Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Food Drop: Exposed!

An eye opening look into the seedy under-belly of Appalachian Trail hiking drop boxes!

Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, while it's true I'll be eating seeds, grains, and nut and they will be going into my (under)belly, and this post will force you to open your eyes, to at least glance at it quickly before your short-lived attention span skitters elsewhere. Retracted, not an exaggeration!!

The Box
I am using USPS Priority Mail boxes to ship my food and sundries to myself. Actually my awesome support crew, the woman that I love whom prefers chipmunks to squirrels and is occasionally called 'Songbird', will be doing the drop ships. Priority Mail really works out, she can just pop on line a week ahead of when i need the next box and schedule a pickup at the house. The mail courier grabs it and sends it on it's way. Very easy for her. I have the boxes preassembled for ease, including notebooks, maps, extra plastic bags, as well as food for until the next box is needed. The plan is to swoop into town, get to the post office and dump the food in my pack. If I have no plans of staying in the town, or the bounce box is further along, high tail it directly back into the woods, with maybe a stop to grab some extra grub or a hot meal.

Breakfasts of a Champion
To break each fast when I roll out of my sleeping bag in the cool morning, I will have an Oatmeal Breakfast cookie, a NutraGrain bar or other type of protein bar and nuts or a packet of MRE peanut butter. Additionally I am drying fruits to go along with this array. Finally I will be adding bagels to this as I go thru towns. Nothing is finer than Peanut butter on a bagel! I will heat up a cup of water for my coffee and drink that while I tear down camp and munch on a bagel. The rest of the food I will eat while I hike up the Trail. I have found I get hungry early and often while I hike, and my energy begins to flag if I don't have a constant something to ingest.
First Meal

Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Lunch, and Tea-time
I will have a piece of food for every hour I am hiking. I have consumed almost as much, and occasionally more, on weekend hikes. So I do not feel like I am packing too much. I may require supplements additionally beyond the heaps of food I will be toting.
Each lunch is separated in a sandwich baggie. In the mornings I will put the food for breakfast and lunch in my accessible belt pouch so there isn't stopping for eating. I find it completely OK not to break to eat. Contained in the lunch packet: Clif bar, Honey Stinger or other Protein bar, Lance Crackers, and Nature Valley Oat bar. I will also have jerky, summer sausage, and country ham - those are to add to dinners, but also snack on throughout the day. I will also buy blocks of cheese in town.
I have also tossed Slim Fast mixed with dehydrated milk to equal every-other-day in the drop boxes. I figure drinking a few hundred calorie boost when I'm feeling depleted and sick of water is good.

Not weak lunches rather a week of lunches so I don't get weak!

The Good the Bad the Cooked
Pictured below are some various meals I will be enjoying. A couple rice dishes with dried butter dried vegis and spices, some Knorr noodles with stuff added to make it better, Couscous and chicken with dried vegis, mashed potatoes+, and stuffing. Everything only requires water and heat. The rice dishes will take a bit of fore-thought if I don't want to waste 10 min of fuel. It's possible to reconstitute all of these meals with boiling water, in the bag that they are in currently. Add water and put it in an insulated pouch and wait a bit. Not shown here are some bean meals, lentils, and others that came from Harmony House. I did add Harmony House dried vegetables to nearly every meal. All the rice, couscous, and potato dishes have a huge variety of vegetables, from corn, spinach, peas, carrots, etc. Also I used fake meat from Harmony House to add some flavor to the rice as well. I tried to coordinate the spice with the appropriate meal, like dill to carrots, and chilli powder to faux-ground beef. I think I will have enough variety that hiker boxes from GA to ME aren't littered with little bags of Harmony House and rice!! Or the dreaded incognito bag of white powder!