Running Out Of Food

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maverick
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Running Out Of Food

Post by maverick » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:29 pm

Has anyone run out of food while out on a trip? Maybe doing a longer trip (JMT), miscalculated your calorie needs or got hung up because of weather or injury? Have you ever asked for food? Has anyone asked you for food, so they could complete a hike?
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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:57 pm

Well I have "run out of food' on purpose. At NOLS we regularly had big eaters who ran out of food. Then we would take all the food of the entire group, pile it up, and re-distribute it. Food was planned so that at the end of the 30-days course, very little would be left. Insturctors would either burn or carry out the remaining. Students would then go on a 4-day 50-mile survival. I did the survival twice, once as a student and once as an instructor with three other students to round out their group to 4 people. Once my strategy was to make miles the first two days and then sit at the pick-up point the remaining two days and chill out and sleep. Second survival, I did the fish and forage thing, walking out at a steady pace each day. I am not sure which was the "best". I did find that total fasting left me less hungry, but out of energy. Fishing and foraging never can provide enough calories if you also have to walk 10+ miles a day. I did have more energy, but was constantly hungry. Pick your poison. But what both experiences did was assure me that running out of food was not that big a deal.

I ran out of food on several trips in the SIerra . I usually plan to walk out the last day empty. Yes, I have used left-over food from bear boxes, and begged (kindly asked) food off others going out who packed in too much (they mostly were grateful to get rid of the weight). Worse than running out of food is running out of water. DId that twice on unplanned bivouacks getting stuck on cliffs when climbing. I much prefer shorting my rations than hauling extra pounds on the entire trip.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by RichardCullip » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:03 pm

I seem to have the opposite problem. At the end of my trips I always seem to have food left over. I have given some away. Not to folks who asked but to some kids we had on a group trip. They were eyeing my fritos and I was happy to share so I wouldn't have to carry leftovers out the next day.
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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by bobby49 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:52 pm

I've never run out of food. I just pick up the pace to finish the trip earlier so that I never run out.

One summer I was doing the North Lake to South Lake route. On the morning of the third day, I was going southbound up to Muir Pass and the hut. There was one northbound guy sitting there looking unhappy, so I spoke to him. He explained that he had started his trip with one large butane canister for his stove, and all of his food required cooking. On the night before, he found out that his canister was empty, so he had no cooking capability at all. He had a long way to go, so he asked me if I had any excess food that I could spare that did not require any cooking. I let him pick and choose from my food bars, so he got about 24 ounces worth. I figured that would keep him going for another day or two. I'm sure that if he got really desperate, he could build a campfire to cook over, even though campfires are frowned upon in a lot of places.

Then, when I got to the LeConte Canyon Ranger Station, there was a female ranger who was talking to a male backpacker. Apparently the backpacker had completely run out of food. I don't recall his excuse. He was there asking the ranger if she had any food that she could spare. Well, she had just stocked up at the grocery store in Bishop before she walked in for her two-week stay. So, she gave him a couple of items.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by SSSdave » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:56 pm

Problem is not that backpackers on longer trips run out of (all) their food but rather they run out of enjoyable food leaving just boring items and then increasingly think about getting back to the trailhead and civilization to eat the kind of food and drink they crave. Heck with not a few, especially those that just bring those backpacker specific meals and a token snack for each day, they may not have ANY food that is enjoyable beyond just filling their belly satisfying immediate hunger. I suspect those with a serious habit of 3 daily meat diet meals at home, suffer the most. Oh I want a grande beef burrito. I want a 16 inch pizza with everything on it...just for me. Ooohhh I want a Burger King Double Quarter Pound King! And then for dessert a triple scoop chocolate ice cream...on and on.

