Mardi Gras in The Forest

On Monday, the dehydrating began. The Badass Backpacking Bitches are on the road again for Mardi Gras weekend. In Louisiana, many offices are closed for Mardi Gras day and, in some cases, the day before. Mardi Gras dwarfs Christmas in scope in Southern Louisiana with festivities starting in early January and reaching a crescendo this weekend thru Tuesday. Mardi Gras signals the end of the holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving. The rest of the country starts their New Years’ diet plans Jan. 2, but people here start after Mardi Gras. It’s a big damn deal.

With a four day weekend in our sights, the Badass Backpackers planned another backpacking event, and this one is girls only. I spent all week dehydrating dinners, breakfasts and lunches in an attempt to lighten my load. Last time I carried some real food for lunch, and I wanted to see if I could rehydrate a bean and rice salad for lunches. I chopped up some sun-dried tomatoes and olives to add some veggies and fat to the mix. I opted for oatmeal breakfasts with steel-cut oats, yellow raisins, powdered whole milk and pecans. One morning I’m replacing the oats with dehydrated sweet potato to try a recipe I found on the web. Tofu jerky, nuts, home-made granola bars and dates round out the snacks category. Dinners will be home-made chili and a dirty rice dish with roasted carrots. My food bag is definitely lighter this time, and I’m excited to try some new trail food!

  At lunch I went home to pack my pack, and my meticulously prepared food bag was not in the freezer! WTF??? Did somebody break into my house and steal my dehydrated food? That did not make sense to me. I looked in every drawer, closet and cranny. No food. I unpacked my pack. Nada. I dug through the garbage. No luck. I finally found it in a weird pocket in my pack. I guess I stuck it there while I was testing the weight. It about gave me a heart attack. It’s not like I could recreate that in a few hours.

My pack -after digesting the information I learned last weekend from my more experienced backpacking friends – weighs 11 pounds lighter than on my Christmas trip. I’m ecstatic. I did have to get a lighter tent and give up my cozy chair, but I’m going to try a few tricks to see if I can compromise comfort for ounces on the trail. If something has to hurt, I’ll choose my butt over my back any day. 

While my friends are out catching beads in the coolest city that ever was, we’ll be counting steps through the forest. This hobby is not for everybody, and, for some it’s an acquired taste, but we’ll more easily find a place to pee than the parade-goers in New Orleans this weekend. It sounds like a great swap to me. There will be giggles in the woods this weekend. The Badass Backpacking Bitches are on the trail again. 

Happy Mardi Gras y’all. Do what strikes your fancy this weekend. Tell ’em I told you to!

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