Hanger is Real (and my last 70 miles)
Hanger (hayne-gurr): adj. – the feeling of sadness, grumpiness, and general anger caused by a lack of food.
It’s 10am. I’ve been hiking for nearly two hours and I’m feeling fantastic. Everything on the trail makes me smile: birds singing, the sun shining through the trees, lovely little flowers that are just beginning to bloom. I begin a short uphill section, and almost all at once my thoughts shift. “Stupid hill. Why are we going uphill? We just went down! This is dumb. Why is that bird chirping so loudly? Gahh!” The Beast (aka Hanger) has arrived out of the blue, and if I don’t get a snack, stat, that rock over there is going to get a dirty look.
Hanger often comes without warning and has the ability to transform a nice walk in the woods into a hellacious hike. Rarely does a stomach rumble occur first; no, Hanger goes straight for the attitude. If you don’t watch out, it’ll turn a cheery disposition into a dark mood in a split second.
The good news is that Hanger is easy to cure with these three simple steps:
1.) Open up a Snickers bar.
2.) Eat it.
3.) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
4.) Repeat again because you’re hiking 20+ miles a day and you can.
As quickly as it set in, Hanger has departed to torment another hungry hiker.
Sometimes though, a Snickers bar (or three) just isn’t enough. When desperate times call for desperate measures, it’s time to break out the big guns. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you…The Payday.
The idea for The Payday came to me during my longest day yet (21 miles) as I was climbing up Mt. Albert. At that point, I was getting a little bored with peanut butter tortillas for lunch everyday, so I began dreaming up new concoctions. The Payday is easy to make and packs a punch, and since it’s the ONLY payday I’ll experience for the next six months I knew it had to be delicious. The Payday is:
– 1 flour tortilla (burrito size, if possible)
– A large sporkfull of Nutella, spread evenly
– Dried banana chips
– 1 Payday candy bar
Wrap it up and enjoy! This little bullet holds about 750 calories and nearly 20 grams of fat, so it isn’t for the faint of heart (or stomach), but it’s guaranteed to put a skip in your step and a smile on your face. If you’re REALLY lucky like I was a couple days ago, a wonderful trail angel will give you an ice cold PBR to wash it all down.
With the help of The Payday and lots of other great trail food, I’ve had a blast cruising through the woods for the last five days. After a nice break in Hiawassee on Monday, I was excited to hit the trail again. I crossed into my home state of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon and was met with a very steep climb up to Courthouse Bald. What a welcome! I’ve really enjoyed being in my “backyard” again and hiking a section that’s familiar to me. With the exception of some hard rain here and there, the weather has been warm and fantastic.
My super awesome boyfriend, Dave, hiked from the NOC to camp with me at the Rufus Morgan shelter last night. Fueled by delicious cold-brew coffee that he brought from Asheville, we hiked a quick mile down to the NOC this morning. I’m spending today resting, resupplying, and drinking local beer in Bryson City. I’ll hit the trail again in the morning and will spend the next week or so tackling the mighty Smokies. I can’t wait!
If you’d like to send me mail (yay, mail!), I’ll be cruising by the post office in Hot Springs in a little over a week. The address there is:
C/O General Delivery
Hot Springs, NC 28743
Please hold for AT thru-hiker
Until Hot Springs, sending all my best from the trail!
Yellow Bird (aka Liz)
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.
I am so excited to hear about this journey Liz! We miss you here in Pisgah Forest!
Great meeting you today, neighbor! So glad we caught you and could send you over another mountain after some eats. Subscribed to your blog! ~TNadine, MEGA ’07