Wilderness Heals

Thank you for visiting the Wilderness Heals blog. Wilderness Heals is an all-women, three-day annual pledge hike that benefits the Elizabeth Stone House (ESH), a Boston-based emergency shelter, transitional housing program, and therapeutic community that provides services to women and children who are escaping violence and overcoming trauma. By encouraging hikers to set challenging physical, emotional, and financial goals, Wilderness Heals mirrors the experiences of hundreds of women who have sought help from the Stone House. Committing to hike is a way to grow personally while simultaneously standing in solidarity with women of the Stone House and women everywhere who are working to overcome the effects of violence in their lives.
Wilderness Heals 2011 will take place July 15-17, 2011. Registration materials may be downloaded here.
Go here to view the 2011 routes, and visit our Who's Who page to meet this year's team leaders and Recruitment Committee members.
Want to learn more? Visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Still have questions? Contact Erika Whyte, Wilderness Heals event coordinator, at 781-726-0551 or ewhyte@elizabethstone.org.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Food for Thought

Let's be honest. What do Wilderness Heals hikers think about most while they're hiking? Food! Sure, we all enjoy the pristine forest trails, cold mountain stream crossings, and breathtaking views from the summits, but nothing beats a piece of dark chocolate or a hunk of cheddar cheese after a long day on the trail.

Not sure about what kind of food to bring on your first training hike? Below are some suggestions from veteran Wilderness Heals hikers. Bon app├ętit!

Sheryl Barnes
- I always carry turkey jerky from Trader Joe's on the trail because it's tasty, full of protein, and light weight. Food can get heavy, so I pay special attention to the weight. My cravings vary from salty foods to chocolate, so I try to have both with me most of the time.

Maia Brodyfield
- I'm partial to the spicy Thai peanuts from Trader Joe's. They have lemon grass, chili peppers, basil, and other spices that satisfy my craving for salty and savory treats on the trail. I tend to rotate snacks, otherwise I get bored. Hopefully I won't hit the wall on the peanuts before the actual hike this year.

Monica Chopra - I like eating Clif bars on the trail because they suppress my hunger better than other bars. I've been told beef jerky is great, too. I crave Julia's ginger fudge when I'm hiking. And peanut butter and cheese. Honestly, when you're out there hiking for days at a time, any food that you would not normally eat tastes so good!

Becky Fullerton
- Usually I carry a couple of energy bars that have some kind of chocolate element, and some kind of bread and cheese (usually brie). Oh, and more chocolate. Those are the three most important food groups for the trail: chocolate, salt, and fat. Mmmm. There's also the token piece of fruit, which usually comes home with me, but it's there in case I need it. I buy my snacks at the Village Market and the Boston Cheese Cellar in good 'ole Rosi Square. I always crave sushi on the trail. And that yellow cheese that comes in a jar.

Jocelyn Gould - I always carry fig newtons and some kind of chocolate while I'm hiking. For last year's hike, I made a yummy mini-loaf of cinnamon bread (that had buttermilk in it, yuuuum), and I also carried a bag full of M&Ms, dried cranberries, peanuts, and raisins. I also had animal crackers, but they got pulverized. I like having a mixture because I can add whatever I want and bring as much as I want. The bread recipe I got off of a cooking site, and it was a really nice treat. I think bringing homemade food on the trail is nice because it isn't pre-packaged and you can tailor it to what you like. Hiking out, I always crave chocolate, milk, iced tea, and lemonade.

Beth Grierson - I go through phases, but the last few years I always have beef jerky, or some kind of sausage/salami thing. The meaty things are nice and salty, and have lots of protein. The salametti has fat, which is very important fuel for your body, and the jerky is very light weight. I always have some kind of fruit, as well as some chocolate. Fruit is a nice pick-me-up; there's almost something cleansing about it. Chocolate should not require explanation. In addition, I love avocados on the trail because they're a good source of healthy fat and vitamins, and the creaminess of it feels very indulgent. I usually bring a little bit of plastic wrap to cover any exposed surface. I try to aim for variety on the whole--some sweet, some salty, some soft, some crunchy. Texture is VERY important. I don't want to wear my jaw out chewing, but if I don't have something crisp or crunchy, everything starts to seem unappealing. I get Oberto beef jerky at the local supermarket, salametti at the Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville, and everything else at Trader Joe's. TJ's has the most incredible variety of interesting things to eat, from snack bars to trail mixes...anyone and everyone should be able to find something there. My current TJ fave is the sweet and salty trail mix. I generally crave cold beer and French fries on the trail. I think about food a lot when I'm hiking, but unless I'm thinking of rewarding myself at the summit with a nice piece of chocolate or ginger fudge, what I'm thinking about really varies.

Abby Heisler - Trail mix is a MUST when I'm hiking, but it really has to be the right kind. For instance, I don't really like chocolate in my trail mix, but I do like lots of banana chips, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. I save my chocolate, preferably dark with high cocoa content, for the end of the day. Whole Foods has some nice ready-made trail mixes. So does Shaw's. When I'm hiking, I crave fresh veggies and salad. And a backrub.

