Days 115-118; Julian to Mexican Border

Woke up in Julian to find that it had rained during the night. That was unexpected… We had breakfast, followed by pie with ice cream and warm cider. Then we did our resupply and it took a while to get a ride back out of town with five guys. We were back on trail around 11:00. The terrain was pretty forgiving and we got almost 25mi done that day. My left calf was very tight that day and I was limping a little bit. Not sure what’s going on there but it’s not going to stop me from hiking a couple more miles…

Low-hanging clouds were moving in as the sun was setting, which looked really cool and made for an awesome sunset. There was a lot of moisture in the air and most of our stuff was damp when we woke up the next morning. We were on trail early and go treated to an amazing sunrise before heading into Mt Laguna for coffee:

This was our last full day of hiking and we ended the day ~32.5 miles later in Lake Morena. We set up at the campground and then walked to the store to order huge pizzas. People were watching the World Series game and kids were coming in to trick and treat – today was Halloween. The sunset coming into town was one of the most spectacular I’ve seen on trail:

We slept in a bit and then hiked the last 20 miles to the Mexican border. Everyone was in a great mood, the weather was nice, and we were all very excited to celebrate. The hike to the border was pretty relaxed. My calf was still bothering me but it hardly mattered: we soon got into the single digits and were counting down the miles. We were in no particular rush and savored the last instances of “trail life”, taking unnecessary breaks and eating as much of the food we were still carrying as possible. We made it to the one-mile marker…

… and just a little later got to the monument:

Done. I can’t believe it. I’m a bit sad it’s over but mostly very, very happy. I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to go on this adventure. By far the longest and most exhausting vacation I ever took. It was an amazing experience and it’ll take me a while to process all of it. Can’t wait to get back to “normal life”!

Days 110-115; Big Bear City to Julian

We got a ride from the same trail angel that took us into town and there were already a bunch of other hikers in the car: Bootstraps, Sharkbait, Nissan Pathfinder, and Stitch. Dan and I took off from the trail head a bit earlier than the other guys and hiked just past Onyx Summit before setting up camp for the night. Good day overall: ate plenty of food in town, got some admin stuff done, skyped with Kim, and bought more food. (I wish we’d gone to Big Bear Lake instead, though: the selection at the tiny store in BB City was predictably limited.) Still got 21mi done that day!

The next morning, we hiked the 14mi to the next water source and realized that we were right in the “SOBO bubble”: there was a huge group (for SOBO standards) of hikers that aggregated at the spring: Dan and I ran into the four guys we shared the ride with yesterday as well as Radio, Bites, Cockblock Moses, Larrybird, and Nutbutt. Saw them all again for lunch, which we had at a flowing stream (a rare sight in the desert…):

Hiking was good that day and we slept in the sandy shores of Whitewater Creek. I said good bye to Dan that night: his dad would meet him later on the next day to hike the next 100mi together. I decided to stick with Paul/Bootstraps, Peter/Nissan Pathfinder, Brendan/Sharkbait, and Peter/Stitch and try to keep up with them: Brendan’s return flight is on Nov 2nd so they were trying to finish on the first.

We hiked out the next morning and made our way to the water faucet at the base of San Jacinto. It was pretty hot that day (probably close to 100F in the sun) and we didn’t feel like making the climb in the scorching heat. We found the only shading-casting boulder and sat down for a couple of hours; napping, eating, and drinking water. I started the long ascend just after 3pm and expected it to suck. But by then, most of the trail was already in the shade. The way up was long but not too steep and I got to camp about six hours later. On the way up, I passed the 200 mile marker and got some great views of the valley we had crossed earlier that day:

