AT Thru-Hiker’s “Hot or Not” List After One Week on Trail

I’ve officially been hiking north from Springer Mountain towards Maine for one week. Below are my takes on what’s “Hot or Not” from my first seven days as a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail.

Hot: Trekking Poles

Before starting this thru-hike, I was blasé towards trekking poles. I could take’em or leave’em. But let me tell you, these things have already saved my ass/knees/feet/dignity more times than I can count. Biped life isn’t for me, I’m a quadruped from here on out.

Hot: Mayo on Hot Dogs

Mayo on everything really. I don’t care if it sounds gross. Put mayo into whatever lunch/dinner food you’re making while on trail. If you come up with a combination that you honestly feel is disgusting, let me know and I’ll Venmo you for the cost of the mayo used.

Hot: Swallowing Toothpaste (after brushing in your tent so you don’t have to get out of your tent)

According to the Crest travel size packaging, “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” Therefore it stands to reason that purposefully swallowing the amount used for brushing shouldn’t cause me any lasting harm. I fear this one is a slippery slope.

Not: Keeping Up with the Dude Banging Out 30 Mile Days

It’s appealing. Going pace for pace with the hiker bro effortlessly powering up steep inclines provides an ego boost no doubt, but beware of the resulting unplanned zero and achy knees reminding you that you really only trained on the Stairmaster like six times before starting the trail.

Not: Thai Chili Tuna Packets

That combination of words makes this product sound robustly flavorful. Rest assured the only flavor in this combo you can actually taste is tuna. If anything, this one has sort of a sweet aftertaste… it is wretched. This product is only good if you want to add 2.6 oz of dead weight to your pack to schlep up mountains all day.

Not: Mice and/or Wind Rustling My Tent That Makes a Sound Similar to Mice

I never claimed to be a brave woman.

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Comments 14

  • Julie : Apr 7th

    Love your hot/not list! Don’t give up on all tuna packets yet! I read where a guy made “Buffalo nachos” on the trail…..Buffalo sauce flavored tuna packet mixed with cheez its. Sounds yucky, but if you’re hiker hangry…..

  • Tina Los : Apr 7th

    Always great to hear about your adventures from the trail. I love your honest and humorous writing style. With ya on the mice, or any small creatures for that matter. But swallowing the toothpaste!? ? Def a not for me

  • pearwood : Apr 7th

    This was fun to read, Lyla. Keep it up!

  • Alyssa : Apr 7th

    lol, I loved this. Please keep writing these lists!

  • Russ1663 : Apr 8th

    Lyla, I’m with ya on trekking poles,on my 2nd set. I love the variety of tuna packets. Mice, so so. Take care, keep writing

  • Deb Arno : Apr 9th

    Loved this post and your sense of humor! Looking forward to reading more! Stay strong and safe!

  • Michael Ruta : Apr 9th

    Loved reading this. May your journey be filled with mayonnaise and mice-less nights.

    • Kevin Tierney : Apr 9th

      I feel your mice/wind pain. I had a spider in the house last week. Brendan came running in asking me to get rid of it. To save face a got a cup and removed it from the house. Inside I was thinking like ace ventura with the bats.

  • Michael Ruta : Apr 9th

    May your journey be filled with mayonnaise and mice-less nights.

    • Michael Ruta : Apr 9th

      Please excuse the double post. Not sure how this blogging thing works yet. ??‍♂️

  • Dandelion : Apr 9th

    What a fun read! I have to agree with you about the tuna packets. The only ones I ever felt were worth the flavoring were the buffalo. I usually just carried some taco bell hot sauce packets instead. Happy hiking! -Dandelion

  • E : Apr 9th

    This was an excellent post, and very fun to read!! Please, give us more Hot/Not List posts!! Safe travels!! 🙂

  • Cassidy : Apr 9th

    I love you, my quadruped friend! ? I’m so proud of you. I did the same thing of trying to keep up with bros and I messing up my feet and knees ? I hope you’re enjoying Mother Nature. Let’s plan a FaceTime call with the kids soon!

  • Nina Los : Apr 9th

    Totally enjoyed reading about your 1st week’s adventures. Loved the Hot/Not topics. Who knew about mayo!! Agree with you on the poles.
    Stay strong and enjoy!


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