It always felt like this trip was so much in the future that it's hard to comprehend that I leave in a week! I'm really looking forward to being back in the mountains again, and hopefully away from this hot/hazy/humid head that has been sitting in Toronto over this last week.
As I've been talking with people about the upcoming hike over the last couple of weeks, I've had lots of questions around what kind of food I'll be eating on the trail, so I thought that I'd share with you a typical day's menu.
Food is always an important consideration for the hike, as you need to balance off the fact that you'll need to eat a lot to sustain your workout, but you don't want to have to carry a lot of weight. On the trail I'll most likely be hiking ~ 8-9 hours a day. If you assume 8 hours a day, and burning around 500 calories an hour (up and down hills, carrying a backpack) then I'll be burning around 4000 calories a day by hiking. Add the additional ~1500 calories that you require as part of your basal metabolic rate (breathing, sleeping, etc) then I would have to consume over 5000 calories a day!
Now realistically, I can't eat 5000 calories a day J. So on a hike I play to eat around 3000 calories/day while on the trail, and then when I get into towns every 6-7 days or so to resupply then I try to pig out a little more at the restaurants and get some additional calories in. So doing the math, yes I do lose weight on these long distance hikes (last time I did a 200 mile hike over 2 ½ weeks and I lost about 12-13 lbs, and expect to lose about the same on this hike).
So in trying to budget for ~ 3000 calories a day, I'll also need to try and find food that is lightweight but still packs in the calories and fat that my body will need for the hike. It's pretty much all carbs and fats, as veggies/fruits weigh a lot and don't provide a lot of calories. It's a nutritionist's worst nightmare! But when I get into towns I tend to go for meat and salad, so it's all good.
Typical food rations on the trail:
· Breakfast - 2 packages of instant oatmeal (I love the maple and brown sugar flavor)
· Snack - trail mix (cashews, almonds, dried fruit, M&Ms)
· Lunch - wrap with tuna (sold in the pouch, not in the can), granola bar
· Snack - chocolate bar (Snickers pack a pretty high calories/ounce ratio)
· Dinner - Lipton's noodles & sauce, hot chocolate
Then when I come back after the hike, I'll need to wean myself off this and get back into healthy eating again (what, no chocolate bar every day?!?)