“And then I realized, adventure was the best way to learn.”
Though it’s often difficult to combine other hobbies with cycle touring, the four of us (Kevin and I plus our current Oregonian travel partners Mike and Emily) all carry backpacks on our bikes in order to trek throughout whatever mountainous regions we happen to pass through, and since we are currently in Patagonia, our first trekking stop was set to be the extremely famous and popular region of Torres del Paines. As we hadn’t done much research beforehand – in fact our “research” mostly consisted of looking at a map in order to estimate kilometers and therefore days of food – we set out with twelve days of food which we figured would give us five or six days of cycling and six or seven days of trekking before we needed to find a way out of the park and to the closest store.
Twelve days of food may not seem like a lot until you realize that Kevin and I eat as much as five or more people every single meal, and I’m not exaggerating. While cycling, a typical meal for us would be 500g of spaghetti (that’s the whole big package which is suppose to serve four) plus another kilo or two in veggies cooked together in our homemade sauce. Plus of course a package of cookies, popcorn, or whatever else we happen to find in our bags for desert, and that’s after we have already eaten two or three other meals and a handful of snacks throughout the day. It’s astounding how much you eat when you exercise all day, which is why twelve days of food is a very challenging affair for us cyclists.
In order to make sure that we allotted ourselves enough food everyday, I wrote out our menu for every meal (plus snacks) so that when we went to the store, all we had to do was buy everything we had written down.
Twenty kilos and eighty dollars later (for each couple) we walked out of the store with more food than I had ever bought all in one go.
We had ten kilos of food each (twenty-two pounds) which is 0.83 kilos or 1.8 pounds a day per person, and since Mike had told us that trekkers often count on 1.5 pounds of food per person per day, we figured that we were right on the money.
After condensing all of my personal stuff (from my sleeping bag to my shoes) into my two back panniers, I dedicated each front one to a category: one for snacks, the other for lunches. Kevin then took most of our dinners into one of his free panniers (his other front one contains all of the cooking stuff: oil, pots, stove) and the rest (a few dinners and breakfast) were then all thrown into Kevin’s backpack which we had dug out from my pannier in order to put it on the back of my bike.
Though we don’t look much more fully loaded than usual, we sure were heavier! (Ten kilos heavier to be exact.) As we are cycling and trekking with Mike and Emily, the four of us all bought exactly the same food (except for a few of our personal snacks, but I think even those turned out to be the same as well) so that we can all cook together for every meal, something which makes sense on many levels, especially in order to conserve fuel (we left with 2L of petrol between the three of us).