Hiker Hunger SHT

Hiker hunger is a phenomenon hikers encounter when our appetite becomes insatiable and we crave some of the weirdest things. Some hikers will say that they’re starving. But having known starvation, the word hunger is suitable.

On the PCT, hiker hunger kicked in for me around mile 43ish. Here, on the SHT, the insatiable craving for cheese, funnel cakes (which I’ve only eaten four times in my life), fries, and sushi hit on day three and by day five I’d run out of food.

With knowledge that the SHT is a well-known trail, I’d prepared meals prior and shipped them accordingly. I packed food for six days at the start of each resupply. Unfortunately, my calculations were off and I’ve been running out of food!

In the midst of a serious hiker hunger spell, I started listing all the things that I wish I had in the moment: ice cream, mushrooms, pizza, Sprite, Reese’s, cheese, sushi, and fries. I also started calculating the miles to the next town. Then the reality of my situation set it—I have money. I’m not restricted from leaving the trail and buying whatever I want (Except sushi. I’m very hesitant eating sushi in small-town Minnesota). Not everyone has that luxury.

I received a few sample boxes of Patagonia Provisions meals for this trip. And while tasty, what seems to keep the hiker hunger at bay are Pop-Tarts, peanut butter, noodles, tuna fish—cheaply priced items that I seldom eat off trail because they aren’t the healthiest. Yet these are items that nourished me as a child (government cheese and syrup sandwiches are also on that list).

Hiker hunger is legitimate and (currently) fierce. It’s 2 a.m. as I write this post in my orange tent, lying on my orange sleeping pad, debating how desperately I want to walk five miles into town and wait until noon for the store to open on the off chance that it will sell orange American cheese.

Alternatively, I could get down my bear bag and cook some ramen noodles. Or I could also just go to sleep.

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