Day 19: Hiker Hunger and Unprecedented Amounts of Soap

It’s Here… Hiker Hunger

It was another slow morning. I woke up hearing rain pouring down on the tin roof and thought, the rain came earlier than expected. I stretched a little before heading to the lodge.

I was taking a zero. Except for some slight foot and knee soreness, I was feeling fine. I could have gone hiking but felt like I earned some rest after yesterday. I went to Gorgeous Stays’ little resupply area and grabbed an apple. It was a Honeycrisp – my favorite. I ate the entire thing. On a typical day, a large Honeycrisp makes me uncomfortably full. I felt like I didn’t even eat the apple. I decided to eat a muffin. My stomach growled once I finished. “I think I have hiker hunger now,” I said to no one in particular. My body was telling me that I was still hungry, so I ate two corndogs. Nothing! I was still hungry. Another thru-hiker who was watching the entire time said, “Once I got the hunger, it didn’t leave until weeks after I finished my hike. You will be hungry every day.” Lovely.

After my snacking session of over a thousand calories, I decided to lay on the couch with a blanket and do some writing. One of the thru-hikers that has been here for a few days said, “Ah, typical Captain curled up on the couch with her blanket.” “Yup.” I did not care.

News Watching

Another came in and started watching the news. I used to do that because I was constantly told in college that it is a right we must practice as an American citizen. Turns out, the news is constantly depressing. It’s the one place that cheerfully says ‘good morning’ and proceeds to tell why it isn’t. I stopped watching or reading the news because it was negatively affecting my mental health.

Losing Weight

I was going to get up and leave, but a conversation started about weight loss on trail. One said that they purposefully gained weight before coming on trail and the other said he had lost thirty pounds so far. “I wonder how much I’ve lost?” I state out loud. “Well, there’s a scale right there.” I got up and the scale showed that I lost forty pounds. I was flabbergasted. “There’s no way I’ve lost forty pounds. It’s been three weeks.” “Believe it. It can happen.” “No,” I insist. “I would have known if I lost that much.” “Well, you lose it from everywhere.” I stepped on the scale again. This time, it showed that I have lost ten. Much more reasonable. Guess I can’t trust that scale.

One of my reasons to hike is to lose weight. It’s not a strong reason and it’s one that is very flawed. Most everyone gains their weight back after their hike due to their diet and the fact that the body is in survival mode and is trying to quickly restore fat reserves. As long as I feel good, that is all that matters. I need to work on accepting my body. I’m unsure if I ever will, but it all starts in the mind. Hopefully the Appalachian Trail helps with that confidence.

Mini Tour

The morning continued with Scott, one of the owners, giving me a mini tour of the various tiny homes. They are all so cool with so much detail in each one of them. I loved the double-decker bus the most.

Bearmeat’s Indian Den

I headed back to the lodge and Wendi, the other owner, told me that Em wouldn’t be able to take me to Cherokee because they had a pottery class after work. It was never a big deal if I couldn’t make it to the art shop, but Wendi was determined to get me there. I appreciated her insistence. She offered to take me. We quickly got in the car and drove the thirty minutes to the store. On the way, we had some really genuine conversations about religion, sexuality, gender, and, of course, the specifics of being a park ranger. I loved every minute.

Upon arrival, I grabbed a basket and began sniffing every soap option. I have been many places and tried many soaps, but Bearmeat’s Indian Den really does have my favorite soap. I was also on the search for a racoon hat. Random, I know. The first time I visited this store, it was ten years ago and I was sixteen. If I had the money back then, I would have bought the racoon hat I had tried on. I have visited the store a few more times since then and have regretted never buying it. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake.

I was grinning the entire time at the store. I finally have the hat I want.

The checkout price was cringe-worthy. I’m not even going to share that detail. I will share, though, that I’m the proud owner of nineteen bars of soap. And yes, I’m shipping that back home.

Evening Retirement

We headed back and Wendi dropped me off at the grocery store before picking her son up from school. I was craving a salad. Too bad it was in a bag. It didn’t satisfy my need for something fresh. We got back to the property until 4:15.

It was busy. There were a good amount of hikers lounging about and I wanted to stay as far away as possible. With the whole fear of norovirus, I was mentally going back into my covid mindset. Already, a hiker was being quarantined in one of the homes because they had it. Every handle I touched seemed like a death sentence. I washed my hands and was quick to go back to my own place.

I stayed there until I figured it was time to shower and clean my kitchen items. I headed back to the cabin and stayed there for the remainder of the night. I did have a face mask session and it was the first time that I peeled one of those off dry. I knew my skin was dry, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. Bedtime came quickly after that.

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Comments 2

  • Katie b : Apr 3rd

    Hey Morgan! Enjoying your posts, you surely demonstrate perseverance! Forgive me, im just weird this way, but I get how wanting a raccoon hat was something you wanted for some time. I just hope that it is a faux hat and not really raccoon, as im not a fan of animals killed for adornment. Stay well and safe.

    • Morgan Schmidt : Apr 14th

      I’m glad you’re enjoying them. And I totally get it! I’m not a supporter of the fast fashion industry that kills animals solely for their pelt. The fur is real, but I know the person who makes them doesn’t kill them solely for that purpose. They use that meat to feed their community and other parts of the body for tools or gear. I can see how that can still cross a line though.


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