The next morning, we went uphill for another five miles and then descended and took the Deer Springs trail down to the hwy and into Idyllwild. I had breakfast and then Stitch and I went to the Laundromat. Resupply after that and then we hitched out the the Paradise Valley Cafe. The trail out of Idyllwild is still closed after a fire had destroyed it a couple of years ago and they want the vegetation to recover before opening the trail again. I had another meal and a beer at the Cafe before heading back out to trail. I hiked into the night a bit to camp at mile maker 140 and stick to my schedule. It was hot and I was sweaty but I packed out a big bag of chips and it’s hard to feel bad if you have almost 2,000 fatty, delicious calories within your reach…

Was very slow the next day and the guys caught up with me soon. I was planning to go to Warner Springs that night so I could make it to Julian the next day. It was “only” a 31-mile day for me but the guys had camped 4 or 5 miles behind me so it was a long day for them. We hiked together most of the way but I somehow managed to get off trail twice that day. They should have “don’t text and hike” signs put up on trail down south were you get signal so frequently… I spent about an hour that day hiking away from the trail and correcting for my errors. So I got to the community center in Warner Springs last and was as exhausted as everyone else. However, everyone was in a great mood. We were getting close to the 100-mile mark and the realization that we’ll be done in a couple of days slowly sets in and everyone’s getting excited for post-trail life.

We went past Eagle Rock at the very first daylight and hiked through some pretty prairie fields for a while. Passed the 100-mile mark shortly after sunrise and had a pretty relaxed day hiking up and down the hills leading to Highway 78.

 

Took a bit to get a hitch into Julian but got picked up by a couple that had thru-hiked last year. They took me to Carmen’s Garden in Julian. The guys had arrived there about half an hour earlier and when I showed up, a veggie burger and beer was already waiting for me. Carmen was ridiculously nice to us: they cleaned up the restaurant and then she just gave us the key and told us we could stay there and help ourselves to whatever we wanted. Trail magic deluxe so close to the end of the trail! Carmen’s place was definitely one of the best stops on trail.

Julian was the very last town stop on trail. We’ll pass through a couple of other places along the way but it’s off to the Mexican border from here! Only 77.3 more miles!

Days 103-110; Agua Dulce to Big Bear City

We spent the night at Hiker Heaven and I did my laundry and took a shower there, which was great. As I said, my shoes hadn’t arrived yet, which was not great. Left the town in the afternoon after a big breakfast and a lunch. It was hot that day and I didn’t make it too much further. There were some cool rock formations just south of Agua Dulce:

The next day was pretty brutal. I didn’t make my 30-mile goal and called it a day after 28.8. Over the course of those miles I gained 9,200′. That must be a new record (for me). The next day was great and I did 31.2mi to compensate for the previous day. Still a lot of elevation gain that day (about 8,000′, I think) but it felt okay. Some pretty views that day as well:

The next morning, we were treated to a cool sunrise over low-hanging clouds that moved in from the ocean. We climbed up and followed a ridge line that gave us great views in both directions. 

We took the little spur trail up to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell, named after the founder of the Boyscouts of America. It was super windy up there but the views were great:

From there, it was all downhill to the highway from where we got a ride into Wrightwood. They had another informative sign at the trailhead, showing that we’re getting closer and closer to the border…

In Wrightwood, we had a big breakfast. I went to the post office to mail off my fleece, my sleeping bag liner, and my Kindle. Made my pack almost two pounds lighter, which is great. Did my resupply and then met Rapunzel. He’s a fellow hiker that I met up in Washington (at the Dinsmore’s) and who lives in Wrightwood. I had my shoes sent to him. So, after 1,035mi, I finally got new shoes:

Rapunzel took us back to the trailhead and we hiked for another half hour before making camp. The new shoes felt amazing!

The next day was tough because we gained 5,500′ (which isn’t too bad) but lost 9,500. Had to carry water for the first 26mi stretch of the day and the backpack was full with food fresh out of Wrightwood. Tough on the knees. We stopped at the famous on-trail McDonalds for and afternoon snack and then found a campsite about 6 miles up the hill. 

