Food and why I’m not planning anything

What I have learned so far about food on the PCT is that it’s available. Apparently you already have the Malt shop 20ish miles into your thru hike. So essentially you only need to carry a little bit of food for the first two days, and if you are like me you’ve eaten your breakfast before you even showed up to the Southern Terminus, and you’ll be eating your lunch soon after starting your hike so that’s already 2 meals down on the first day you’re not really carrying.

Food planning-

Well, that’s just not happening. I’m not planning on planning this out, feel me? If there is a food resupply 20 miles, 2 days in, and the next resupply & might I add restaurant is a couple days after that, then I’ll go ahead and let the trail provide. I will bring what I’ll immediately need and rely on the resupply.

This is not my first rodeo-

I have backpacked before. My highly favored place is in the Sierra Mountains. I have a feel now for some of my more finicky areas of eating. That would be on longer mileage days with higher elevation, sprinkle in some attitude, um I mean altitude. I don’t mind cold soaking for breakfast and lunch but after summiting a beauty like Mount Whitney, by the time I get back down to Trail Camp for the night I do enjoy a very starchy backpackers meal, heated up. The only other thing I require a fuel canister for is coffee in the morning. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was a kid. I love strong dark roasted, hot black coffee, this will never change.

Now let’s talk about nutrition, macronutrients and all that other stuff we have learned about.

I’m throwing all that out-

I’d like to choose healthy, nutritious foods, right? I am not against eating healthy. I am no stranger to Crossfit Nutrition’s “Sickness, wellness and fitness essentials”.

I actually have a certificate for successful completion of CrossFit’s Nutrition 1 course. In addition to that I went in person, which I hate anything in person due to social anxiety and got my USA Weightlifting Coaches certification, let me say it again…In person, where I had to demonstrate in front of the instructors and class the proper lifting mechanics of a snatch, clean, and other Oly lifts…. Then take an exam that I understood and can safely explain, demonstrate and coach the lifts to another human, did I mention in person?

Why am I bringing up the coaching thing?

Glad you asked. Because that and a nutrition background (forgot to mention that I worked in the medical field as well for 24 years)shows that I do have somewhat of an educated understanding of how food works for your organs and how your body relies on it to function in different areas of your life.

That being said-

I still refuse to plan out my food for the next 5 months. My goal is to enjoy what food I can get, whether it be gas station food or something healthy I can get at a grocery store. I bought some stuff for my fiancé to bring me in boxes at three different areas along the PCT that I  may want to rummage through and pack in my bag. I am aware that I’ll need her to mail me a few resupply boxes later as well further up the trail. Am I stressing about it now? No. Look let’s be honest, we are never going to be so far from civilization that if we run out of reserves we are in imminent danger. You do need a bigger supply through the Sierra, but as long as we are not going way off trail we are good. That’s my opinion by the way. Yours may be different and I respect that.

I don’t want to have to breakdown meal macronutrients or track or even care as long as I’m getting something to keep me alive and keep my body moving. I ate termites out of their nests in Costa Rica last October because I read they have a lot of protein and I wanted to try it. I ate crickets when I was pregnant, I’m a lot different when I am outside and I really like it.  I wish I was like that all the time, you know, not so OCD about every little thing.

This is one of the few reasons I am doing this, is to let go of some of the control I feel I need to have over all areas of my life. I want to “Let it go” as I’ve learned through Yoga and meditation.

This is my second blog for the Trek. I hope to get better at writing and my words are relatable to some. I’ve obsessed over food most of my life. So much that I’ve completely stopped eating and I’ve completely over binged. This has given me a lifelong relationship with therapists and now, an understanding of why I’ve felt the need to use food as a source of control in my life. This never goes away. It’s always there, you have to work on this one day at a time.

I don’t do well when I get into a situation where I have to overthink or obsess about food. It will become everything to me and I don’t want that.

So for this thru hike, I will not plan, I will not obsess, I will not carry on about it.

I will eat all the things. I will celebrate all the foods with my newly acquired friends. I will pick the blackberries and savor every single one of them.

Until later!


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Comments 2

  • Mary : Apr 5th

    Joy- Thank you for the blog post! I’m also attempting the PCT this year (’24) and have no food plans. I’ve thru hiked before and I love not having a plan for food, eating what I get, and enjoying all the town experiences of resupplying along the way, instead of getting to post offices on time. I will send some forward to Washington when I get closer, but this validation has me feeling good!

    • Joy Morrison : Apr 6th

      Hey Mary! Of course, isn’t it kind of liberating? I too just plan on getting things shipped up North as well. My goal is to focus on the journey. I do expect that I will be carrying more through the Sierra, but at least it’s not the whole thru!


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