Friday March 30 to Sunday April 2 I hiked in the San Rafael Wilderness near Santa Barbara with my boyfriend and another friend. I set off alone at the beginning. I brought mostly low-carb paleo food. And as usual, I had more luxuries than necessities and paid the price.
Here's a picture of me.
I've unpacked my pack and this is what was inside:
From the top:
Cook kit; hygiene items; rain chaps and poncho; green bandana; Gossamer Gear One tent; Patagonia Houdini; Orange z-rest piece; blue k-mart foam piece; all my food; white bag with items for warmth.
Here's what was in the white bag:
Left to right:
Black JRB wearable quilt; blue Go-lite ultra 20 quilt; homemade green fleece sleeves and balaclava; fleece gloves; Ray Jardine bomber hat.
Not pictured are a some platypus containers for water and some odds and ends in pockets.
Here's the food I brought:
Top left to right:
Tuna in oil, coconut manna, dried onions, curry powder and Thai Kitchen green curry (tasty!); US Wellness Pemmican bars; Theo 91% chocolate; Starbucks Via packets; Beef jerky (uneaten); Date/walnut bar, fig/almond bar (my only carbs, mostly not eaten) and French Mimolette cheese; macadamia and brazil nuts. Mostly no-cook food because we anticipated the possibility of not being able to cook the 2nd day. I brought too much food. I could have gone lighter.
I started my first day with a big breakfast of steak and eggs and hiked without hunger or low energy until some time late in the afternoon when I felt a tiny bit hungry. Then I ate a pemmican bar and eventually my dinner of curry. I had hoped to forage for greens and/or mushrooms for my curry but there weren't any near my camp although I had seen plenty along the way.
The next day we did trail work across Hurricane Deck. I ate a pemmican bar for breakfast and never felt weak or tired as we worked. My job was to drag the chopped branches and toss them over the side. The others stopped for lunch so I ate, too, but I could have gone more hours without lunch. Then it rained and I gave up working to get the heck off Hurricane Deck and down to Lost Valley trail where there was a nice campsite sheltered by oaks several miles away.
When I got to that campsite, I was drenched and hypothermic. My rain poncho had lasted about 5 minutes in the brush on Hurricane Deck so everything I had to wear was soaking wet. I suck at backpacking in the rain. I never bring the right stuff. I would have hiked out to my car where I had dry clothes but I had to wait for the others in my group otherwise they would worry I was lost or something.
There were a father and son already at the campsite struggling to build a fire in the rain. The whole time hiking down I had hoped to reach a group of campers having a roaring fire so I could warm up. Alas, they failed to start a fire.
I stood around waiting for the others in my group getting colder and colder in my wet clothes. Finally one appeared but where was the other? The other had been between us. We now were worried he got lost. All we could really do was wait for him as both of us were very cold and wet.
We decided we should put up our shelters. All my friend had for shelter was a tiny little ultralight tarp but no poles or stakes. The person we were waiting for was my boyfriend. I had been carrying had our Lunar Duo but not the stakes. My boyfriend was carrying the stakes.
I showed my friend how to use deadmen to set up his tarp. I had never done it before, but it worked. We basically just slipped thin sticks into loops at the tie-outs and then placed large rocks from the fire pit on top of the sticks. Held well. I then did the same with my Lunar Duo. Doing all this in the cold rain, I had put on my last dry item, my Houdini, to stay warm and now I was completely soaked with nothing dry to wear. I had to get naked under my down quilts to try to warm up. Fortunately, I brought two quilts, a Go-lite Ultra 20 and a Jacks R Better wearable quilt. I was able to warm up after a really long time of heavy shivering. Cold no-cook food for dinner, but at least it was high energy stuff.
The amazing thing about eating paleo and low-carb is the steady energy and strength. (Paleo doesn't have to be low-carb but for me it is. Paleo also doesn't include cheese but for me it does because what is life without cheese, chocolate and wine?) Nothing tires me. I can go hours and hours where before I was always in some state of running out of energy. Something about the pemmican just works. I feel great after I eat it. I need to learn to make my own because US Wellness pemmican has to be refrigerated.
I had written a topic in the Philosophy and Technique area about using low carbohydrate foods to reduce pack weight. Low carbohydrate diets train the body to use body fat for energy instead of blood sugar, so the idea is you can eat less and maintain the same high level of energy you need without blood sugar ups and downs. It certainly works well for me, giving me steady mental and physical energy and greater energy than I used to have with my old way of eating.
The only thing is, as a strategy for reducing pack weight, I still tend to bring more food than I need. The food I bring is mostly not dehydrated, either. So it may not save much weight, but I certainly feel incredibly good doing it this way. No more energy bars and powdered drinks and crappy mashed potatoes or mountain house or whatever other backpacker staples for me. The pemmican is like magic and the other items work well, too.