The following day, Day 108, we came past Silverwood Lake, which was a surprising sight in the desert and looked like a nice recreational area. The trail went around one side of the lake and I had a really good signal there and skyped with Kim, Berry, and Susie while walking for a while.  

Later that afternoon, we went past the on-trail Deep Creek hot springs. My feet were hurting and I was running a bit late. So I only sat down for a snack and then went on instead of joining the drunk, naked hippies. 

The last full hiking day in this stretch was kind of uneventful. It was hot and we basically went uphill for 20mi straight; and very slow, gradual uphill. In the morning, we passed the 300-mile mark and after about 31mi of hiking, camped about 7mi from the highway that take us to Big Bear City. 

We got into Big Bear City this morning and I’ll try to get back on trail by 13:00 and do another 15mi. 

The next stop is Idyllwild. This stretch will include the last challenge for southbound hikers: San Jacinto. It’s going to be the longest sustained climb. Should provide some awesome views! There’s a two-day heatwave moving through the area right now so we’ll probably not be spared the 100+F temperatures but I think that just adds to the desert experience…

I got some concerned messages and questions after my last post so I think I should clarify: I am still enjoying the trip very much. My self-imposed deadline requires me to hike at least 30 miles a day, which just means I am very exhausted at all times and comfort is not really part of my life right now. But that’s by choice and it’s okay. I am fine and have a great time still. It’s just that when I wake up in the morning, I am more excited about and motivated by sitting on a couch back at home than finding out what’s on the other side of the mountain I’m currently going up. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to go up the mountain anymore, though. I’m just getting increasingly excited about the prospect of sitting down for a while and letting my body recover beyond the 8 hours of sleep it currently gets.

Days 99-102; Tehachapi to Agua Dulce

I did a couple more miles leaving Tehachapi to make it a 20-mile day despite the town stop. The next day, this guy Dan caught up with me just as I was finishing my lunch. We decided to do the last 18mi to Hiker Town together. That stretch was very strange: it was almost completely flat and mostly a (dirt) road walk. We went through a huge wind farm and along the L.A. aquaduct. 

Did 31.25mi that day, had dinner in town and slept at Hiker Town. I left just after 6:00 the next morning, planning to get another 30 miles in. There was no water along the trail that day so I had to leave with a heavy pack full of water. 

I did not make my goal and set up camp as dusk was setting in. I was in quite a bit of pain for most of that day and had to take a lot of breaks. Blisters had formed under the callus on both heels and when I had a closer look, I could see that they were also slightly infected. It looked pretty gnarly and explained the pain. I set up camp and got out the small Swiss army knife Berry and Susie got me for Sinterklaas to perform some surgery. As I said to Kim: the good thing about being alone in the desert is that no-one can hear you scream. I’d rate this day 2/10 overall – at least the trail was shaded almost all day. 

I slept really well and the surgery was successful. Heels felt much better the next day and I was in a great mood. I made up for not even doing 28mi the day before and made a big push to get all the way to Agua Dulce – 35.4mi. A new record. The last two miles were a road walk that I had to do in the dark. Probably the scariest and most dangerous thing I’ve done on trail so far. Had dinner with Dan, who arrived about 45min earlier. 

We spent the night at Hiker Heaven and I basically just passed out immediately after getting there. Long day. 

The next morning, I did my laundry and took a shower. The shoes that didn’t make it to Kennedy Meadows were supposed to be sent here. But they are not here yet. How can I be faster than the USPS?! They have trucks! I really need new shoes. My feet are complaining pretty loudly. I spent about two hours today trying to figure out what to do. I ended up calling Altra and had them express-ship a new pair to Wrightwood, my next stop. I’ll just return the pair that is somewhere in postal service limbo. I’ll go another 90mi in these shoes. It’s not going to be comfortable but I don’t want to sit here and wait for new shoes…

Anyways. Now the blog is finally up to date again and I am getting ready to get back on trail. It run right through the town (the main road is the trail). Just got to get food and then I’m out. This next stretch to Wrightwood is basically all uphill. Doing 30-mile days will be very tough. We’ll see how that goes…

Days 93-99; Kennedy Meadows to Tehachapi

Day 93 was a bit of an unintentional zero day. We went to the store in the morning to get our mail: my new and warmer quilt and the last shipment of medication was there. My shoes had not arrived yet, though. 

