Five Signs You’ve Descended into Thru-Hiking Madness
If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d post a picture of my bandaged foot on Facebook, I would have been aghast. The fact that I have done so now – and without even a flicker of embarrassment — shows just how far I’ve veered into total obsession about my upcoming hike. Are you at equal risk of becoming unhinged? You might think you’re still sane, but how can you really tell? Below I’ve listed some tell-tale warning signs:
- You’re preoccupied with your feet. Do you have a collection of orthopedic insoles? Does the thought of plantar fasciitis frighten you more than any of our presidential candidates? Do you do toe lifts while watching TV? Have you stocked up on kinesiology tape? Exactly how many pairs of hiking shoes and trail runners do you own?
- Have your food shopping habits changed? Have grocery stores become a wonderland filled with heretofore unnoticed items — tiny packets of peanut butter, single-serve doses of honey, gourmet beef jerky and almost weightless freeze-dried cheese? Do you spend hours in the nut aisle anguishing over the options? Do you leave the store with a quirky assortment of foods such as organic roasted seaweed snacks simply because they’re so lightweight? Or (red alert!) have you begun eating out of freezer bags?
- Do you weigh your clothes? Do you time how long it takes them to dry? Do you find yourself pondering whether your socks might double as mittens, or giving considerable thought to whether you need two pairs of underwear on your hike or three? Does the idea of wearing a rain kilt thrill you, the possibility of saving a few ounces by dressing in a garbage bag filling you with outright glee?
- Do you spend every free moment online, searching hiking forums for nuggets of wisdom and poring over gear reviews? While the world worries about current events, are you lost in the happy oblivion of food drops and whoopie slings, underquilts and bear bag hanging techniques? Are you in awe of people who make stoves out of soda cans? Does the idea of crafting a pot cozy from a reflective windshield cover seem like the height of cleverness to you?
- And finally, have you bored your friends and family into a catatonic state with your endless discussions about hiking gear? Do they scurry away like startled cockroaches every time you come near? Do you find yourself bemused by their lack of enthusiasm when you explain the pros and cons of hammocks versus tents or pontificate on water purification techniques?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be descending into thru-hiking madness and losing your grip on the outside world. But don’t worry. You’re not alone. You’ll find plenty of kindred spirits on the nearest trail. I know I’ll definitely see you there!
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