20 Day Challenge

4:41 p.m. on June 19, 2012 (EDT)
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My last 5 day trip on Slickrock Creek with 24 hammock backpackers got me to thinking about organizing a trip in Southeast TN and the Citico/Slickrock area with an open invitation for those backpackers nearby who have the time to do a "20 Day Challenge."

The "challenge" part is not in miles hiked per day but in carrying a 20 day food load without resupply. 

Am I nuts?  Will I have any takers?  If anyone is interested here on Trailspace, respond to this thread with pertinent questions and we'll see what happens.  The trip is planned for sometime in October or November, 2012.  I have the route mostly mapped out and daily miles are small with 8 miles a day being the most. 

In this way we can account for rain days or zeros and take time to see some of the trail highlights like Slickrock Creek, Hangover Mt and Bob's Bald, Whiggs Meadow and the BMT, the North Fork/South Fork Citico, Wildcat Falls, State Line Ridge and Bald River Gorge.

4:46 p.m. on June 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Ugghhhh, this is one of those times when I wished I lived down south. I would jump on this one. 

I could see the convoy of packmules now. ;)

7:33 p.m. on June 19, 2012 (EDT)
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My recent hike with 30 days of food was quite heavy, in fact I chickened out after just 10 days. I had not done a hike like this in 10 years.

9:41 p.m. on June 19, 2012 (EDT)
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GaryPalmer said:

My recent hike with 30 days of food was quite heavy, in fact I chickened out after just 10 days. I had not done a hike like this in 10 years.

 I figure there are two ways to do a long trip without resupply---either carry whatever food you want and suffer with 45-55 lbs of the stuff, or get "scientific" and dehydrate everything beforehand.  With careful food planning I believe it's possible to carry around 25 days of food w/o killing yourself but it still will be heavy.

My personal max load of food is on average around 20-22 days, afterwhich it's just too heavy.

9:08 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi, 

This is a really neat idea, and very cool of you to invite the whole motley crew of us :)

I really, REALLY want to do this. The truth is, though, I am currently locked into life and financial commitments that preclude taking that much time off in one chunk.  I plan to follow this thread and come meet up with the group on a weekend if I can.

I wonder how many folks will take the bait? Haha! 

9:47 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Tipi, 

This is a really neat idea, and very cool of you to invite the whole motley crew of us :)

I really, REALLY want to do this. The truth is, though, I am currently locked into life and financial commitments that preclude taking that much time off in one chunk.  I plan to follow this thread and come meet up with the group on a weekend if I can.

I wonder how many folks will take the bait? Haha! 

 In order to be realistic and to get a wider field of participants, I need to post this challenge on other forums like Whiteblaze and BackpackingLight.com., including here on Trailspace.  The biggest sticking point is the "20 days" part as who has the time??  Will it all be retirees in their 60's?

Gonzan---if this thing sets up you're more than welcome to join us---but you'll have to carry a cinder block in your pack to simulate a 20 day food load ha ha ha otherwise you'll be skipping and laughing while we grunt and heave and sweat and lose small appendages under load, etc.

10:10 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I once did a 256 mile/28 day hike in the Grand Canyon. I first packed in one week food and water caches to separate places so I only had to carry one weeks supplies at a time, then pick up each new cache as I went. I use plastic ex-mayonaise buckets which worked fine in the canyon as there are no bears just rodents and Ravens.

11:01 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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That's a pretty good system although this trip will not have caches except for a possible gear cache of spare stoves or Thermarests---in case of blowouts.  And these can be placed at the beginning of the trip.  I call them "emergency gear caches".

In the Southeast food caches have to be placed in BearVaults or equivalent as bears will discover them and chew.  I had two Thermarest caches discovered and eaten by bears and a two-BearVault cache chewed and rolled.

Going without a food cache gives a trip more freedom, in my mind, since #1 I don't have to drive beforehand to place the cache and #2 there's no guarantee I'll be anywhere near the cache in the middle of a trip.  Now, if I was pulling a 60 day trip . . . . . THEN I would place a food cache just to stay out w/o visiting a town, etc.  But we can go 20 days w/o resupply with little problem.

12:13 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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In the Escalante Country I plan to do two food caches along the Hole in the Rock Road before hand taken down by my mountain bike to the side canyons about on week apart along the 90 mile trek down the canyon from the town of Escalante to the reaches of Lake Powell. Each one will have two weeks worth of food and I will retrieve one weeks at each going down and the other weeks worth at both going back to spend a month down and up the canyon. I plan to use my bicycle touring panniers.


