Saturday, December 6, 2014

Havasu Hiking: What We Ate

One major thing was on our minds while we prepared for hiking to the Supai Village: What were we going to eat? Obviously, when you're hiking 10+ miles a day, you're going to need a lot of food to keep you going, so how could we bring down the most food in our 3 collective backpacks?

I was their "water mule." I carried down 6 liters of water in my pack. (Which, as Mitchell pointed out, is like 13 pounds.) Curtis' pack held all our food, cook stove, utensils, clothing, first aid, and any other necessary supplies. Oh, that's all in the orange bag, the black bag on top was called the "community bag" (which Curtis carried the entire time though nothing inside was his) and it held lots of other food and other things like Mitchell's toothbrush. ;)

Anyway, food! In the Supai village, there is a cafe and a General store. I did not go into either so I cannot vouch for them, but from what I've heard there is never a guarantee that they will be open when you need them. Mitchell said that the store has fruits, sandwiches, and other processed and packaged goods, but rather expensive. 

Besides the uncertainty of buying food down in the canyon, Curtis and I really had the desire to plan and carry down all the food we could so that we could have a real "backpacking" experience in that regard. Curtis did a lot of research and started dehydrating things weeks in advance, and planned it so that all we needed to do was to add water and cook over his small camping stove!

Here's what we dehydrated:
Green beans
Sweet Potatoes
Ham jerky
Apple chips
Grapes (homemade raisins!)

Along with that, we had a Hamburger Helper with packaged tuna, tortillas, PB, Cliff bars, fruit snacks, oatmeal, poptarts, and MnM's. Oh, and Scum Tea too. But that's another story.

We didn't end up eating a lot, but that's ok - better safe than sorry, and we can still use them anytime! (In fact, the dehydrated canned corn was so good, I still want some now!)

The site Curtis did most of his research on was called and it proved quite helpful! I was able to make my Nana's amazing Chili recipe with only one alteration, which we dehydrated then rehydrated for dinner, and it was amazing!

To make the chili, we needed bread crumbs because they help the meat to rehydrate better. We ran to Jimmy John's and picked up a day-old loaf for fifty cents, cut it up and dehydrated it. Once it was done, we threw it in my Vitamix to break it down into the crumbs. Then we took the meat, added 1 cup of breadcrumbs to the 1 lb of ground beef, then browned it together.

After that, I was able to add all the normal ingredients I would to the chili - as long as there isn't any fat in the ingredients, it will all rehydrate just fine!

Yum! Thankfully, we made plenty so we could eat some that night, then dehydrate the rest. :)

We use a Nesco food dehydrator - all it is is 6 trays and the fan, but it's made some delicious trail food in the year we've had it! We just recently purchased some trays to use with it, so that we could make the chili, applesauce, and other fruit leathers. All we had to do was spread the chili across then let the dehydrator do its thing for several hours! Our dehydrator is simple and doesn't have any temperature settings, so Curtis kept an eye on it to make sure it wouldn't get too burnt.

Tada! Once we were ready to cook it, we added 1 cup of water for every cup of chili, and after careful stirring and waiting it was finally ready - and even better than before, because we had hiked 14 miles for it! :) We also found an awesome 2 person cook set that has everything we need - 2 cups, 2 plates, a frying pan and a pot. Curtis was able to cook both the chili and the corn in decent time so we didn't have to wait to eat!

For breakfast on Saturday, we also prepared oatmeal on his stove, served with our own homemade raisins. Both delicious and satisfying, right before our 20 mile hike!

I don't have pictures of the rest of our meals, but everything we did eat that we had prepared turned out great - and I'm not just saying that because we were starving and desperate for food after hiking!

But I have to say, those MnM's that I enjoyed right after finishing the hike up the canyon on Sunday were the best I'd ever tasted. They tasted like victory! Undoubtedly the most well-deserved chocolate I've ever had. ;)

As for water, we drank what we had brought down, and also drank the tap water at the lodge. Maybe not the cleanest water around, but hey, you NEED water and it's not like you can just easily carry around enough for hiking 40+ miles plus some for cooking! It's been over 24 hours and we survived. :)

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