Why I Hike Keto
This journey started 1326 miles and three months ago, but I'm only now starting to chronicle my ketogenic thru-hike. I was excited to try it, but I didn't want to talk about it right away.
When my hiking partner, Alex, told his father of my plan, to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail fueled not by Pop Tarts or mashed potatoes, but with fats and proteins from unprocessed foods—and my homemade dinner recipes made from scratch—the response was blunt: "She won't make it 100 miles." I respect his father: he's an intelligent man and a medical doctor. When Alex relayed his statement to me, I took it to heart, and the fear of failure that had been lurking at the edges of my planning suddenly came into sharp relief.
I waited more than a thousand miles to document this trek, because I wasn't sure I could do it.
The prevailing thru-hiker wisdom: when hiking 25 miles day after day, through deserts and snow, over mountain ridges and fording across creeks, the best fuel for your body is what's good for your wallet and light on your back. Everyone optimizes for cheap, lightweight calories, with little thought given for nutrients to keep your body going, and as a result, quality, variety, and taste are not prioritized. Everyone stocks up on Fritos and Snickers bars and other high sugar and carb-heavy options easily bought in any gas station, and starch-stuffed Mountain House dehydrated meals which are shelf-stable when shipped weeks in advance. It took me a while—702 miles, to be exact—to convince myself that it was possible, to realize that I was doing it day after day. It took another 600 miles before I felt confident in the results and success, and was ready to share my story with the rest of the hiking world and the keto community.
But, here I am! I'm more than halfway done, and I'm feeling great. I'll share my body measurements and pack weight and pace-per-day data in another post, but know this: keto backpacking is possible. And more than possible, I think it's better than the conventional alternative. Stay tuned for recipes and other updates as I continue this ketone-fueled journey north.
Next Mile Meals is a small, family-run business that came to life on the Pacific Crest Trail. This blog is our way of giving back to the hiking community; sharing our successes, our failures, and our learnings as we try to eat better, pack lighter, and go farther in our many outdoor adventures.