Monday, June 21, 2010

General Facts

A.T. length: 2,178 miles (though this depends on who you ask)

65% are "Northbounders" or "NoBos" hiking Georgia to Maine.
10% are "SoBos."
5% are "Flip-floppers" who complete the trail in one trip, but with an alternate itinerary.
20% are "Section-hikers" who complete the trail in more than one trip. [Timothy Denherder Thomas, who graciously lent me his maps, is hiking the A.T. this style.]
562 people celebrated completion of the trail last year (in all manner of hiking approaches).
Then, there are "yo-yos," people who hike the whole thing one way, get to the end, and go back.
Think that's crazy?
Two girls hiked the whole thing barefoot.
And, one blind man is hiking this year, making a documentary of his trip.

To beat all this though, the first man I met fresh off the train station in Harper's Ferry is "Baltimore Jack." He's thru-hiked the A.T. 7 years in a row. You've got to wonder.

I've noticed thru-hikers think about, talk about, dream about food, all the time. A pbj is awesome on top of a mountain, but not 30 days in a row. Ramen, tuna, beans, get boring. Hikers play all sorts of tricks to spice up their food--for instance, I'm carrying button bags of salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon--but there's simply no kitchen. Basically, hiking food is good ideas of food processed and put in a bag. Case in point: I had cheesecake for breakfast yesterday. Sounds good, right? But freeze-dried anything is just never going to be all that appetizing.

The most popular A.T. hiker foods:
1. peanutbutter
2. raisins
3. Snickers
4. beef jerky

One fellow hiker I met today, Jeff, directed me to his blog. I quote his most recent entry:
"Ah yes. Snickers. THE food of thru hikers. Most likely, one would be hard pressed to find a thru that does not know the nutrition facts of a Snickers bar by heart. (Since you’re wondering: 280 calories, 130 from fat, 4g protein, 14g total fat, 5g sat fat, 140 mg Sodium…)

This magical bar out-shines most energy bars in terms of straight up calories per ounce. AND they are an excellent entertainment source. Mars, Incorporated has developed a series of terms relating to snickers and their goodness in order to better market their product; terms such as substantialicious (noun: The weight of something when you weigh it with your tongue.). I, of course, know these by heart. I strive to use them in my everyday speech. Word-of-the dayers I suggest you add these to your repertoire."

He's right. Even I, in my one month of hiking, know about the grandeur of a Snickers.

Also, a word about my pesco-vegetarian status...
I've rocked beans, nuts, legumes, and fish for 9.5 years. However, the Giardia episode seemed to reset my whole digestive system, and all I wanted was a BLT. So, three days ago, I ordered one. And it was perfect. (I admit I half-expected it was going to start talking to me, though.) I don't think I'll go on a carnivorous rampage--though who knows--but I think we should eat what our bodies ask for. Hence, bacon?

Ok, that's all for now


  1. Snickers and Bacon, what else is there? I've got mixed feelings about you giving into the urge of a BLT.

  2. Julia!!!! Did you get my letter? I will call you, in hopes that that's a better way to reach you. I will be waiting for you in New Hampshire, no matter when you get here!


  3. Glad to hear you're feeling well enough to eat something other than chocolate, even if it is bacon. I hiked a TEENY TINY portion of the AT yesterday in the southwest corner of Mass with Andy Charleton and thought of you!

  4. Your entries are truly entertaining, though I'm not sure they compete with the entertainment of a Snicker's bar on the trail. My goodness you really are chugging along - I saw one photo of you on facebook and hope that there are other visual documentations of this amazing feat for us laz-bo's (laz(y) bos) to enjoy!

  5. Julia, I'm not happy about the hitch hiking. I can see you are learning some things the hard way, but the price of getting in the wrong car is too high. Bears, no problem :)
    I can't wait to come out and be with you, to hike alongside you, at least for the first hour until I fall behind, to see the moon at night, the plants and other surprises along the way. It's wonderful to read your blog and share your excitement. Take care. I think about you all the time. Love, Mom

  6. Julia! I'm so glad to hear you're doing well, eatin meat (I'll live vicariously though you), and having the adventure I'd hoped you would! I miss you and would still love to come join you at some point. Much love--

  7. Julia, make sure to see my facebook message re: your cell phone which someone found on the trail!

  8. Do you remember the story I told you about being vegan, in the hospital, and wanting only an Arby's roast beef sandwich? And then wanting only salad for a couple of months once I was feeling better and had gained some weight back? Your body knows well, and you're good to listen to it.