What is that Growling?

What is that Growling? (10 Essentials #2)

PB150132  Have you ever been so hungry that you could eat a bear? An empty stomach is not only miserable but can really affect your performance on a hike.  That is why the next item on our list of  the Essential Dame Necessities is:


It is simple……throw some Power Bars in your day pack.  Or some Luna Bars, CliffBars, or any other sports bars.  The name brand doesn’t matter as long as they provide an easy form of nutrition.  I am a big believer in sports bars because they last a long time in your pack and don’t melt in the heat.  In the cold, however, they could put your fillings in jeopardy!  

Again, though…..it doesn’t matter so much what you carry as long as you carry something.

Have you ever heard of ‘bonking’?  Wikipedia defines bonking as, “hitting the wall”, and adds that “the “bonk” describes the condition that takes place when an athlete suddenly loses energy and becomes fatigued”.   For years I heard the term bandied around in professional sports and in regards to running marathons.  In all honesty, I did not think that it was a term that would ever apply to me.  I never considered myself to be an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.  And I also thought that since I carry so much extra weight, I had plenty of inner fuel to get me from point A to point B.  Boy was I wrong.

On my very first backpacking trip, I was so nervous and intimidated by the other women that were there, that I did not take care of myself at all.  I knew that I had bitten off much more than I could chew, (10 miles of giant climbs on the AT with a heavy pack and no experience?!), and I was so exhausted that not only did I not take many breaks, but when I did take a rest, I did not eat any snacks.  On top of that, I was so exhausted at meal times that I barely choked anything down.

By the evening of the second day, I could barely pick up my feet.  Three of us were night hiking, (because I was too slow to get to the shelter before the sun went downJ) and I truly hit a wall.  My friend LiteShoe took one look at me and poured a packet of Emergen-C down my throat.  After a few minutes, I felt well enough to keep going, but I learned an important lesson.   It wasn’t until later that I realized that my body had truly run out of fuel.  It didn’t matter that I was overweight, or that I didn’t think of myself as an athlete.

What I was doing was hard.  And it takes fuel to keep your body going.

With that having been said, I have since bonked several more times, but now I know what is going on with my body.  It happens if I am just not paying attention, and it happens all the time to women on our longer Trail Dames hikes.  They are all like me…..taken by surprise at the idea that we should be treating our bodies like athletes.  J Through trial and error, this is what we are all learning…..

1. Everyone is different.  Some people need to munch constantly when they are hiking, while others need to eat something every three hours.

2. Some people respond well to fresh fruit while others need nuts.

3. If we do run out of fuel and energy, it comes back pretty quickly once we eat something.

So if you are hiking along and all the sudden just don’t have any energy, you have bonked.  Having trouble picking up your feet?  Bonk.  And my personal favorite, walk three steps…stop….walk three steps…stop?  Big bonk.  J

Carry extra snacks and food and you will be fine in no time.  And remember, what you are doing is a sport and you are an athlete.

Have you ever bonked? Click the comment link below and tell me what you do to avoid it happening again.

Anna aka Mud Butt