On the AT, I lost about 30 pounds, and you'd have had a tough time finding so much as an ounce of fat on me. On this thru-hike, the transformation hasn't been nearly so dramatic. I think I've lost weight, but nowhere near the 30 pounds I lost on my last thru-hike.
There are probably several reasons for this, but a big one has been the relative abundance of convenience stores and towns along the way. I'm able to eat much more stuff than I could on the AT. And the trail, until recently, being more-or-less flat meant less energy required to go the same distance. That's at least partially negated by the fact that I hike more miles each day than when I was on the AT.
None of this really has a point, except that I try out all sorts of junk foods I'd never eat in 'real life.'
This hike, I've been fascinated by M&Ms. I've always known there were the regular milk chocolate ones and peanut M&Ms. They've been around for ages. Not being a big fan of peanuts, I always got the milk chocolate.
On the trail, however, I figured a peanut would give the candy at least *some* nutritional value, so I got a bag of peanut M&Ms and was shocked to discover that they're coated in milk chocolate as well! There's definitely a peanut in each one--I checked--and one lucky M&M actually had TWO peanuts (two of them!) in a single bite sized candy.
With all that cholocate that surrounds it, I can't say I can taste the peanut. Which is just as well since I'm not a big fan of peanuts anyhow.
So nowdays I like to buy the peanut variety of M&Ms. Tastes good, and I can pretend it's actually healthy.
But walking through the aisles, I'm astounded at the sheer variety of M&Ms that previously, I had no idea existed. I must try them all....
There's the almond M&M, designed much like the peanut M&M except with an almond instead of a peanut, and I figure almonds must have some nutritional content so I give them two thumbs up.
Then there's dark chocolate M&Ms. I heard recently that dark chocolate has antioxidents or something that, at least in moderation, could have beneficial health effects. And it tastes really good to boot.
But I had to give the dark chocolate M&Ms the thumbs down when I later learned there was a dark chocolate peanut M&M. Yes, dark chocolate AND a peanut. It's practically a meal in itself packed full of health.
Then there's the peanutbutter M&Ms, not to be confused with the peanut M&M. It doesn't pack as well as the hard core M&Ms, however. Many of them got crushed in my pack, but they do taste good. *nodding*
You'd think it would end there, but you'd be so wrong. For Valentines, they had bags of green M&Ms. (Regular and peanut, and I tried them both. Not convinced they're particularly effective, however.) They also had shades of reds and pinks, the more traditional Valentines Day colors.
St. Paddy's Day brought out more green M&Ms.
And more recently, I had chocolate covered cherry M&Ms, though I was sadly disappointed by that result. You'd think chocolate and cherries would have been a sure thing.
And did you know, that every bag of M&Ms has an even number of them? I like to eat mine two at a time, and I swear it NEVER comes out with an odd number, which is good, because then I'd be stuck eating just one lonely M&M.
I've become quite the M&M expert on this hike.
But back to your regularly scheduled programming....
During the night, the rain finally stopped. The morning was still wet, but at least the precipitation had stopped.
One of the worst things a hiker has to do in the morning is put on the cold, wet hiking clothes from the day before. It's a miserable thing to do, akin to pulling off the fingernails, but it must be done. Camp clothes must stay dry if they're to keep you alive on a cold night.
So off go the dry, warm clothes, deep into my pack, and on go the wet, cold hiking clothes. Yuck.
Then I hiked. I hiked and I hiked, but there's not much to report. (Thus, all that fluff about M&Ms.) I passed a shelter--and oh how I wished I could have used THAT the night before--which was adorably cute in front of a stream with a small waterfall. The registry in it told of woes of snow and cold. It was cold, but I did not have the problem of snow. Not yet, at least. It's still early enough in the season that I could get it in these mountains.
The trail was fairly easy with no serious inclines or rocks to deal with, and I pulled a relatively long day to reach the Laurel Hill shelter for the night.
I never saw the sun, hidden in all those clouds (I hope!), so worried the rain might return. It hasn't, but I'm happy to be under a shelter where if the rain starts during the night, I have a lot of room to stretch out in.