In the pre-hike meeting, I mentioned dehydrated foods, but they wouldn’t hear of it. “Fresh food is too heavy to carry,” I droned, my voice cracking among their excited chatter. Instead, everyone offered to carry elaborate gourmet meals up a steep rough trail into the mountains.
Sheepishly everyone refused to weigh their packs. Cumbersome bundles swelled with gear and extra bags dangled on the outside. Pack zippers weakened under the tension.
“What’s in this lumpy stuffsack?” I asked as I lashed an unwieldy and slippery burden onto one pack. “Oh, homemade bread,” Pat said proudly. We carefully secured three perfect loaves of bread and four dozen dinner rolls in a plastic bag to the outside of her pack. All these women somehow staggered under similarly exaggerated, hefty loads.
It was a scorching hot day, and up the steep forested trail no breeze pushed the heavy air. While the sun baked the ground between the trees, a muggy humidity caused many of us to overheat. We watched each other for signs of heat exhaustion and took many rest breaks. It took our weary group much longer than normal to stumble into the campsite.
We tossed bulging sacks of gear on the ground and set up camp. The next morning, the seven women studied our cache and estimated the weight for just food was over 90 kg (200 lb.). Our hike was only three days long. We ate gourmet meals with a flair of unparalleled five-star dining, high in the remote mountains. “For our next trip,” someone wisely suggested, “how about instant porridge and fruit leather?”