Do Not Eat Hot Wings Before Hiking

You never know when nature will call, or what it will have to say.

On Saturday morning I set out to hike Mt. San Jacinto with a bunch of new friends. It’s a 12 mile walk with 4,500 ft of elevation gain—an all day affair for us.


The night before, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with a different group of friends and tried their two hottest wings: Mango Habanero and Blazin’.

This was a mistake.

A dreadful mistake.

A little over 2 miles into our ascent the next day, sure enough, my stomach turned over and I broke into a full-body cold sweat. There was no turning back. There was no delaying. This was it. Montezuma’s inevitable habanero revenge. An unwanted and imminent spicy off-trail adventure.

Before you ask, the answer is no. We did not bring toilet paper.

While I frantically scanned for a cluster of private trees and surveyed the surrounding flora for a suitable clean-up utensil, the mouth-scorching experience of the previous night played through my mind on a loop.

I should not have eaten those hot wings. 

Here are a few things you should avoid before hiking:

  1. The Hottest Hot Wings
    What Is It - Chicken wings covered in spicy sauce.
    Why Not to Do It - As the old adage goes: spicy in, spicy out.
    What To Do Instead - Eat something not-spicy.
  2. The Milk Gallon Challenge
    What Is It - Drinking an entire gallon of milk.
    Why Not to Do It - You will vomit.
    What To Do Instead - Drink a reasonable amount of water.
  3. IcyHot Below the Belt
    What Is It - IcyHot is a recovery tool for worn out muscles.
    Why Not to Do It - It will make your genitals burn like an arctic dragon is breathing flaming glaciers on them.
    What To Do Instead - Apply an anti-chafe cream.
  4. Packing a Stout as a Summit Beer
    What Is It - A Stout is essentially a liquified loaf of whole grain bread.
    Why Not to Do It - You will vomit and/or get drunk for the hike down.
    What To Do Instead - Bring something light and refreshing with a low ABV.
  5. Putting On a Pair of Jeans
    What Is It - You know what jeans are.
    Why Not To Do It - You will sweat and chafe and experience immense discomfort while looking like a kook.
    What To Do Instead - Put on a pair of shorts or leggings.

I can’t tell you how it happened other than sheer willpower, fear of embarrassment, and perhaps divine intervention, but my stomach recovered and I miraculously made it the rest of the way to the summit and back without an emergency fecal incident.

Let this be a lesson to always bring TP when you hike.

You never know when nature will call, or what it will have to say.

Especially after eating hot wings. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Aaron Rickel

Climber. Cyclist. Hiker. Writer. Currently has base camp set up in Los Angeles, CA. Runs the Los Angeles Field Guide.