Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trip Report - Shenandoah NP - Corbin Cabin

Spent four days in Shenandoah National Park, from last Sunday to Wednesday. Above is one of the highlights, the climb up to and views from Mary's Rock.

Other highlights were spotting a black bear and several deer, and the very cool Corbin cabin.

Check out the photos.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Feasting in the Great Outdoors

I have another backpacking trip planned for week after next. A co-worker and I have reserved a primitive cabin in Shenandoah National Park for three nights. We'll be using it as our base camp as we spend the days hiking in the area.

By primitive, I mean it has a wood stove and fireplace, and there's a privy outside, but that's about it. We'll get our water from a nearby creek and cut our own firewood. I'm really looking forward to it.

This trip is a little different, in that I don't have to carry everything the whole time. With the cabin, we can leave most of our gear behind as we traipse up and down the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. This definitely made a difference when it comes to packing food.

Here's a picture of (most of) what I'm going to take for four days.

I've divided it up with a grid to make a little sense of it. Each column is one day. Along the topmost row are breakfasts, next down is morning snacks, next comes lunch, afternoon snacks and finally dinners. Empty grids mean I don't need to pack for it, for instance, the first day's breakfast will be eaten at home before leaving. Not everything is there, I'll wait a few more days before picking up fresh fruit, and the tortillas will be eaten over the course of the whole trip.

So the first day - Sunday - I've got some dried cranberries, then a couple of tortillas with peanut butter and honey for lunch. Powdered gatoraid is a staple for lunch to help replace those electrolytes. Gorp* for my afternoon snack, then for dinner I'll heat a pack of Chicken taco meat. Wrapped in tortillas with some cheese and sliced avocado (not shown) and I'll be one happy camper. There'll be an orange there too, if I want desert.

Later in the evenings, there's always tea, hot chocolate, instant soup or good scotch to top off the day.

Ok, day 2. Breakfast looks scant, but it's an illusion, because there will be two hard boiled eggs and an apple to go along with that cheese and tea. Snacks will be cookies and gorp, and lunch is a walking taco, which is instant rice, dehydrated ground beef and taco seasoning. I'll add water at breakfast and it'll be ready by lunch. If the day is warm, I'll just eat it cold after adding some diced cheese and a handfull of fritos. I'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner that night, with a pouch of chicken going into stuffing mix with extra dehydrated veggies added, plus a handfull of dried cranberries. Cookies for dessert. I don't usually eat dessert when camping, but it's nice to have the extra pick-me-up if needed, and it certainly can be a morale booster during a crappy day.

Day 3 - Tuesday. Breakfast will be dried hash browns with some dehydrated red and yellow peppers, and a diced spam single mixed in. Tea makes it civilized. Snacks are the ubiquitous gorp and a Rice Crispy treat, and lunch is the aforementioned peanut butter and honey on flour tortillas. Dinner will be homemade dehydrated chili mac, followed up by instant vanilla pudding and cookies.

For our last day I'll have some rice pudding with raisins, and tea. Gorp and gorp for snacks if needed, and lunch will be cheese and an apple (not shown), maybe wrapped in the last of the tortillas. We'll be home in time for dinner.

That looks like a lot of food, and it is. I tend to pack too much anyway. But also remember that this is to fuel me for eight hour days of hiking, plus chopping wood, etc. Also, I wouldn't carry a lot of the fresh food and pre-packaged stuff if I had to haul it on my back all day long. So this is pretty indulgent too.

We leave next Sunday and get back Wednesday. A trip report with lots of pictures will be posted.

* Gorp - "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts". I make mine 1:1:1 with salted peanuts, raisins and regular M&M's. Sometimes add in a like amount of Honey Nut Cheerios, and occasionally dried cranberries, blueberries or pineapple finds its way into the mix. Almonds too. Really, gorp is so customizable that everyone has their own favorite mix.