There is a story frequently told among AT hikers. It explains how to identify the type of hiker (day hiker, section hiker, long distance/thru hiker) using the simple M&M test: When three M&Ms are scattered along the trail, what does the hiker do? The day hiker walks right past the candy, never noticing it. The short section hiker stops and picks up the candy. Following “Leave No Trace” principles, this hiker puts the M&Ms in her trash sack to carry out of the woods. The long distance hiker, always starving, throws off her pack, grabs the M&Ms and pops them into her mouth. Then that long distance hikers scrambles to find any other candies that might have been dropped!
(Are you wondering which type of hikers we are? If we drop our own candy or trail mix, we pick it up and eat it. After all, we need every calorie we can get! But no, we don’t eat trash candy left by others. Perhaps that is the difference between long-distance section hikers and thru-hikers?!)
(Thanks to daughter Nettie for taking the photos and daughter Andowen for being the model.)