On March 4th in the year of our lord 2017, a lone man approached Springer mountain and the world would be forever changed.
Honey-Badger (with a hyphen) was his name and he was Honey-Badger. Called by some unseen force, history would soon measure events on the the trail using pre and post “HB” as a temporal reference. Wise beyond his years and strong of mind and body, his wisdom, nurturing spirit, and social tact was a beacon to which we all held true. A city atop a hill, a paragon of the pack, a titan of the trail—Honey-Badger is a spiritual guide and physical whip inspiring all to hike bigger miles, eat more, and complain less.
Honey-Badger. Dirty, smelly, and staunchly ignoring a beautiful view. Photo by Legs. Check her out over at travelandtrek.com!
What follows is a record of his words and deeds. Psalms, odes, and epics all fall short of the majesty and pure animal instinct of Honey-Badger. May we all strive to incorporate “the Badger” more completely into our lives.
On Mental Fortitude:
On an evening where the mercury was flirting with the bottom of the thermometer, Honey-Badger offered his first treatise on the power of the mind. We gathered in a frozen circle around his prone form, heat waves glimmering above his head: “You’re only as cold as you think you are,” he growled. “And it’s only snowing if you say it is.” We nodded, absorebing this tidbit.
Honey-Badger soon rounded out his philosophy on the mental side of backcountry living with idioms such as “you’re only as sweaty as you think you are,” “it only hurts if you say it does,” and “it’s only sprained if you let it be.”
As we push into Virgina, we are all slowly learning to strengthen our minds and harden our hearts, forming our own realities, and staunchly ignoring the hardships before us.
On Physical Strength
Honey-Badger’s thoughts on pack weight and load efficiency can be summed up with a single event: when asked why he was carrying a five pound tent (heavy for a through hiker) by a self-proclaimed “ultralighter” his response was simply, “I’m trying to get jacked legs bro.” The weight on his back means nothing. He’s packed out wrenches and six-packs, hot-dogs and sparklers. After all, in his words “your pack is only as heavy as you think it is.”
When last asked how far he was going that day, Honey-Badger’s response was simply “to Maine.” After all, miles only mean something if you let them. Stopping for the night is optional, never encouraged, and if you’re willing to go another two miles, you can go another ten.
Meals are a sacred time for Honey-Badger, and there is always room for more food, even if the pack is full. Counting calories is for amateurs, and excess water weight in food is always a good thing. But he never, ever, drinks his dish water.
In summary, Honey-Badger is a force to be reckoned with both on trail and off. He once hitched into town and came back having been given fifty dollars in cash, free drinks at the local brew pub, and free gear from the gear rep who drove him back to the trail head. The trail is still trying to adjust and accommodate “the Badger.”
In other news I’m in Damascus, VA. Over 20% of the trail lies behind us. I’ve been walking with Honey-Badger, Wet-Wipes, Strider, Legs, and Darwin for over 200 miles. Morale is high, and all of Virginia lies ahead. May everyone’s backs stay strong, feet stay hardy, and stomachs stay full.
The gang in their respectable and responsible glory. Photo by Strider. Check him out over at pursuesomepath.blogspot.com!
Glim-Glom (more on the name to come)