This post should be subtitled: I really really suck at hiking.
I like to hike. Kind of. I mean, I like seeing pretty views and waterfalls and hanging out with people outdoors. But the actual hiking part, not so much sometimes.
I was always the kid who fell on the school field trips, often into water. I’m not very coordinated in everyday life, despite years of dance training and later martial arts. I can kick high and do the splits, but I fall down disturbingly often while simply walking down the street.
Now hiking here in my adopted home is different from hiking other places. “Easy” hiking trails are full of tree roots and mud and sometimes boulders. These are not meandering dirt paths. So I take it slow, often really slow. I’m usually well behind the pack. (Sorry, pack.)
This summer, I’ll be doing a kind of intense hike. (Well, intense for me anyway.) I’ll be doing it both ways, a couple of days apart, and I’m getting kind of nervous about being the last one down, by a lot. Also, the husband and I want to do an even more intense hike together sometime before we get too damn old. So, I need to get to training.
My thought was to go on a hike every week until the big one this summer, building up some confidence on the trails and also some stamina and leg strength. It’s also an excuse to get my older dog out for longer walks. She really likes hiking, and these days she goes about as slow as I do (I used to feel like I was seriously holding her back).
For the first hike, I chose an “easy 0.75-mile loop trial.” (You’ve got to start somewhere, right?) But. I lost the trail. This happens to me all the time on hikes here. I’ll come to a fork, and there’s no sign. I take the fork that seems more “trail-like” or that seems to be going in the right general direction. As I keep hiking, the trail starts to narrow and get overgrown. By the time I realize I made the wrong choice, I’m lost and bushwhacking my way through.
In this case, there’s a fork with the right side following the stream and the left side going uphill. The dog rather adamantly chose the right, and I followed along. Ten minutes later, we were bouldering, covered in mud, and no longer on anything that looked much like a trail. At least this time it was easy to find my way back by following the stream the other direction.
I got back to the start of the loop and went around it the other direction, and the trail was much more clear. Yep, should have headed uphill at that fork.
We finished the hike, crossed the stream back to the car, and drove home right before the rain started coming down. So the story ends a lot better than it could have.
Still, it’s pretty crazy that I live in a fairly sizable city, but a ten-minute drive can get me to a hike like this. And I didn’t see another soul on the trail. We had the bamboo and the stream (and the mud and the boulders and the lack of signage) all to ourselves.