A happy trail worker on the desert section of the PCT.
hike blog

PCT Day 134, Highway 79 to water cache, 19 miles

You never find yourself until you face the truth. – Pearl Bailey

A happy trail worker on the desert section of the PCT.
A happy trail worker on the desert section of the PCT.

I have seen lots of animals on this hike including black bears and marmots, rattlesnakes and golden eagles, but nothing has gotten too cozy or threatened to steal my food until my stay at one of the Warner Springs Resort cabins. There’s a mouse in the house and he chewed a little opening in my vanillacoffee. Fortunately, nothing spilled out and I simply transferred the grounds to another baggie after seeing his little body scurrying under the door. Run, little mouse, run!

hike blog

Potato Bark

Food is not just eating energy. It’s an experience.
– Guy Fieri

Potato bark is versatile, lightweight and very tasty.

Potato bark is versatile, lightweight and very tasty.

I am always amazed that when I hike I crave all sorts of things I never eat at home – loads of salt, carbs and fat – and I still lose weight. The problem for me is that I forget how it feels on the trail when I’m back in life, so I need to remind myself to bring the right food to stay energized. Creamy, salty, buttery loaded potatoes is one such food, but I’m horrified by the junk added to store-bought potato flakes – and how overpriced they are – so I decided to save money and dehydrate potatoes myself, adding only what I wanted. They are surprisingly lightweight, versatile and easy to cook.

Here’s what you’ll need:

10 pounds potatoes (Yukon Gold mash really well, but you can use any kind)

8 cups broth

salt/pepper to taste

Optional add-ons:

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Herbs, e.g. dill, chives, parsley

Dried whole milk

Dried cheese

Dried peas, carrots, peppers, etc.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Boil potatoes until you can stick a fork through them. I leave the skins on.
  2. Mash the potatoes slowly adding the broth
  3. Place in a food processor or blender to make them smooth
  4. Pour onto dehydrator trays, almost like you’re frosting a cake
  5. Crank up the dehydrator to 140 degrees
  6. Occasionally check and flip. I cut the pieces smaller into strips as it dries for that “bark” look.
  7. Fully cool before packing into vacuum seal bags and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Pour the mashed mixture onto trays like you're frosting a cake.

Pour the mashed mixture onto trays like you’re frosting a cake.

Pro tips:

  • I add the powdered ingredients and dehydrated vegetables to the dried bark when packaging and not to the mash before drying.
  • The bark is so crunchy, it tends to make small holes in to vacuum seal bags, but I have never had a problem with spoilage
  • The rehydrated bark makes more of a potato soup than mashed potatoes. I often add another helping of dried broth on the trail for even more salt!