Monday, July 5, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ What to Eat & Drink, Grand Canyon, Arizona


As we mentioned before, we chose not to eat at Phantom Ranch – the meals offered simply didn’t appeal to us, plus, we had other days/nights under the rim where we needed to eat and drink.

It is extremely important to stay nourished and hydrated while hiking in such heat (think heat exhaustion), and it’s equally important to eat salty foods. Why? As a person hikes in the heat, they lose a lot of water through perspiration (up to 2 quarts per hour), so replacing fluids is important, and it is recommended to frequently sip water/electrolytes throughout your hike (thus the handy convenience of the water bladders). However, by drinking so much water, you put yourself at risk for hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is an electrolyte imbalance caused by drinking excessive amounts of water with little to no food intake. Therefore, it’s important to increase your salt intake, as well as replace electrolytes.

So for main meals, we purchased good quality dehydrated foods from REI – all created with the backpacker in mind with a lot of sodium (some upwards to 50% of one’s daily balance), yet they didn’t taste very salty. We tried a few before we left, so we’d know which meals we liked. They are rather handy - they come in a pouch in which you simply pour boiling water, wait 8-9 minutes, let cool (nearby streams were good for quick cooling – just immerse the bag), and eat. Then we used the empty food pouch as our trash bags. We brought instant oatmeal for breakfast, and salty snacks for during the hike – cashews, salted almonds, and peanut butter crackers. Besides the water we drank from our water bladders, we brought electrolyte mix packets and made the electrolyte drinks in the water bottle we each carried (although the directions read 1 packet for 16 ounces, we diluted it a bit more- 24 ounces – and it worked fine – a bit too sweet at full strength for us).

Some tips for hiking the Grand Canyon tomorrow~

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