I wanted this blog to a about the reflections of my 11 day solo backpacking trip on the CDT. But there were two problems. Number one, I discovered I am still processing a lot from that hike and I don’t know quite how to put it into words just yet. And, number two, emotionally reliving the experience still makes me physically very, very hungry.

It was a section hike! And, I have been off the trail for five days!! And I still have my hiker appetite!!!

Believe me, I am trying to lock it up. But while my mind and body are still focused on food. I thought I would share my new favorite fuel while on the trail. And by the way, I did not take a stove on my hike. So if you are looking for some new “cold food” ideas for the trail, hopefully this will help.


Justin’s Nut Butters

I had heard murmurs about Justin’s coming from the Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. And when I spotted some Maple Almond Butter packets in the Grand Junction Wal-Mart, I decided to give it a try. NOW I AM ADDICTED!!!

Justin’s packs a mean amount of energy and all-natural nutrients into a hiker-friendly squeeze pouch. They are a company focused on sustainability – and are currently trying to make their packaging renewable and compostable. Plus, if you think the Almond Butter is delectable then you have got to try Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It is better than Nutella. That’s right, BETTER than Nutella.

Justin’s is made in Boulder. (Eye roll - of course it’s made it Boulder.) And it is readily available throughout Colorado. I am nut sure (he he) about it’s national distribution, but I know you can order it off the website. Enjoy!

nut butter


Greenbelly Bar

Sometimes, a lot of times, I want to eat and not think. I don’t want to calculate how much protein and carbs I am taking ingesting. I don’t want to count calories. I just want to pop something in my mouth and know that Iam getting some substantial energy and nutrients that will last a couple hours.

This was especially true on the storm battered ridgelines of the Continental Divide Trail. I didn’t have the time or dexterity to meal plan as the cold wind threatened to blow me off the crest, so it was nice to be able to dig into my pocket and gnaw on a Greenbelly Bar while still walking.

These rectangular futuristic food bars were created by a thru-hiker who was looking to provide 1/3rd of the daily protein, calories, carbohydrates, fiber, fats and sodium into an energy bar. It is made from All Natural ingredients. And for someone who is SO OVER energy bars, I even thought it tasted pretty good. I always said if there was a pill I could take that would give me all my caloric and nutritional needs on the trail then I would happily pop it and not worry about eating. Well, this isn’t a pill. But we’re getting closer!





Alright, and here’s the BIG ONE. (This recipe may, in fact, be my biggest contribution to the world of backpacking.) Drum roll please....

A date, stuffed with cheese, and wrapped in bacon.

This delicacy sounds like something that you would have as an appetizer at a fancy restaurant or perhaps see on the cover of Southern Living. But it is also perfect for the trail.

I’ll never forget sitting on a ridge overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park when the inspiration for this tasty treat took hold. I already had all the ingredients in my food bag: dried pitted dates, babybel cheese, and a family sized package of precooked bacon. All are satisfying independently and all are staples of my no-cook trail diet. But put them all together and they taste even more incredible. It's a flavor EXPLOSION in your mouth. It’s creamy, it’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s DELICIOUS! And it even feels somewhat sophisticated, which is hard to accomplish on the trail.


I remember being so proud of my culinary creation that I even found a small stick to use as a toothpick for my hors d’oeuvre. It’s all about presentation you know.




Food is fuel. It allows you to go farther, feel better, and recovery faster. I am not a nutritionist, or a foodie, or even a cook! But I know how much pack-friendly, nutritious food (that you actually want to eat) can enhance a hike. Hopefully this blog will help you think about some new foods that you can incorporate into your trail diet. Remember.. eat early, eat often, and KEEP HIKING ; )

Honorable Mention: Here’s a shout-out to the other faithful staples that rounded out my haute cuisine: Tuna (I may have mercury poisoning now, but it is a protein staple on the trail), hard-boiled eggs, nuts – lots of nuts, raisins (that’s about as close as it gets to fresh fruit), kettle chips (a lightweight tasty treat that provides salt and fats), fruit leathers (I usually go with Stretch Island, but Mott’s has a tasty variety as well), Goldfish (no real nutritional benefit on the trail, but they made me think of Charley and that makes my heart happy), Granola Bars (the Quaker cranberry pistachio bars hit the spot), and Fig Bars (The raspberry variety is my fav).