How Much Food for Vegan Hiking?

In response to the question “I’m vegan. What food do I take hiking?”

I sprout mung beans and lentils on trail. Hummus, olive oil, sweet potatoes, corn mush, maple syrup. Did I mention olive oil – most calorie dense food? I was soooo afraid of being hungry and not getting enough calories when I started my thru! My first week southbound from Katahdin, I carried 13 lbs of vegan food for my 10 days to Monson. I had several pounds left!!! What I’ve discovered in my 15 yrs and 10,000+miles of walking is that food can be lightweight, easy, tasty and nutritious. When I count the calories of my day, feeling energetic and satisfied, its more like 2,000 calories. I haven’t consumed 5,000 calories ever! Maybe I don’t hike as hard? Dont know, but the advice that I’ll need 5,000 calories a day (hmm. used to be 3,000) doesnt seem to be real for me. I enjoy fresh foods and have my favorite dehydrated staples to build meals around. I eat pretty much the same foods on trail as I do off trail. Happy to explore this with you!

  1. For detailed video instruction on my favorite trail foods, check out Fabulous Foods For Backpacking.

Getting Started on the Appalachian Trail

“I think I want to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. How should I prepare for that?”

Here’s my answer:

Go out for a day, then a night, then three or four nights. Go out for short walks in all four seasons to test your gear. One landmark in preparation is to go out long enough to have a resupply or maildrop, say 8-10 days. With the experience of finishing a 3-5 day section, taking a townstop, then going back out, you’ll have the basic idea of a long distance walk, which is really a long string of 4-day walks without going home in between! That’s the best part of long distance journeys. Resupply, rest, cleaning up and going back out!!

After 10,000 miles of long-distance walking, I’ve realized that creating a fulfilling walk relies on addressing 5 essential areas:

  • Know your trail,
  • Consider your timing,
  • Love your gear,
  • Magnetize your support network, and
  • Nourish your Inner Journey with specific
  • Bonus: Above all, know your “why” for choosing the AT.

Read my complimentary report:

Deepening Practices

June 9,

In everything I do, I strive for deepening my sensory and spiritual experience. I’m pretty sure you do too!

I’ve picked up on some techniques from John Muir Laws (his real name!) through his Laws Guide to Nature Journaling. Two years ago, I launched a program at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center to provide a platform to practice what I’m learning.

Notice and Wonder is now a frequent listing in the Park’s Interpretive Schedule. In it, I offer five simple techniques to

  • observe more closely,
  • remember what we see, and
  • stimulate questions for further consideration.

Visitors love the deepening experience! And, I get to enjoy a couple hours of pure delight doing it, fulfilling my mission of enticing people to come outside and invigorate our hearts and minds, deepening our connection with nature and ourselves.

One of my challenges with Nature Journaling is having supplies on hand when I’m out. Cumbersome notebooks and pencils get left behind! As a backpacker, all of my gear has to be lightweight! I’m happy to report that on this week’s trip to Big Sur I had something that worked! A tiny bag with tiny pencils and a stack of tiny papers to draw and paint on. Oh, and one fine ink pen!

The tiny papers limited my focus to a small part of the expansive landscape to focus my attention. John Muir Laws calls this a landscapito.

I’m so impressed with myself for doing ten landscapitos on the trip! Here are two favs:

Mill Creek Picnic Area: what we thought we’re otters was Kelp!

Black Rock jutting out of the surf.

These tiny watercolors are valuable, not for what they are, but for what they do for me: deepen my observation, strengthen my body memory of my nature experience, and stimulate questions to consider!

What practices for deepening do you have? If there’s one you teach & want to share, by all means tell me about it!

If there’s a practice you wish you were doing more, tell me that too! We can support each other in doing it!

And, here’s another question! If I offered a virtual week of sharing Nature Journaling techniques with supplies included, coaching and support, would you consider it? Reply to this email and say yes or no!

To your deepening!

In joy,

Regina

https://johnmuirlaws.com

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing

As our journey begins, here’s a blessing I’m singing, thanks to my friend, Sara and generations before her!

“May troubles be less and blessings be more
May nothing but happiness come to your door
And may you have luck wherever you go
And blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

May winds be at your back and sun be overhead
May friends be at your side wherever you are led”.

Walk with blessings

Winds at your back, Sun overhead

Benton MacKaye Trail: Deep Creek Bridge

Deep Creek Crossing

It’s October, 2009. I’m standing on the north side of Deep Creek in the Smokies. “It’s not good to be here alone”, I thought. “It’s not safe here. I shouldn’t be doing this by myself. I should turn back. Is there another way?”

I’m at mile 44, three miles shy of the half way point in the Smokies section of the Benton MacKaye Trail I’m looking at my map, tracing a possible alternate route around the swollen torrent that is Deep  Creek. I’m considering scooting across the tipped log that’s interrupted by perpendicular poles. That’s what the bridge had become.

“What a surprise!” Last June, on my first BMT traverse, this had been a simple walk across a log bridge. Now, crossing this big creek required a strategic decision.

