Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to hike

1) "Do something today for the first time."
2) Decide to go hiking in a new location during the hottest part of the day.
3) Pack water, an extra dog bowl, and snacks. Do not bring sunscreen.
4) Google directions to the park.
5) Look at the map at the trailhead long enough to see that Lively Loop is 1.1 miles, and think to yourself, "Yeah, that sounds like a good little jaunt."
6) Disregard everything else.

7) Make a mental note of the vehicle that pulled in behind you. Wonder later if they're serial killers.
8) Blast Pandora for the first 30 minutes. Then, when you realize your 1.1 miles isn't actually 1.1, turn off Pandora. You might need your battery later to start a fire.
9) Take a picture of yourself while you're still having fun.

10) End all phone calls with friends with, "I need to reserve my phone power in case I have to call in the cavalry."

11) Actually wonder if that will be necessary.
12) Take a few breaks, insisted upon by your dogs.
13) Start to wonder if you're hiking on random ranchland, or if this is actually a trail.
14) Stick to the yellow markers. You have no idea what yellow means, but you're committed.
15) Realize you've been at it for an hour and a half and have not seen another soul.
16) Come to a trail sign that doesn't have yours listed on it, or at least the one you thought you were on.
17) Stay calm and straight.
18) Come to the gravel road you drove into the park on. Notice there are no signs. Anywhere. Turn right.
19) Second guess your decision to turn right.
20) Walk 3/10 of a mile to the park maintenance area. Enter and knock on doors. No one will answer.
21) Swallow panic.
22) Spot a restroom, knock on the door, enter. Direct the dogs to the toilet.

23) Fill up your water bottle with water from the maintenance man's shower. The water running into your armpit feels good.
24) Leave the maintenance area. Decide you were going in the wrong direction on the road. Turn right.
25) Yell, "Fuck hiking!"
26) Verbally berate the person who named the trail Lively Loop when it CLEARLY DIDN'T LOOP.
27) Walk more than half a mile and text a few key people that you're lost.
28) Stop in the shade, and apologize to your dogs, who you have never seen so exhausted.
29) Realize you're headed in the wrong direction.
30) Turn around.
31) Wave at the two Park Rangers who drive by you and promise yourself that the next one you'll flag down and ask for a ride.
32) Get back to the maintenance area to fill up on water. It's closed.
33) Turn left out of the maintenance area.
34) Walk a little ways and around the bend to your car.
35) Study the map. Realize you're a directional idiot and that your 1.1 mile loop was actually a more than 5-mile trek. We started at the "you are here" arrow and came out at the little red dot just above the arrow. Apparently, it did loop.
36) Go home.

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