GDT Prep (is killing me)
Holy crap I'm hitting the trail in a week and WOAH I really underestimated the sheer amount of work required to prepare for a hike like this. I've been spending every waking moment that I'm not at work or sleeping, frantically trying to tick off the terrifying to-do list that is last-minute prep.
So first, there's researching and buying gear which tbh I spent Waayy to much of my time and energy on because, capitalism, and then I had to scramble to get everything else done. I'm going to write a separate post about my gear list so stay tuned
So then there's trip planning and campsite bookings. On the GDT, unlike most other thru-hikes, you actually have to book a large portion of your campsites with national parks. This means meticulous trip planning, researching campsites, planning out how many km you can do per day, planning in your rest days, and of course loads of time on the phone with the very patient people at our national parks offices actually booking the darn things. This also means you have to plan ahead of time for your rest days, and try to anticipate how many days you will need in each town. This is of course crazy making because you never know if you are going to get waysided with an injury and throw your entire plan off.
3) Resupply Boxes
Next there is resupply box planning, which nearly took me out. After months of randomly buying stuff that I thought might be good trail food and stashing it in the corner of my kitchen where it grew to be a physical manifestation of my pre-trail anxiety, I finally got to work testing things out.
First I tested all my dry ingredients for rehydration time and flavour (pro tip, the tabouli was awful, the corn was pretty good & the dehydrated choi really needed to be boiled for a bit)
Next I experimented and came up with some good recipes.
I want to conserve how much stove fuel I use to save weight, so all my meals need to be just-add-hot-water-and-wait. I settled on these three as my main staples for the 3 months on trail.
1) Ramen Noodle Surprise!
Ok this one I discovered on the Te Araroa and liked it so much that I had it almost every night. It's super high quality udon-style ramen noodles (Neoguri spicy seafood is really the best), with a packet of tuna, some dried shiitake mushrooms and other veg, and coconut milk powder (the surprise). It is surprisingly good, rich in protein from the tuna, and has an extra calorie and deliciousness boost from the coconut milk powder. I also sprinkle some furikake on top. The wonderful thing about MSG and the umami flavour in general is that it is so dang yummy that even when you are totally exhausted and have no appetite, it makes everything palatable (this is also why I am shipping myself like 30 tubes of Pringles this summer, and why Asian grocery stores are thru-hiker heaven).
2) "Mexican" Rice (quotations because this is horrifying hiker slop and nothing like real Mexican food).
Roughly based off of the beloved recipes from The Yummy Life, but with better seasoning, more vegetables, and a half-cup of dehydrated black bean flakes.
3) "Moroccan" Couscous with Hummous powder
Similar to this but with more veg, quality ground chiles, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and a huge scoop of instant hummous (Casbah brand), for protein. It's legit yummy.
For breakfasts I just have cereal, VIA instant coffee, milk powder, and coconut oil.
I'll be buying ingredients for my lunch wraps (tortillas, cheese/cream cheese, salami) in the little grocery stores in trail towns and bulking them up with chips inside for texture.
Other than that, I'll snack all day on dried fruit, chocolate, and energy bars, and binge on real food when I get to towns.
* * *
Eventually, after multiple shopping trips, repackaging everything, packing and repacking my boxes 1000 times, I finally managed to turn this:
3) Oh god everything else!
Then there is a million nitpicky things like getting batteries and thick contractor garbage bags to line your pack with, there's getting a prescription for the lyme disease medication in case I get a lyme-infected tick bite, there's setting up my satellite beacon/gps device (which somehow took 6 hours?!), there's assembling a first aid kit, and on and on while somehow also wrapping up at work and feeding myself.
But folks, it's all going to be so worth it. I'm just going to put my head down for the next week and get'er done, and one way or another, in 7 days, I'm hitting the trail!! Wish me luck!