6 Completely Serious Ways to Survive a Thru-Hike
Happiest of New Years to all! Here’s hoping that 2016 is full of adventure and eating junk food on top of mountains. As you are preparing for your long hikes this coming year, I invite you to read on–as the following post has some vital information for you regarding surviving your next thru-hike.
If you’re like me, then planning a thru-hike is super overwhelming. You may have asked yourself, “How in the world am I going to make it to the end?!” I offer these suggestions for how to do so.
This list is not comprehensive, is in no particular order (except for #1, that is definitely supposed to be and always will be #1), and is mostly subjective.
- Gummi Worms
- Not talking about dinner till after 3pm
- Making fun of Southbounders
- Photobombing copious amounts of intended selfies
I’ll let you simmer on this list for a second with zero explanation… Scroll down when you’re ready.
1. Gummi Worms
Really, you can substitute worms for anything gummi here; it does not need to be worms. My personal preference is Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers. You may ask (because these are legitimate concerns), does name-brand matter? YES. *Trolli or Haribo are the best. Off-brand gummies will do in a pinch, but if you got the extra cents, TREAT YO’ SELF. Though completely devoid of any fat, protein, or very many calories (which may render carrying these treats pointless to you), the joy they bring to the consumer at the time of consumption will make their weight worthwhile. Just the thought of them was motivation to go a couple extra miles on more than one occasion (especially the time I ran out of gummies in the Whites and MIRACULOUSLY found a gummi on the ground, unscathed by dirt or other stuff.)
PLEASE JUST TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.
2. Not talking about dinner till after 3pm
Some days are hard. Some days are LOOOOOOOONG. It’s a very wonderful thing to have something to look forward to, and talking about dinner becomes one of those things. If you talk about it too early in the day, the hours will drag–believe me. I picked this trick up from Captain Artichoke and Flame Thrower this summer. I found out quickly that saving our discussions about which pasta side it would be for that night for the end of the day, made the last miles melt away like a pad of butter.
You will become an expert on calculating the following: miles per hour you’re walking, the days mileage, miles till Katahdin (or Springer), miles you walked in each state, miles you walked IN VIRGINIA, miles to town, etc… There will be days you start counting and keeping track of your steps. Simple math will become your best friend.
Extra sharp white cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, string cheese, smoked gouda cheese, mild Kraft cheddar cheese (will do in a lack-of-cheese-choices emergency, but stay away from this if possible), cheese curds, etc…
And to answer the question of how long cheese lasts crammed in your backpack, it’s about 2.5 days, 4 days if it’s colder. But if your cheese is not eaten by the 4th day anyway, I have no respect for you.
I have nothing more to say about this.
5. Making fun of Southbounders
I feel the need to also add “Northbounders” in parentheses, because I’m sure the SoBos spend as much time making fun of the NoBos as the Nobos do of the Sobos, but I am going to ignore that needful feeling. You may or may not realize, as you’ve started your thru-hike research, that there is a TINNNNNNNY bit of a bias when it comes to what direction you are hiking in. **Going north is obviously the better decision because north is way cooler. (All banter is in jest because all hikers are awesome. The direction you hike in is not actually a reflection of your coolness. BUT I NEVER SAID THAT.) NORTHBOUNDERS RULE. Humor is a vital part of making your thru-hike experience fun, so get those directionally-based jokes ready!
6. Photobombing copious amounts of intended selfies
This should need little explanation. We live in a selfie world these days folks; everywhere you turn someone is making that face and holding their camera at that angle. You will never run out of opportunities for photobombing your fellow hiker’s photos. This is an enjoyable pass-time on and off the trail, and it is one of those life skills that prove useful in your post-hike life.
I hope this list is helpful in your planning and research for your thru-hike. I invite you to use the comments section to offer other suggestions for completely serious ways to survive a thru-hike.
*Author is not affiliated with the Trolli or Haribo brands. She just has strong opinions regarding gummies.
**You were expecting a disclaimer about the author’s bias because she, herself, went northbound, weren’t you? No disclaimer, northbound is better.
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