It was still dark when I lit my lightweight alcohol stove to warm some water for my breakfast coffee and hot oats. Clumsiness causes me to knock the stove over causing a small fire just outside my tent. It was extinguished quickly and I was fortunate not to have my tent catch fire. My second attempt at breakfast was more successful.
Thumper and I started hiking by sunrise with a goal to hike as far as we could. Our food was dangerously low. In fact we had not enough food to last the day and we were a long way from the next resupply.
The trail was flat and easy in the morning. We covered an amazing 11 miles by 10am and ate the last of our snacks in the process. All we had left was food for dinner tonight. If the trail stayed like this and we kept our energy levels high we might just be ok. But it was not to be.
For the rest of the afternoon it was difficult to appreciate the beauty of the place. Huge lakes surrounded by mountains and streams. Moss and lichen covered the rocks in every shade of green. But we were hungry and our energy levels dropped very low, very quickly.
Thumper and I were hiking very slowly by mid afternoon. At one point Thumper became dizzy and almost fainted. Despite trying to ration our food I suggested that we eat the last of our food with about 30 miles of hiking to the next resupply. We could then hike into the late afternoon and evening until we couldn’t hike anymore. We are our dinner next to a beautiful lake at 2.30pm.
It was like filling up an empty car stranded on the side of the road. The energy ran straight to our legs. We hiked maybe 15 minutes before meeting some southbound hikers. I met one of them a couple of months ago, during my first weeks on the trail. We recognised each other and started talking. The two hikers were flipping up north and hiking southbound, which is very common on the Appalachian Trail.
I mentioned our food dilemma and without hesitation we were given several food bars and chocolate. Thumper and I were about as grateful as we could ever be. Just having the food with us was enough to give us energy.
Several more hills with several more sections of flat trail bought us to a campsite about 10 miles from the next resupply. I ate a small snack of about 200 calories which was all I had left to eat. Despite being tired and hungry we will be ok.
Just some battered egos and some lessons learned. At times like this I think of the suffering of people like Shackleton on his expeditions to Antarctica. It makes my very small amount of suffering seem like nothing.
Hunger is not something that most people reading this blog would have ever experienced. A feeling way beyond where the stomach makes growling noises. Beyond where the body starts breaking itself down to provide energy for itself.
Luckily, our suffering was short and temporary. Tomorrow we hike to a restaurant. The thought will give me good dreams tonight.