We got a ride down the road to Grumpy Bear but they were not open yet. We spent the time until 11:00 across the street at Triple Crown Outfitters chatting with some legendary hikers. Was great to meet Matt and Jacky, really nice people!

After a huge pizza for breakfast, we went back to the store. I showered and bought food for the next stetch. Then I took care of the mail: I sent my 10° quilt back to EE and the bear can back to Joe – I won’t need to carry that beast any longer. A load off my back, literally. The guy in the store offered to forward my package to Tehachapi so I hoped to get my shoes there. 

The day was very hot and just as I was getting ready to hit the trail, I started getting pretty bad stomach cramps. Jeff had two friends come and visit for the night. They were driving up from LA. I was feeling pretty bad and wasn’t sure whether I’d be throwing up or not. Didn’t want to be out on trail for that so I stuck around and spent the night with them. Good fun and I was feeling better by the time I crawled into my new quilt…

The next day, Jeff stayed behind with his friends to hike out to some hot springs and I hit the trail just before noon. He’s in no real rush to finish but I am so I doubt he’ll catch up. So I’m on my own for now.  

I made my way through the desert and had a pretty good time. It was cool to be completely along, I didn’t see anyone until I got to Walker Pass. I had some issues getting to off-trail water sources, which took a lot of time I couldn’t spend hiking so I didn’t quite make my goals. A bit frustrating but not much I can do about it. 

I got to Walker Pass just before sunset and hitched into Ridgecrest to resupply and get dinner. I tried to hitch back out so I could get on trail early but no-one picked me up in the dark. So I just slept behind some bushes in the city. Not the best night off trail, I have to say. 

Took a while to get back to trail the next morning but then j was finally back to hiking again. After three days of hiking, I camped just up the hill from Hwy 58 on Day 98. Awesome view of the sunset over the city and a beautiful sunrise the next morning when I hiked down the last 4.4mi to the highway. I stood in the 25F cold for half an hour before a lady picked me up and took me to Tehachapi. 

I spent the day skyping with friends and on the phone with United Airlines. My return flight was booked for November 15 but I made ambitious plans to finish earlier and moved the date forward to November 8. I figured that if I hike 30mi/day and 15-20 on days I stop in town, I can be done on November 3 or 4. As I said: Ambitious. 

From here on out, I’ll be going full throttle. The desert has it’s own beauty and the short days mean I get to see every sunrise and sunset, which is cool. But I’m kind of done. I just want to go home and sit down. I’m tired and my feet hurt. Only a bit more than 500 miles to go!

Days 89-92; Kearsarge Pass to Kennedy Meadows

Woke up after one of the coldest nights on trail. My water bottle was 3/4 full and 80% frozen in the morning. We spent the morning making our way up Forester Pass. It was a sunny day but windy and not exactly warm. 

Forester Pass was awesome and the climb up to over 13,000′ wasn’t as bad as I had expected. 

We spent the rest of the day making our way to the Craptree Ranger Station. That’s where the JMT and PCT split: the PCT continues south and ignores Mt Whitney and the JMT goes up the mountain and finishes on the other side of it. 

The ranger station was the closest we could get to the summit and be allowed to camp with our PCT permits. So we made camp there. After an even colder night (my full water bottle froze solid), we went “off trail” to hike up the 7mi to the summit. It was a 3,800′ climb and took me 3.5 hours. We left all our stuff down at the ranger station and only took our phones and all our clothes. It was cold up there. I would have liked to take more pictures but my phone kept crashing as soon as it was separated from my body’s heat and I couldn’t really feel my fingers. Hiking up in the thin air was a really interesting experience. A 3,800′ climb over 7 miles would have been a piece of cake if we had started at 3,000′. Not if you start at 10,700′, though. 

