Red Elephant Eats: A new dining experience

Friday afternoon, around 2 p.m., Mr. Jack & I came off our John Muir Trail backpack the long way, skirting around Mt. Whitney (which we had topped last year to finish up our 8-day High Sierra hike) and dropping into Horseshoe Meadow. We had eaten all of our food save for a few cups of nuts-n-fruit, a handful of homemade beef jerky, 2 Rebars and 2 packages of our newly modified “pease porridge”– and yes, quite a bit of Brookbond Red Label tea left from the 24 days on the trail. One must never run out of tea, after all!

We ate everything but the tea & the porridge during the hitchhiking adventure that got us to our vehicle in Yosemite Valley’s Curry Village by 9 that night, and thanks to Jack’s determined driving, we slept in our own bed & had tea in our own kitchen the next morning. Tea in a real teacup! Out of a real teapot! And then of course, real breakfast instead of a quart ziplock bag of snacks to take one up the pass & down the valley to lunch at a creek.

Backpacking food must fulfill several functions for most folks: fuel, flavor & comfort being perhaps the top 3. We want our food to keep our bodies satisfied & energetic. We want to experience the 6 flavors of pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and salty as well as a variety of textures: crunchy, creamy, fluffy, dry, light, heavy, juicy, gooey, chewy, soft & crisp. We want familiar foods but we don’t want to be bored by our backpacking foods.

Exploring the balance of fat, carbohydrates, protein and fiber that can feed us effectively & efficiently is fascinating to me, whether on the trail, eating the food I’ve brought, or at home, considering and preparing the food to be eaten. As a long-time foodie and nutritional student, a cook, an eater, gardener, and reader, I look forward to using this blog to share and learn about the food choices we take on the trail and how to optimize our eats while backpacking.