Baranoski works to make hiking trips easier

Aeowynn Ayres, Entertainment Editor

Emily Baranoski is combining her two passions for her Senior Project: hiking and nutrition.

Over Spring Break, she will be offering an opportunity for John Carroll students to accompany her and Social Studies Teacher Joe Scheide on a week-long hike of the Appalachian Trail. Along with this trip, she will be testing out different recipes that are packed full of nutrients and are also lightweight.
What prompted this idea was a hiking trip Emily went on last spring. “As an athlete, hiking 5-10 miles with a heavy pack is no problem, but for my parents, it was almost impossible. Over Spring Break of last year, my family trekked out to Monongahela, West Virginia to go backpacking. It’s beautiful, but no cake walk.
Within the first couple miles of each day’s hike, my parents were in desperate need of a rest. I found myself carrying more than one pack several times to take the weight off their backs. What was the primary thing weighing us down? Food and cooking supplies.”
She continued, “Food is something you can’t camp without, but it can be very burdensome to carry. Lightweight foods are great, but they often don’t have enough nutrients to sustain a long hike. Nutrient-packed foods can be super heavy, and what would be ideal are lightweight nutrient-filled foods, but those can be extremely expensive.”
“For my Senior Project, I will be curating a meal plan for the Appalachian Trail Trip that will not only be sustainable enough for the person hiking and camping, but be light enough not to be a burden to pack and inexpensive enough not to break the bank.”
Emily has already done vast amounts of research for her project and has started testing meals for the trip. After the Spring Break trip, she will compile a list of the recipes that worked the best for her.
The mean plan isn’t only food that is cheap and lightweight, Emily said. “This meal plan is not just a collection of the cheapest healthiest foods I can find, but they have been selected based on the individual’s BMI, estimated calorie exertion, and calorie and macro-nutrient content of the food. While some of the food selections may be store-bought, I have both cooked and baked the majority of the foods so that they would fit my criteria.”
This criteria ties into nutrition classes Emily is taking both this semester and in college as well. She will be attending the University of West Virginia for Nursing, where nutrition classes are required.