Suck. No, it's not the name of some bad 80's rock band. Literally, rocks and roots suck. When you aren't tripping on them, they push you around like an abusive husband on a drunken Saturday night (Disclaimer: In no way am I implicating Rob). I'm waiting for the day for my boot to get sliced open by a jagged rock. I keep an eye on the ground but it doesn't seem to matter. They jump up at you. They camouflage themselves under leaf's waiting for you to walk on top of them. They lurk behind other rocks looking for the opportunity to get ya. Sometimes, they team up with other rocks and roots and stab at both of us at the same time. No, I'm not being dramatic. It is better than walking on pavement I suppose. It is always a shock on our joints whenever we first get into a town. We practically run to the first food joint we see and our knees and feet scream at us for doing so. With all that said, it is worth it every bit.
Speaking of food, we are hungry. WE ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY. Food entertains our thoughts for probably 90% of the day. This percentage increases on the day prior to getting into a town. We've heard that it takes about a month for the hiker appetite to come into play and have discovered that this very accurate. Being that we hike for maybe 8-10 hours each day, the average AT thru-hiker burns up to 6,000 calories per day (more or less depending on the person). There is no way that we can eat enough to satisfy this caloric intake without carrying like 20 pounds of food. So, nevertheless, our bodies are just on constant burn mode. Our physiques are changing every week. Now when I do my made-up yoga-type stretch moves in the morning, I can bend just a little bit more each time due to my decreasing spare tire. Not only are we just straight up hungry, we have very strange cravings. I found myself dreaming of bacon dipped in Nutella like all day. If I had this craving at home, I would go pee on a stick. But, no worries, this is not the case. My body is just wanting me to eat fatty nastiness all of the time. We eat like broke college students on most days. One of our favorite dinner concoctions is mixing instant mashed potatoes, ramen, bacon bits, and pepperoni. We dip Frito's in cream cheese to snack on. I'm very frightened to see what all we will be eating by the time we get done with the trail. With all that said, it is worth it every bit.
Some of our favorite and most memorable days on the trail have been the random acts of kindness we encounter along the way. The people that provide hikers with meals and snacks, rides, even just words of encouragement are termed "Trail Angels". And we have met many of them in the month (exactly one month today) that we have been out here. Some are previous thru-hikers. Some have hiked sections. Some have never stepped foot on the trail but have some kind connection to it. The perks that we get out of it are just the means to an end. It's getting to meet and spend time with these angels that are almost worth hiking the trail alone. You see, being out here has somewhat redeemed our view of humanity. It's not like we were bitter and discouraged with the world before hiking the trail. We are both pretty happy people that are surrounded with amazing friends and family. But when you are stuck in the daily grind, you don't necessary experience life fully and open yourself up to the "magic". And this isn't just found on the Appalachian Trail. I truly believe that this can be found anyplace if you let it. No Mom and Dad, we are not doing drugs...
So, while we miss our loved ones terribly, are spending money without bringing in an income, and are extremely constipated from all of this dehydrated food, it is worth it every bit of the way... even when Rob won't be able to make it up the hill from carrying 20 pounds of food.
Hello. We are Robert and Candice Fox. We created this blog for people who want to follow us as we thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. If you don't know what the Appalachian Trail is, we will let our favorite online resources tell you most anything you need to know. Just click on the blue stuff.