About four years ago I was blessed with a great opportunity to hike one of the most beautiful parts of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). This trail, for those of you who don't know, spans our great nation from the boarder of Mexico in California up into Canada over the Washington boarder. It snakes for almost 2700 miles through 3 states, 7 national parks, and 25 national forests. It moves through hot, dry deserts and reaches over 13,000 feet in elevation near Mt Whitney (the highest point in the lower 48 states at 14,505ft).
I hiked about 150 miles of a section in Northern Washington by myself after finishing some trail maintenance with the Washington Trails Association. During this profound experience, I met some amazing and curious characters. There was Anish (trail name) who was in the process of setting the currant trail record time of 60 days, and then there was Mike who was trekking through the wilderness with 70+lbs on his back to find and save his buddy Kyle who was not actually lost or in any trouble when I found him later that day. The one person, however, who is relevant to this story was named Dan.
Dan was a 60 year old retiree who now spent much time hiking and exploring. This was his second journey up the PCT and first time walking it as a whole (many complete the trail in sections). I met Dan at a campsite one morning on the trail and we decided to hike together that day as he had a car waiting at the trail head and could take me into town for supplies that evening (my first trip into civilization in almost 2 weeks).
Dan carried very little in his pack and this made me curious as my pack was way heavier than it needed to be. I asked about what he used for this and that, and of course he had an answer for everything. Although the thing that has stuck with me the longest was his lack of water filter. Concerned about catching a disease in the middle of no where I asked what he did instead.
Dan told me that he carried Cayenne for that. He said the heat of the cayenne was enough to kill anything in the water and after a few days of drinking it he didn't even taste it anymore. This astounded me. He went on to tell me that it also kept him cool in the desert, warm in the mountains, and even gave him energy when he was exhausted.
Well it's been a few years now and I've done tons more research on Cayenne only to find out it does so much more than for what Dan used it. Cayenne is invaluable in emergency situations and I'd never go hiking like that again without it. You fall and crack your head on a rock... cayenne will stop the shock and the bleeding. Have a heart attack 50 miles from the nearest person let alone hospital... cayenne will stop it in under a minute. Don't want to get out of your warm sleeping bag and hike over another glacier... cayenne will warm you from the inside out and stimulate you into action.
I can go on and on about Cayenne and tell many stories, but you should come to my class for that. I'll be getting "heated" about this amazing herb on Sunday, January 29th from 6-8pm at Good Earth Natural Foods in Broadripple.