About the Author: “My name is Tara High. I am 55 years old and love being active in the outdoors, cooking and most especially…eating. I am a Texas girl living in a Georgia world and will attempt to thru hike the Appalachian Trail this year (2019). Is this a mid life crisis or just a desire for a big adventure/challenge?? When I find out, I will let you know! If you would like to follow my progress I can be found on FB at Tara E High or Instagram @tarahigh6262. Cheers!!” – Tara AKA SoulShine
Since I love to cook and especially love to eat healthy, flavorful foods, I decided NOT to take the advice of so many who have gone before on long distance hikes. I will be sending 24 food drops that will provide 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, 5 days per week for 22 weeks (330 meals and 220 snacks).
The Nectar of Life
I learned early in life there is value in learning from others’ experiences. No need to reinvent the wheel! So, when I say I decided not to take the advice of others as it relates to how I would secure food on my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, there is a small sense of rebellion in my spirit. As I said, generally, I am open to and embrace the sound advice of others. In this case, however, I could not wrap my head around eating food from gas stations and grocery stores along the way and being at the mercy of what I could find to fuel and repair my 55-year-old self.
I started about two years ago in my quest to find healthy foods and recipes I could dehydrate that would be tasty (or as tasty as dehydrated foods can be). I purchased a couple of recipe books that offered ideas but they just weren’t what I was looking for. I was so excited to find the book “Recipes For Adventure” by Chef Glenn McAllister!
[Editor’s Note: I got this dehydrator for my own thru- it worked great!]
In his book he offers great recipes for integrating healthy veggies while offering sound advice on how to dehydrate for optimum re-hydration. He also offers advice on how to organize and pack foods for long distance trips. I used his recipes for all of my breakfasts and dinners.
This has been a large investment of time to prepare!! Imagine preparing a menu for what you will eat for the next five months! Next create the grocery list. Then purchase said groceries. Finally, there are hours of food prep, dehydration, meal prep, storage and at long last…staging meals for being mailed.
Dehydrating after 5pm…
With that said, this process would not be possible (or at least as convenient) if I didn’t have such a great partner in crime. Tom (my boyfriend) will be in charge of mailing the resupply boxes to me. The boxes are currently occupying our dining room table (we hardly use it anyway :)) and inside each box a mailing label to the hostel, outfitter or PO where I expect to be for the next food and supply drop. He will be working from the spreadsheet created to help manage this effort. The boxes will remain open until Tom closes them just before they are mailed in case we need to add or subtract any supplies or if we need to change the location of the drop.
At this point, Tom and I have both agreed, we have done all we can to plan for the drops but we will both need to be flexible in the event something changes and we need to amend the plan. Ya know “The best laid plans…”! I just need to make sure to keep Tom, my life support, happy (Wink)!
I am keeping my fingers crossed that the investment of time and effort will be worth it in the end. I guess we will find out soon enough!! I will definitely report back on how cumbersome it is to manage 24 mail drops along the way and if I would do if differently if I had it to do over.
Loved the article, but even more I loved meeting you on the rail, at “Tom’s Hostel”.
Thanks for sharing all your research and organizing ideas.
If ever I have the chance to spend more time on the AT, I will take from your article and eat well 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful and safe journey for the remainder of your hike. “99”
This is GREAT! I turn 55 this year and wish I had the chance to join you. Question: what will happen to the boxes once unpacked?
I love this! I am doing the meal prep for my fiance’s PCT hike. Excited to learm from you!