Continue reading

Hiking Memories: Four Seasons

Four Seasons on the Benton MacKaye Trail

Reflections on Mileposts on the Trail

Regina Reiter


BMTSouthbound – June, 2009; October, 2009; January, 2013
BMTNorthbound- April, 2010
BMT Davenport Gap to Beech Gap, January, 2010

Links: Photos, Journals, Reflections, Slide shows

http://www.trailjournals.com/mssnglnk     Pictures galore in many trail journals
http://forgivenesswalks.com/newsletter-archives/   Words for Winter Walking series

http://forgivenesswalks.com/benton-mackaye-trail/    First Winter Walk and Spring Walk slide shows

http://forgivenesswalks.com/benton-mackaye-trail-winter-thru-hike/   Second Winter Walk slide show

http://forgivenesswalks.com/free-resources/fabulous-foods-for-backpacking/  Upcoming Foods Course

 

 

 

Stream” Mile 119

It’s milepost 119 from the northern terminus of the Benton MacKaye Trail.

The six men in the BMTA Fall Backpack Trip party keep their pace stepping over  the two small streams there. They keep chatting as their feet land firmly on the flat triangle of earth between the streams.  In just seconds, they’re stepping up the steep bank and heading south on the trail, bound for the night’s camp at Cold Spring Gap.

“But wait!” I call. “This was my Winter Camp! I thought I could have DIED here!”

No one heard me as I alone halted at this unremarkable spot. The Fall foliage and dark Earth blended pleasantly with the gently rushing streams with no fanfare. My mind was rushing though as I relived the memory of my first winter walk. I had camped here two years earlier as snow fell, choosing a site with a water source and a surprise phone signal.

The snow fell through the night and morning revealed a world of white.  Wrapped up in my sleeping bag, peeking out under the edges of my tarp, I questioned my preparedness to go on alone in this deep snow, past the Cherohala Skyway into “The Heart of Darkness”, the ominous name for the remote 10-mile section of the BMT along the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.

Delighted with the beauty of the snowy woods, I was satisfied with the plan I had been able to make with Brenda Harris, a BMT friend who lived nearby, to pick me up at Beech Gap, about 4 miles south, the next morning. “You’ll have to wait until they open up the road,” she had said. Continue reading

My Umbrella: A Room with a View

I Love My Gear!

My Umbrella is a Rainy Day Room With a View

Yesterday, I walked on Cold Mountain, VA, in a cloud. Rain drizzled down and visibility was

"My Room with a View"

about 20 feet. Yet, I was enjoying the walk, the view, and a visit to this magical place of beauty.  As I walked, I realized that my umbrella played a big part in my ability to embrace this moment in comfort  and joy.

When I first started backpacking, I thought that an umbrella would be about the dumbest thing I could bring.  Wouldn’t it get caught in branches along the trail?, I thought.  An umbrella is fragile and awkward! Umbrellas are for city streets, not trails!  It’s just not right! An umbrella is bulky and hard to pack. My list of reasons to leave the umbrella at home was long.

Four years later, I’d walked the entire Appalachian Trail in plenty of rain, snow, and sun all without an umbrella.  I’d walked along perfectly well with my poncho that covered me and my pack.  My AT hiking partner even used an umbrella, but I wouldn’t cave in.  Umbrellas were simply NOT for backpacking!

Fast forward to mile 4,479 of my backpacking career and I’m holding –an umbrella!  And I’m loving it!

Snow was falling all around me in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State and I had the feeling of being in a cozy room of my own with a beautiful view on a wondrous world.  My upper body was dry.  My hands were dry. My glasses were clear. A new world had opened before me. My initiation into the community of Umbrella Backpackers was complete.  “Umbrella” was permanently on my packing list.

Here’s what I like about my umbrella on the trail:

  • It’s lightweight rain gear
  • It’s easy to pack
  • It’s quick to pull out and put away
  • It’s easy to replace when lost or broken
  • It’s a good conversation starter
  • It’s a windbreak for my outdoor kitchen
  • It’s great for night-time toilet runs

 

It’s still true that an umbrella doesn’t work well in wind, so I still carry a poncho that doubles as a ground cloth.  However, an umbrella can be turned against a light wind to create a wall to driving rain.  If wind and rain are too heavy for my umbrella, however, that’s a good sign for me to get out of the weather and head for a shelter or set up my tarp and go inside.

Now I’m an umbrella advocate and I invite you to consider packing one for your next walk.

 

What do you think?  Let me know by commenting below!

 

The Art of Living

Master in the Art of Living

 The master in the art of living draws no distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion.

He hardly knows which is which.

He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves it to others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he is always doing both.

Susan Fowler Woodring

Hiking Lifestyle is this! I’ve been on a journey for the past four years to craft a life like this! Peeling away what doesn’t fit, shaping and molding the parts of my lifestyle that DO work, and constantly learning.

Last night, I was sitting at the registration table at Landmark Education, saying to my colleague, “It’s been a full day!  This morning, I started the day on Springer Mountain, and now I’m finishing up by registering people in the Landmark Forum.”  What I realized in that moment is that I AM crafting a life of striving to express my own passionate life, vibrant and joyous, and concurrently supporting others to do what’s most passionate to them.

What if everyone felt free to pursue their dream?

What’s yours?

In joy,

Regina