

Are you suggesting that she really wanted me to offer harder about my lunch food for her?

I was making predicted progress on my trail miles, so I had about 25% more food than I needed.

Launching a PCT trip on two weeks of notice seemed a little wild. I think that she went only because her friends were going.

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apeman45
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by apeman45 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:32 pm

Launching an unsupported PCT trip on 2 weeks notice is impossible. I agree with Markskor unfortunately. The easy resupplies and for sure the free handouts dry up north of Toulumne Meadows. The hikers who planned out for more than 2 weeks will certainly have a substantial resupply waiting at the TM post office. I often offer food to PCTers north of TM. They almost always decline unless it's a nice treat. They are dialed in by then and know exactly what they are doing. Once the herd is thinned out it's more like the traditional PCTer. Lot's of clueless noobs south of TM but still also lots of cool people. I still have a flip phone and a compass so just another grouchy old man chiming in.

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bobby49
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:07 pm

apeman45 wrote:Launching an unsupported PCT trip on 2 weeks notice is impossible.
It was not determined that this was unsupported. This gal was traveling most of the time with some friends. However, I don't know whether they were just "trail friends" that she latched onto, or whether it was a small bunch of good friends from back home. Maybe they were even coordinating the resupply detour, like picking one person to do the resupply and pick up stuff for the others also. I don't know, and I didn't really get to know her.

Somebody remind me not to try to do the whole PCT on pita bread and peanut butter for lunch. I could handle it for about three or four days in a row.

On the other hand, I suppose that pita bread and peanut butter packs pretty tightly, and it is energy rich. It's probably not that healthy over a long time.

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Lumbergh21
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:33 am

TahoeJeff wrote:
bobby49 wrote: eat it for every lunch for five months or so
Sounds like being in the county jail...
Or grade school. I think my mom made me a cheap ham sandwich on white bread with mayo every day of school one year.

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Lumbergh21
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:41 am

bobby49 wrote:
Now, don't get me wrong. I'll eat pita bread and peanut butter, but I don't think that I could eat it for every lunch for five months or so. There's got to be a better way. If she had just resupplied, she could have easily gotten a variety of lunch foods.

Do people really go out to hike the entire PCT on a limited diet like that?
Check out the trail journal of Brakeman and Grasshopper on TrailJournals.com and you'll see two middle aged hikers that would splurge on town resupplies but in between ate cold soaked mashed potatoes wrapped in tortillas as there trail staple. Two per day, one for lunch and one for dinner with various snacks to accompany the blandest of staples.

By the way, I used the hiker buckets at MTR and VVR as my primary source of resupply while hiking around the Sierra for 15 days last year. Sure made it a lot cheaper of a hike for me, and I got to try some really yummy stuff.

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gary c.
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by gary c. » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:35 am

I've yet to do a long through hike but I'm always amazed by how they do things. I love hanging out at the Reds Meadow store and visiting with the PCT folks. Once when we were coming off trail at Reds Meadow a PCT hiker was resupplying. Practically the only two items in his package was a bag of gorp and another huge bag of oatmeal. Morning and night it was either gorp or oatmeal and that was it he said. Another time a young lady came out with her resupply package and started giving almost all of her food items away. As she explained it she had gotten so tired of her backpacker food that she had been living off of Snickers bars since Kennedy Meadows. She bought all of the Snickers they had there at RM and finished filling her pack with what little she thought she could stomach from her package. I can't imagine how much all those Snickers bars weighed.
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John Harper
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Re: backpacker lunch

Post by John Harper » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:59 am

Lumbergh21 wrote:
TahoeJeff wrote:
bobby49 wrote: eat it for every lunch for five months or so
Sounds like being in the county jail...
Or grade school. I think my mom made me a cheap ham sandwich on white bread with mayo every day of school one year.
With the crust cut off!

John

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