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Food Stuffs

15 May

In all our research one of the biggest gaps of information we found on thru hikers was “What do these people eat?”.   Everyone talks about the intricacies of the trail, where they slept, how rocky Pennsylvania is and occasionally what crazy amount of food they ordered at a restaurant in town, but there is little information on the day to day.  If you are walking/running 20-30 miles a day up and down mountains with a backpack on you need some serious calories.   My usual granola bar and a fruit leather isn’t going to cut it.  So Emily and I have been experimenting and have had to play a lot with foods that we have already eaten too much previously as guides (oatmeal for Emily, dehydrated pasta sauce for me).  Here is what we have come up with so far and what we are going to try to make work for us:

Breakfast:

Cream of rice/wheat

Pop tarts

Shredded wheat, Cracklin’ Oat Bran

DRIED FRUIT

Granola bars

Lunch (on the go): Continue reading

Mt. Wrightson

13 May

Eric, a friend from NC, came out to visit recently and he had told me he would enjoy a camping trip while in Tucson. Knowing that Jen and I train in a very different manner than most I had asked many times about his comfort, speed, and distance preferences. Since he had previously been in the military and is about 6’4” he was relatively comfortable “walking all day”. We spoke about gear and he assured me that he would show up with a small pack, a sleeping bag (ours are way too short!), and a water bladder. We could provide for him a tent and a sleeping pad.
After talking about it and Jen looking into some options we decided to summit Mt. Wrightson, a “must do” hike near Tucson. Mt Wrightson has an elevation of 9453 feet, and a campsite about 1000 feet down from the summit. With a campsite so close to the trail we were able to dry camp* after our first day of hiking, summit in the morning without our packs, and then hike down.
The hike up followed a much used nicely maintained trail. We turned off this trail to hike around and up the south side of the mountain. This trail opened up into one of the most beautiful views we have had in Tucson. The sun was setting in the west and our view into Mexico was stunning.

Continue reading

Dogs and the AT

21 Apr

*Please note that this post may offend some. That it is not my intention. However, I do want to bring to light other not so typical viewpoints about the AT.

It is so hard for me to understand why dogs are not appreciated on the AT. My trail partner and I have read post after post and article after article about dogs on the Appalachian Trail. People are very negative towards our four legged companions. Don’t they have more of a right to be free in the woods than we do? They are, after all, descendants of the wolf. These creatures were roaming the woods of North America way before our English ancestors were. ( I know not everyone’s ancestors are English, however it was very much a white man’s vision to build the AT.)

I love my dogs. They have and always will be a part of my life. I take them to the dog park, the grocery store, and I used to take them to work. They are well behaved. They actually do not want you to pet them right away. They want to get close enough to smell you, and then they wish to go on their merry way. Our dogs are our trail companions. They always have been. They have grown up faithfully running by our sides on trails throughout North America and even parts of Europe. We feel guilt when we leave them at home alone. Even if it is only for an hour. We simply cannot imagine packing this trail without them.

With this being said I am going to bring to light some controversial viewpoints. Continue reading

Ultralight Lessons #1

20 Apr

Two weeks ago after a year and a half of gear research, gear discussions, and eventual gear purchasing, Emily and I finally set out on our first overnight “ultralight” backpacking trip. Though it had been long anticipated, both of us knew that there were going to be many lessons to be learned, the majority of which would be the hard way. Our trip did not disappoint.

We started off what felt like way too early on Tuesday morning. We were up at 7:30am to make our final preparations and to toss our gear and pups in the back of Emily’s Jeep. We had a 30-mile overnight planned out in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. Google maps said it was about a 3 hour drive and we hoped to hit the trail by noon to knock out 15 miles the first day.
Well, five and a half hours after leaving our apartment Continue reading