From the PCT List: The Twin Heresies of Demetri Coupounas
(No-cook food is the first heresy, light shoes the second)
Food on the JMT:
"As an experiment, I tried carrying 100% raw, no-preparation required foods with me. The staple was mangoes, but there were also plenty of dates, pecans, macademia nuts, and kelp. The experiment went fantastically. I found that I needed far less raw food than I do cooked food to keep me feeling great and moving well. I consumed only 1.6 pounds per day. Having packed almost 3 pounds per day for an 11-day itinerary, I soon started looking for people I could give food to. These I found, thanks mostly to the fact that I was giving away macademia nuts I suppose. Over the trip, I parted with 12 pounds of food and still had 2 pounds left over at the end! I will pack far less next time. Basic strategy was to (1) eat all the fruit I wanted at each rest stop; (2) then have a handful of nuts to keep my body burning fat all day long; and (3) finish with a piece of kelp for electrolyte mineral balance and to keep my teeth pretty clean in between brushings/flossings. I'd follow this trio up with lots and lots of water."
Food on the LT:
"The 100% raw food experiment that started on the JMT continued on the Long Trail (see my JMT write-up for background). This time I packed right finishing the very last of my food at the Massachusetts border, 3.8 miles before getting to Mass Route 2. I went through about 1.6 pounds of food per day, and lost about 17 pounds of bodyweight in 13 days, dropping from 197 to 180 - this too was planned and welcomed. I had a great variety of dried fruit including mangoes, bananas, papaya, jack fruit, goji berries, figs and dates, andnuts including macademias, pecans, pistachios, and almonds. I bought all of the fruit from Nature's FirstLaw (www.rawfood.com) and Whole Foods Market, both sources I recommend highly for their premium quality and freshness."
Food on the CT:
"The 100% raw food experiment that started on the JMT and Long Trail continued on the Colorado Trail (see my JMT write-up especially for details). It was a comedy of errors this time, though mercifully, several of the errors virtually cancelled each other out. First, I packed way too much food. I wanted to be very conservative given the remoteness of much of the trail and the possibility of major storms, so I planned on 21 days and 1lb, 14 oz of food per day - more food per day than I ate on the previous two trails. But shorter days meant fewer hours of hiking and this more than offset increased calorie burning due to cold. Now and then I wished I didn't have so much food to carry, and about 1/3 of the way in, as a near perfect illustration of the precept "be careful what you wish for" I lost almost 8 pounds of fruit due to molding taking my total fruit supply down from 31 pounds to just 23 for the whole trip. I may never know what caused the molding, but my best guess is that the freeze-thaw cycle most days impacted the fruit much more harshly than the California and Vermont temperature swings, which, while just as great, did not cross the freezing threshold. Since the fruit was my primary carbohydrate source, I immediately cut my hiking pace to burn an even higher percentage of my calories from fat, including body-fat. The high daily mileages I racked up the first week allowed me to do this without undo concern. I did start sleeping with my fruit though :-~). In case of a second major snow storm, I overcompensated, hoarding my calories until the final 2 days when I knew I would be below 10,000 feet and all but home-free. As liberally as I ate from there, I still came out with 4 pounds to spare - about enough for 3 nights survival in a snow cave. The good news is I could've handled 21 days; the bad news is I carried 4 pounds of extra food around 500 miles and it's just sitting in my kitchen still. Just as on the previous two trails, I lost over 1 ? pounds per day starting at 193 ? pounds and ending up at 169."