I don't like to cook. And even when I do, I'm not very good at it. Fortunately, I have a husband who is competent and creative in the kitchen. And for that, I am supremely grateful. That being said, I'm still a mother, so the desire for my child to eat healthy, nutritious foods, runs deep. So, despite my internal resistance, I make Sara well-balanced lunches every day and send her off to school feeling like I can check one box off my "good parenting" list for the day. Like most mothers, I stress when my child doesn't eat well. I used to pride myself on what a "good eater" my young toddler was, bragging about how she ate tofu and broccoli for her preschool lunch. I was sure that somehow this was a reflection of what a good parent I was.
Enter elementary school. Day after day, the healthy lunches that I painstakingly make each morning come back untouched. I start begging and negotiating with Sara to eat just one or two of the vegetables on her plate. She starts writing kindergarten-style essays at school about how much she loves pizza, spaghetti and macaroni and cheese. And just like that, she's a regular kid.
Like most kids, Sara won't eat if she doesn't like what's in front of her. And in most cases, that's not a problem. She'll still survive. But not on the trail. And not with 220-miles in front of her. Nope. On the trail, you eat what you've got. End of story. But what you've got, well, that's another story.
There are two primary factors dictating the food that we take on the trail: weight and distance between resupplies. Roughly speaking, Paul and I each carry 8 pounds of food in a 2-pound bear canister. The 16-pounds of food needs to last all three of us the full distance between resupply points, which is about 55 miles, or in our case about 7 days. Oh and did I mention that it all has to actually FIT in the bear canisters? That, along with all of our scented products and anything else that a bear might find interesting in the wee hours of the night.
We've chosen our food carefully. Everything that we bring must pack a nutritional punch and get us over those high mountain passes. The smell of Paul's homemade jerky fills the house as we re-package our food into tiny zip-lock baggies. My novelty food items won't fit in the bear canister, so Paul makes me choose between dessert and toilet paper. It's a tough choice, but in the end, the chocolate has to go. And as much as it pains me that Sara will not eat a fruit or vegetable for a month, I feel confident about the one food item that I know will keep her going steadily mile after mile. The food for which she will walk across the entire Sierras and then some.