From Steady and Wombat:
Ted, Didier, and I left the Winturri Shelter at about 7:30am to hike over four miles on the Appalachian Trail. It’s time to say goodbye to my first partners on the trail. I want to thank Ted and Didier again for all they have done.
We are staying at Ted and Carol’s house in Vermont tonight, so it means a bed instead of a sleeping bag. We also visited the Long Trail Brewery which produces my favorite craft beer. Thank you Ted and Carol for your hospitality!
In our last blog we discussed the pie lady. As explanation for her popularity on the AT it might be helpful to understand the hiker’s diet.
A typical 6′ male burns roughly 2,000 calories per day just to keep body and soul together. According to Ted’s Apple Watch, our ten-mile hike in the woods required an additional 3,000 calories yesterday. That’s based on a vaguely worded description titled “Outdoor Walk.” They didn’t have a setting marked “Arduous walk up and down hills with a 45-pound pack on your back,” but to make the math easy we’ll go with a 5,000 calorie daily burn.
Hikers can only eat what they can carry and food is a major portion of the weight they have to carry. In addition, “cooking” generally consists of adding boiling water to a packet so meals are decidedly circumscribed. We’ve included a picture of the daily fare below. Oatmeal with Craisins, almonds and walnuts for breakfast, Ramen Noodles for lunch and a pouch dinner from REI in the evening. As a special treat we eat chocolate granola bars along the way. Total caloric value 1,700, give or take, for a total caloric shortfall of 3,300 per day. After 3 days on the trail you start to lose weight quickly. No, this is not a marketing pitch to get you to join Rick’s trek as it seems a bit like asking folks to join the Roman Legion as a weight loss plan…still…if it appeals to you…
Sadly, one of the cruel truths about ALS is that it increases your metabolism, making your body burn calories faster, while at the same time affecting your swallowing muscles thereby making it harder to eat. We ply Rick with chocolate granola bars and he gamely does his best to eat them, but from time to time he needs to go home to rest and eat a less sensible diet.
The rest of us visit the pie lady.