Monday, December 22, 2014

36. Ice Cream

Ice cream is the perfect, unattainable food item.

Here are the reasons why:

1. If you are not actively hiking or doing something enormously athletic every single day, ice cream has like 10 billion calories in it, and is liiiiittle unhealthy to eat every single day. I still eat it frequently, and there should be no shame with ice cream. I just think it's better to make a whole meal out of it. Meaning, if I eat ice cream for dinner I typically turn it into an entire sundae with peanuts on it so that way I'm getting my protein.

2. If you ARE a hiker you have the metabolism and desire to eat ice cream every single day. Finally you are living a life that gives you the ability to eat absolutely whatever you want... Except that you cannot pack out ice cream. It would be great if you could carry a mini fridge (and maybe you physically could do it because hikers' legs are awesome) but I don't think they make extension cords that run 2,000 miles.

Million dollar* idea: a lightweight, battery-operated hiker freezer. It would only have to be big enough to hold one pint of Ben & Jerry's. Specifically Half Baked... but Chunky Monkey will suffice if necessary.

*This would not actually make you a million dollars, because the hiking market isn't nearly big enough.**

**Please invent this anyway.

In other words, even though being a long distance hiker means that you technically could eat ice cream every day and not have it negatively impact your health (unless you are lactose intolerant), you can't do it because there are no freezers in the woods.

So how does this make "Ice Cream" number 36 on the list of 200 Terrific Things About Long Distance Hiking? Because long-distance hiking means that on the rare occasion that you get your filthy hiker paws on some of it, you can appreciate it in the profound way that a five-year-old appreciates it... in that you are way too excited, and most of it just ends up on your face.

The particularly beautiful part of specifically Appalachian Trail + Ice Cream is the Half Gallon Challenge. This occurs just after the halfway mark of the trail, in Pine Grove Furnace State Park (home of the AT Museum). The trail marches you right past this lovely little deli that must have stock in Haagen Daas. The challenge is for a hiker to buy an entire half gallon of ice cream and eat it in one sitting.

You know that box of ice cream from the grocery store that you think is half a gallon? Turns out that's only most of the way there. To be a true victor, you must consume an entire "half gallon" (which is only 1.5 quarts now) plus another pint. This is a truly preposterous amount of dairy product to be consumed in one sitting. Cows everywhere weep for the idiocy of our species.

Here's the truth:

Nearly everyone vomits.

And herein lies the proof of how much hikers love ice cream. If you wanted to do a fun activity, but knew that the activity had a 90% chance of post-activity vomiting, would you do it?

If you were a child the answer would probably be: YES, BECAUSE ROLLER COASTERS ROCK.

If you were a college student the answer would probably be: No hesitation.

If you were a hiker the answer would be: No. Unless it's eating a half gallon of ice cream.

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