Thursday, May 31, 2012

Backpacking food

Keep it simple: freezer bag cooking, everything dehydrated, super cat stove...

Super cat stove and windscreen at left; meal at right
Freezer bag cooking means that you carry most dehydrated food in single portions, each one in a quart freezer-bag (regular baggies are too flimsy). It’s just a matter of boiling water, pouring it carefully into the bag, adding a little olive oil (from your little plastic bottle), and then putting the carefully sealed bag into a “cozy” (I use an insulated bag from a dollar store) for 5-10 minutes. It’s all pre-measured, there are no bowls or pans to clean, and it’s all very light. The freezer bag cooking site is at and includes good info on dehydration. I use a Nesco 5-7 tray dehydrator ( Dehydrating at home means overall better healthier food, and over time saves money.

The super cat stove is a cat food can with specific-size holes punched at measured intervals. Denatured alcohol from the hardware store is the fuel (I carry mine in two small Gator-Ade bottles). My windscreen is strips from a aluminum turkey pan from the dollar store. It takes about 30 ml alcohol to boil 2 cups of water. Instructions are at (have a look around Zen Stoves site – lots of good info). It is important to not use the super cat on top of duff or other flammable material, AND general burn bans apply to the super cat.

Breakfast staples include freeze-dried scrambled eggs (the only such pre-packaged trail food I carry) with pita bread and cheese. I put the eggs into freezer bags at home and divide 2 packages into 3 freezer bags (with some of my dehy jalapenos or salsa). I also carry oatmeal in freezer bags tarted up with milk, sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, etc. Some days I just have an energy bar + hot chocolate. I’ve begun having some protein drink (see below) with breakfast. 

In the Wind Rivers - can you feel it. Stove with pan left front
Lunch and snacks are quick and include trail mix, energy bars, almonds, and half a Snickers candy bar. There are many excellent dried fruits and berries available in bulk at several stores, and these are good along the way, as is jerky.

Dinner includes (everything dehydrated) marinara with hamburger and angel hair pasta (all pasta is angel hair b/c easiest to dehydrate), chili with burger and pasta, mashed potatoes (Idahoan brand – so good!) with cheese, various dried sauces such as Alfredo and chipotle cream (when pre-measuring, add dry milk if milk needed) with pasta, tom kha with chicken (get soup mix + dry coconut milk and serve with instant rice or pasta) (dehy chicken [use canned to dehy] takes >10 minutes to rehy in a cozy). I bring cheese for half my dinners and have found that pepper jack lasts at least 2 weeks in the mountains. I add EV olive oil to almost everything for taste and >calories (carried in a small plastic bottle from REI). A wide variety of freeze-dried vegetables are now available in bulk from various stores – I don’t eat much of these as I like to take in lots of calories, protein, and carbs when backpacking.

Bread: I used to bring soft tortillas, but now I use bags of pita bread chips or something similar (such as flat bread) as they are lighter and more varied – I expel the air in the bag via a pin hole, bash them up some to make a smaller package, and put scotch tape over the pin hole. I also take smaller (not the smallest though) bags of Doritos, Fritos, etc. and treat them the same as the pita chips.

Pasta with onions, peppers, olives, chicken, etc. All dehydrated at home
Prepared trail meals: REI, Campmor, and retail stores sell prepared meals from brands like Backpacker’s Pantry, Mountain House, and Richmoor. Few people rave about these, though generally, they’re okay. Two-person meals are the best deal. It’s a good idea to re-package them in freezer bags to save space and decrease trash to carry out. An internet source (real people, in Austin) that gets good reviews is Packit Gourmet:  Packit Gourmet has some good pointers on their website.

Protein drink: I use Walmart brand whey-based protein drink as part of my work-out regimen at home and have begun taking some, mixed with dry milk, when I’m backpacking. I mix up ~500ml (with cold lake/river water) every day, have a little with breakfast, and the rest mid to late morning. This seems very helpful to maintaining my strength and energy along the way.

Coffee: Starbucks instant coffee packets are the best, though there are now some pretty good packets from other makers. Hot chocolate is always good.

Other: A package of cooked bacon pieces goes well with several things. Spam comes in single-serve packs and ain’t bad (nor very good). Olives and similar foods can be well-rinsed and dehydrated, as can fresh basil, jalapenos, salsa, etc. I chew several sticks of Doublemint gum along the trail every day. Gum is essential in the desert. 

Sources of information:
Freezer Bag Cooking
And Google, of course.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rosary, women, my generation, it’s the economy, trance…

We were moving her from the wheelchair to the table where the procedure would be done. He was doing most of the lifting and I was on the other side of the table just kind of stabilizing things. I looked down, past his ageing head bent over his wife and I saw her face, like so many other faces I’ve seen – people who are dying, gaunt, the bones in ever sharper definition, and her eyes staring as we eased her back on the table.
Rosary from Nora

She said she finds herself saying the Rosary she learned in her childhood in an orphanage. I asked her if she would like a rosary now and she said yes. I asked a friend where I could find one, and she had one made and brought it over the next day. Very beautiful. I think I’d like one too.
I was thinking about an ancient gender role that I’m sure most will agree is very, very far out
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopus, and Mary Magdalene.” (John 19:25) And it’s still true today, that women are so often there at our comings and goings – the midwife, the L&D RNs; and at the end, nurses, whether in acute care or hospice. Now, even a lot of the chaplains are women. Of course there are men there too, but have a look: women are doing most of the heavy lifting. Honor and Glory.
CK and Melvin at Follow Your Bliss
In my life I’ve seen and played some small parts in the most amazing generation in the history of the world. We brought you civil rights, rock & roll (the real thing, not Frankie Avalon), the youth movement, the sexual revolution, the consciousness revolution, women’s liberation, hospice, environmental consciousness, and gay rights. We fought and died in foreign places. We saw the Kennedys and Martin Luther King gunned down. We were beat down and got the fuck back up in Mississippi, the Stonewall Riots, Chicago, Kent State, LA, and so on. We turned on and worked harder to change the world. Some died and some went to prison for their beliefs. We actually redefined sex roles frozen for millennia. And it’s still happening now, in the third generation of this generation.