Well then there are fishermen that planned on catching and eating a lot of fish but could not catch many for the usual list of reasons like weather and skill. We always have a modest excess of food left over at trip ends and bring all manner of enjoyable foods like candy and salty foods. More left overs on trips with good weather and conditions because we were too busy to eat and less on foul weather trips where we were often tent bound for hours too many days. For those new people that come on my trips, I am particularly interested in looking at their food list as I do not want to listen to someone whining about food on day 6 of a 9 day trip. Uh huh you that ate your whole 16 ounce bag of potato chips sitting against that boulder after the 7 miles of hiking on day 2 while the rest of us were setting up our tents and camp, think about what I said about eating stupid.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by alpinemike » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:31 pm

I don't believe I've ever actually run out of food. But in my first years doing long distance trips I did not bring enough food and often times did not bring the food I actually wanted to eat after the 2nd or 3rd week. Enter Rogue... haha. He has given me so much food over the years that either he wasn't into, or just had too much, or the most common one he felt generous. That sure as hell got me through the first year with him. There are many comedic episodes where I brought something and just couldn't stand to eat it... enter Corn Pasta. I made the mistake on the JMT in 2012 with my friend Aleks. He just plain refused to eat it after a few bites. I managed several more but was still quite hungry several times. Then in 2013 I made the same bloody mistake and ended up eating some pieces of salami on a tortilla in Deadman Canyon when my corn pasta failed me once more. In 2014 I somehow thought that I would eat it.. well nope. I ended up leaving it at VVR because I think I brought an extra dinner on that section. And then of course is the most comedic incident in 2014 when Rogue and I had just finished what we call the section from Hell! Ionian Basin, the Ragged Spur, the Enchanted Gorge, Rambaud Pass and then out over Bishop Pass. Well it was the last day.. so Day 14 and we were climbing Bishop Pass and I very clearly remember having some trail mix and a Cliff Bar for lunch that day but the cliff bar was so old and hard that I couldn't stand eating it. But.. I did have some cheese powder that I would put on my dinners. As we sat on the side of the trail in Dusy Basin I stuffed my face with cheese powder and was extremely satisfied. I'm sure I looked like a rabid mountain hermit with my massive beard and yellow powder all over my face.

These days though.. I have food down to a science. I know exactly what I like.. haven't got tired of it yet. And I know exactly how much to bring each day. And I truly would have enough if I was desperate and had to survive an extra day or two.. I'd just be a little hungrier after each meal.
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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:10 pm

bobby49- I would disagree with you that "running out of food" is a sign of poor planning. On the contrary, if you really plan your food carefully (I have a spreadsheet to do this) you will know EXACTLY how many calories you are carrying, and its nutritional content. And if you are disciplined enough to stick to the meal plan, then zeroing out food the last morning of a trip, is good planning, not poor planning. And if you have the survival experience in going without food, as well as foraging, you will easily survive those few times when you are delayed. In fact, most of the time, big delays is a result of poor overall trip planning. I think a lot of people take too much food, because they have never experienced a day without food, so are scared to do so. In some cultures, fasting more than a day is regularly done. It takes 30 days to starve to death; 3 days without water to die, and 3 minutes without air. Food is not the top priority. Food alone does not prevent hypothermia; you need proper clothing and the sense to know when to hole up and wait out a storm.

The thing is, as the length of the trip gets longer, the more little odds and ends you will have, which after about 10 days, actually can become a complete, if quite crazy, meal. The only time I take "emergency food" is on day hikes or an overnight trip.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by rlown » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:15 pm

Sorry WD. I never stick to a meal plan and have no spreadsheet. The bear can is a pantry and I pick and choose. I eat when hungry; that's it. I usually come back heavy with food. I do not skimp on water.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by kpeter » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:31 pm

I have really been trying to discipline myself to bring less food, since I almost always bring too much. Part of my obsession with safety.

The funniest food incident, though, was one trip where I thought I had brought a wide assortment of Cliff bars. On the third day when I pulled out my third white chocolate/macadamia nut bar in a row, I realized, to my horror, that I had packed from a pile of all-alike bars rather than from the pile of assorted bars. Day after day, white chocolate macadamias.... I will never eat another such bar again as long as I live.

Months later my backpacking partner from that trip and I got together to celebrate memories of our trip. He baked a batch of cookies for the celebration.....with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

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Re: Running Out Of Food

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:13 pm

rlown- you big burly guys can get by with that; consider yourself lucky. :D Me, well, it does not take much for my backpack to get heavy enough to knock me over when doing 3rd class scrambling or jumping rocks in a stream. I think I need to go with you guys on your next trip and you can feed me all that extra food! Just think of all the weight you then would not have to carry out.

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