Jeff Vallee started backpacking when he was 10 years old. Now he’s grown, he’s an occasional guide, who takes kids over the Sierra Nevada range, in the dead heat of Summer, like he used to do when he was a child. “There is very little restraint on the kids in the program” he says. (The program is called Poway Backpacking, it’s been running for the last 35 years, and was named after the city in San Diego, where it originated ) “They can pretty much do whatever they want” he says, “as long as they don’t hurt the wilderness, or each other”.
As far as food goes, there is not really a ton to eat. By the end of the trip, when the food has started running low, there’s a lof of bargaining and trading going on. It’s about survival and the food is not always thrilling; Oatmeal and ramen are top staples, and there is also freeze dried meals. (Meats and mashed potatoes). The biggest hurdle with cooking in the mountains is you need to cook things fairly fast, because the longer things take, the more fuel you need, and fuel is very heavy for the kids to carry. Also, everyone needs to become experts in being able to clean up without soap and water, because to use it, obviously, would pollute the rivers and lakes.
PHOTO ABOVE: Is a freeze dried dessert. Called “Cherry Blast”. It’s basically a pie filling with granola on top. PHOTO AT TOP: A to-do list.
With thanks to my friend, photographer JEFF VALLEE
To check out his blog about his ride from Los Angeles to New York, on a bicycle, click here.
To check out his main blog, check here.
The Poway Backpacking for kids over the Sierra Nevada, has no website. The program is done mainly through word of mouth.