No one eats Mountain House for breakfast unless you’re in the woods or on the way to a river. Jeff Lund | For the Capital City Weekly

No one eats Mountain House for breakfast unless you’re in the woods or on the way to a river. Jeff Lund | For the Capital City Weekly

Food afield

I have often justified the consumption of unhealthy food on camp outs using the Camping Act. The Camping Act was adopted long ago when camping for recreation started to involve the leftovers from animals raised for meat and the combination of sugar in a variety of interesting forms.

Yes, the Camping Act afforded all the freedom to pile s’mores on top of hot dogs without fear of persecution.

As a side note, a buddy of mine in California loves s’mores. He and his family are almost fanatical about them but it wasn’t until he came to visit that he ate one that hadn’t been cooked in a microwave. He had never, “roasted the mallow” which killed me, of course. Anyway, Southeast Alaska affords us diverse recreational opportunities for which there are many menus.

When I’m hunting in the alpine, I’m not lugging up bratwurst and chili, nor am I having it as the meal the evening before the hike to the top of a mountain. I leave that sort of stuff at the beach, or at a campsite in which my truck is in immediate proximity.

Camping nutrition is a pretty important consideration when going on long hikes or staying multiple days. There really isn’t anything brave about throwing a bag of M&Ms into your pack for a 14-mile overnighter. Things are dangerous and chaotic enough to risk it all on a stomach and brain lacking in nutrients.

Without going full geek on this, I have found a few things which have made my longer camping trips more enjoyable and less painful. First is the myth (at least for me) of the carbohydrate load the night before. For some it works, but if your normal diet isn’t high in carbs, then hitting the body with a bunch of carbs the night before makes me feel sluggish. If I get the body to function on meat and vegetables, then eat a pound of pasta, I’m going to feel terrible in the morning. Similarly, if the first thing I have in the morning is a load of pancakes with syrup before a hike, I feel sluggish too.

My body feels best when I am hydrated, have had a good breakfast with protein and some carbs (scrambled eggs, a meat, onions, peppers, tomatoes, tortillas or toast) and a couple of hours to process it before I start up the mountain.

Then, since the body burns dietary carbohydrates during exercise, then moves on to stored glycogen, I’ll have trail mix and a sports drink to keep me going. Fats don’t do much in the short term because it takes the body longer to break them down and make them available for energy.

When the hike is over, and I am craving a steak or a fat burger, that’s when I settle on protein-rich food that my body can use to repair muscles. I realize this is over simplified and there are valid arguments for a bunch of different approaches to food on excursions, but I am always a little surprised by the total unpreparedness of some before rigorous exercise. Cool, you’re going up there with one water bottle and a stick of gum, but what if something happens?

The point of getting up and down from mountain camps is to do so safely. There is likely going to be an element of misery, but by taking the right fuel and refuel, it can be a fun misery and you might just want to do it again.

• Jeff Lund teaches and writes out of Ketchikan.

Blueberry pancakes complicate cooking logistics and add weight to the pack, but can really hit the spot. Jeff Lund | For the Capital City Weekly

Blueberry pancakes complicate cooking logistics and add weight to the pack, but can really hit the spot. Jeff Lund | For the Capital City Weekly

More in Neighbors

Courtesy Photo / Iola Young 
Marla Berg presents $22,750 in “mattress money” to the Glory Hall, recipient of this quarter’s 100+ Women Who Care’s donation. Shown here (left to right): Bruce Denton, president of the Glory Hall Board of Directors; Marla Berg, member of 100+ Women Who Care’s organizing team; Maria Lovishchuk, executive director of the Glory Hall; and Glory Hall board members Deb Maas and Jorden Nigro, who is also a member of 100+ Women. Nigro made the winning pitch to the giving circle that now numbers 279 members. When collection of each $100 donation is complete, the Glory Hall award will total $27,900. Enough to purchase all the beds, mattresses and locking trunks needed for the new facility.
Organization donates over $22K to the Glory Hall

100+ Women Who Care’s 279 members pitch in.

This photo shows Adam Bauer and his granddaughter. (Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growing: At its core, the Bahá’í faith is a practice in hope and optimism

Today, the Bahá’í faith circles the globe with adherents in virtually every country in the world.

Thank you letters for the week of May 9, 2021

Thank you, merci, danke, gracias, gunalchéesh.

Courtesy Photo
Erin Walker-Tolles, executive director of Catholic Community Service, stands with Wayne Stevens, president and CEO of United Way of Southeast Alaska. CCS was among the organizations to receive grant funding from UWSEAK’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
United Way of Southeast Alaska distributes over $52K to local nonprofits

Juneau Empire United Way of Southeast Alaska has distributed $52,375 in grants… Continue reading

Living & Growing: Baptism in Water

By Joab Cano The baptism of Jesus Christ was a unique event… Continue reading

“Non-meat grillables are spendy, you know?” writes Geoff Kirsch. “I couldn’t trust either parent with Portobello mushroom steaks, let alone heirloom tomatoes and Halloumi cheese (which cost like $10 for a six-ounce block, and that’s 1992 dollars).” (Unsplash)
Slack Tide: Grillin’ like a villain

This week’s column gets up in your grill.

Living & Growing: Sorrow transformed

By Laura Rorem While pondering together Henri Nouwen’s words: “Out of his… Continue reading

Gimme A Smile: What national day is it today?

You don’t need to wait until May 31 to smile.

Courtesy photo/Troop 11 
Scouts from BSA Troop 11 gathered and donated 562 pounds of food to the food bank at Resurrection Lutheran Church on April 17. The troop meets at the downtown church and collected food from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Scouting for Food helps stock local food pantries

Local Scouts collected more than 9,000 pounds of food

Guy Crockroft is Executive Director of Love Inc, Juneau. (Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growing: Jesus is coming back. Are you ready?

Let’s do our best to love our neighbors and be salt and light.

Web tease
Juneau students earn academic honors

Recognitions for the week of Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Foodland and Super Bear customers donate to United Way

Customers donated over $4,700 by rounding up their change at the end of each transaction.