Among hikers, that’s almost all we talk about. We compare cooking and cold-soak recipes. We pass on what we’ve heard about upcoming restaurants. We revel in real food received with some great trail magic. Usually, I know what I’m going to eat for the entire day before I even get out of my tent in the morning. It’s just that important to us all. 

 My friend Fancy Feast carried out some pizza to enjoy on the trail.

But as the heat zaps our appetite, the miles increase the cravings. For real food. Not ramen and peanut butter packets. Real food. 

 Big pancakes filled the bill in Big Bear Lake.
 My friend Wazzu and I enjoyed burgers in Wrightwood

One day, on a particularly challenging uphill, I consumed the following: 

1 protein cookie
2 pop tarts
1 chocolate protein shake
1 peanut butter packet
1 bag of Skittles
1 bag of fruit chews
1 packet of Nutter Butter cookies
2 liters of water with electrolytes 

When I got to the top, I then ate: 

2 servings of couscous, with oil, and a chicken packet
1 bag of gum drops
1 large peanut caramel cookie
2 more liters of water

At another stop, to get out of the searing heat and wind of the day, Wazzu and I hunkered down with a million flies at the Neenach Market near Hikertown. In a matter of three hours, I ate a large burger, a generous portion of fries, a Gatorade, an iced tea, a fruit juice, an ice cream bar, a jumbo hot dog and an orange soda. I don’t know where I’m putting all of it but with these miles, I’m allowing myself to eat anything my body is craving. This means that foods high in sugar, fat and salt are first on the docket. Then, if it’s available in these small trail-side towns, I order a huge salad with lots of vegetables and fruit! Sometimes it takes a little magic to get the fruit! 

Trail Angel Patrick knew exactly what we needed as he set up at a roadside rest area and cooked us hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and then offered chips, cold watermelon and pineapple, cold drinks and ice cream! We were in heaven!!! We’re still talking about that meal several days later! 

After a particularly hot and exposed stretch, Todd, the Forest Service Ranger, brought some cold sodas out of the remote Ranger Station to help satiate our thirst! 

 It’s true, sugar and caffeine definitely help power my legs up big hills. I particularly liked the strong marketing message on my can!

But since towns are about five days apart, and trail magic doesn’t happen very often, we have to be content with what we can carry in our own hiking meals and snacks. Anything high in sugar, fat and salt are the biggest boost to our energy and our day. 

 Chocolate melts too fast in the heat so usually I try to stock up on Sour Gummy Worms, Skittles, salty nuts, Cliff Bars and dried fruit/ trail mixes along with some electrolyte powder for my drinks.

Sometimes, my preplanning pays off and I get to a town where one of my pre-packed resupply boxes is waiting for me. New flavors, different textures… I’m so happy to eat something different! For a few days, all the other hikers are jealous of my gourmet meals, too. 

I’ve heard from other hikers that they’re starting to lose a lot of weight. I don’t think I’ve lost any weight. I just like to eat!