The hike up and down to Whitney was gorgeous and the views from the summit were fantastic!

After making the 7mi back to camp, we had a late lunch and then got some PCT miles in. 

After another freezing night and a couple of miserable early-morning miles, the next day warmed up nicely and we finally got some PCY miles out of the way. We found a great campsite with a view over Owen’s Valley and got treated to both an awesome sunset and a very pretty sunrise. Our last night at 10,000′! 

The next day was mostly downhill and we did 29.7mi without even really trying. The landscape changed noticeably and we were clearly walking towards the desert. We arrived at the Kennedy Meadows campground just after it got dark and joined two ladies at their campfire. They were wondering what to do with their leftovers and we solved their problem promptly and free of charge. 

This is probably the last big milestone. We made it through the Sierra before the snow started for the season. That’s the big time constraint for southbound thru-hikers and we made it. So we were in a great mood!

From here, it’s just 702 miles of desert. No big deal…

Days 86-88; Rest days in Bishop

We took a bit of a longer break. Staying at the Hostel California was awesome and we had a great time hanging out with other hikers. There was a group there who had just finished their thru-hike; they started in Mexico and went to Kearsarge Pass and then flipped to Canada and went south from there. So when they made it back to K. Pass, they had “connected” and were done. Was great to see them celebrate and how excited they were for us to go out and finish the trail. 

I was a bit annoyed because we were losing time but the rest days were necessary. The High Sierra was tough and my body needed a break. 

I ordered a warmer quilt and a new pair of shoes to our next stop: Kennedy Meadows. The customer service at Enlightened Equipment is outstanding – highly recommend buying your stuff there!

We spent Day 88 hitching to Independence, getting our stuff from the post office, hitching up to the trail head, and going back over Kearsarge Pass to get bach to the PCT. Pretty mellow day overall and we were well-rested and excited to abuse our bodies again!

Days 79-86; Tuolumne Meadows to Kearsarge Pass/Bishop

We took the 8:00 bus out of Mammoth Lakes to get back to Tuolumne Meadows. I picked up my package with food there and sent out my sleeping bag. Will be using my new 10-degree quilt from here on out. 

At this point, we joined the John Muir Trail, which is a 200-something mile trail from Yosemite to Mt Whitney. The PCT and the JMt are largely identical. This stretch is considered the High Sierra and the most spectacular part of the PCT. The JMT is basically a series of passes: you go up to a high pass and then back down into a valley just to go up over the next pass. The tricky thing is plan out the days such that you don’t have to camp too high up because it’s cold up there. We tried to camp below 10,000′ and were mostly successful. 

Most people hike the JMT southbound because the lower passes are up north and you kind of work your way up to Forrester Pass, which is the highest point on the PCT, and then finish by summiting Mt Whitney (which is where the JMT ends but it’s not technically part of the PCT). It’s pretty awesome because all the passes are high enough that you get above the tree line. There are very pretty high-altitude lakes in an almost extraterrestrial landscape. 

Donohue Pass

We made our way over the first pass – Donohue Pass – on day 80. There was still some snow, which made everything extra pretty. The pass itself was not too bad and took is up to 11,073′. 

We pushed on and ended up in Reds Meadows just before they closed the kitchen. We stayed at the campground there. 

Silver Pass

We had breakfast at Reds Meadows the next morning and learned that the Muir Trail Ranch is going to close soon. So we had to reconsider some of our timing and carry out a bit more food. We left Reds with heavy packs around 9:30 and pushed hard to make it over Silver Pass that day. We got to the top of the 10,781′ pass just in time for sunset, which was magical…

It got cold as soon as the sun had set and we had to night-hike a bit to get below 10,000′ and make camp for the night. 

