52 Warning Signs That You Might be an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker

Refer to an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker as “trash” and you will be met with a confused glance, angry scowl, or b-slap.  Refer to an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker as “hiker trash” and you will undoubtedly be met with a smiling nod of agreement.  The difference is subtle in syntax but major in meaning.

Appalachian Trail thru-hikers wear their hiker trash monikers with pride.  It is a reflection of their alternate lifestyle; a simpler, happier, and yes, dirtier way of being.

But what is it, exactly, that makes someone “hiker trash”?  

We called out to the AT thru-hikers class of 2014 to share a few telltale signs.  Their insights are below.

Warning Signs That You Might be an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker

1) You might be a thru-hiker if your miles per hour double within 5 miles of a town. – Jade Knutson Day

2) You might be a thru-hiker if you will walk a mile out of your way for pizza, but more than 100 yards to an overlook is just way too far. – Brooks Smith

3) You might be a thru-hiker if you don’t notice yourself picking your feet in a restaurant – James Limey Parker

4) You might be a thru-hiker if the first thing you do when you enter a building is look for electrical outlets. – Grant Golly Green Newman

5) You might be a thru-hiker if you think that seeing more than five people on a single day is “crowded”. – Brooks Smith

6) You might be a thru-hiker if a rain jacket becomes acceptable restaurant clothing while doing laundry. – Jade Knutson Day

7) You might be a thru-hiker if you unashamedly eat stranger’s left-overs. – Kristopher Profit

8) You might be a thru-hiker if you use your hiking poles to check the mail. – Jeff Indy Brasure

9) You might be a thru hiker if you start planning another hike as you are hiking the one you are on. – Mark and Madalyn McKinney

10) You might be a thru-hiker if you have been kicked out of walmart for vagrancy. – Jeff Indy Brasure

11) You might be a thru-hiker if “dirt tan” counts as sun screen. – Lisa Peru Karst

12) You might be a thru-hiker if toilets are an inconvenience. – Jeff Indy Brasure

13) You might be a thru-hiker if months after hiking, you still think about stealing the toilet paper in public bathroom. – Jeff Indy Brasure

14) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve said “we only did 12 miles today.” – Jade Knutson Day

15) You might be a thru-hiker if you know exactly how many days it takes until you can no longer stand to be around your own body odor. – Brooks Smith

16) You might be a thru-hiker if you can identify an animal by it’s footfalls at night and you’re not bothered by it one bit. – April Remmy

17) You might be a thru-hiker if the size of a mountain is greatly smaller than thought when you smell a greasy hamburger. – David Glover

18) You might be a thru-hiker if you use a lighter under a spork to sanitize while sitting on the side of the road and don’t understand why you are getting weird looks. – Jade Knutson Day

19) You might be a thru-hiker if you immediately eat an entire box of little Debbie’s or cold chef boyardee upon exiting a store. – Neil Fogg

20) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve ever been resting at a gas station and someone drops off a bag of food thinking you’re homeless. – Krim Zen Griz

21) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve ever been given 20$ by a random person who thinks you’re homeless. – Chris Brown

21) You might be a thru-hiker if you find yourself digging through a pile of trash at a trailhead in hopes of finding something edible. – Heather Phillips Laney

22) You might be a thru-hiker if sitting down is the highlight of your day. – Evans Prater

23) You might be a thru-hiker if you can smell day hikers from a mile away. – Nate Harner

24) You might be a thru-hiker if you chat up a day hiker for leftovers. – David Spencer

25) You might be a thru-hiker if you eat a half gallon of ice cream then follow it up with a cheeseburger. – Joe Bigos

26) You might be a thru-hiker if you use the grease from your cheese as moisturizer. – Anna Birdy Ball

27) You might be a thru-hiker if cisions of sugar-plums take on a whole new different meaning. – Lisa Kincaid Garruzzo

28) You might be a thru-hiker if zinc butt cream & duck tape becomes your first aid kit and deodorant. – Dale Smith

29) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve changed in front of an entire shelter full of people you’ve never met before and could care less because the only thing you can think about is that oatmeal creme pie after dinner. – Tyler Chinook Wecht

30) You might be a thru-hiker if you can’t pass a tree without considering it’s viability as a bathroom (or a toilet, for the Brits). – Steve Adams

31) You might be a thru-hiker if you have eaten over $10 on the dollar menu in one sitting. – Jeff Indy Brasure

32) You might be a thru-hiker if you can’t look at a tree without going “Eh, I could make a bear bag work on that”. – Robert Scout Nowatnick

33) You might be a thru-hiker if you can only see white and think blue is for tourist. – Ta Tonka

34) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve ever spent the night before hitting town hovered over your guide planning which fastfood places you were gonna hit. – Horace Harvey

35) You might be a thru-hiker if you consider stealing toilet paper/ condiments in public places. – Eli H Fitzpatrick

36) You might be a thru-hiker if you’re excited to get a cell signal. – Scott Gilbertson

37) You might be a thru-hiker if you wonder if the next town has an AYCE buffet. – Raymond Johnson

38) You might be a thru-hiker if you know the calorie content of any snack or candy off the top of your head. – Grant Golly Green Newman

39) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve ever experienced the feeling of being completely stuffed with food, yet still hungry. – Brooks Smith

40) You might be a thru-hiker if your feet keep moving, although you sat to take a rest. – Rose Marie Jack Stoeffler

41) You might be a thru hiker if when you go to change at night, you feel what you guess is dry ramen noodles in your bra, but it turns out to be a pebble and a small leaf instead. – Kassandra Rice

42) You might be a thru-hiker if you brag about your thrift store outfit. – Jeff Indy Brasure

43) You might be a thru hiker if you put a McChicken inside a double cheeseburger. – Mark and Madalyn McKinney

44) You might be a thru hiker if serving sizes don’t exist in your mind. – John Steven Knipp

45) You might be a thru hiker if you consider a 6-8 mile day of hiking to be near zero. – John Steven Knipp

46) You might be a thru hiker if you will jump in the passenger seat of any vehicle driving down a dirt road without even seeing them first (it means real food). – Meghan Guerrero

47) You might be a thru hiker if a shower is anything that vaguely resembles running water and a bottle of what you thought was Dr Bronner’s. – Chuck Shari

48) You might be a thru hiker if wearing one pair of underwear for a week or more seems normal. – Chelsea Finn

49) You might be a thru hiker if you’ve already read every one of these jokes on Chet’s garage door. – Kayla Carter

50) You might be a thru hiker if you don’t take a shower because you “just” had one 3 days ago. – Troy Baker

51) You might be a thru-hiker if you’ve taken a dump with your pack on.” – Matt Stofko

52) When this… (see pic) – Michael Wheeling

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Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Erin Tuveson : Oct 20th

    You might be a thru hiker when you get excited about ordering a case of single serving SPAM!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Gordon Biggerstaff : Oct 21st

    You might be a thru hiker when ‘Hiker Box’ is the first store you look in!

    Reply

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