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Hot Dog/Protection in a Box

The wolf spoke and paced before us, and inside of us. Our stomach gnawed at our insides chewing itself and echoing its disdain for the lack of food we had been providing it. It screamed at us to eat something, anything. Yet, our mind was stronger....or so we thought. While our mind was strong enough to say, next break spot we will feed you something out of our pack, it was not strong enough for a hot dog in a box, with protection! Not protection for our souls, but protection that was meant for our bodies... Before we get into this situation we would like to ask you not to judge us to harshly, we never would of thought we would act the way we did, never believed it in ourselves to throw all our values out the window, and never imagined a hot dog in a box would bring us to our very knees!


The eyes of our soul, the eyes of our stomach, the wolf was inside of us and a part of us.


We had been on trail for about 3 months at this point. 3 months of being wet almost everyday, 3 months of being hungry every day, and 3 months as our mind continued to break all the societal norm shackles, we were in essence a wild animal. A wild animal that goes by the name of an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker! The very wildest of the genesis and species of animal that is a thru-hiker. There is a special transformation that happens in that green tunnel on the AT, each day tunneling yourself further towards Maine, but also tunneling yourself deeper into raw animalistic behavior. Our nails could mark a tree like a grizzlies, our feet were transforming into the feet of our ancestors the ape, curled, hairy, and gripping the ground as we grunted our way down the trail. We continued to transform into a wild animal, and one of the wildest animals souls harnessed its power into our stomachs. The stomach of a starving wolf. Never satiated, never satisfied, the power of the wolf and hence the power of our stomach, was sometimes all we could hear as it howled and drowned out all rational thought. No thoughts, only action. This is what we have to believe to justify our actions that followed, the actions that brought us to a hot dog, protection, and a cardboard box. We have to believe it was the wolf speaking and not ourselves, because if we let it become one and the same, we could never forgive ourselves!

The wolf was howling especially loud this day. Every day it howled but today, it also scratched, clawed, and bite with each howl with its ferocity to be fed. We bartered and bargained with it, that next break it would be fed, this only increased it fury and led to ear-splitting howls of protest. Our claws tore apart the ground as the miles melted under our feet and our stomach continued to melt into itself. We needed sustenance, our wolf demanded a reward. We like to believe to this day that if we would have fed it 5 minutes sooner, we would not have gone down the dark path that we did. That the wolf would have let us pass this opportunistic feast. Yet, we can not live in the past, we only can accept the past for what it was. The past of feasting upon the flesh of a hot dog in a box.


Picture this raw level of hot dogs... but in a box in the middle of the woods filled with condoms, and you will reach the level of disgust we did.... but then put yourself in the same woods for 3 consistent months and you will reach the same hunger we did....


One of our hiking partners was in front of us and another was behind us, by about 5 minutes respectively. We wish that our wolf could have feasted in private and there were not witnesses to this horrific event, but our wolf pack dined as a pack this afternoon, witnesses abound. As we came into a clearing we noticed one of our members of our pack, stooped over something on the ground. Our wolf howled its excitement, usually this meant a fresh "kill" on the AT.

(Kill =Wolf Metaphor for Trail Magic)

As we stalked towards our pack member ready to tear into this prey, a scent on the wind was our first signal that this was a tainted victory. The smell bore upon it despair, desperation, and a ripeness of age that was not meant to be. The next signal was that of the feeling that bristled the hairs on our tuft of fur between our shoulder blades. There was no fellow howl of excitement from our pack member, no trumpet of victory, only whimpers of confusion. They had not already began feasting upon this "victory" instead they pranced around it as if they were afraid to touch it. This was very abnormal behavior from our pack member. Usually the pack member that had reached the spoils first, would dine in elegance and pick the choicest cuts of the prey while its pack members caught up and joined in the feast on the leftovers. We finally got close enough to see the look in the eyes of our fellow animal. It shocked us as there was interest, intrigue, laughter, hunger, happiness, and also primal fear. Breaking our gaze we arrived at the spoils and our own eyes took upon the same feelings as our pack member, mostly primal fear.


You could put us in this graveyard on Halloween, and the primal fear from that box of raw hot dogs and condoms would still be more scary!


The fresh spoils of victory upon the ground lay in a cardboard box. A cardboard box that was in the middle of nowhere. We had not crossed a trailhead or road entrance for at least 20 miles, and as we studied our maps we would not cross another road for another 20 miles. This alone was puzzling in the sense that this meant either way you cut it someone had to have hiked a full day with this box, this meant the spoils would not be fresh, nowhere near. This puzzlement aside for the time being, we needed to explore the contents. On the very top of the box lay loose hot dogs, with the occasional hot dog being hugged within a bun. Okay, also weird, but there was more to explore. Moving the hot dogs to the side, there were a few plastic rectangular objects in the bottom. Nope, not plastic! In fact only the wrapping was plastic... the base material was latex. Yep, this was a box full of loose hot dogs, the occasional wrapped hot dog in a bun, and a box full of condoms, in the absolute middle of nowhere!

