McDonalds forgets Hikers Coke: Hiker almost dies

It was like any other day, Pumpkin, Littlefoot and I woke up around 4 a.m. to get a head start on the day. We were in the Shenandoah’s, and many people had told us this was the place for big miles. So we decided to go for a 35 mile day, which wasn’t going to be that bad considering we had done bigger miles over much harder terrain and had daylight on our side.

For starters, the Shenandoah’s are beautiful, the Appalachian Trail follows a plush and kind wooded path through these verdant forests. Water was common through this section as well, springs infused with the freshest mountain water and abundantly placed.

As we made our way in the dark of the early morning, solitude was easily found, getting caught up in thought and enjoying the brisk cool breeze that seemed to blow past us as we thru hikers blow past day hikers. Morning hikin’ was always interesting, watching the spooky eyes of animals and spiders in the distance stare.

As I followed the headlamps of Littlefoot and Pumpkin ahead of me that seemed to float off into the darkness, I had caught up to them to

catch a break in the action to sit down and enjoy the sunrise.


As the day progressed we stopped in at the Skyline Drive restaurants to consume our bodies with overpriced tourist food and enjoy a break from the 30 degree weather. Dumping copious amounts of coffee into our system with shots of espresso for the energy boost, the next 23 miles seemed in our hands.

While we were hiking we ran into Moose, another thru hiker, who mentioned how his friends from Virginia Tech were coming up to give him a ride out of the mountains and offered us McDonalds. Of course we wanted McDonalds, so at a Skyline Drive road crossing 32 miles into our day we waited for them to drop us off food.

I thought we had made it quite clear that we had wanted water and coke, and by no means did I intend on seeming to be righteous but we really wanted either water or coke, and McDonalds had screwed up, because we didn’t get either. Now for most people-what’s the big deal? They forgot your coke, suck it up. It’s McDonalds anyways they’re bound to forget something as the service is horrible as is the food. But we had a 3 mile mountain to climb until the next shelter, and 2.6 miles until the next water source. On top of that, our bellies were full of shitty salty food that could dehydrate the Kool-Aid man faster than he could bust down a brick wall.

So I was a little worried, having already gone a good 7 miles without water I saw this situation quickly unfold as I began my trek with Littlefoot and Pumpkin up this mountain. Waving goodbye to Moose, we set off.

Within 20 minutes of walking, I was sweating profusely and taking off layers, by this time it was around 8:30 and dusk had engulfed Appalachia.

As the hike progressed it all started to fall into place, my wobbly legs, the blurred vision and even the throbbing head. I was dehydrated and I was pissed. I started beating my trekking poles against the ground, tears rolled down my face. I waited for Littlefoot and Pumpkin to catch up so I could comfort my misery, but they weren’t much better themselves. I looked at them and said “fuck McDonalds,” they knew I was serious too.

I couldn’t even walk straight, using my trekking poles to save me from falling and to  slam them into the ground violently while simultaneously crying and shouting “fuck McDonalds, you forgot my Coke.”

Thinking to myself, “Cockblock, why are you acting like this,” knowing well enough a coke would have only eased your dehydration marginally.

We were all angry, feeling ripped off and exhausted, as well as helpless knowing we would have to try and make it to the next water source.

I always wondered how badly dehydrated I was during times like these, knowing it wasn’t good if walked like I was drunk and had trouble seeing correctly. But also not being able to think clearly enough to assess the seriousness of the situation. It seemed sensible though, to scream vituperative words and cry like a 3 year old (which of course did not help, but in those states of minds it seems reasonable).

The spring that saved us seemed to take forever to get to, but the advent of it was one of the most splendid moments of my life. It flowed so beautifully in the gleam of our headlamps. I sunk my bottle into it, and put it to my mouth not caring if it was filtered or not. The water hit my mouth and immediately took the painful and suffocating feeling of dryness away from my mouth and throat.

Moments like these always help me keep life in perspective, after drinking a liter of water and walking to the shelter with 3 more liters I was thankful for water, and to have the clearness of thought again.img_0676



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