Click here to subscribe to the Pharr Out Blog
I love brownies; brownies are my favorite dessert. I love hiking; hiking is my favorite activity. Now back to brownies…. Forget crème brulee, layer cakes, and cookies (except if they are Miles’ cookies), I want chocolate fudge brownies without nuts and with extra chocolate chips.
Some people like to savor their brownies, and appreciate every bite slowly. I am not one of those people. If someone puts a brownie in front of me, I don’t just eat it; I devour it. With restraint out the window and very little concern for what others think, I scarf down however many brownies are in front of me… and then I lick the plate. Oh, and I like my brownies straight out of the oven… still warm.
Now to hiking. No one can doubt that I love to hike. I love to be on a trail by a mountain, a valley, a river, on top of boulders, wherever. I can’t get enough of hiking. Sometimes when I hike I want to indulge in the trail, the miles, and the wilderness. I want to consume it so completely and quickly that at day’s end I feel like I was a hiking glutton. Some folks like to savor every step of their hike, spreading it out to make it last longer. I respect and sometimes even envy those people. Someday, after this hike, I suspect I will be more like them.
But for now I have a voracious appetite for hiking. And I like my hiking hot, meaning dead of summer, 95-degree, 90% humidity hot. I complain when I see my breath on a cool mid-July morning in Connecticut, but I never complain about the heat. The heat is my friend.
So why all this talk about hot brownies and hiking in warm weather? Well, I’ve realized over the years that some people- both on and off the trail- struggle to understand why I hike the way I do. I certainly don’t feel the need to justify my hiking style to them any more than I feel they need to justify their style to me. But in an effort to help folks understand why I hike this way, I’ve begun to use the brownie comparison. When I hike, I devour miles like I devour hot brownies, not so much because I want to set a record but because I want to get the most out of the experience, and to me this means consuming the trail in great chunks.
Ok, enough brownie metaphors. I love it when real people bring real brownies to the trail. Brew and I have kept mostly to ourselves on this hike, but once we reached Connecticut some dear friends from my first thru-hike came to the trail bearing hordes of goodies, including some of the best brownies ever. Along with the crew came my friend J (aka “Jukebox”). He was one of my best friends on my first thru-hike and continues to be a tried and true part of my life several years later. He spent a morning pacing me on the trail and then played guitar and enjoyed a beer with Brwe while waiting for me to finish up.
Once I reached New York a very hospitable and accomplished ultra runner named Steve came to make sure I was putting in my miles and working hard. That night, he and his wife Mary Ellen provided us with a shower, an amazing dinner, and a very comfortable bed. We have felt very blessed recently by the trail and the provisions, and I feel very fortunate to be out here chewing up miles… and brownies. 🙂