Thoughts on Hiking

 

Water Fall
Water Fall

Hiking is not my favorite activity, although I don’t mind hiking 3-5 miles, maybe even 6 for an exceptionally lovely view or waterfall or something. And I don’t mind bicycling for 15-20 miles on relatively flat ground. But for both of those things, about 4 hours is my limit. After that, my fun meter is pegged and I can possibly turn into a grumpy bear, which is no fun.

There have been a few occasions where I bicycled all day long or hiked for more than 4 hours. At the end of the day, I expended more effort to finish than I wanted to which meant it was work, not fun. Maybe that’s the crux of the problem: I don’t like to put a lot of physical effort into anything. I’m not an athlete. Never have been. Maybe if I’d been raised differently, I’d feel differently.

See, when I was growing up, the common wisdom was that girls couldn’t be athletes; it would hurt their childbearing abilities. Of course, now we know that’s a bunch of hogwash, but back then, it was the prevailing attitude. Consequently, whatever athletic ability I was born with is buried so deep under atrophied muscles and exertion asthma that it won’t come out now. A word of wisdom to the young: use those muscles a lot when you are young so you can use them later when you are old. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

We went hiking during our weekend at a rented lodge/fancy cabin with Sonny and his family. Both mornings after breakfast, off we’d go to explore a new trail. The first trail was wonderful and 2-3 miles long—just the right distance. It had some hills and some flat and terminated at a gorgeous double waterfall. We spent a while there enjoying the scenery and letting Grandson throw rocks into the pool. Such a fun time! Then it was back to the cabin for the afternoon of doing whatever each person wanted. For me, I got to spend time editing my book manuscript. What a perfect day!

Trail
Trail

The next morning, we found another trail that went up a mountain side. And up. And up. And up. Although it was more fun than working out on a stepper at a gym, my fun meter was pegged about a mile or so in and I chose to sit in a lovely spot overlooking the valley while the other explorers continued to climb up the multiple switchbacks. In the quiet solitude, I enjoyed myself, listening to the sounds of the rain forest. Something intermittently banged three times, either a squirrel with a tough-to-crack nut or a woodpecker after some juicy morsel from a tree trunk. When I heard something snap behind me, I jumped up to make sure it wasn’t a bear or cougar or other predator sneaking up behind me. It turned out to be nothing so I settled back onto my rock and listened to the quiet purr of Mother Nature once again. Eventually the other family members came back down the trail, after turning around before reaching the end. I joined them in their descent which was almost as hard as the ascent—knees take a beating going downhill, not to mention the turned ankle on the rocky parts. Maybe they will go back and find the end of that trail, but I think I will wait at the bottom of that steep climb.

I look for a balance between doing something good for me (exercise, fresh air, etc.) with what gives me enjoyment (reading, writing, sewing, etc.). Hiking and bicycling are wonderful activities. I enjoy seeing the wonders of Creation and getting a fun workout. But poor Hubby! If he was looking for a hiking/biking companion with my retirement, he is sorely disappointed. I don’t have the passion for it that he does. As a compromise, if Hubby follows his dream to bicycle across America, I will drive SAG vehicle and stop at all the quilt stores along the way. Sounds like fun to me!

One Comment
  1. Carol I loved your story, I’m not a hiker or bicycler, my back, knees and feet give me to much trouble, but I admire you for what you have done. My sister rides a recumbant bike she has rode quite a bit but now about 10 to 12 miles I admire her for it.

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