Of course there's a huge amount to be done - many, many lifetimes worth, but what a start!
The Welcome Lights on the arbor at our front sidewalk
The Morning News published this letter from me: There is an endless stream of anybody-but-Obama conservatives saying the real issue (other than who marries whom) is the economy and that’s what we should be talking about. Okay. Let’s talk about the role of banks running hog-wild through this nation’s economy in how we got to this place. Let’s talk about JPMorgan Chase as the reputed best of the lot and their efforts to further deregulation. Let’s talk about the role Bush and Cheney played in getting us to this place. Let’s talk about increasing student loan rates and Congress slashing everything but loopholes for the rich. Let’s talk about the incessant truculent whining of the super-wealthy and their hunger to have more, more, more while the middle and working classes do most of the real work and pay a disproportionate share of taxes. Yes, let’s talk about the economy.
An email to Jeff: M, one of the people involved in the scene in Austin put on his first psytrance park party. He asked several people, including me to help and we did. I baked some excellent cookies and brought the gazebo and a few decos. L, M’s brother drove to Dallas from Mount Pleasant and then I drove us to Austin.

It was good: good music (actually outstanding music), good vibes, nice people, good food. About 50 people came. There was a little bit of an underground vibe to the whole thing. For me it was momentary dancing and mostly hanging out, getting to know people I’d met before and meeting some new people, just a very nice time, and like I said, it was M’s first time to put a party on. It’s kind of like we were a little crew. We’re also putting on a pot-luck at Embodied Awakening.

Grosbeak in our back yard - an unusual occurance
Everyone is looking forward to Embodied Awakening in late June. Soooo many good things happening there. It’s from Atrium Obscurum, the people I’ve been working with; same-as Deep in the Heart of Trances. I hope you guys are coming. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky…

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I can see it, clear as day!

In some important respects, my adult life has just been bookended with President Obama’s coming out today in support of equal rights. A happy day! In 1964, when this song came out, I was 20 years old, wandering, trying to figure it all out, learning about new things, like rock-climbing, civil rights, war, being a man. In 1966 I went to war, in 1967 I came home, in 1968, Chicago… The Whole World is Watching! What a time I’ve lived in!

When the Ship Comes In

CK at DMZ, 1967
Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin'
Like the stillness in the wind
'Fore the hurricane begins
The hours when the ship comes in.

And the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they'll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in.

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they're spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in.

DK and CK at the Pacific Ocean, 2011

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin'
And the ship's wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin'.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then they'll raise their hands
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharaoh's tribe
They'll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered.

We’re not done yet, but today is a great day in the march toward freedom in America.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Backpacking to take list

David at Big Bend
What I carry for ~10 days, plus food. Totals about 40 pounds. Obviously I'm thinking about the next trek.

Ice axe?

Clothing (Permethrin spray every year)
1 T shirt REI
1 Long Sleeve Shirt (Synthetic)
1 Thermal long underwear top and bottom
1 Cotton underwear
1 Trousers
1 Fleece
1 Shade hat 
1 Gloves (Wool/Synthetic)
1 Watch Cap (fleece or wool)
1 pair Socks (Wool/Synthetic)
1 Boots
1 pair gaiters
1 Rain Jacket & Pants
1 Down Jacket & stuff sack
Wind River Mountains: Titcomb Basin
Extra clothes (socks, underwear, lg underwear)
Crocs for camp and crossing rivers
Tent – stakes, poles
Tent footprint

Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad

Stove (cat food can - photo below)
Fuel Canisters x2 with 250 ml alcohol each
Heat tabs and can
Spoon (Lexan)
Foil Windscreen
Ziplock (x1 Gallon size for trash)
Bic lighter (mini)
Cooking tarp, stakes, rope
Bear vault
Rain cover
Pack Liner (Trash Bag)
CK at bottom Twins Glacier after a long glissade
Stuff sack for clothing
Stuff sack for food
Stuff sack for essentials
ID, Cash, Visa and Permit(s) holder
Ziplocks (x4 quart and x1 gallon)
Trekking poles
Fire – Bic & matches
Ice ax
Light (Headlamp, Photon)
Nylon Cord (50’)
Bear Canister
Duct Tape
DEET – 100%
Sun Screen
Sun Glasses
Notebook & pens
Camera with new batteries
Compass (adjustable declination)
Grand Canyon: 3/4 way down, storm coming
2L Reservoir (x1) - Platypus
1-2 1L Gatorade bottle (if desert)
1L Nalgene?
Water Purification (Katdyn pump, chemicals)
First Aid/meds
Rx meds
Cox-2s, ibu
ABX cream
TAC cream
Suture set
Hand Sanitizer – Repackaged
Paper towel 2/day
Toilet Paper, towelettes, Vaseline, hand sanitizer, trowel in Ziplock
Tooth Brush
Kitchen: seat, super cat stove, alcohol, cozy, etc. 
Tooth Paste
Wood mini-platform
Pillows, big and small
Sleeping bag
Foam pad
Light screen
Ice chest
Phone charger, phone
Change of clothes x 2
Hand Sanitizer
Little notebook, pens