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“I’ll have a large supreme pizza please, for here,” I told the guy working the counter at a small pizza joint on the coast of Northern California. “Uh, your friend just ordered one for you guys,” he responded. “No, I mean, I want my own,” I explained. “You guys both want large pizzas?” “Yep.”

My friend and I had just hiked, kinda unplanned, 16 miles along a mostly private section of coast with only occasional stretches of sand, that required lots of clamoring over surf-beaten boulders and one hell-climb up a slippery cliff covered in poison oak to avoid the waves that began to surge over our rock path. We were idiots. We were maybe 20 years old, and had decided to walk the beach from one town to the next. Because it’s all private ranchland between the towns, we had no idea what the beaches were like, but it seemed like a fun idea. It was, until we lounged too long in a small cove and the tide started to fill in and we had to scramble over boulders for miles until we could find a way up to the grasslands above. It was awful. Kinda fun, but awful.

If I recall correctly, we each made it through about 3/4 of our pizzas. It was the hungriest I’d ever been.

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To this day, after a really long and difficult hike or bike ride or all-day surf session leaving me a spent husk, my initial craving is a pizza loaded with every possible topping. I think because of the immense satisfaction of the pizza after our hell hike. Of course, I feel a lot better if I eat clean food than I do a giant, greased-covered pizza bomb, but nothing is quite as satisfying. For my money, anyway. There’s just something soul-enriching about gorging on food I wouldn’t normally eat after depleting the system of much-needed energy. Sometimes, it’s half the reason I even take on the suffering of whatever activity prompted the hunger.

Though it also sorta depends on the activity. Pizza works in hot or cold weather, true, but sometimes after a long day of cross-country skiing, there’s nothing better than a bowl of chili. Or after a long, hot hike, a massive milkshake and french fries. So what say you? What’s your go-to when you’re so hungry you’d eat the leather off your boots?

 



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