Updated: Oct 13, 2021
My initial thoughts:
Literally, have I lost my mind? Leaving my house and setting out solo in an attempt to paddle all the way to Cape Hatteras isn't a small undertaking. The combination of nerves (and a few logical thoughts as to what could go wrong) and excitement (how much I love paddling and camping... and solving problems as they arise without help) was a unique emotional state. I was trying to eat a lot of food and stay calm in the days before I left. I spent some time setting up gear and thinking through any possible conflicts. I had to ditch any gear I thought I wouldn't need (in order to keep my weight down), while ensuring I still had the essentials to accommodate any mishaps and stay safe for a 10 day solo journey!
Day 1: The Crossfit Workout From Hell
This is one of those days where I was glad I work out. There's nothing quite like a few hours of portaging over windfalls with a canoe (and all of your camping gear) to make you sleep like a baby! I had no choice but to get picked up and dropped further downriver.
I was stopped at the dam by a Duke Energy employee who informed me that the dam was broken and they had drained all the water... on Monday. (For the record, I checked the levels on Sunday and it was golden.) I left for my adventure on Tuesday. There was no way for me to know they were going to decide to drain the reservoir, and therefore leave the river empty.
Optimistic to a fault, I kept trying to forge on, hellbent that I could complete my full expedition exactly as planned. Finally, I had to admit defeat and get extracted at the 501 bridge with a new plan to start from the Hyco River Boat Launch.
Day 2: Grounded
I was stuck at home for a day while I repaired my boat from the damage sustained in the Hyco River after it was drained to repair the dam. Check out part two of this crazy adventure! At least it gave me time to set up my Garmin InReach Mini for safety!!
Day 3: I Would Like to Consider THIS Day 1... If You Don't Mind!
Seriously, this is what I had in mind when I stared off paddling from my back yard all the way to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. I wanted MILEAGE! I wanted to build up my Aerobic Capacity! I wanted to see nature and feel a slight sense of accomplishment. Not that the "Crossfit workout from Hell" wasn't an accomplishment in itself, it just that it wasn't the type of hard work I was trying to focus on early in my paddling season. I'll chalk it up as "anatomical adaptation," but real paddling needed to happen... and happen it did! Here is my first real day of paddling towards my goal:
Dinner Every Single Night: April's Vegan Dehydrated Camping Chili
Prepare this meal in bulk, then divide it out into individual baggies so you can add hot water and allow to cook while you set up camp.
2 cups dry barley
2x 14.5oz cans Diced Tomatoes
2x 15oz cans Black Beans
2x 15oz cans Great Northern Beans
15oz can Pinto Beans
15oz can Kidney Beans
14oz block of tofu, pureed in a blender, and poured into the bean mixture
3 cups Spinach
1-2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
Chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste.
Place all ingredients above in a crock pot on high, or over low heat on a stove top (simmering) until barley is tender (approximately 2 hours).
Makes nine servings of 2 cups apiece. Spread out chili on silicone dehydrator trays. 2 cups wet chili per serving. Dehydrate 7 hours on 145, or until crispy and able to break into small pieces.
To rehydrate, simply put into your bowl and pour boiling water to cover chili.
Each serving contains 416 calories: 73g carb, 3g fat, 25g protein