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Sugar Fiend

Harder, faster, quicker we pushed. Flying down the remaining miles to get to town. A non descript town with no exact name, because well it could be any town. A town in California, a town in New York, a town in Ohio, a town in Washington, a town in Alabama, any town across the United States. No matter the location, no matter the season, no matter the population, there could be a thousand differences, but there would always be one similarity. That similarity would come in the form of a cool, refreshing, crisp can that beaded with condensation and a promise of energy, sweet relief and relaxation. As the sweat from our bodies began to cool after aggressively pushing miles into town, our hand would clasp around our ritual, our tradition, our treat. We were a servant to our affliction and in direct correlation our addiction. Powerless in the grasp of the fiend inside of us. A fiend for sugar. A fiend for a a can of soda pop.


The look of someone that is wondering if the picture taker is giving himself Type II Diabetes...


It's funny how many similarities there are between long distance hikers. Miles, gear, choices, mentalities, all similar but at the same time being completely unique. The same is to be said about a hiker's ritual when they arrive in their next town stop. Some chose to run directly to the café chasing their most desired food, some instantly soothe their aches, pains and woes at the local bar, some instantly hop in the shower washing away the exhaustion and dirt from the trail, and some, ourselves included, have no say in the matter as our feet subconsciously direct us directly to any corner store to satiate our internal sugar fiend.

It becomes almost auto-pilot. As we would near a town our day would be loosely structured with finding a place to stay, eating, working, eating, laundry, eating, resupplying while eating, showering, and doing all the necessities of "life" that we could not do while in the backcountry. Yet, before we even began all of our checklist items, we had to "fuel" ourselves with a can of pop. Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, any and all were welcome. We were not fussy with our sugar addiction, as long as we could satiate our growling demon inside of us, we were happy.

It is very difficult, extremely so, to deny your body cravings while thru-hiking, exponentially so when you are in a town. To continue down the path ahead of you, whether it is 100 miles, 1000 miles, 2000 miles, or 5000, you have to begin to pick your battles. Hikers begin to rationalize why they can eat, drink, consume the way they wish while in a town. Ourselves are extremely guilty of this as well. There were many times we would continue to consume until our bodies were uncomfortably bloated, full, and teetering upon the precipice of a sugar coma. Yet, that is what our body not only requested but blatantly screamed at us to provide, so who were we to say no, when we were asking continual output and brutality from it day after day, month after month.