Linus Cloudbuster AT ’09

Well,

My name is Linus Cloudbuster (aka Suzie Creamcheese), I am a long distance hiker, and I am vegan….Something I didn’t know was possible has turned into an addiction. I thru hiked the AT northbound 2009 GA-ME, and I am planning the PCT 2010 as you read this.

I discovered this blog when I had finished the trail, looking to contact Samwise because I had heard about him from other hikers. I unfortunately never met Samwise, but I did meet another vegan hiker or two, but  they weren’t hiking this year or going southbound. I like Samwise, found little information on the internet and especially on White Blaze. I feel it is important to share my story, so a little background.

I am from Maryland, just finished up my undergrad in the fall of ’08. I had known about the AT for many years, and in 2005 I did a southbound section from Pen-Mar Park to Waynesboro, VA. I was hooked, so my graduation gift to myself was a thru hike. I left on March 29th 2009 at Springer Mountain, and summited Katahdin on Sept 13th, 2009. You can visit my trail blog at http://www.linuscloudbuster.blogspot.com

I almost backed out of my thru hike, because I was so scared of the food situation. I work(ed) at an outfitter, so I had all the gear, it was just my diet that scared me. All that fear was for nothing, never did I feel my diet was hindering my hike or my health.  I ate better than most the hikers on the trail, granted I did carry more weight, but it is easy to hike the AT vegan. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and more importantly if you believe in it. The same is true for hiking vegan.

Here is my food list:

IMPORTANT– This is what food I carried, everyone is different. The best advice I can give is to not worry about it.  Go to the grocery store for a few hours, yes hours and just daydream, ideas will float into your head. It will take a few weeks, but you will have it all worked out on the trail. As Samwise mentioned, I did look past certain things, like refined sugar, but I paid close attention to labels. I would highly recommend cooking and dehydrating as many meals as possible, I am in the process of doing this for the Pacific Crest Trail, but I did not make any of my meals for the AT. I had 3 boxes sent for the entire trail, and most of the time it wasn’t necessary for survival (see town guide), I was just getting gear in and my loved ones sent me some food.

Breakfast

Cereal with powdered soy/coconut milk

Bananas (dried and fresh)

Trader Joes makes “Flattened bananas”

Flavored Oatmeal

Granola– Watch for honey, a very popular ingredient.

Clif Bars/Pro Bars/Lara Bars

Dried Fruit

Strawberries in syrup (available in the frozen section usually)

Lunch

PB/Almond butter

Tortillas/Bagels/Pitas

Clif Bars/Pro Bars/Lara Bars

Avocados– I carried 2-3 out of town every chance I had.

Tomatoes– Roma tomatoes lasted longer.

Spinach- Great for any meal, but I would buy a bag of spinach and it would last 2-3 days.

Hummus (I prefer the hydrated kind, but ‘Fantastic’ makes a dehydrated version that I recommend you add some type of spice too.

Carrots

Tofutti Cream Cheese

Vegan substitutes (Tofurki brand is good)

Dinner:

Zataran Meals (Available almost everywhere)

Goya Bean Meals (cheap and 4 servings)

Lentils

Instant Potatoes- most flavored is not vegan, so just spice the plain

Refried beans (dried or not)

Thai Sesame Noodle by Knor (Lipton)

Pasta

Some groceries have tomato sauce in a bag, instead of a jar/can

Salad Dressing- I saw a few hiker friends who loved this for dinner.

Snacks

Chips/Fritos/Doritos

Cake Icing (a few brands don’t have dairy)

Almonds– so many different flavors these days

GORP– Good ‘ole Raisins and Peanuts, but get crazy and make your own trail mix.

Primal Strips Vegan Jerky- This stuff rocks, and they are cool people – http://www.primalspiritfoods.com/

Pies- I am talking about Little Debbie or JJ’s (Available at some southern groceries and Dollar Generals), bad for you, but give you those extra calories/fat.

