Adventures in Dehydrating

Probably the biggest challenge of hiking 220 miles nearly unsupported, is planning out the food.  Have you ever planned, purchased, and prepared meals for 17+ days? Neither had I before this point. We will conceivably need 51 meals plus a lot of snacks. We are aiming at completing the JMT in 17 days so that means we need to average 12.94 miles per day. That is basically a half marathon every day so we will need lots of calorie-dense food to avoid bonking. We decided after calculating the cost of store bought camping meals to dehydrate and prepare our own food.  This is no small undertaking. The first thing I did was research good food dehydrators and many a blogs recommended the Nesco Snackmaster Pro.

Pros – it works great, central fan dehydrates food evenly, trays all come apart and it is easy to clean

Cons – no timer or auto shut off means we have to monitor it. I guess we could have spent more money for that feature. The hole in the center and circular shape make it more difficult to work with.  Oh and it doesn’t actually say Snackmaster on the top. I was super disappointed about that.

Next thing we purchased was a Food Saver – Game Saver Deluxe Plus (where do people come up with these names?). Haven’t gotten to use it yet; will soon when we pack up all our meals. In terms of what to actually dehydrate, we are following the recipes outlined in the “Backpacking Chef.” The recipes are simple, easy to follow, and look delicious.

So far we have dehydrated:

8 pounds of mixed vegetables
3 lbs of smoked ham
7 red bell peppers
2 lbs of peas
2 lbs of broccoli
5 lbs of potato vegetable bark
5 jars of tomato sauce

bunnies do so love their veg
Bunnies do so love their veg
ham before
Ham Before
ham after
Ham After
Veg before and after.


Pt. Reyes Hike

I love Pt. Reyes. It has all the good parts of a hike in my mind: big trees, beach, babbling creeks, fog, waterfalls, bunnies, and ice cream sandwiches at the end of the day. We’ve actually done this loop twice, once on Valentine’s day, and again on June 6th.

We pick up the trail at the Bear Valley Visitor center. Coming from Oakland the drive takes at least an hour twenty to get out there, not counting the stop at Mollie Stones for sandwiches and snacks. There is no fee to park, which is nice. From the parking lot we set out on the Bear Valley Trail, which is a nice, very low grade, path.

On Bear Valley Trail
On Bear Valley Trail
Giant banana slug
Giant banana slug

It picks up a bit of elevation and then drops back down to the beach. From there we turn right and pick up the coast trail, which believe it or not, follows the coast line for a couple miles.

Made it to the beach!

We stopped for lunch at the Coast Campground, just past 8 miles into our hike. A Boy scout troop was set up, playing football, leaving their food out for the crows to steal, etc, etc. The beach was nice and fogged in. While I could hear the fog horn clearly, I could just barely make out Pt. Reyes Lighthouse in the distance.

From the beach we turn back east and head up the Fire Lane Trail. It’s a good climb of about 800 feet.  We spotted coyote but I didn’t get a shot of him before he disappeared.

Lots of fog.
Close to the summit in the fog
Pt. Reyes Map and Elevation
Pt. Reyes Map and Elevation
Beer and Taco reward
Beer and Taco reward