When you spend such a long time in the woods around a bunch of stinky freeloaders, you develop a certain lifestyle. Things that you used to be self-conscious about, you no longer stress. Things you found disgusting and frowned upon, you now embrace. People in town can smell you and look at you with repulsion, but you stare back at them with pride. That odor that resembles a combination of dog poop and McDonald’s kitchen grease? That’s you! You earned that! There are several experiences and behaviors that these creatures share in common with each other. Here are just a few of them.
You might be a long distance hiker if…
Your average diet consists of: Ramen noodles, trail mix, Pasta Sides, Cliff Bars, Slim Jim’s, and other processed garbage.
You shower once ever 7-14 days on average.
Average people walk by you and mention that something smells like dead animals or wet dog.
You realize that black bears are just giant raccoons.
You walk by average people and can identify what hair products, cologne/perfume, deodorant, and/or soap they’re using.
The ‘5-second rule’ is valid for all food groups, it is honored, and is extended to infinite time.
You’ve been kicked out of a restaurant or an All You Can Eat Buffet due to body odor or voracious eating.
You might have a beard, and a knee brace or two.
Your grade school backpack weighed more than your hiking pack.
You keep track of everyone’s bowel movements.
You can add “hitchhiking” to your job skills on your resume.
You aren’t opposed to sleeping on the ground, on top of a picnic table, or even in a bathroom.
You might have trouble identifying what is an intense sock tan line versus just a thick layer of dirt.
Getting in touch with trail people on social media is a hassle, because you don’t know anyone’s real name.
You absolutely embrace the term “hiker trash” and aren’t offended when you’re labeled as such.
You’ve lost toe nails and gained a lot of body hair.
You have calf muscles for days, but also have noodle arms.
The bulk of your conversations with other hikers are about food.
When you are approaching a road, you hope to find a person cooking food.
Some of the things you’ve packed out with you from town might be: a whole pizza (or two), a 30 rack of beer, several sub sandwiches, McDoubles…
You’ve shared a motel room with a complete stranger and didn’t feel awkward about it.
If you find a cooler filled with trash, you get really sad and feel left out.
You can pack and un-pack you gear before a day hiker can remove the pack from their back.