Spice Bag

Olive Oil

Thai Peanut Sauce

Vegan Bullion cubes

Nutritional Yeast (Savory Yeast Flakes)

Tumeric (natural anti inflammatory)

Red Pepper flakes

Curry Powder

Fresh Garlic

Ramps (Allium tricoccum) Great treat; it is a mix of a spring onion and garlic. They have a relatively short growing season; I was able to harvest them until mid May (VA). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_tricoccum

Beverages

Tea– I didn’t drink caffeine, so I stuck with the Chamomile.

Drink Mixes– So many varieties of drink mixes, these were a great addition to my food bag, and helped me keep hydrated because I would drink more.

Powered Apple Cider– I hate the stuff, because I am a cider snob, but it was great in the south when it was cold.

Hot Chocolate– I didn’t carry this, but I am sure you can find some vegan hot chocolate that would be great for the cold mornings.

Freeze Dried Meals

You have few options, but Mary Jane Farms makes a few vegan meals that are available off their website and some outfitters (REI).

http://shopping.maryjanesfarm.org/s.nl/sc.2/category.13/.f#Meals

Also, as I mentioned above Fantastic Foods makes a bunch of dehydrated food like hummus, falafel, and Chilli (though the TVP made me extremely gassy).

Early On in North Carolina

9 responses to “Linus Cloudbuster AT ’09

  1. Freeman

    Hey Cloudbuster!

    Thanks for the great info. I’m planning my AT 2010 thru-hike and was wondering if I could talk to you to ask some specific questions. Please get in touch with me if you can.

    Thanks!

  2. esther johnson

    this was incredibly helpful, as i am preparing for a thru hike starting next spring. as a vegan, i have worried a bit more about food than anything else. i didn’t want to have to pick up a box every other week and worried about resupply. lots of good suggestions here. two questions, and as far as fresh produce, how long does it keep, especially when its hot? and carrying pits, rinds, peels, etc between towns; did you have trouble with bears, mice, or anything of that nature?

    • Samwise

      Hi Esther! I’m glad you found our site! You can definitely thru-hike without doing many boxes. I had only a few in the beginning, and then I did some for New England, but the vast majority of my resupplies were in town like everyone else.

      As for produce, I expected stuff to last at most 2-3 days. But produce is heavy, so I didn’t usually carry that much. Apples can last several days for sure, just have to keep them from bruising. I would also get avocados sometimes for the first night out of town, yum! Carrying pits and stuff sucks, but you just keep it in your food bag with the rest of your trash until the next town.

      I never had any problems with bears or mice. I threw a bear line many nights, I also would just hang my food bag in the shelter and never had any problems.

      Feel free to email if you have any other questions!
      Happy (vegan) trails,
      Samwise

  3. Jim Mills

    Thank you for the wonderful info! I found a lot of the foods you mention are available in bulk on Amazon.

  4. Harrison

    was powdered coconut and soy milk very easy to find?

    • Samwise

      Unfortunately powdered soy milk really wasn’t easy to find… Even in the real world it’s often in large containers and expensive. If you are interested in taking it on the trail, my recommendation would be to find a source at home and mail it to yourself in maildrops in smaller bags.

      • Harrison

        ok thats what i figured, but i was hoping maybe the easy coast would be more vegan friendly than the south. I was also wondering, how often did you stay at hostels and lodges? I am not really planning on staying at many because of my tight budget. But I was wondering if they maybe would cut the price for vegan guests? I am assuming none of the food served would be vegan and we could maybe get a discounted price since we wont be eating the food they serve?

      • Samwise

        On my thru-hike I was actually pleasantly surprised at the prevalence of natural foods in grocery stores in the South; it’s definitely becoming more popular for sure.

        I stayed in hostels and hotels very occasionally. I too was on a tight budget so I tried to avoid them as much as possible. But sometimes my friends would all want to stay so I would too. Those nights were very welcome after cold, rainy days!

        My guess is that a discount at the hostels is unlikely… Most hostels don’t include food, anyway. Thru-hikers already rely so heavily on people helping us out along the trail, that asking for a discount isn’t at the top of my list. Though many hostels do offer work-for-stay. For me, the main benefits of hostels/hotels is having a dry, clean place to sleep, showers, and tv!

      • linuscloudbuster

        Hey Samwise,

        This is Linus Cloudbuster, I am about to start my CDT hike in less then a week. How have you been?

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