It is a somewhat complex plan, involving three main moving parts. First, Laura backpacks the Pisgah National Forest for a week on her own. On Day 8, I meet her at a trailhead and we plunge into the forest for another week on the Pisgah. Then for the third week, the rest of the group, five of them, meet us at our first night camping spot in the Smokies.
To be able to make this happen, I pack my car with provisions for Laura and me, her second week and my first. The rest of the group, when they arrive for week 3, is scheduled to bring food for all of us for the next seven days.
Spend any time backpacking and you quickly discover how much you desire fresh food. Any of it in any form becomes a sublime treat. Spend enough time in wilderness and, if you don’t kill it and eat it right there, fresh food becomes a fantasy. Laura and I so look forward to the group’s arrival on day 15 and whatever non-freeze dried, non-dehydrated food they might be toting.
The two of us hang out at camp, expecting our group to show up any moment. Imagine our surprise when Kelly, followed by the rest, comes bouncing through the woods to the campsite… carrying pizza! Two big boxes of fresh pizza. After hiking three and a half miles in from trailhead, the pizza isn’t very hot, but surely, no one complains.
Best wilderness meal ever.
…with two possible exceptions. Kevin and his son Shawn grilled two trout over the campfire, two trout he had brought out of the water ten minutes earlier. And Stacey served sushi on the trail on December 31, 1999.