Katie Kozin
- I love grapes on the trail because they are tart, juicy, and refreshing. I also like to bring Trader Joe's snacks, such as sesame cashews and savory rice crackers. They are inexpensive and tasty! I don't tend to carry gorp; too much of that in my past for me to look forward to it anymore. I've always wanted to try avocados and hard boiled eggs. Other hikers have brought these and they look delicious. I tend to crave ice cream when it's hot, and hearty soup when it's cold.

Liz Reyes - On the first day of the hike, I always bring leftover pizza and Snickers bars for lunch. I pack cheese and trail mixes for snacks. Hiking out, I always crave a big bag of salty potato chips and lemonade.

Linda Rosen - On the first day of the hike, my favorite sandwich is a pre-made wrap from Trader Joe's. I just throw it in the top of my pack and have a really great first-day lunch! I always bring a Luna bar (chocolate peppermint is my favorite). I also LOVE teriyaki beef jerky from Trader Joe's. I like the Luna bars because they pack well, aren't too sweet, and the peppermint is refreshing. And beef jerky just hits the spot when I need some salt. I always go for salty snacks before sweet ones, and I don't carry dried fruit or nuts on the trail because they tend to wreak havoc on my digestion. My pack also always has: hard cheese (Swiss-type, wrapped tightly in foil), dry sausage (wrapped in foil), a Swiss Army knife to cut the above, an apple, an orange, and bagels (one per day to eat with the cheese and sausage). Between the fresh sandwich, my bread/cheese/sausage/fruit, and a couple of Luna bars, I'm totally happy. I also bring Emergen-C packages to put in my water bottle because it's hard to drink plain water after a while.

Nika Stoop - I always hike with summer sausage, cheese, bagels, raisins, granola bars, and chocolate. Bagels are good because they don't get squished in my pack, and raisins are fruity and sweet! When I'm hiking, I crave cupcakes and beer.

Eileen Twiggs - I'm a bit of a traditionalist, I suppose, since my favorite hiking snack is good old peanut butter and jelly. For the three-day hike, I usually carry the makings for PB&J's. I'm a Skippy girl myself; the jelly can get a little more interesting. Raspberry or cherry preserves are really good. Recently, I've discovered that adding a sprinkling of sunflower seeds is quite nice, too. It's salty, sweet, and quite satisfying. Other snacks include Granny Smith apples, dried fruit (cherries are my favorite), sharp cheese (a good cheddar or an aged gouda--yum), little mini carrots (they satisfy the crunchy craving), and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Chocolate can take many forms and flavors: dark, milk, and white. I've been known to carry all three. Bars, chips, cookies, or melted into a lump--it's all good to me! Finally, Liz did turn me onto the cold leftover pizza on the trail during my first year hiking. So, I try and have pizza for dinner the night before the three-day hike so I can have the leftovers on the trail. Hiking out, I crave cold beer (preferably Magic Hat #9 on tap) and a big sloppy burger.

Vicky Waltz - Before I started hiking with women from Wilderness Heals, my hiking snacks consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and Luna bars, neither of which I particularly like. But after attending several training hikes, I learned that trail food doesn't have to be only energy bars or gorp. Nearly all of the hiking snacks I carry today were inspired from sampling other hiker's snacks. If I'm only going on a day hike, I typically carry vegetarian sushi and spring rolls for lunch. On multi-day hikes, I bring feta cheese, pesto, and tomato sandwiches on olive loaf. I tend to prefer salty and spicy foods on the trail, so I always carry spicy Thai peanuts and dried chili mango from Trader Joe's. I also really enjoy Boston's snack mix, which has pretzels, bread sticks, and rye chips. I typically combine it with cheddar cheese crackers. Avocados are an incredibly refreshing treat; one of the best snacks I ever had was an avocado at the summit of Mount Eisenhower. Hardboiled eggs are good sources of protein, but you have to be careful when it's hot. I had one spoil once, and I had to carry a rotten egg in my pack for two days. Granny Smith apples are delicious when I want something sweet, and dried apricots are good, too. After about three days on the trail, my favorite snack is whatever I can mooch off of other hikers. Three days of eating the same thing is my limit.

Anna Wells - I always have peanut M&Ms. They're an old favorite of mine and my mom's. Some turkey jerky is always good (I get it at Trader Joe's). And Snickers. Yum. I like salty/sweet things, because I can never decide which I'd rather have. And chocolate is always good. If I'm feeling ambitious, a special treat I like to bring is Oreo cookies in a Tupperware container so they don't get crushed. Something I'm going to try to bring this year is cinnamon almonds from Trader Joe's. SO YUMMY! As you can see, I don't necessarily eat very healthy on the trail. But we're working it off, so I give myself concessions. An apple or two is always nice. And if you're drinking iodized water, an organic orange is nice to have so you can flavor your water with the peels. As for cravings, I always crave pizza or macaroni and cheese hiking out. In the middle of the hike, I just look forward to warm, oven-fresh bread at the huts. Hopefully we can do some bread on the backcountry option this year!

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