How to Tell a Thru-Hiker
I’ve heard a some jokes that start with “What’s the difference between a thru-hiker, a section hiker and a day hiker?” I don’t remember the punchlines which probably means I didn’t find the jokes all that clever. I think a “cold beer” was involved somewhere.
Joking aside, there are some very real hints that a person you meet on the trail is a thru-hiker. For example, I find the thru-hiker smell rather distinctive. And it can be pretty potent. There are times in the summer, where I can smell an approaching thru-hiker before I can see them or hear them. It’s actually quite handy as it gives me plenty of time to leash the dogs…or if I’m on an ascent, make myself appear less fatiqued than I am. :)
Today, when I met Joe to relinquish custody of his wallet, I uncovered another hint to keep in mind.
After our initial introductions and greetings, I asked, “Are you hungry?”
“I just had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.” Joe said and then he added– “I’m starving.”
Definitely a thru-hiker.