Just Your Average Hiker Meal Planning

This article originally appeared on The Trek, which you can read here.

Hiker Hunger

Food. Food. Food. During our 20 day stint on the John Muir Trail, food is what I thought about and what we talked about the majority of the time. I really liked what we packed for our trail meals, except the dehydrated hummus (blech). My breakfast rotation consisted of instant oatmeal with powdered soy milk, Raisin Bran Crunch cereal with powdered soy milk, and Pop-Tarts. Snacks were always a welcome treat; trail mix, obviously, dried fruit, peanut butter, all of the Clif Bars, Luna Bars, Kind Bars and…


My PCT Thru-hike Preparation

Here is a breakdown of how I spent my time preparing for my 2021 PCT NOBO thru-hike:

  • 90% analyzing gear
  • 9% watching vlogs of other people hiking the PCT
  • 1% calculating food and water resupply
  • 0% learning navigational skills and how to read a topographic map

So yes, you could say I am feeling very prepared for my thru-hike…if my thru-hike consisted of a multiple choice quiz on the weight, fabrics and volume of the items on my gear list. …


This article originally appeared on The Trek, which you can read here.

Sitting at the summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. I’ll be there again sometime in June, 2021.

The Final Countdown

As I type this I am exactly 4 weeks away from beginning my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. My name is Dan, I’m a Leo, and I love backpacking. Well, I think I love backpacking. I really loved backpacking the John Muir Trail in 2018 with my wife and two friends. I loved it so much that I think I will love backpacking from Mexico to Canada for 4–5 months. If one is good, two is better. Right? …


I received my 2021 PCT Permit! I’ll begin one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced on April 15th. Let me back-up a bit.

It was 2017 and my wife and I were living in Chicago. We stumbled upon the documentary, “Mile…Mile & a Half”. It’s about the John Muir Trail, a long distance hike through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, including Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We were in awe. We had to do it. (I wrote a thing about it with numerous pages, if you are interested.)

We applied for the permit lottery system, with our…


On January 5, 2021, the PCTA announced they will be issuing long-distance permits for the 2021 PCT season (sigh of relief). I’ve been holding my breath since they announced in August that the permit application process was being postponed.

Since the postponement announcement I had numerous alternatives swirling in my head;

  • Hike SOBO?
  • Hike NOBO and obtain section specific permits as needed?
  • Hike another trail entirely, like the CDT?
  • Drive my wife insane by cancelling and talking about the PCT for another year? (Not the best option)

Looking back on all my fears and worries about potentially not being able…


SOBO Alternate

What is SOBO?

I want to reiterate my purpose in documenting my research and process in planning a thru-hike. I am writing from my perspective, but I want to remind the reader that my goal is to be of service to fellow hikers (and to friends and family members of hikers). My hope is this information can help others with lofty aspirations of walking for a really long time, a really long way, with really beautiful surroundings.

You may or may not have read my previous post about PCT 2021 Permits. My primary plan is to hike the PCT from south to north…


The Pacific Crest Trail Association is the managing entity for PCT Long-distance permits. If you plan to hike 500 miles, or more, along the PCT then you will need to obtain one of these permits. Anyone that has researched the PCT prior to 2020 will want to note the following significant changes in effect. There are two new changes for 2020 permit holders, going forward, and a permit issuance change due to COVID-19.

  1. NOBO (Northbound) Hikers: You must complete the Southern Sierra section from Kennedy Meadows South to Sonora Pass, in a continuous hike within 35 days. There are no…

On August 25, 2020 the Pacific Crest Trail Association posted this bombshell for the hopeful hiker PCT class of 2021: “Applications for the 2021 PCT Long-distance Permit will not open as planned in October. The PCTA will continue to assess the situation and may deem it appropriate to issue permits by January 15, 2021.”

For perspective, the permits issued for the PCT 2020 season were cancelled and the PCTA advised that those already hiking get off the trail. The heart broken class of 2020 may have been hoping for a second chance in 2021. There has been speculation that the…


In transit from Da Nang > Miami

We arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam on January 14th. Little did we know that our lives would be altered quickly. It was a week before the Lunar New Year. The school children in Vietnam were on break for the holiday. They would not return to school for the duration of our time in Vietnam. As of today, they have not returned to school. While schools in Vietnam closed in January, US schools remained open until mid-March.

It was interesting to observe the COVID-19 outbreak from Vietnam, outside the lens of the American television news feeds. I would check my news…


After spending the holidays visiting our family and friends in the states, we departed for Da Nang, Vietnam in early January. We had a loose itinerary for the next year and a half, and a vague idea of how we could make it all happen.

Step one, commit. Okay, well after we had resigned from our jobs and life in Chicago that step was complete. Silvia had found an online TEFL course on Groupon and we completed the very boring certification in December. While waiting for one of our standby flights to board in Miami, we applied for an online…

Daniel Gerken

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