Selden Pass

I felt tired and exhausted the next morning and it took me until after lunch to pull myself together and burn some miles. The nights are cold and my quilt is not quite enough to keep me warm. Long hiking days and cumulative sleep loss are not ideal conditions. Views like these more than make up for it, though, so I am not complaining. 

We got to the Muir Trail Ranch around 18:00 and setup camp. We descended all the way to less than 8,000′ so the night wasn’t quite as cold. 

Muir Pass

We slept in a bit because the Ranch didn’t open until 8:00. They had an insane “hiker box”:

Buckets of food. People hiking the JMT ship food out here but often too much so they left some behind. We were there on closing day for the season so a lot of food had accumulated. There was one whole bucket for oatmeal. 😀

We got some extra food and were on our way up Muir Pass. The approach to it was gorgeous and the view from 11,969′ was amazing!

This was another day on which we didn’t even hike 25 miles but that felt like a 30+ mile day. The elevation makes everything a lot harder… it’s okay, though, if this is where you have your lunch break:

Mather Pass

The next day, we tackled Mather Pass. It had a pretty steep approach. The nights are still cold but the days got much warmer again. Great hiking weather and a fantastic workout for your quads and calves. This stretch is still park of Kings Canyon National Park, which has been ridiculously pretty…

Pinchot Pass and Glen Pass

We made a big push for two passes in a day. After Mather Pass, the trail only dropped down to just above 10,000′. We camped as low as possible and went up over the 12,106′ Pinchot Pass the next morning. 

Then we made our way down to 8,780′ just to get back up and over Glen Pass at 11,949′. I mentally prepared myself in the morning for an above average amount of discomfort and exertion but it was actually okay. Still above average, but not as bad as I had thought. We got treated to a spectacular sunset while descending from Glen Pass:

That night, we made camp at the trail junction to Kearsarge Pass. We left the PCT/JMT via a 9mi side trail to get to a trailhead/parking lot and hitch-hike to Bishop. 

So the next morning we went over Kearsarge Pass…

… and we are now in Bishop. Didn’t do any ‘trail miles’ on Day 86, just the 9 miles to get off trail. We’ll spent Sunday/Day 87 in Bishop and then go back to Independence on Monday to pick up our food from the post office and get back on trail (that is: try to hitch back up to the trailhead and hike the 9mi back to the PCT/JMT. 

As you can see, the High Sierra is absolutely stunning. It feels surreal and is almost overwhelmingly beautiful. I which those peaks and valleys were spread out across the trail. Now it’s hard to keep them apart in my memory… but I took about a million pictures so I think that’ll help. 

The next update will include the highest point on the PCT – Forester Pass – as well as a side trip up the highest mountain in the continental U.S. – my feet are already itchy and I can’t wait to get back into the mountains. I know I’ll be cold because I can’t really fix my sleeping bag situation but a little discomfort is worth the show Nature is putting on for us. Besides, I have an increasingly bushy beard to protect me so I should be fine!

Days 71-78; South Lake Tahoe to Tuolumne Meadows/Mammoth Lakes

We spent most of Day 71 in South Lake Tahoe: eating, resupplying, eating more, and trying to find a place with WiFi. We got back on trail in the early evening and did 11 miles to get at least a bit done that day. 

The next day, we got some nice views of the looming mountains in the distance:

The nights were getting colder and the higher elevation brings a lot more wind with it. My Houdini wind jacket is probably my favorite piece of gear at the moment. 

The next day was very pleasant and brought us within about 11 miles of the highway into Bridgeport. 

The morning of Day 74 was cold and windy and I got up early to get down to the highway and into Bridgeport. Coming down to the highway, we found this sign:

Turns out Joe came all the way down from Tacoma to visit us! I asked him whether I could use his bear can in the Sierra. Instead of mailing it to Bridgeport, he delivered it in person! It was good to see him and see that his heel is recovering well. 

