Day 8. Since today was just a short 4.5 mile hike, I’m going to forgo the usual daily breakdown and instead focus on one of the important aspects of thruhiking. Let’s talk food (part 1).
At the start of a backpacking trip, I’m never as hungry as I think I will be. The same has been the case here on the AT. In this first week, I have eaten about half the food I packed, mostly of which is whatever is easiest to eat. My breakfast was supposed to be granola with powdered milk, dehydrated strawberries and almonds. Instead, it was just almonds. Coffee was still a staple, but that is about all the energy I can muster in these 30 degree bitter cold mornings. Snacking on bars or trail mix during the day has worked best, with only a subtle increase in what is for lunch. Having a whole meal at lunch just doesn’t work, because of both time and energy. Again, may be the cold factor … but also just because that infamous “hiker hunger” hasn’t set in yet.
Hiker hunger is when you simply can’t get enough to eat. This is when you start to cover everything in peanut butter and devour 4 days of rations in two days. This typically occurs once your body realizes it is not getting as many calories in as it is burning each day. I’m no scientist, but this means your body is eating its reserves to make up for the deficit. First the fat, then the muscle. From what I can tell, it is when it goes after the muscle that you start to feel starved all the time.
Sounds bad when you put it that way, but when hiking 15+ miles a day, you burn 5000-6000 calories. If you don’t consume that much as well … you get the idea.
The one exception to my deficit of hunger and surplus of laziness is dinner. I’m famished at night and can’t eat my dinner fast enough. It has to be hot (again, it’s damn cold), and it has to be early. Typically I get camp setup by 5pm and go straight for dinner.
I’ve saved a lot of money on resuppling food since I have so much extra, but that means I am also carrying more weight than needed. In the next few weeks this should change drastically, but for now it is what it is. I’ll write a part 2 once the story has changed.
Side note, my loving sister sent me homemade hamentoschen yesterday, so I can have my own tiny Purim celebration in the trail. They were amazing and devoured in seconds. Thank you Dev!
Tomorrow it’s back to long days and sore legs. I’m trying to reach the Nantahala Outdoor Center by Monday which is 65 miles away. Going to be a long trek, but shouldn’t be too much trouble.
By the way, it snowed today. Short hike so the cold wasn’t bad, but the fact it snowed on us just made it feel so much colder. But also beautiful too. I’ll take sunny and snowing anyway in these beautiful Georgia mountains. Tomorrow we finally cross into North Carolina. Hello Neiman!
- Start Mile: 69.0
- Start Time: 10:30
- End Mile: 73.5
- End Time: 13:30
- Miles Hiked: 4.5
- Miles to Go: 2117.4
- Lodging: Plumorchard Gap Shelter