Assembling food and fuel to pack into cooler and boxes for our camping trip to Yosemite! From the upcoming Fit Food Quickies™ Cookbook.

True to my promise to report in on how I fueled the heady and grueling ascent to the top of Half Dome n Yosemite last week (see How A Busy Woman Trains To Climb Yosemite’s Half Dome) I’m here to report that we did the whole darn thing on our usual, easy prep fare.

That means piles of plants and potatoes, big bowls of grain, fistfuls of fruit, beautiful grainy breads and colorful beans, and a few nuts and seeds thrown in for fun, flavor, and rib-sticking gusto for long days of hiking.

Eating this way for years has defied the “need lots of protein for muscle and energy” myth that I’ve seen disproven over and over again. As a matter of fact, the more I learn, the more it is clear that the very edibles we have been led to believe by the four food lobbies as “building strong bodies” can be crippling to our health and sap our vitality.

Cramming The Cooler

Packing for a 4-day camping trip, when you are used to lots of fresh and fibrous foods as we are, just takes a little more planning – and space – than the cheese and salami route. Not a problem. It took one giant cooler and 2 large cardboard boxes, along with my backpack brimming with sandwiches, apples, and snap peas for the journey en route.

Along with and including the starter staples as in the image at the top of the page, I packed:

  • 2 quarts of brown rice that I cooked in the rice cooker and then froze as part of the “ice” for the cooler
  • 1 dozen large fuji apples
  • 2 dozen bananas
  • several cups of steel cut oats and rolled oats
  • raisens
  • bag of grapes
  • cans of cooked beans
  • loaves of bread
  • large bag of tomatoes
  • jar of peanut butter and jam
  • 2 bags baby carrots
  • 2 giant bags of snap peas
  • McDougall soup mixes – about a dozen
  • Annie Chung noodle soup
  • almond milk
  • flax seed
  • Lara Bars

A Day in the Menu

On our big trek day to Half Dome we had a typical day’s eats. As that is pretty fresh (shall we say emblazoned?) in my memory, let me run through the day.

Plant Powered to the top of Half Dome


Our launch time out of camp was planned for 6:00 a.m., still flashlight time in Yosemite Valley, so I needed to prep breakfast the night before and store it in the bear locker. I took a couple of cups of rolled oats, a handful of raisens, and soaked it in the pot overnight. In the morning, a quick heating of same delivered two steamy, sweet bowls of grain which I topped with a full banana each, scoop of flash seed, sprinkle of sucanat, and splash of almond milk. Full tanks, and ready!

For the hike I packed and we ate through the course of the 10 hour trek, round trip:

  • two hummus, tomato, and avocado sandwiches on sprouted grainy bread
  • two peanut butter and banana sandwiches
  • four giant fuji apples
  • 4 lara bars

Of course, we packed several quarts of water. As we neared the challenge of the last “sub dome” (I call it a pyramid, a giant stair-step process up to the base of the dome) and the haul up the cables themselves, I ate my two apples to get more glycogen packed in my muscles, already sponges to absorb more stored energy from the exertions early on. This proved to be a good strategy as I never ran out of juice. Just got a little winded. After all, we were at nearly 9,000 feet.

Mission Accomplished!

Our arsenal of eats proved to be perfect for the day, we had enough to go on and even came back with a couple of the Lara Bars. And ten hours later, after crashing into camp, we caught our breath, and then treated ourselves to veggie burgers and salads at Yosemite Lodge.

What are your tricks for packing and eating healthy on the run or camping? Share your ideas in comments below!

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