Finally! The month we hike is upon us!
The past few weeks have been full of meal planning and gear testing. The dehydrator has been humming in the kitchen, and the house smells like yummy food that I can’t eat (yet). Return train tickets have been purchased from Harrisburg, PA back home, and arrangements have been made for the dog and cats. We adopted a beagle/blue tick coonhound mix a few months ago and named him Pippin. He comes on all of our pre-hike adventures with us. The itinerary for this trip has us doing big miles almost every day, and Pip wouldn’t be up for that. Plus, he couldn’t come on the train home. Pippin loves hiking with us! He doesn’t even mind wearing his pack 🙂
This is the first time I’ve worked with a dehydrator, and it’s been fun planning meals. Idahoan instant potatoes will always be my favorite trail meal, though. We’ve been pulling recipes from “Lip Smackin’ Vegetarian Backpackin'” by Christine and Tim Conners. Favorites include: Triple Crown Curry Couscous, South Sister Stroganoff, Peaks of Dolomiti Rice and Beans, Orange Sky Granola, Grizzly Berry Granola, and Cheese Coins (basically baked cheese and butter with some seasoning). We’ve tried the orange granola (swapping the canola oil for coconut oil) and the stroganoff (Froot Loop wasn’t so sure if she was gonna like it-but it’s sooooo good!)
I’ve also been trying my hand at making tofu jerky. There’s a recipe in the cookbook for teriyaki jerky, which I tried. It was good, but very sweet. Knowing my trail stomach, I generally crave more salty things than sweet things. So I decided to make another batch with liquid smoke, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Next on the list is Old Bay jerky!
It’s peach season here in the good ol’ south, so we also got some peaches from the farmers market and made a peach-wild berry fruit leather. We cut it with unsweetened applesauce so it would make more leather.
I’ve never done this extensive food prep for a hike before. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also one of the only things keeping me sane. For the PCT, I just threw dry ingredients in ziploc bags- still a great method, but dehydrating your own meals is very satisfying. Last night, I painstakingly squeezed little Taco Bell sauce packets in to a squeeze bottle for the trail. What even.
Along with food prep, comes gear repair and upgrades. After the GAPCO bike trip earlier this year, we decided that the Tarptent Contrail was a little tight on space for 2 people. We like eachother and all, but we also like to be able to move inside our shelter. We ordered the Tarptent Stratospire 2 and it should be arriving any day now! I can’t say enough about Tarptent’s customer service. The tent we ordered wasn’t in stock, and I emailed their ordering department to make sure we would have the tent before we left so we could seam seal it, and Henry Shires, the owner, emailed me back within the hour to tell me that wouldn’t be a problem.