Two-buckets-with-reflectors-and-reflecti

3:55 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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That's a pretty good system.  Are you going to stash your bike someplace?  Don't tell us---then people would know!  Little Mitten tells me she'll shuttle out a load of food to me in the middle of a long 40 to 60 day trip if we arrange a place to meet for drop-off.  But I have to say, after about 20 days I'm ready to come out of the woods for a few days.  You're giving me another plan---The 30 Day Challenge!!  Naw, let's keep it to 20 but I'd sure to pull a 30 day trip w/o resupply, just once to say I did it.

8:38 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I will ride my bike back to the town of Escalante and maybe get a bike shop to let me lock it nearby. Then hike the canyon down and back and resupply and do another route, as there are dozens of side canyons off the Escalante. I hope to start in October sometime this fall and hike all winter if I can find a job here in Jackson WY and save at least 1200 dollars for food.

10:04 a.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

you're more than welcome to join us---but you'll have to carry a cinder block in your pack to simulate a 20 day food load ha ha ha

Thanks :) 

I'll keep that in mind! 

5:59 p.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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With a flyrod and plenty of flies it is very doable. 

5:11 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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SagetoSnow, You mean to do the Escalante? I have considered this too and fishing from Lake Powell too.

12:18 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Wife and I routinely packed 10 days in a Berikade and a down sleeping bag size stuff sack. Mostly freeze dried meals repackaged. Of most concern to her was how many rolls of TP.  One trip we cut it very close.  4 squares left.

I can pack a Berikade Expedition with 20+ days...but not freeze dried pouch dinners   Not eating on the Ritz, however.  Lots of cornmeal, rice, flour etc in plastic bags tamped flat with a water filled bottle and layered.  Everything else is reduced to almost dust (freeze dried stuff) bagged and pounded. Beans/legumes are dried and cracked then bagged and pounded to fit flat. Large tortillas fit nicely inside the canister to act as buffer between layers.

The trade off is more fuel to cook the food.  On the other hand fuel is dense.

Needs lots of dried herbs, veggies and spices to make it all edible after two weeks.

I haven't found a way to get 6000kcal a day in there tho.   Packing a full pack up hill at higher altitude can use up 600+ Kcal an hour.  I can make up some of the deficit with oils but you can't ingest too much a day.  Peanut butter is another that will form fit in the canister.  Rather than take sugar for sweet drinks (too fluffy and too few Kcals), I quell the sweet need urge and take .5 liquid oz of artificial sweetener.

Extra muscle and fat is around 3500kcal a pound.  Not bad if enough of it can be laid in ahead of time.

If I were to take alcohol, it would have to be Everclear.  :)

*****************  Quick Reference ***************

Pound of body fat - about 3500 Kcal

FATS
16 fl oz of olive oil   3900Kcal (16 (dry) oz more than 4000Kcal)
16 oz of butter (2 cups) = 3,200 calories
16 oz Peanut Butter (creamy) 2708

SWEETS
16 oz sugar (2 1/4 cups) = 1,733 calories
16 oz Corn Syrup 1920Kcal
16 oz Aunt Jamima's Maple (flavored) Syrup 1890
16oz Trader Joe Unsweetened Pineapple (freeze dried) 1760
16 oz Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Syrup  1680
16 oz Honey 1320
16 oz of chocolate chips  2200Kcal

DRY WEIGHT

16 oz macaroni pasta  1680
16 oz Spaghetti 1680
16 oz Krusteaz Pancake mix 1680
16 oz of rice  1600Kcal
16 oz Kellogs Froot Loops 1656
16 oz (Blue) Cornmeal 1647
16 oz Bulgar (Wheat) 1520
16 oz General Mills Total  1500
16 oz Split Peas (dry) 1170
16 oz  Lintels (dry) 1040

Prepared:  Salt and fat added Yum..

16 oz Trader Joe Madras Lintel (heat and eat) 416Kcal (2-160kcal servings in 10oz package)
16 oz Mountain House Beef Teriaki 1224 ( a package for two is .55 pound 680Kcal)
16 oz Mountain House Beef/Noodle Stoganoff 1582  (package for four is .79 pound  1250 Kcal )


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