Okay, this is where the rubber hits the road, and hopefully where we do not see all the miscalculations and errors in the spreadsheet… that is, there aren't any!
Now that the food mixing and repackaging has been completed, we need to collate all that food into 13 Food Drops and the bag to begin the hike with.
The three 'recipes sheets' that we're using are:
- Food Drops
- Food Drop Meals
- Emergency List
- All the food is packaged into either single serves, or food drop serves, this was done at Food Mixing / Packaging / Repackaging
- All the packages are added to their respective food drop boxes, marking off the recipe
- Each box is then double-checked and bagged into meal bags (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc)
- Finally, the contents of each box will be put into one or more garbage bags, ready for transport to the Trail (actually, we'll have a trial pack of the car first).
Now, that process sounds simple enough, but it's amazing how tense the activity was. I'm sure we'll have plenty of food (that is what the spreadsheet is meant to ensure, after all), so we won't be wanting…
Emergency List Emergency
Working my way through the Emergency List bags, 12 small bags of items that would serve as a day's food (in an emergency), or more likely, supplement existing supplies, I could tell that something was not quite right. First the tea bags ran out, then Sandi's decaffeinated tea ran out… and shockingly, my BeforeYouSpeak Coffee did too. There was obviously a major miscalculation happening on that sheet.
Investigation proved that the problem was in Food Items that were duplicated on the sheet, the formula didn't account for multiple entries of the same item. This came up on a different sheet, so the fix was easy enough, but fixing the sheet didn't magically produce more tea bags and coffee.
As the Emergency Bags are for top-ups, and generally not used, I think the best way of working around the shortfall is to interspace the full bags with the bags of missing items; and at the end of the day, I'm pretty sure we won't even notice.
This little process took nearly 24 hours all up (including Trial Pack #1), way longer than what I was expecting – but I kept telling myself, "now is not the time to be cutting corners".
What it felt like was at the end of putting a jig-saw together, if you've made some errors or have some pieces slightly off, the end pieces just will not go in correctly. Thankfully there were not too many misfits or gaps that couldn't be corrected easily.
As you may remember from the Food Drop Packing List, that sheet aggregates (mostly) what goes into the Food Drops, and interestingly calculates the weight. This totalled just over 99 kg and is the amount that we'll be putting into our packs to drag around the country.
The final Food Drop Packing List totals 99.3 kg over 13 Food Drops (including what we're starting out with). Thankfully, the carry weights are not disastrous because the food drops are so regular.
Next TaskCar Pack Trial
where we'll check that everything fits into our little car.
The Friends of The Heysen Trail have a huge amount of resources available, which we have obviously availed ourselves of quite liberally. I'll be updating this as required…