How to Tell a Thru-Hiker

June 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm 7 comments

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.


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Entry filed under: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Joe Frambach. Tags: .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carolyn  |  June 7, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I am reminded of the movie Clint & I watched recently called Dead Man starring Johnny Depp. An indian said he could smell when white men were approaching. I forget the exact quote.

  • 2. thruhike98  |  June 7, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Q: What’s the difference between a thruhiker and a homeless guy?
    A: Gore-Tex. ;)

  • 3. thruhike98  |  June 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Your “smell” comment reminded me of hiking in Maine on my thruhike.

    I was hiking with a woman, and a man and woman who were day-hiking approached us on the trail. We could smell them coming before we saw them – deodorant, detergents, perfume, etc.

    After they passed, my hiking partner turned around to look at me and hold her nose, indicating her disgust as the strong smell. Then she saw that the other woman (now down the trail a little) was doing the same thing to her husband. :)

  • 4. TGAW  |  June 8, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    @Carolyn – Cool– never saw that movie.

    @thruhike98 – AHAHAHAHA, I LOVE that story from Maine!

  • 5. Sour Swinger » Blog Archive » A Visit To My Cousin  |  June 9, 2008 at 9:31 am

    [...] to meet up with him.  She blogged about the whole visit here.  She also mentioned him briefly here.  You can see all the photos she took of him here.  Joe gave me a call that day, but [...]

  • 6. Bye Bye Sectional « TGAW  |  July 24, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    [...] was at that moment I had no doubt. This man was going to get that entire couch in one trip. Maybe thru-hikers have an odor about them, but they are also innovative. They know how to tackle challenges. They know how to exceed [...]

  • 7. New Kid in the Crate « TGAW  |  March 4, 2009 at 1:04 am

    [...] he was returned to his home a couple of houses down. Like an Appalachian Trail hiker, the dog had a distinctive outdoor odor about him, but he was quite nice and quiet. Early on he proved to not be housebroken, so I put him in [...]


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