Sunday, January 27, 2013

Totally Dehydrated

"A crude meal, no doubt, 
but the best of all sauces is hunger."
-Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

I have no idea how much, if any, interest there is in the preparation involved for my long distance hike this summer, but I figure the topic of food dehydration is something that is on everybody's mind- long distance hiker or not! Ok, so maybe not. The truth is I want some kind of attestation of what it took to get ready for the PCT. As they say, anything worth doing is worth documenting, right?

Throughout this process of planning a four to five week hike, I've sometimes wondered if I've bit more than I can chew. Mostly because there is so much to learn. The learning curve is quite steep with next to no backpacking experience under one's sack. Who knew? 

I've got the required reading though- stacks of half-read books on window sills, nightstands, even on the kitchen table all highlighted and bookmarked with pages that will teach me how to cook in the wilderness, how to choose the best campsite, how to treat water, how to read a map, how to read a compass, how to read a map AND compass when lost in the woods hungry, tired, cold, and being chased by a wild beast. How to, how to, how to- sometimes it seems endless how much how to there is. But then it occurs to me that I'm learning this because when Wisdom and I are walking the trail this summer, we will only have what's in our packs and on our backs. We will not go home each night to the comforts of the couch and the flick of a switch. Instead, we'll set up camp somewhere along the Oregon wilderness with only the stars as our ceiling and the trees for walls. Our life in our hands. Isn't that what we all want ultimately?

Yet despite knowing this, yesterday when up to my elbows in raw chicken, sick, moving from kitchen to bed to kitchen again, I felt over my head. Are we really going to be able to dehydrate enough food to last me (and to some degree, Wisdom) a 450 mile hike? Kimi said she didn't know as she loaded another tray of steamed chicken into the dehydrator. Not exactly the answer I was looking for. But it was the truth, and a truth I try live by. I will do what I set out to do. Fear is a part of the picture to be sure, but nothing to be too afraid of. Sometimes I wonder how much we leave untried due to apprehension. My motto: You try, You learn, You do. Or as it says in some book on some page somewhere around my house: Dream, Plan, Endure, Achieve.

So, Kimi is right. We don't know where we'll be in terms of food come August, but why let that stop us from doing what we can do today? If we must know everything before taking the first step, doesn't that first step become so much harder? Ah, lessons from the trail and I haven't even left the house in 5 days (damn sore throat).

So, two dried chickens, two dehydrated bananas, three cups of dried rice, and two moisture devoided yellow peppers later, I'm well on my way to some fancy dining on the PCT this summer. Ok, the bananas were awful. So awful, in fact, that the only way I would ever eat them is if I were lost in the woods hungry, tired, cold, and having just outrun a wild beast, but the rest shows some serious promise. 

Join me for dinner sometime?


  1. I am already in awe of you! In my opinion, biting off more than you can chew is perhaps the best way to force yourself toward growth. (And for the record, I love dehydrated bananas. You must not have my mom's recipe. :)

  2. I definitely don't have your mom's recipe, but after tasting my dried bananas, I think I should!!!

  3. Looking forward to meeting you somewhere along the trail (I'll bring food.) :)

  4. LOL, you don't trust my dehydrating ability? Well, I don't blame you!