Our plan was simple. Walk into the wilderness. Stroll through pristine forest with nothing but a song in our hearts and a pack on our backs. Hike into the thick, dark undergrowth of the eastern Kentucky woodlands, only to emerge four days later as real men who conquered nature and all of its unpredictable power. We would hike mountains. We would blaze trails. We would stare death in the face and laugh.
So, we packed bagels.
Now, before you question our dietary selections, you must know that before our journey, I read a multitude of books and web sites dedicated to wilderness hiking. Every book offered prepared lists for the necessary gear, clothing, toiletries, and food. After dozens of hours reading and making lists of my own, I came to realize the food list would be the most important. Having the right amount of food could save our lives because, no matter how hungry you are, you just can’t eat wool socks.
My son, Jonathan and I planned on spending four days in the wilderness – assuming we didn’t get lost. Hiking up mountains and through streambeds would exert energy I had not used since my years in college. In an effort to replace this lost energy, a hiker must consume large quantities of high-energy foods. A good breakfast, snacks during the day, and a solid meal at night would be critical to our survival. And so, we packed accordingly. Below is our list of items we placed on our backs and hiked into the wilderness.
3 boxes of granola bars (variety pack)
20 Clif Bars (variety)
3 cans of sardines (2 packed in oil, 1 in mustard)
2 bags of bagels (raisin cinnamon & egg)
2 bags of pita bread
2 jars of peanut butter (1 smooth, 1 crunchy)
2 bags sunflower seed hearts
2 bags trail mix
2 bags dried bananas
6 boxes of raisins
2 bags of dried apples (15 lbs rehydrated)
1 box of prunes
12 pouches of instant oatmeal (variety pack)
Dried soup (chicken flavored)
1 pouch of chicken (for the soup)
Macaroni and Cheese
1 pouch of tuna
4 packages of Ramen Noodles (chicken flavored)
Beef Jerkey (Teriyaki flavored)
1 stick summer sausage
Hot cocoa packets
1 jar of instant coffee
1 jar Tang
I recently learned that a hiker should only carry 2 pounds of food per day. I’ll be honest. Despite all my reading, I never saw this figure. If I had, we may have been able to stay in the woods the entire four days. As it was, our packs were so heavy we had to call it quits early. Also, if this number is accurate and my calculations are correct, we should have carried in only 8 pounds of food each. In reality, we carried more than that out of the woods!
You may find this hard to believe, and I would imagine most serious hikers would question how it is possible, but I gained five pounds during our trip. I have to credit the food list. The food list kept us from starving in the wilderness. Thank God. By the way, would anyone like to spit a Clif Bar? I have a few left over.
Next Week: A Tough Decision