Back to the Florida Trail Again, Powered by Plants
When I last left you here at the Trek, I had just finished the Colorado Trail in September. What an awesome adventure that was! 491 miles from Denver through the Rockies to Durango in the southwest corner of the state.
And now, in just a few days, I’ll resume my 3-section, three Januaries’ journey on the trail that is the polar opposite of my last one: the 1100 mile Florida Trail. I was blown away last January by the lush greenness of the southern sections.
And between the two, I had a lovely short section hike in the gentle autumn beauty of my state of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail.
I feel so very fortunate to have the health, strength and support to be able take advantage of these opportunities. I’m grateful every single day.
As soon as I returned home from Colorado in September, I began to prepare all my dehydrated food that I would need for five weeks on the FT. Because I have an exclusively whole food plant-based way of eating, I eat like a queen on the trail. I dehydrate many of my favorite meals from home like sweet potato chili;
curries; veggies, rice and beans with dehydrated oil-free hummus, split pea soup loaded with extra veggies and brown rice, just to name a few, and all of my snacks as well.
I especially love my cookies, which began simply as mashed ripe bananas, oats, cinnamon and vanilla. Then I thought, why not add more, like we do to sweet breads and cakes? So I add a few or many of these ingredients too: shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, puréed pumpkin, mashed oriental sweet potatoes (so sweet!), chopped chickpeas and my favorite, minced beets, also very sweet.
These really help me get through long afternoons or steep climbs! One person kindly said she admired how I coped with this way of eating. Coped?? I would say I’m thriving! I’ve never felt better, and wake refreshed and ready to go each morning on the trail, even after some of those high mountain passes in the Rockies.
After all my meals and snacks were ready to go in their individual freezer grade Ziplocks,
I assembled gallon sized day packs containing breakfast, lunch, dinner and four snacks per day.
I stacked these in the freezer and left an itinerary with my husband with instructions for how many days’ food packs he needs to send to such and such hotel, hostel, or general delivery post office. This system has worked perfectly through the entire Appalachian Trail, the Colorado Trail and 1/3 of the Florida. Again, I’m so appreciative of his support.
With my food ready and waiting, I’ve been able to direct my energies to keeping up my fitness, with many longer hikes with a fully loaded pack on mostly flat terrain ((Florida, you know), and a few hills here and there. I mix up trail and pavement walking since that’s what I’ll be doing on the Florida Trail again.
Somehow, I’ve gotten on a bit of a podcast circuit the past 9 months, talking about the trails I’ve done in the US as well the 1500 mile GR 5 in Europe, and how I am able to continue 100% with this way of eating on the trail. Trust me, it’s not a hardship!
One of the most fun podcasts was on the very one hosted by Zach Davis, the founder of theTrek, as I’m sure you well know. Please feel free to check it out at “Backpacker Radio” on YouTube, November, 2023.
I also have a FB page that might interest you, Heart Healthy Hiker.
And so it goes, with my gear, backpack and food ready to go and reservations made for some campgrounds and my lodgings for my zero days: hotels, a travel trailer at an RV park and a Kamping Kabin at a KOA. What fun!
Thanks so much for joining me on this continued journey. Fingers crossed that my knee that is at its happiest when nestled in its KT tape and a small knee brace will continue to play nice and not meet with any further holes (Colorado) or vines (Florida).
Hiker, start your engine!
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