Indeed, so great was my disdain for the proverbial hikers' fuel that even the waft of air from a backpacking partner's bag hinting at a trail mix within would send me spinning the other way.
Energy bars--those processed hunks of soy beans and date paste and sugar--became my surrogate quick-calorie food. But, lo, I am back on the wagon, my GORP fast ending with the introduction to a pair of particularly tasty mixes from Bear Naked Inc. (www.bearnaked.com) of La Jolla, California.
Mix No. 1--the company's Appalachian Trail Mix--includes the requisite raisins, peanuts, oats and pumpkin seeds. But it gets more creative from there, adding in cranberries, almonds, cashews, walnuts, dried apples, ground flax seed and coconut for a flavor that's dense and intense.
Nutritionally, a serving of Appalachian Trail Mix includes a similar boost as seen from the common energy bar, though with more fat: It has 15 grams of carbs, 140 calories, 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.
A second flavor, the company's Pacific Crest Mix, was my favorite. This mix includes cashews and organic pistachios as primary fillers plus dried mangos and roasted sunflower seeds. The result is a filling mix that tastes fresh and healthy--nothing like the pasty, stale, sweet and salty palette of the GORP of yore.
The Pacific Crest Mix shares similar nutritional specs with the Appalachian Trail Mix. They contain no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, no cholesterol, no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and 0 grams of trans fat.
Bear Naked Inc. sells both mixes at $2.99 for a 5-oz. bag. The products are sold at Whole Foods and other grocery stores around the country.
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.