From Parent Trap, our family’s favorite movie:
ANNIE: You sure you don’t want some trout, Mom? Is that okay, by the way? If we start calling you Mom?
MEREDITH: I think your mother would prefer if you called me Meredith and no thank you, I do not eat trout… for the thousandth time. I’ll wait until breakfast. What are we having?
NICK AND THE GIRLS: Trout.
* * * * * *
In this post I will try to address meal planning and resupply. Over the years a general rule of thumb has developed for long distance backpackers – not surprisingly – in terms of the trying to limit or control the overall weight of meals being carried. That rule of thumb is two (2) pounds (or 32 ounces) per pay.
I tested or “reengineered” that number by simply arranging a sample day’s menu (what I thought I’d like to take) without regard to weight (but based primarily on experience from 2 to 5 day trips). Coincidentally (and thankfully)) the weights came out very close to the rule of thumb. Hence, I stuck with my original, general plan.
And, here it is, my basic plan (which comes in at approximately 35.6 ounces) for eating while on the AT:
BREAKFAST (7.7 oz.)
Breakfast on the trail will consist typically of oatmeal, dried fruit, a protein bar and coffee. More specifically, this meal will feature 2 packages of instant oatmeal (or, to add variety, instant grits or instant cream of wheat). Supplementing this main course will be dried fruit (like apricots, blueberries or cherries). I will have coffee each morning (Starbuck’s Via, but for variety, I will sometimes add it to hot chocolate and Starbuck’s have their own instant “Mocha,” “Vanilla Latte,” etc.). While I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee I will finish off breakfast with a granola or protein bar.
LUNCH/SNACKS (17.0 oz.)
I view “lunch” as essentially an all-day, grazing affair, hence, “lunch and snacks.” I will pack two bags of items that are intended to be eaten throughout the day. These “bags” typically will be dried fruit or M&Ms or protein bar or beef jerky or oat bar or GORP (the later being “good ol’ raisins & peanuts) or some similar “trail mix.”
I plan to stop for a substantial rest (at least 30 minutes during which I will have “lunch,” which will consist primarily of a tortilla wrap with protein (tuna, salami, peanut, and in cooler temperature I can have cheese). Throughout the day I will drink water, occasionally fortified with electrolyte powder or a flavorer (such as Gatorade, instant Arnold Palmer iced tea, Blackberry Lemonade, etc.)
When I guided canoe trips and was fortunate enough to have a good angler along, we could sometimes supplement our freeze-dried meals with fresh fish caught in the lakes, rivers and streams. Sadly, there will not be panned fried trout for dinner, but I will be having Beer Braised Chicken Stew, Chili Mac with Beef, and a variety of our gourmet dehydrated or freeze-dried meals.
Before digging into one of my Trailtopia (or other dinner providers, such as Good-To-Go or Mountain House) meals, I plan to enjoy a quick chicken & noodle “Cup-A-Soup,” while the main course is rehydrating in its pouch. Dinner will be finished off with the same coffee choices featured at breakfast and some modest “dessert,” such as a couple of mini-chocolate bars (although my daughters are promising some “care packages” of my favorite baked treats – so this would be a great time to savor a butterscotch oatmeal cookie after a tough 18-mile day).
Last modified: January 30, 2018