We continued reeling from the scene as our other pack member caught up. They also sensed the possibility of a fresh kill and jogged towards us. Yet, just as we had when they got closer they sensed a wrongness in the air. Their jog slowed to a crawl, and they crept forward hesitantly as they peered around our 2 bent frames to peer into this mystery box for themselves. Not a word was exchanged for a few minutes. We all had to process what exactly we were seeing, and had to process if this was in fact real. Finally, when we all looked up from our own world of questions and we began debating the inevitable.... not why was this box here, but should we eat the loose hot dogs??


The wolf pack guilty of eating hot dogs in a box. Blurred faces of the two other wolves, to respect their anonymity. Not everyone is comfortable with admitting this immensely heavy weight upon our souls...


This is where the story takes a dark and sinister turn, so if you are faint of heart or queasy to graphic images and descriptions, stop reading here. We warned you.

Okay, the question of should we eat the hot dogs in the middle of nowhere. This led to a Sherlock Holmes type of situation. Before we answered the most important question we needed to answer many smaller ones that would fill into this. We needed to evaluate the scene, and completely dissect what we were looking at. We picked up a hot dog, and it was ice cold and slimy to the touch. Not fresh, the culprit had been here many days ago, if not weeks. We looked around the ground to see if there was any evidence of any other of our fellow wolf packs that had made a stop here before to feast. No evidence of bent grass, no evidence of crumbs from hesitant nibbles, it seems we were the first wolf pack to find this kill. Next, we needed to inspect the companion to the hot dogs in this box, the condoms. A tool to protect the body from harm, but what harm had our souls experienced by finding them within a food we loved so much. There were at least 20+ condoms. Not a small pack of condoms but instead a healthier box at least, of condoms this mysterious person had bought and brought with their hot dogs. The hot dogs were by no means fresh, but THANK GOD the condoms were "fresh." At least fresh in the sense that they lay undisturbed in their packaging underneath a layer of loose hot dogs... so fresh-ish. Okay, we had defined everything we could from this mysterious cardboard box, we have inspected every physical aspect of it, and this only left the practical and ethical questions left to ask.


Loose in the box with the hot dogs, quite an interesting combination.....


Is it safe to eat the hot dogs? They had been out here for an untold amount of time and were quite slimy. We hate to admit it, but this was in fact the easiest question to answer.... our wolves demanded food, the safety aspect was of very little concern. A wolves stomach acid can digest bones, so why not hot dogs in a box? The next question was, should we eat the hot dogs? There was no evidence of anyone else part-taking in this endeavor, that worried us. Also, the question of why condoms and hot-dogs led us down the path of this was one interesting person that would combine the two in a box. Yet, we had been in the woods for 3 months, who were we to judge the choices of another human, we ourselves were weird and eccentric, frankly downright animalistic. It was not us that made the next choice, but the wolf inside of us...

So, it would not come to you as a surprise, that before we had too many ethical questions plague our decision process, we ate the hot dogs. Well, in full honesty we were the first ones to take a hot dog and bite into it. As we reached for the first of what would become a few dogs eaten, we exclaimed to our fellow wolves, "How long does it take a thru-hiker to eat a hot dog in a cardboard box with condoms in the middle of nowhere?" As they looked at us puzzled, we took our first bite, and through slimy hot dog juice dripping down our chin, we exclaimed "3 months!". The seal had been broken, the first bite of this "fresh" kill had been taken, the spoils of a hunt were claimed. We fell upon that box as only ravenous wolves could. I believe we blacked out, because when we came back to, we all sat around the box, that was now deficit of at least 10 hot dogs. A deep hole within the box and a deeper hole within our souls now.


Talking it out amongst ourselves.....


We had succumbed to our animalistic desires. As we groaned and moaned in our separate worlds of satisfaction and disgust, remnants of our kill lay heavy in our stomachs and minds. What had we done?! The choice while being a choice in theory was never really a choice at all. We were wolves and we were thru-hikers, of course we were going to eat hot dogs from a box in the middle of nowhere, disregarding the condom condiments. Just as a wolf is satisfied after a successful hunt, they also get back up to continue their journey. This is where we found ourselves after a few minutes of self-loathing and recollection. Picking ourselves up from the ground, where our dignities would remain, we left the cardboard box where we had found it. Left it for the next wolf pack of thru-hikers to fall upon it, left for the next wolf pack to come to their own judgment of weighing hunger and their souls, a judgment that we are quite confident in saying without ever fully knowing, that the end result was the same. The next wolf pack would make the same choice. They would listen to their inner wolves and gorge themselves on day, week, or even month old hot dogs! Maybe one or two wolves would also chose a condom......

In the beginning we asked you not to judge us to harshly, we asked for your consideration and understanding on why we lost ourselves. We hope that you will understand it was the wolf inside of us that demanded this outcome, as we fell to our knees and devoured hot dogs in the woods. Even if you cannot forgive us or understand us, please find it in your hearts to forgive us. You can be disgusted, appalled, repulsed, disappointed and angry with us, as we our with ourselves, but we know you are better than us, and that is why we ask this of you. No pardon, no excuse, nothing can undue the ferocious consumption of hot dogs that we were a part of; only forgiveness. We will never forgive ourselves...

With A Queasy Stomach




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