Week 10: Let’s Talk About My Favorite Thing, Food

Dear reader, I have a confession to make, well I have a couple confessions I could make, but this is a big one. After hiking 850 miles, I have managed to not only not lose weight, but have managed to actually gain weight. 5-10 lbs to be exact. Gender inequalities exist on the trail like anywhere, but this perhaps is one of the worst. Men lose weight. Women don’t. Totally unfair. However, in honor of this confession I’d like to dedicate the rest of this post to hikers’ favorite topic: food. Hikers talk about what we’ll eat for dinner, our favorite trail means, plan our meals in town, talk about how we could really use certain foods, and sometimes just chant food names.

A picture of food I sent the Mother from Roanoke to prove this fact

Shortly before leaving for the trail I had a friend tell me, “Man, you’re going to be so hot when reach Maine.” …because you know I wasn’t like totally hot before leaving. (I definitely mentioned this and he slightly backtracked, just slightly though. I have great friends.) However, before leaving I did laugh about how hiking over 2,000 miles would get me in great shape. I mean I wasn’t in bad shape, but man I was going to be in great shape. But here’s the deal, you don’t know what hiking 850 miles will do to your body. I thought I would be leaner, maybe a little more muscular, but generally in the same shape. I thought this would be the moment where I finally broke under 130lbs. (Even if I’m not rowing it’s nice to know that I could row lightweight if I wanted). I was not prepared to gain weight and I certainly was not prepared for the tree trunk legs that have developed. I have some serious calves. Sometimes as I’m hiking down the trail, I stare at my calves and wonder if they’re as large as I think they are and if so how they got to be so big. (I have a lot of time to contemplate this). In comparison, my middle is less toned and I think I’ve lost some of the back definition I worked so hard for. But my body is built for hiking. Hills that once were challenging, I cruise up… And by cruise I mean I’m wheezing less. However, I would mind the 15, 20, 45lbs weight loss that my male counterparts are experiencing. But hey! there must be someone out there attracted to tree trunk legs.

Tree trunk legs full on display

Continuing down the topic of food, or rather what food/hiking does to the body, several nights ago I found myself camping at Jennings Creek with my friend Uno and two thru hikers I was unfamiliar with walked into camp.

She’s like so photogenic

As I sat preparing my dinner, I watched Alexander of the perfect ombré (we couldn’t decide if it was natural or salon in later conversations), make dinner. He combined a box of mac & cheese, two giant scoops of coconut oil (pure fat), and an entire pack of bacon bits. I don’t even want to know the calories in that meal but he later claimed eating upwards of 5,000 calories a day and was still losing weight. I by no means limit what’s eat, and I’ve always been a bigger eater, but I’m probably eating around 3,000 calories a day and like I said, I’ve put on weight. It just seemed so wrong. So unfair. A week later as I write this, I’m still upset about it. He ate an obscene amount of food in the name of caloric intake and was still losing weight. Another guy I know has put so much coconut oil in his food it makes him throw up. Guys suck.

This leads to the question: What does she eat on the trail? So I thought I’d list what I what I ate yesterday with corresponding calories.

Breakfast: Dark Chocolate Mocha KIND Bar (150 calories); Dark Chocolate Cocoa KIND Breakfast Bar (220 calories); Prunes (100 calories) – Total: 470 calories

Snack/Lunch: Snickers Bar or Peanut M&M’s (250 calories); Peach Apricot Fig Bar (200 calories); Chocolate Coconut Chip CLIFF bar (250 calories); Kroger Beef Jerky (280 calories) – Total: 980 calories

Dinner: 1/4 block sharp cheddar cheese (200 calories); 2 tortillas (240 calories); Annie’s Mac & Cheese (560 calories); turkey sausage bites (120 calories); dried halves peaches (200 calories); dried apples (120 calories); Serving of Gardetto’s (150 calories) – Total: 1,590 calories

Total: 2,640 calories

After tallying that up, that was a lot less than I expected. Sometimes I feel like I eat so much. In town I tend to binge though – oops! It also doesn’t include when there’s trail magic. For instance, I had 3 Cokes yesterday (it just worked out that way.) Today I have just eaten a ton of chocolate and Chinese food. Waynesboro is home to the “Best Chinese Buffet on the Trail.”


Uno approves

However, I would like to thank the Mother for gifting me a hotel room in Waynesboro. Binge watching HGTV while bumming in a bed I don’t have to share, is just what the doctor ordered. Or it’s at least what I would order if I was a doctor. Probably a good thing I’m a music therapist and not a doctor. I also had the surreal experience of going to the post office expecting a small package from the rents (needed my contacts) and receiving, not one but 4 packages! The post office man was like, “Oh, your name is familiar.” I wonder why now…


Feeling so much love!!

Thank you Donna Anderson, Kathy Fisher Debbie Hoeppner, Maggie Grevatt, and Sherrie Hanson and anyone I may have forgotten for the love this week. Also a big shout out to Gwen Fulton (and Christi) for her care package in Buena Vista. I would have gone my whole life without trying Moon Cheese. I am genuinely touched by how many are invested in my hike and have shown support. My hiker friends would like to send a thanks as well.

Molly Bybee; C/o ATC HQ; PO Box 807; Harper’s Ferry WV 25425; Please hold for AT hiker; ETA 06/09

My man Dusty is mailing a largish package to Harper’s Ferry so nothing big please!

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Comments 5

  • Therese : Jun 1st

    I really enjoy your posts, Molly. I, too, had figured that I would be wasting away and would need to eat gallons of ice cream in order to keep s little bit of weight on. SO GLAD that you have thrown that assumption out of my expectations. LOL!!!!! Keep up your great attitude and keep up blogging!

  • Sherrie Hanson : Jun 1st

    So enjoying following your posts. Happy to hear you received your package. Thanks for sharing your journey. So awesome how far you have gone. Walk on Molly!

  • Donna Anderson : Jun 4th

    Molly, love reading you blog and all your experiences. I am very surprised you have not list weight but you look great. I look forward to your next report. Keep walking Molly ?❤️

  • Sandra : Jun 5th

    I love your blog. I’m usually not a blog reader but I love nature and hiking
    I just signed up last week to receive the newsletter.
    Keep walking with care and have a blast seeing the trail sites.

  • Linda : Jun 10th

    Hope to meet you when you get to Wind Gap PA and hear about your adventures on the AT


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