We eventually got a ride into Bridgeport, where we had a late breakfast and picked up our stuff from the post office: food for three days, and warmer socks and my rain jacket that I asked Garrett to send out. 

In Bridgeport, I also ordered a new quilt to replace my sleeping bag. I ordered the 10 degree Enlightened Equipment Enigma and had it shipped to Tuolumne Meadows. I also bought a thicker fleece beanie. Did I mention that it’s getting colder?

Getting a ride out of Bridgeport was difficult. We camped right at the highway because the trail only went up from there. It was ridiculously windy that night and we didn’t get much sleep. The next day was very rewarding, though: first we crossed the 1,000 mile mark…

… it feels like the countdown to the end of this trip is starting now… even though 1,000 miles is still a long way. Then, later that day, we crossed the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park – one of the stretches I’ve been looking forward to the most. And it greeted us with nice views while walking along Dorothy Lake:

That night was cold again. It froze but wasn’t too bad.  We decided to push over Benson pass and made camp at about 9,100′, 22 miles out of Tuolumne Meadows. That night, it snowed on us and we didn’t sleep much because the icy snow is loud on the tarp and I had to push it off occasionally to make sure the tarp didn’t collapse on me. The morning was really pretty, though:

In the afternoon, it started snowing more and we arrived in Tuolumne Meadows with wet feet and wet gear. We were planning to hitch out to Lee Vining but they had closed the road and we were trapped. We had to set up with our wet gear and on snow and settle in for a cold night. It was pretty unpleasant. The night was cold (about minus 10C) and everything was frozen solid in the morning. 

We had to wait for them to open the road again so we could get out. Got a ride from a really cool guy (Sunny) that took us to Mammoth Lakes. We got some ridiculous views of the Sierra driving down highway 395:

I can’t believe we’ll go up and through those mountains. I’m both extremely excited an slightly terrified. 

In Mammoth Lakes, we researched the weather to make sure we don’t do anything stupid. I also bought a midweight synthetic down jacket for additional insulation. We’ll take the 8am bus back to Tuolumne Meadows tomorrow and get back on trail. My rain jacket is useless and I’ll send it off again and I’ll get warmer gloves. And then we’ll go up into the Sierra. 

I was a bit down after being freezing cold for two days straight. But now my spirits are up again and I can’t wait to see those mountains up close. We’re excited!

Day 71; Junk food

I have gotten some concerned messages regarding my weight loss. I have lost a bunch of weight in the first 3-4 weeks but it has been stable since then. I even gained some weight back in Oregon (gaining weight on trail is no small feat!). 

The reason I lost some weight early on is because my body wasn’t used to the daily abuse I put it through and I underestimated how much food I need. Because I need a ridiculous amount of food. 

Here’s what I eat on a typical day:

For breakfast, I have a bunch of stuff I can eat while hiking so I’m not slowed down in the early hours when the temperatures are still low. Typically, this amounts to what you see in the left column: two Snickers (400 cal), two Pop Tarts (400 cal), granola bars (200 cal), and a Cliff bar (200 cal). 

Then I sit down for lunch around noon and have three bagels (270 cal each) with some Nutella (I make the jar last about five bagels). 

Between lunch and dinner, I have snacks and candy I can eat while hiking. The chocolate pie has 510 cal, the pack of sour patches has a bit less than 400. The Ritz crackers are 190 cal each, I think. 

For dinner, I rely heavily on Knorr rice/pasta sides. They have about 600 cal and I add two or three tortillas to it, which add 140 cal each. I end the day with a 210 cal Heath bar for good measure. 

This is the deluxe package of food that I pack out if the stretch is less than four days. It pits me at about 4,700 cal/day. That’s roughly what I need to not lose weight. 

Given that I need to carry all of this, I go for stuff that has high calorie density. Which basically means junk food. I can’t wait to get back to the civilized world and eat fresh fruit and vegetables…